From 18th To 1st, Tatnell Wins Open Wheel Nationals Night #1

By Greg Parent
St. Croix Falls, WI
Two UMSS victories in the same week in two different cars is nothing unusual for veteran racer Brooke Tatnell.  The thrilling manner in which his 27th career UMSS win came on Friday night July 11 at the Open Wheel Nationals certainly was not something race fans have the privilege of watching every night though.  Back in the familiar white #14 Nelson sprinter, Tatnell put on a show for the fans coming from the 18th starting position to sit in the Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup/Rock Auto Victory Lane at the 1/4 mile St. Croix Valley Raceway when the final checkers waved.
When Tatnell forgot to scale following his heat race, it meant that the “Awesome Aussie” who now resides in Forest Lake would have to come from the back in both his Challenge race and the main event.  Tatnell tuned up for the feature by racing from 10th to 4th in the Challenge, then started 18th in the feature.  The three heats for the 20 cars on hand were won by 2013 UMSS Champion Chris Graf, Altoona, Iowa driver Carson McCarl, and Cam Schafer, who was doing double duty for the weekend in both sprint car divisions.  Following Challenge race victories by young Gunner Cummings and versatile racer from nearby Deer Park, Rick Kobs, Graf ended up the high point earner.  Graf drew the five pill for the feature race invert.  This meant that Schafer and Kobs would occupy the front row.
At the drop of the green, many fans were watching Tatnell figuring he was going to be one motivated driver coming through the field.  Kobs led the first ten laps, as the race was slowed once under caution with six laps in.  Tatnell was up to seventh in just six laps!  McCarl challenged Kobs for the lead following the restart and took the top spot on lap 11.  Two laps later contact on the front stretch between Kobs and the lapped car of Dave Becker saw Becker slide sideways.  Rookie racer Jamey Ogston got collected in the accident, causing heavy damage to his car and Becker’s sprinter.  Kobs also limped into the infield area, as all three cars were out of action.  Tatnell was now sitting in fifth place.  Two laps later he advanced to fourth with the leaders in sight.
The third and final caution blinked on with 19 laps scored for a spin in turn four.  This set the stage for a six lap shootout to the checkers between McCarl and Tatnell.  On lap 21, Tatnell edged by McCarl for the lead.  McCarl battled hard to regain the top spot, but Tatnell was just too strong.  McCarl had to settle for second.  A very impressive run by rookie Ryan Bowers saw the #199 car equal his career-best third place finish in just his 11th start in a winged sprint.  Graf and Schafer completed the top five.  Commenting after the races, Tatnell stated, “We’re committed to race at Knoxville tomorrow night, but if they rain out early enough I want to be back here and try for a weekend sweep.  It’s a blast racing with these guys, and the level of competition has definitely gotten better since when I first started running with the UMSS.”
The second night of the 3rd Annual Open Wheel Nationals at the St. Croix Valley Raceway was on tap for Saturday July 12.  Would Tatnell be on hand to try for the $500 Clean Sweep Bonus available from GRP Motorsports or would a new winner emerge?
UMSS Race Results – St. Croix Valley Raceway July 11, 2014 (Race #10)
3rd Annual Open Wheel Nationals
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (7 laps): 20G Chris Graf, 28 John Sernett, 9 Jared Goerges, 10x Jennifer Eriksen, 7M Bob McVitty DNF, 7 Dave Becker DNF, 14 Brooke Tatnell DQ.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (7 laps):  27 Carlson McCarl, 63 Jerry Richert Jr, 199 Ryan Bowers, 34 Rick Kobs, 34TW Gunner Cummings, 3TK Tony Kaus, 37 Sye Anderson.
Track Rat Photos Ultimate Sprtint Race #3 (6 laps): 5c Cam Schafer, 23 Cody Hahn, 15 Chad Patterson, 91 Davey Heksin, 03 Jamey Ogston, 5 Anna Kouba.
Driverwebsites Challenge Race #1 (10 laps): Cummings, Bowers, Heskin, McCarl, Sernett, Eriksen, Hahn, Anderson, Kouba, McVitty DNF.
Sprintsource Challenge Race #2 (10 laps): Kobs, Graf, Ogston, Tatnell, Schafer, Patterson, Richert, Goerges, Kaus, Becker.
Mastell Brother Trailer Service Feature (25 laps): Tatnell, McCarl, Bowers, Graf, Schafer, Heskin, Richert, Sernett, Goerges, Patterson, Hahn, Anderson, Cummings, Kouba, Kaus, Kobs DNF, Ogston DNF, Becker DNF, Eriksen DNF, McVitty DNS.
Lap Leaders: Kobs 1-10, McCarl 11-20, Tatnell 21-25.
Cautions: (3)
Victory Lane photo courtesy of Vince Peterson at Track Rat Photos.