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WoO: Schatz Denies Brown Yet Again At The Nationals

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KNOXVILLE, Iowa — It was expected to be a duel between Donny Schatz and Brian Brown for the 2014 FVP Knoxville Nationals championship, months before the race was even held. And why not? The two gladiators had finished first and second in each of the last two years and had pushed each other hard to the finish, yet the Tony Stewart Racing driver from North Dakota had persevered both times and taken the win. Fast forward to late Saturday night, August 9, 2014. A similar story would once again play out.

Schatz, starting from the pole in the A-Main would quickly break free from outside pole sitter Shane Stewart and set a blistering pace over the first half of the 50 lap main event. However, Brian Brown started to get involved taking second from Stewart on lap 15 and thus the long anticipated duel began. Early on it looked like Brown had no answer for Schatz as the field reached the mandatory halftime break at lap 25. Following a five minute intermission where all teams went for two fresh rear tires nearly across the board, Schatz would again pull the field from the front with just one brief challenge from Brown on lap 27 that went for naught.

Then a break, as a fading Stewart broke down on lap 40 bringing out a final caution, to set up a 10 lap sprint to the finish. One last chance for Brown to once and for all shed the perennial bridesmaid tag from his resume at the Knoxville Raceway. As Doug Clark waved the green flag on the field, the two warriors lay out their battle plans, Schatz took to the bottom and Brown took to the top. Brown got alongside Schatz with eight laps to go and seven laps to go, but could not clear Schatz. Then with six laps to go, Schatz slipped off of turn two and Brown with momentum built on the outside squeezed past the defending champion to claim the lead with six laps to go to the roar of a sellout crowd at Knoxville Raceway. To many in the stands, the popular Brown was on the verge of immortality, but they had not figured that Schatz would have an answer. On the very next lap, Schatz immediately reversed the order and with five to go began to stretch his lead on Brian Brown yet again. The Knoxville Raceway regular tried everything to mount another attack, but simply ran out of time.

As Doug Clark waved the checkered flag the result once again remained unchanged for a third straight year, Schatz first… Brown second. Behind them, almost in their own race Kerry Madsen would finish third, while Craig Dollansky and Justin Henderson rounded out the top five.

While the power of Schatz has to be respected, the frenzied nature of the championship atmosphere caught out certain drivers earlier in the evening. An eight car pileup marred the initial start of the C-Feature, a pileup that included 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion Steve Kinser whose perhaps final competitive Knoxville Nationals came to a disappointing conclusion. Later in the B-Feature, Sheldon Haudenschild suffered a horrifying crash after touching wheels with Brad Sweet. Haudenschild’s car proceeded to flip and roll seven to eight times before coming to a rest. No drivers suffered injuries in either accident, but the latter crash saw debris fly into the grandstand, possibly injuring multiple spectators. (At the time of press, no further updates were available on any possible injuries suffered by the fans affected by the flying debris.)

Stay tuned to Rubbings Racing for future reports from the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars.

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About Matt Embury

Matt Embury is the Senior SportsCar Writer at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@MattEmbury) for the latest sports car news and opinions. A native of Mishawaka, Indiana, he has been following sports car racing for nearly 20 years.

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