Schatz Wins 9th Knoxville Nationals

If anyone had any doubts as to whether or not Donny Schatz was going to earn his ninth Knoxville Nationals title, the North Dakota native made a statement by leading 50 laps flag-to-flag to win the 55th running of the FVP Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store.

Making wholesale moves through traffic in the closing laps, Donny was asked about the very close passes, “It’s not the traffic that was bothering me. It was the restarts. It’s my job to get through traffic. If I can’t then I’m probably going to lose my job. The past couple weeks, seem like people get a run on you and can slide you, so you just had to do something different. One time I’d go to the bottom, one time I’d go to the top and keep mixing it up, but it’s hard to do that without mixing yourself up.”

“The boss was here tonight. Can’t thank him [Tony Stewart] enough for all the support to allow us to be with Bad Boy Buggies, Chevrolet Performance, and all our marketing partners to do what we love to do.”

Taking off from the pole, Donny Schatz jumped to the lead with Kerry Madsen in tow. Working low on the Knoxville Raceway, the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 was joined by the No. 29 of Kerry Madsen who railed the cushion.

Closing on the lead on the third rotation, Madsen continued to build momentum, pulling to the back bumper Schatz off the fourth turn as the No. 15 swapped lines to the high side down the front stretch to block the run of the American Racing Custom Wheels No. 29.

Keeping Donny within sight as the leaders hit traffic on Lap 10, the Bad Boy Buggies No. 15 found roads blocked, allowing Madsen to close in once again. With a full head of steam on Lap 12, Donny put a pair of slower cars between him and Madsen; leaving the Aussie to contend with Danny Lasoski.

Coming from sixth, the No. 2 worked cushion to hub on the Knoxville Raceway, trading second with Madsen as the caution flew on Lap 16 for the No. 41 of Jason Johnson who shredded the left rear tire.

Underway, Madsen kept pace into the first two turns with Lasoski in line. Unable to do anything with the No. 15, the race for second saw Lasoski taking the spot on Lap 25, just as the field came to the mid-point break.

Changing gears on the No. 15 during the five minute break, Schatz took the high line with Danny charging low. Unable to advance to the lead, Donny began pulling away as Danny worked to hold his second position, but would slip to fourth on Lap 32 as Kerry Madsen flew by on the cushion with Brad Sweet taking the low line.

Watching as the No. 15 pulled away with a 2.104 second advantage, the red flag flew on Lap 35 for the No. 51 of Paul McMahan who tripped the cushion in turn four battling for eighth with Bryan Clauson. Quick work by the Pit Crew put the CJB Motorsports No. 51 back on track for the restart.

Splitting lines on the restart, Madsen again could not make work of the No. 15, but again had to contend with Brad Sweet. Working low on Lap 37, Brad Sweet all but had Madsen cleared, only to see the No. 29 squeeze between his Right Rear Tire and the wall.

Going back and forth for the runner-up spot, the pair kept Schatz within seven tenths of a second as the caution waved again on Lap 40.

Again keeping Schatz to under a second advantage, the pair worked to traffic on Lap 48 with Schatz boxed in by back markers. With the center line barely open, Donny threaded the needle, putting the finishing touches on his ninth FVP Knoxville Nationals victory; crossing 1.363 seconds ahead of Kerry Madsen.

“I tried as hard as possible to get it done. I got behind him in dirty air and was just was jumping around on the cushion like an idiot, but I wasn’t going to leave anything on the table,” said Madsen. “I thought it was on there. I thought I had a quicker car and I just apologize for not getting the job done but he didn’t make a mistake the last 15 laps. I was ready to pounce, but it didn’t happen.”

Holding on for third was Brad Sweet after a hard battle with the No. 29.

