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
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.
...Everyone is laying out their Knoxville
picks. Here's ours. HammerDownUSA.com 8/08/00
A-main guys: (24)