Fun at The Knoxville Nationals


(Photo by Jim Hammack)

I have returned from six days of hard charging, dirt slinging, alcohol burning, sprint car racing!  For anyone who has been to the Knoxville Nationals, you can fully understand my feelings after returning!  Not only did I get to watch five days of the Knoxville Nationals (normally four days but we had a partial rain out), but I also went to Oskaloosa Tuesday evening for the 410 Wingless sprint car races.  What a great night of wingless sprint car races we witnessed!  That track is really conducive that style of racing.  You know what I am talking about, don’t you?  That’s the kinda of racing where they toss it into the turn, what I call backing it in and standing on the GAS!!!  COOL STUFF!

This was my sixth time to make the Knoxville Nationals.  For a sprint car race fan, these four nights at Knoxville are undoubtedly the absolute best sprint car races in the USA!  From the sprint car drivers and teams point of view, this is the single biggest payday in the entire year!  The winner of the Saturday night A Main won, are you ready—– a cool $150,000.00!!!!!!!!!  I don’t car how you cut it, that is a nice chunk of change to cart back home with the race car and the hauler!

The Knoxville weather was the typical summertime mid-western, humid, sticky, hot atmosphere.  On the first night of the Nat’ls, just as the cars to start their hot laps at 7:15 pm in preparation for the evenings racing, the heavens opened up and really poured!  The program of racing finally got started at 12:15am and ended at 3:00am!  That turned out to be a long night at the race track, but if you are a REDNECK at heart ( AND I WAS WORKING ON MY REDNECK!) it wasn’t bad!!!  After all, it was my first dose of dirt for this racing season!

The Knoxville race normally attracts “the best of the best” sprint car drivers and their teams.  It is the premiere sprint car race of the summer. Cars from all four corners of the USA, as well as some from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand participate in this event.  It is truly an international event for sprint cars!  The event is run as a four day event and drivers gather points each night.  Saturday’s event is a series of races culminating in the huge A Main event payday.

This year I think that the Sprint Car world witnessed a changing of the Guard.  Steve Kinser has long been “The King” of the Sprint Car world.  However, Donny Schotz claimed his 4th Knoxville Nationals in a row Sunday night!  Schotz has been a dominating force in that series now for the last four years.  Last year that domination just got a whole lot stronger!  In 2008 Tony Stewart bought Schotz’s race team and brought it  into his racing empire.  Now more than ever, Donny Schotz has been showing the rest of the boys the “fast way around the dirt”!

Once again I was very fortunate to have a brother and sister-in-law (Jim and Edie) bring their motorhome to Knoxville, and invite me to join them for the week. They made it possible for me to hit  Knoxville and enjoy two things that are an integral part of my life, family and good, good racing!!


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