Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things I learned the 50th Knoxville Nationals

Last night was the 50th running of the Knoxville Nationals.  A crowd of over 23,000 watched the 50 lap feature.  I spent most of the day volunteering at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (one of my favorite places).  Here is what I learned while in Knoxville all day.

1.  Aussies love sprint car racing.  Each year, more and more Aussies show up at Knoxville.  One man I spoke with last night estimated that a couple thousand Aussies were at the Nationals.  Amazingly, the local and national media haven't picked up on this story - that Aussies come to America to visit IOWA to watch racing.

2.  Race Fans Can't Recognize Drivers.  Fans wearing Tony Stewart gear won't recognize Smoke, even if he holds the door for them and waits with them for an elevator.  Fans are no better at seeing Kasey Kahne when he is walking around either.  Apparently, remove the firesuit, become invisible.

3.  Aussies are flirts.  Do I really need to explain this?

4.  It ain't over until it's over.  With 5 to go, it appeared that the race would either go to Donny Schatz or Sammy Swindell.  The pair started swapping the lead each turn until with 3 to go, Swindell's left rear tire blew.  Then everyone presumed Schatz would win (some fans left the stands at this point).  Then on the restart, Schatz's engine started to go and Tim Shaffer motored to the win.

5.  Good guys can finish first. I met Tim several years ago when he made a special trip into the museum to sign some items for a benefit. This was despite the fact he was unable to race at the time because of an injury.  But he still made the trip and followed through with the things he had committed to do.  That speaks volumes for his character.


jon_464 said...

Annette, good insights on the Knoxville Nationals, and glad you had a great time! I learned something new--from the sound of it, Aussies love sprint car racing as much, if not more than, Americans.

klvalus said...

Its your fav time of year eh Iowa! =)

Even better when its invaded by Aussies! Did you do Tez's chant?

I crack up all the time in the garages when drivers walk right by fans wearing their gear - seems to happen more with guys than women who clearly have been starring at their Teen Beat Mag-like posters of their dream men long enough to recognize them in person! LOL

I'll have to see if I can tape the race...sounds like a great ending!

Annette said...


Aussies love sprint cars! There were 13 Aussies racing in the race. Knoxville likes Aussies, and there are several that live locally and race all season (and marry local girls too).


It is my fav! I didn't do Tez's chant, but I met a Western Australia track promoter I need to ask him about.

Maybe you should try to get your Smoke interview at Knoxville. He was smiling and fairly relaxed even when people asked him for photos!

klvalus said...

LOL! Had to be a body double - I heard Smoke is spending all his spare time working at Burger King for sponsorship money...


YOU couldda asked him about double tonguing!