“I tell you what this is a huge step in the right direction for Kasey Kahne Racing and the Ollie’s Bargain Barn Outlet. The car was really good. We hit on some stuff at the Front Row Challenge and we carried some momentum into here and when the time to hit it right in the A-Main was right, we hit it. I really didn’t want to see those yellows because I really felt like we were more maneuverable than the guys in front of us, but hats off to Donny. He makes it really hard to win this race.”

Coming on strong in the second half of the feature event, Shane Stewart came from 12th to fourth with Joey Saldana completing the top-five. From 14th, Brian Brown crossed sixth with Daryn Pittman going from 15th to seventh. Having battled up front for so many laps, Danny Lasoski slipped to finish eighth with Lucas Wolfe ninth and Greg Hodnett earning hard-charger honros in tenth from the 23rd starting spot.

Completed     A main         50 Laps     Completed
Pos.     Car     Name, Hometown     Time     Points
1.     15     Donny Schatz Fargo, ND
2.     29     Kerry Madsen St. Marys, NSW, Aust
3.     49     Brad Sweet Grass Valley, CA
4.     16     Shane Stewart Bixby, OK
5.     71M     Joey Saldana Brownsburg, IN
6.     21     Brian Brown Grain Valley, MO
7.     9     Daryn Pittman Owasso, OK
8.     2     Danny Lasoski Dover, MO
9.     1Z     Lucas Wolfe Mechanicsburg, PA
10.     27     Greg Hodnett Spring Grove, PA
11.     24     Terry McCarl Altoona, IA
12.     17W     Bryan Clauson Noblesville, IN
13.     7     David Gravel Watertown, CT
14.     93H     Sheldon Haudenschild Wooster, OH
15.     29W     Danny Dietrich Gettysburg, PA
16.     89     Cody Darrah Red Lion, PA
17.     19M     Brent Marks Myerstown, PA
18.     1B     Dale Blaney Hartford, OH
19.     1     Sammy Swindell Germantown, TN
20.     3A     Billy Alley Bennet, NE
21.     51     Paul McMahan Nashville, TN
22.     41     Jason Johnson Eunice, LA
23.     12     Lynton Jeffrey Sydney, NSW, Aust
24.     12X     Wayne Johnson Knoxville, IA
25.     24R     Trevor Canales Roseville, CA

Starting Order: 15, 29, 7, 71M, 49, 2, 51, 24, 41, 93H, 1B, 16, 1Z, 21, 9, 17W, 29W, 19M, 3A, 12X, 1, 89, 27, 12, 24R

B Main Results

Completed     B main         22 Laps     Completed
Pos.     Car     Name, Hometown     Time     Points
1.     12X     Wayne Johnson Knoxville, IA
2.     1     Sammy Swindell Germantown, TN
3.     89     Cody Darrah Red Lion, PA
4.     27     Greg Hodnett Spring Grove, PA
5.     45     Tim Shaffer Aliquippa, PA
6.     7TAZ     Tasker Phillips Pleasantville, IA
7.     1D     Justin Henderson Sioux Falls, SD
8.     W20     Greg Wilson Benton Ridge, OH
9.     13     Mark Dobmeier Grand Forks, ND
10.     19S     Stevie Smith Broken Arrow, OK
11.     2KS     Craig Dollansky Elk River, MN
12.     35AU     Jamie Veal Warrnambool, VIC, Au
13.     7D     Dustin Selvage Indianola, IA
14.     10H     Chad Kemenah Alvada, OH
15.     11K     Kraig Kinser Bloomington, IN
16.     O1     Christopher Bell Norman, OK
17.     83     Aaron Reutzel Clute, TX
18.     55W     Logan Wagner Harrisonville, PA
19.     18     Ian Madsen St. Marys, NSW, Aust
20.     3G     James McFadden Ormeau, QLD, Aust
21.     40     Clint Garner Sioux Falls, SD
22.     67H     Sam Hafertepe Jr. Sunnyvale, TX
23.     17B     Bill Balog Brookfield, WI
24.     82     Dusty Zomer Sioux Falls, SD

22 laps is the distance, top 4 to the A....False start....Dusty Zomer caught the cushion in turn one, sending the No. 82 into the wall....Sam Hafertepe, Jr. into the work area under caution with no brakes, he will restart....Wayne Johnson takes off into the lead....

