|Tim Kaeding takes home his third win|
Photo Credit: TKRacing
A race on a new track has a lot of challenges all by itself. What happens when that new track is normally an asphalt track? According to Chris Dolak of the World of Outlaws, it wasn’t a big concern. “There are always challenges when you go to a venue for the first time regardless of the racing surface. Everything from making sure there are enough restrooms to making sure the concessions are fully stocked for what might be the biggest event of the year at a track. It’s important to have people to answer questions for fans who might never have seen a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event or have never been to the venue.”
“Honestly, these days the track prep teams are very good at adapting surfaces and for Elko in particular, this is not the first time they’ve covered the track with dirt to race sprint cars so there’s already a plan to make sure it goes as smooth as possible,” said Dolak.
What about team public relations people, do they have more issues on this kind of date? Not according to Shawn Miller of Inside Line Promotions who represents The Big Game Tree Stands teams. “New tracks are always very exciting for everybody. Nobody knows what to expect so it is a challenge, but also brings a new opportunity to showcase the sport to a lot of fans who might not get to see sprint car racing very often if at all. Everyone knows the challenges the drivers go through racing at a place they've never been, but for someone in my job the biggest thing to figure out is the Internet capabilities. If you can find a consistent line, everything else usually goes as it would at any other place."
Elko Speedway is used to putting dirt over its pavement track so I really don't think there will be any issues tonight. The Outlaws aren't in control of track conditions so it'll be just like it would at Williams Grove, Knoxville or anywhere else. Eloy, the scorer, will have to check out the scoring loop when he gets there (as he always does) and make sure everything works on his end. The officials and staff will do their normal routine. So as far as the series, it is almost exactly the same as a place they race at every year.”
Qualifying went off without a hitch. The track record for a winged sprint, not an Outlaws car, was 12.333 seconds or approximately 109.462 mph. This record was held by Travis Whitney who was signed into race but blew up in Hot Laps and scratched for the evening.
Quick time and the new track record for the World of Outlaws was set by Sam Hafertepe Jr. with a lap of 12.507 seconds or 107.939 mph. Chad Kemenah, Sammy Swindell, Daryn Pittman and Tim Kaeding would round out the top 5 qualifying positions.
The track for the heat races proved to be a bit narrow with everyone running the bottom where the moisture was and made passing difficult. Most of the track positions were gained at the drop of the green or on the one restart during the heats. The first heat race was won by Brooke Tatnell, who had experience on the track in a 360 winged sprint. Although, he did say that only gave him familiarity with the track because everything else that you learn in a 360 has to be thrown out because of the differences in the power of the car. Tatnell was chased to the line by fellow Australian Kerry Madsen and Tim Kaeding. Also transferring to the A Main was quick time setter Sam Hafertepe Jr. and 20-time Outlaws champion Steve Kinser.
The second heat race would be won by yet another Australian native, Ian Madsen. Ian who was back with the Outlaws after a nasty flip in Eldora last weekend said the track was similar to what they run on in Australia. Madsen was followed to the line by Joey Saldana, Donny Schatz, Chad Kemenah and Paul McMahan.
The third heat would see the return of former World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski to the 410 wing ranks. Lasoski who drives for Mark Burch had been running 360 wings throughout the Midwest but convinced his team owner to put in a 410 power plant so as not to miss so much of the racing in the Midwest. "I kept talking it up," joked Lasoski. "I think what really sealed the deal is there are a lot of races in the Midwest and he couldn't go to because he didn't have a 410. I'm just glad he got a 410." Rounding out the top 5 were Brad Sweet, Kraig Kinser, Sammy Swindell and new father Jason Johnson.
The final heat of the night was won by Lucas Wolfe with Craig Dollansky hard on his tail tank. Cody Darrah and team mate Daryn Pittman had their own battle for third with Darrah coming home on top. Knoxville Raceway Champion Terry McCarl battled with Jason Sides for the final transfer spot taking it at the line.
The Dash was a very quick paced battle for dominance and the pole position in the A Main. The three Aussies were determined to start up front and in the end only two would prevail. Brooke Tatnell would suffer a blown engine and retire early from the Dash. Brother’s Kerry and Ian Madsen would battle Craig Dollansky to the very end but Dollansky would prove dominate at his home track.
The Last Chance Showdown would turn aggressive in the final laps. The battle for the third and fourth positions was between Jason Johnson and Mark Dobmeier. The two had exchanged the third position four times in three laps before a late race caution, on the mistake of the flag official, would cause a green white checker finish. On the restart the two traded the spot again with Johnson coming out on top.
Dobmeier turned the car back underneath Johnson to try to regain the spot and the two would bang wheels. On the white flag lap, Dobmeier tried the top and they banged wheels again. This time Johnson left no room for Dobmeier to come back below the cushion sending him into the wall. David Gravel and Skylar Prochaska would sneak by to take the spots and advance to the A Main. Winning the race was Grain Valley, Missouri’s Brian Brown and coming home second was Jason Sides.
