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Knoxville Nationals preview... 08/09/2000 by HD Staff (BG)

Understand this… To win the Amoco Knoxville Nationals you have to be exceptional. ...World class actually. We are talking about winning the Nationals. ... Not just contending, but actually driving your ride to the Knoxville podium. This isn't an easy accomplishment. Consider...

Twenty years. Seven winners.

By comparison, exactly seven NBA franchises have won NBA World Championships in those same twenty years. However, in the NBA there are 29 teams, at the Knoxville Nationals there will be well over 150. Michael Jordan, as great as he was, led the Chicago Bulls to six titles between 1980 and 1999. Steve Kinser won all eleven of his Nationals in the same period.

Why is it so hard to actually win the Nationals?

Knoxville is a hard track to drive, it takes a harmony of finesse, and what the kids call "sack". Time and again, Knoxville rookies claim that holding your right foot to the floor and maintaining a "straight" entry into turn one at Knoxville is a concept in total opposition with what your mind is telling you. Your mind is telling you, "Um, dude, if you don't turn the wheel, you are wall bound." So first, a driver must overcome any "uncomfortable" feelings in the chair. Fears tend to dissipate with laps driven at the "Sprint Car Capitol of the World".

The car has to be close to perfect as well. Your motor has to hit, and hit! Teams save their best engines for Knoxville - knowing that sometimes they are wound so tight, that the probability of blowing an engine is about the same as picking the right side on a coin flip. The chassis has to deal with all sorts of problem areas on the track. Just as it is important to drive straight on entry to the wide Knoxville turns, the exit may be even more crucial. The fast guys will rocket off of two and down the backchute - while the tailenders will be fishtailing in the black, slick. The tricky, many times slippery exit in turn two has cost many drivers many positions when the chassis isn't right.

Heat races are totally inverted and the point structure is such that sandbagging is totally out of the question. Qualifying has the same weight as a preliminary feature win. The heats weigh less but you have to finish in the top four to transfer to that prelim. ...So, the first lap of the heat races are the most pivotal "big sack" moments of the entire weekend. ...Count on it… someone will "sack up" and hit the cushion just right and sail around five or six guys in turn one on lap one. Also, count on someone "sacking up" on lap one turn one and ending up in the fence hard.

It happens.

...Everyone is laying out their Knoxville picks. Here's ours. HammerDownUSA.com 8/08/00

A-main guys: (24)

Here are some ACTUAL FACTUALS to chew on (in case you were thinking of picking someone other than Steve, Mark, the Dude or Sammy to win).

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