Logan Wagner deep in the field nearly tagged the wall, thankfully able to continue....Working Lap 2, Clint Garner with contact from James McFadden cuts the Left Rear down on the No. 40 while running fifth....One lap complete....Race for fourth, James McFadden to the inside of Sammy Swindell, but the engine let go on the No. 3g....Swindell to second on Lap 4....Pass for fourth on Lap 5, Greg Hodnett takes in from Justin Henderson....

Bottom is the preferred line as Johnson finds the back of the field on Lap 10....A few drivers starting to head back to the cushion, Swindell is one of them trying to run down Wayne Johnson....Lap 18, Johnson held up by Reutzel trying to put him a lap down, that allows Swindell to close the gap....Cody Darrah trying for the runner up spot in the closing laps....

Wayne Johnson makes the A-Feature for the seventh time with his B-Feature win. Sammy Swindell, Cody Darrah, and Greg Hodnett move on.

C Main Results

Completed     C main         15 Laps     Completed
Pos.     Car     Name, Hometown     Time     Points
1.     17B     Bill Balog Brookfield, WI
2.     11K     Kraig Kinser Bloomington, IN
3.     83     Aaron Reutzel Clute, TX
4.     67H     Sam Hafertepe Jr. Sunnyvale, TX
5.     11     Steve Kinser Bloomington, IN
6.     13X     Jac Haudenschild Wooster, OH
7.     7S     Jason Sides Bartlett, TN
8.     17A     Austin McCarl Altoona, IA
9.     3     Tim Kaeding San Jose, CA
10.     1A     Jacob Allen Hanover, PA
11.     44W     Austen Wheatley Lake Stevens, WA
12.     55     Brooke Tatnell Sans Souci, NSW, Aust
13.     99     Brady Bacon Broken Arrow
14.     88N     DJ Netto Hanford, CA
15.     95     Matt Covington Glenpool, OK
16.     17     Josh Baughman Odessa, TX
17.     9P     Parker Price-Miller Kokomo, IN
18.     4R     Jon Agan Knoxville, IA
19.     1X     Don Droud Jr. Lincoln, NE
20.     56     Davey Heskin St. Michael, MN
21.     1S     Logan Schuchart Hanover, PA
22.     70     Dean Jacobs Wooster, OH
23.     22     Tony Shilling Knoxville, IA
24.     96     Bronson Maeschen Pleasantville, IA

15 laps is the distance, top four to the B....Kraig Kinser to the lead with Steve Kinser, from sixth, moving to second, but the caution is out for Matt Covington before the field could complete the lap....

This time, it's Davey Heskin with the lead on the start....Caution working Lap 3 for Bronson Maeschen who went into the wall in turn one....On the restart, Bill Balog just rolled low to take second after restarting fourth....Lap 3 Kinser coming back after the runner-up spot....Lap 4, side-by-side with no luck as Balog starts to pull away....

Working Lap 6, race for third between K. Kinser and Aaron Reutzel....Safety Caution while working Lap 7, back to Lap 6 for the restart....Steve Kinser going after the transfer spot on the restart, goes side by side on Lap 8, gets the door slammed in his face by Aaron Reutzel....Lap 10, Kinser makes the pass for fourth in turn one....Race for fifth between Reutzel and Hafertepe with both going after Steve Kinser....Lap 13, Reutzel with a very close pass on the high side exiting turn four....Lap 14, Aaron and Sam going after it for fourth....

Final lap, Davey Heskin out of fuel while leading, that gives the win to Bill Balog. Kraig Kinser, Aaron Reutzel and Sam Hafertepe, Jr. will move on.