The A Main showed a vastly improved multi-groove track with a bottom a top and a middle groove. At the drop of the green Craig Dollansky took the lead going into Turn 1 and Kerry Madsen set sail after him with Ian Madsen right on his bumper. The three would battle back and forth changing the top three positions several times until Lap 5 when Dollansky and Kerry Madsen pulled out to definite lead. Ian Madsen had to fend off Chad Kemenah. Kemenah would eventually take the position sending Ian Madsen on a backwards slide.
Kerry Madsen would take the lead from Dollansky on Lap 11 and would lead until Lap 34 when Tim Kaeding would pass him for the lead as his engine began to expire. Brooke Tatnell would get upside down between Turn 1and 2 bringing out the red flag shortly thereafter. Before the car of Tatnell could be gotten on the hook and the cars put back to yellow, the rain came down and the track was lost. The race was called six laps from it’s completion giving the win to Tim Kaeding and preserving a top 5 finish for Kerry Madsen.
It wasn’t an ordinary ending to a race. There were no checkered flags in the air. No daring last lap passes attempted. The white flag never saw the track but then again this was not your ordinary dirt track either last night. As a matter of fact the last time the Outlaws saw a dirt track like this was in 2001 when they took to the legendary banks of Bristol Motor Speedway under eight(8) inches of trucked in clay.
Sammy Swindell won both Friday and Saturday night there. Last night was Tim Kaeding’s night. For the third time this year, TK took to the top of the wing to salute the crowd and celebrate in Victory Lane. The rain shower was short lived and it left many in the field with what if’s. Last night fate decreed that a young man from California would be the winner at an asphalt track in disguise in Minnesota.
Tonight the Outlaws will take on a familiar track. One whose storied history and significance can never be doubted. Tonight in the shadow of the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, the Outlaws will do battle at Knoxville Raceway. Racing is set to begin at 7:30 pm CST. The race can be viewed on Pay Per View at www.dirtvision.com.
Qualifying Results: 1) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 12.507 2) Chad Kemenah 3) Sammy Swindell 4) Daryn Pittman 5) Tim Kaeding 6) Donny Schatz 7) Brad Sweet 8) Cody Darrah 9) Ian Madsen 10) Kerry Madsen 11) Kraig Kinser 12) Craig Dollansky 13) Brooke Tatnell 14) Joey Saldana 15) Danny Lasoski 16) Lucas Wolfe. 17) Steve Kinser 18) Paul McMahan 19) Brian Brown 20) Jason Sides 21) Dustin Selvage 22) David Gravel 23) Wayne Johnson 24) Terry McCarl 25) Mark Dobmeier 26) Jason Johnson 27) Skylar Prochaska 28) Bill Balog 29) Davey Heskin 30) Ryan Wilson 31) Austin Johnson 32) Alan Gilbertson
Travis Whitney and Derrick Lusk were scratched for the night.
First Heat Results: 1) Brooke Tatnell 2) Ian Madsen 3) Tim Kaeding 4) Sam Hafertepe Jr. 5) Steve Kinser 6) Mark Dobmeier 7) Dustin Selvage 8) Davey Heskin
Second Heat Results: 1) Kerry Madsen 2) Joey Saldana 3) Donny Schatz 4) Chad Kemenah 5) Paul McMahan 6) Jason Johnson 7) David Gravel 8) Ryan Wilson
Third Heat Results: 1) Danny Lasoski 2) Brad Sweet 3) Kraig Kinser 4) Sammy Swindell 5) Wayne Johnson 6) Brian Brown 7) Skylar Prochaska 8) Austin Johnson
Fourth Heat Results: 1) Lucas Wolfe 2) Craig Dollansky 3) Cody Darrah 4) Daryn Pittman 5) Terry McCarl 6) Jason Sides 7) Bill Balog 8) Alan Gilbertson
Dash Results: 1) Craig Dollansky 2) Kerry Madsen 3) Ian Madsen 4) Chad Kemenah 5) Sam Hafertepe 6) Brad Sweet 7) Joey Saldana 8) Danny Lasoski. 9) Lucas Wolfe. 10) Brooke Tatnell
Last Chance Showdown Results: 1) Brian Brown. 2) Jason Sides 3) David Gravel 4) Skylar Prochaska 5) Jason Johnson 6) Dustin Selvage 7) Davey Heskin 8) Bill Balog 9) Austin Johnson 10) Alan Gilbertson 11) Mark Dobmeier 12) Ryan Wilson
A Main Results: (34 laps, rain-shortened): 1) Tim Kaeding, 2) Kerry Madsen, 3) Craig Dollansky, 4) Daryn Pittman, 5) Chad Kemenah, 6) Cody Darrah, 7) Donny Schatz, 8) Lucas Wolfe, 9) Brad Sweet, 10) Paul McMahan, 11) Joey Saldana, 12) Jason Sides, 13) Ian Madsen, 14) Sammy Swindell, 15) Kraig Kinser, 16) Terry McCarl, 17) Steve Kinser, 18) Brooke Tatnell, 19) Skylar Prochaska, 20) David Gravel, 21) Sam Hafertepe, 22) Danny Lasoski, 23) Brian Brown, 24) Wayne Johnson
Hard Charger of the Race: Tim Kaeding 13th – 1st.