By Stacy Ervin
Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, won an epic 50th Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at the Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday, August 14. The win was worth $150,000 and was the first time a brand-new winner was crowned since 2006.
This year’s championship main was historic because it was the first time in history that 50 laps were run and the race included an all-inclusive pit stop. Nationals championships in previous years had been 30 laps until 2009 when the race was 40 laps and included a stop for fuel only. This race was the longest in the history of this race track.
It was likely to be remembered as one of the most dramatic races in this track’s history too. Shaffer started seventh on the grid and was relatively quiet through much of the race.
Outside front-row starter Sammy Swindell grabbed the early lead from polesitter Brian Brown on the first lap. Brown stayed with the 1983 Nationals champion though and the pair nearly came together as they crossed the line at lap three.
Joey Saldana’s machine went up in a puff of smoke at lap seven. The lead pair was just about to come to traffic when the yellow flag came out a lap later as Saldana was limping to the pits.
On the restart, fourth starter and four-time defending champion Donny Schatz grabbed second from Brown and immediately tried to pull a slide job on Swindell. Skip Jackson became the next to fall from the main event as he pulled in at this time.
Swindell came back to traffic at lap 14 and used it to his advantage as much as possible. By the 20th lap, 12-time Nationals champion Steve Kinser had come from fifth starting spot to third. Just before the halfway point, Schatz tried to make a move for the lead but Swindell cut him off as they rocketed to the line.
The much-anticipated competition yellow came at the halfway point and allowed the drivers five minutes to change anything they wanted on their cars. It was at this time that Schatz noted he was ready to get back to lapped traffic to work on Swindell.
When the race went back to green, Swindell continued to lead. Kinser slowed dramatically on the 31st lap and pulled in the pits with a puff of smoke, giving Brown back the third spot.
The leaders came back to traffic at lap 33 and Schatz tried a slide job in turn four coming to the 35th lap, but jumped the cushion and lost momentum. Lynton Jeffrey pulled into the pits at lap 37. Dale Blaney pulled into the pits at lap 41.
At lap 43, Shaffer got by Brown for third spot and those two waged a torrid battle until Brown’s right-rear tire blew and the yellow flag came out at lap 44.
Schatz shocked Swindell on the restart with a big slide job in turn three to take the lead on lap 45 and the pair raced side by side all the way around, with Swindell in the lead the next time. Schatz tried a slide job again in turn four and jumped the cushion.
With only three laps remaining, it looked like Swindell might end a 27-year Nationals drought. But his left-rear tire blew in turn four and he flipped over backwards to bring out a red flag.
That gave Schatz the lead for the 48th lap but his machine began to smoke and sputter. Shaffer used a slide job, took the lead on the white-flag lap and sped away to the checkered flags.
Schatz was able to keep his car going to finish second right ahead of a surging Shane Stewart in third. Craig Dollansky was the hard charger of the race, coming from the final transfer spot of the B-Main, 24th to fourth.
The 22-lap B-Main was won by Stevie Smith of New Oxford, Pennsylvania. Smith, who finished third in the 2009 Knoxville Nationals championship, started outside the front row. The original start of this race was called back by flagman Doug Clark when Tyler Walker jumped from the back. As the yellow was being called, Walker bicycled over the cushion in turn one and hit the wall. After that, Smith led the distance in the race that went green to checkered and set a new track record for 22 laps. Paul McMahan, Josh Schneiderman and Craig Dollansky took the other transfer spots to the night’s A-Main.
The 15-lap C-Main was won by outside front-row starter and four-time Knoxville Nationals champion Danny Lasoski of Dover, Missouri. The first red flag of the night came at the start of this race when Brooke Tatnell flipped in the first corner. After that, the race went green to checkered with Lasoski leading the distance. There was a torrid battle for the final transfer spot at the end of this race as the leaders came to traffic. Tyler Walker had run second most of the race when Scott Winters pulled up in traffic and took the spot on the 12th lap. Traffic held up Winters on the last lap, however, and Walker took the spot back by a very small margin at the checkered flag.
The 12-lap D-Main was won by outside front-row starter Jonathan Cornell of Sedalia, Missouri. He followed polesitter Trevor Green as the Aussie led the first seven laps of a race that went green to checkered. When Green came to traffic at lap eight, Cornell made the pass in the first turn and led the rest of the way. Green finished in the second and final transfer spot.
The 10-lap E-Main was won by Greg Nikitenko of Minot, North Dakota. He started on the pole and led the distance in a race that went green to checkered. Philip Mock made a last corner pass of his father, Kim, to take the second and final transfer spot.
The award for Best Dressed Crew went to Jason Meyers’ team. Second place was Jason Johnson’s crew and third place was Daryn Pittman’s crew.
David Gravel was named Rookie of the Nationals. Sammy Swindell won the Jesse Hockett Mr. Sprint Car title for amassing enough points through all the nights of racing in the past two weeks.
