KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Shane Clanton came from seventh starting spot to win Thursday night’s preliminary event during the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.
For the 44-year-old Georgia native, it was his first victory at the historic half-mile venue. He also became the 16th different winner this season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour.
Clanton was the fourth different leader during the 25-lap race. The A-Main was slowed by only one caution flag for Jonathan Davenport on lap four. Ricky Thornton Jr. led the first lap in the Chad Stapleton-owned Club 29 Race Car. His place atop the leaderboard was short-lived as outside front-row starter Devin Moran took the lead on lap two.
Moran led until Tyler Erb took the lead away from him on lap five. Clanton charged from the inside of row number four and grabbed the lead away from Erb on lap 14.
Clanton pulled away from Erb and went on to pick up the preliminary night victory. Erb crossed the finish line in second, followed by Darrell Lanigan, Ricky Weiss and Thornton.
“Our car has been good all night long,” Clanton said. “We just made the right adjustments. I was biding my time behind Terbo [Erb], and it looked like he was hurting his tires. I went to the middle and the car stuck, and we went by him, then that was all she wrote.
“To win here at Knoxville is a dream come true,” Clanton added. “I have seen Donny Schatz win here so many times and I would like to start my own legacy here.”
Erb led nine laps but came home in the runner-up spot.
“There wasn’t a whole lot I could do in the last 10 or 15 laps, he [Clanton] had a better car,” he said. “He could maneuver through a lot better than I could. My car felt really good. It’s the same kind of issue we have been having. The longer we go, the tires just get hot. We are going to work on it. It was a good run. This is my favorite race track that we come to.”
Lanigan edged out Weiss at the finish line to round out the podium.
“The car got really good through the middle and the bottom,” Lanigan said. “I would have liked to have seen a caution to see if we could have made a late-race charge. It’s just awesome to come out here and run well.”
Feature (25 laps): 1. Shane Clanton (7); 2. Tyler Erb (4); 3. Darrell Lanigan (5); 4. Ricky Weiss (6); 5. Ricky Thornton Jr. (1); 6. Tyler Bruening (10); 7. Brandon Sheppard (12); 8. Devin Moran (2); 9. Bobby Pierce (11); 10. Chris Simpson (3); 11. Dennis Erb Jr. (18); 12. Frank Heckenast Jr. (13); 13. Josh Richards (16); 14. Stormy Scott (19); 15. Earl Pearson Jr. (21); 16. Jimmy Owens (20); 17. Shanon Buckingham (9); 18. Kyle Bronson (24); 19. Shannon Babb (14); 20. Brian Birkhofer (15); 21. Chad Simpson (22); 22. Billy Moyer Jr. (23); 23. Jeremiah Hurst (17); 24. Jonathan Davenport (8). Lap Leaders: Thornton Jr. 1, Moran 2-4, Erb 5-13, Clanton 14-25.