Editor’s Note: National Speed Sport News is going back in time and revisiting some of the past Knoxville Nationals races ehead of the 53rd annual FVP Knoxville Nationals. This is the seventh installment in the seven day series.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — The changing of guard may officially be complete in the sprint car racing world.
On a night when Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell failed to qualify for the A main, Donny Schatz won his sixth Knoxville Nationals title in the last seven years.
Schatz dominated the 52nd annual event at the historic Knoxville Raceway to win sprint car racing’s most prestigious race and its $150,000 first prize for the second straight season.
But Schatz’s victory, while not popular, filled the home track fans as two-time Knoxville track champion Brian Brown came up mere feet short in a last lap charge that brought him alongside Schatz’s Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 as the pair raced under Doug Clark’s checkered flag while the crowd roared its approval.
“I knew somebody was going to be coming,” Schatz said. “I had to change my line there because it was getting tricky and I was losing ground. I was moving around a lot and you have to be careful when you are leading the race and you get to moving around. You have everything to lose.”
And Brown had everything to gain.
“I am the happiest guy at Knoxville Raceway tonight,” said Brown. “Donny Schatz is a great champion. He is the smartest guy out here. I was catching him but I didn’t know what I was going to do with him once I caught him.”
Schatz started fifth and took the lead from polesitter Stevie Smith on lap 14. He led the rest of the way despite the fuel stop on lap 26 of the 50-lap race.