By Lee Elder
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 12, 2012) – Donny Schatz held off a charging Brian Brown to win the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals winged sprint car race at Knoxville Raceway.
Schatz, who started fifth, led the final 36 laps but nearly lost the race when he slipped slightly on his final trip through the fourth turn of the half-mile dirt oval. With the checkered flag waiving like a red cape at an angry bull, Schatz and Brown charged down the front straight and Schatz won by half a car length. The official margin of victory was .117 of a second.
It was the sixth time in the last seven years that Schatz has won sprint car racing’s biggest race. Steve Kinser is the winningest driver of this event with a dozen victories.
“Brian was searching the racetrack and he found (some grip),” Schatz said. “He got a good run and I was fortunate that it was only 50 laps.”
Brown agreed that he might have won had the race been 51 laps long, saying, “When I was catching Donny there, it was just kind of surreal. I was thinking, ‘Man, I’m gonna catch him, but what am I going to do when I get there?’ You just don’t want to make a mistake.”
Craig Dollansky finished third, followed by Kraig Kinser and Jason Meyers.
Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. The Goodyear Knoxville Nationals is not a scheduled WoO race, but Outlaws teams competing at Knoxville were awarded WoO participation points. Goodyear is also the tire supplier for the weekly 410 sprint car division at Knoxville Raceway.
Sprint car teams from around the world competed in the 2012 running of the famed event, as usual. Many of those teams came from series other than the Outlaws, but even those competitors race regularly on the same line of tires Goodyear supplies the Knoxville track and the WoO.
Jonathan Allard, for example, is a star on the Cancen Oil King of the West Series trail.
Allard started third in Saturday’s main event. Allard and the other King of the West competitors race on Goodyear Eagles. Allard finished 13th Saturday.
The 50-lap race final was split into two segments, allowing teams to add fuel and change tires during the intermission. Most of the teams in the field elected to use Goodyear’s G100 compound on their rear tires in both segments.
A revised format for the four-night Knoxville event gave a number of big-name teams a second chance in the event, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser among them. Kinser was unable to secure a berth in Saturday’s final during his qualifying night after a mechanical issue forced him into the infield.
But Kinser and others were able to race their way into Saturday’s B feature on Friday in a sort of last-chance race that allowed drivers to improve their starting position in Saturday’s program. The starters in Saturday’s B feature included sprint car racing luminaries Sammy Swindell, Tim Shaffer, Jason Sides, Kerry Madsen and Kinser. Of that group, only Sides was able to race his way into Saturday’s final race.
Kyle Larson and Jason Meyers won the traditional qualifying features and Justin Henderson won Friday’s final qualifying feature. Henderson and three others earned spots in Saturday’s feature by finishing in the top four in Friday.
Donny Schatz won the Speed Sport World Challenge feature.
More information about Goodyear Racing is available at www.racegoodyear.com. More information about Knoxville Raceway is available at www.knoxvilleraceway.com.
Goodyear employs about 73,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 nations. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the world-wide leader in race tire innovation.