KNOXVILLE RACEWAY, Knoxville, IA
August 14, 2010
E Feature, 10 laps, 2:40.3: 1. Greg Nikitenko, Minot ND; 2. Phillip Mock, Pleasant Prairie WI; 3. Kim Mock, Kenosha WI; 4. Kaley Gharst, Decatur IL; 5. Domain Ramsay, Newtown, VIC, Aust. ; 6. Colin Entwisle, Baypark, NZ ; 7. Chris Shirek, Thompson ND; 8. Ty Bartz, Sheboygan Falls WI; 9. Bruce White, Merrylands West, NSW, Aust. ; 10. Kevin Ingle, Huron SD; 11. Ron Krysl, Atkinson NE; 12. Jordan Goldesberry, Springfield IL;
D Feature, 12 laps,3:17.9: 1. Jonathan Cornell, Sedalia MO; 2. Trevor Green, Two Wells, SA, Aust. ; 3. Fred Rahmer, Salfordville PA; 4. Mitchell Dumesny, Nelson, NSW, Aust. ; 5. Clint Garner, Sioux Falls SD; 6. Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale TX; 7. Mike Moore, Des Moines IA; 8. Toni Lutar, White Rock, BC, Can. ; 9. Justin Henderson, Sioux Falls SD; 10. Ben Gregg, Glendale AZ; 11. Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge OH; 12. Mark Shirshekan, Farmington MO; 13. Bill Rose, Plainfield IN; 14. Jim Moughan Jr., Springfield IL; 15. Paul Jeffrey, Kellyville, NSW, Aust. ; 16. Austen Wheatley, Lake Stevens WA; 17. Matt Wasmund, Jackson MN; 18. Greg Nikitenko, Minot ND; 19. Todd King, Sheboygan Falls WI; 20. Phillip Mock, Pleasant Prairie WI; 21. Robby Wolfgang, (R) Sioux Falls SD; 22. Dustin Morgan, Tulsa OK;
C Feature, 15 laps, 4:05.9: 1. Danny Lasoski, Dover MO; 2. Tyler Walker, Los Angeles CA; 3. Scott Winters, Butterfield MN; 4. Tim Kaeding, San Jose CA; 5. Bronson Maeschen, Pleasantville IA; 6. Jonathan Allard, Chico CA; 7. Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg PA; 8. Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque NM; 9. Jason Meyers, Clovis CA; 10. Don Droud Jr., Lincoln NE; 11. Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks ND; 12. Seth Brahmer, Wisner NE; 13. Lee Sowell, Nesbit MS; 14. Zach Zimmerly, Ridgefield WA; 15. Kraig Kinser, Bloomington IN; 16. Jonathan Cornell, Sedalia MO; 17. Tony Bruce Jr., Liberal KS; 18. Trevor Green, Two Wells, SA, Aust. ; 19. Rager Phillips, Pleasantville IA; 20. Max Dumesny, Nelson, NSW, Aust. ; 21. Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. ; 22. Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. ;
B Feature, 22 laps, 6:09.9 New Track Record: 1. Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow OK; 2. Paul McMahan, Nashville TN; 3. Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington IA; 4. Craig Dollansky, Elk River MN; 5. Jac Haudenschild, Wooster OH; 6. Brad Sweet, Grass Valley CA; 7. Austin McCarl, Altoona IA; 8. Ian Madsen, (R) St. Marys, NSW, Aust. ; 9. Chad Meyer, Sioux Falls SD; 10. Cale Conley, Vienna WV; 11. David Gravel, Waterford CT; 12. Lance Dewease, Fayetteville PA; 13. Danny Lasoski, Dover MO; 14. Ricky Logan, Little Rock AR; 15. Dean Jacobs, Wooster OH; 16. Ed Lynch Jr., Apollo PA; 17. Keith Bloom Jr., Anderson CA; 18. Mike Reinke, Howards Grove WI; 19. Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro IN; 20. Dave Blaney, High Point NC; 21. Gary Wright, Hooks TX; 22. Tyler Walker, Los Angeles CA;
A Feature, 50 laps, No Time: 1. Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa PA; 2. Donny Schatz, Fargo ND; 3. Shane Stewart, Bixby OK; 4. Craig Dollansky, Elk River MN; 5. Kerry Madsen, Sydney, NSW, Aust. ; 6. Greg Hodnett, Thomasville PA; 7. Paul McMahan, Nashville TN; 8. Davey Heskin, St. Michael MN; 9. Jason Johnson, Eunice LA; 10. Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow OK; 11. Daryn Pittman, Owasso OK; 12. Jason Sides, Bartlett TN; 13. Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington IA; 14. Brian Brown, Grain Valley MO; 15. Chad Kemenah, Findlay OH; 16. Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls SD; 17. Brandon Wimmer, Fairmount IN; 18. Erin Crocker, Wilbraham MA; 19. Sammy Swindell, Germantown TN; 20. Dale Blaney, Fowler OH; 21. Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City IA; 22. Steve Kinser, Bloomington IN; 23. Skip Jackson, Sydney, NSW, Aust. ; 24. Joey Saldana, Brownsburg IN. Lap Leaders: Swindell 1-44; Schatz 45; Swindell 46-47; Schatz 48; Shaffer 49-50