D Main Results

Completed     D main         12 Laps     Completed
Pos.     Car     Name, Hometown     Time     Points
1.     17     Josh Baughman Odessa, TX
2.     99     Brady Bacon Broken Arrow, OK
3.     4R     Jon Agan Knoxville, IA
4.     22     Tony Shilling Knoxville, IA
5.     47     Jeff Swindell Bartlett, TN
6.     O     Bud Kaeding Campbell, CA
7.     44     Chris Martin Ankeny, IA
8.     11N     Randy Hannagan Pittsboro, IN
9.     81X     Lee Jacobs Dalton, OH
10.     31B     Shane Golobic Fremont, CA
11.     25     Dylan Peterson Hartford, SD
12.     2LX     Ed Lynch Jr. Apollo, PA
13.     7X     Kaley Gharst Decatur, IL
14.     28     Jonathan Cornell Sedalia, MO
15.     49J     Josh Schneiderman West Burlington, IA
16.     21AU     Jordyn Brazier Sydney, NSW, Aust
17.     71A     RJ Johnson Tampa, FL
18.     4     Dakota Hendrickson Omaha, NE
19.     23     Jimmy Light West Springfield, PA
20.     19     Bob Weuve Newton, IA
21.     71X     Tyler Courtney Indianapolis, IN
22.     20N     Hunter Schuerenberg Sikeston, MO
23.     2L     Logan Forler Boise, ID
24.     5V     Colby Copeland Roseville, CA

12 laps is the distance, top four to the C....Bacon and Baughman drag race for the lead with Baughman taking it....Race for the transfer spot on Lap 2, Tony Shilling has it for the time being....Caution working Lap 3 for Hunter Schuerenberg who stopped on the back straightaway....Bacon back after the lead on the restart, working low but can't get the pass on Lap 3....

Lap 4, the pair are still wheel-to-wheel with Baughman finally taking the line entering the first turn while working Lap 5....Lap 7, Tyler Courtney slowed suddenly, stacking up a few cars, but was able to get to Pits....Lap 11, Baughman nearly into a slower car, Bacon is right there, but will be denied.

Josh Baughman wins, Bacon, Agan, and Shilling will move on.

E Main Results

Completed     E main         10 Laps     Completed
Pos.     Car     Name, Hometown     Time     Points
1.     23     Jimmy Light West Springfield, PA
2.     20N     Hunter Schuerenberg Sikeston
3.     19     Bob Weuve Newton, IA
4.     49J     Josh Schneiderman West Burlington, IA
5.     25     Dylan Peterson Hartford, SD
6.     15M     Bobby Mincer Burlington, IA
7.     4S     Danny Smith Chillicothe, OH
8.     35     Skylar Prochaska Lakefield, MN
9.     69     Mike Moore Des Moines, IA
10.     81     Austin Johnson Pleasant Hill, IA
11.     93     Glenndon Forsythe York, PA
12.     23M     Lance Moss Cherryville, NC
13.     17M     Todd Mickelson Minot, ND
14.     29C     Willie Croft Roseville, CA
15.     2K     Kevin Ingle Huron, SD
16.     1P     Curtis Evans Norborne, MO
17.     75     Glen Saville Razorback, NSW, Aust
18.     19P     Paige Polyak Tiffin, OH

10 laps is the distance, top five to the D....Jimmy Light will take the early lead....Working Lap 2, Paige Polyak with a soft roll exiting turn two.....Field is starting to stretch out with Light leading....

Hunter Schuerenberg closed the gap in traffic on Light to battle for the lead on Lap 6 as the caution waved for Kevin Ingle who rolled to a stop just inside the back stretch....

Willie Croft, who was running third, pulled in as the caution lights turned off....Josh Schneiderman with a good run on the restart, goes from seventh to fourth through turns one and two....Jimmy Light wins.

Hunter Schuerenberg, Bob Weuve, Josh Schneiderman, and Dylan Peterson are the drivers moving on to the D-Feature.