Oh, Canada! It’s Ricky Weiss At Knoxville

Ricky Weiss in victory lane Friday night at Knoxville Raceway. (Ken Berry Photo)
Ricky Weiss in victory lane Friday night at Knoxville Raceway. (Ken Berry Photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa – Ricky Weiss became the first Canadian late model winner at Knoxville Raceway on night two of the 16th annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals.

Chris Madden led from outside of row one early in the 25-lap main event.  Weiss, Tyler Bruening, Dennis Erb Jr. and Tyler Erb rounded out the top five.  Don O’Neal passed Erb for fifth in what was a good battle that saw the two exchange the spot twice.

Eleventh starting Josh Richards was on the move as well, and passed both Erb and Don O’Neal, entering the top five on lap eight.  Richards passed Erb Jr. for fourth on lap 10.

Up front, Madden found comfort through the middle of the track until approaching lapped traffic on the fourteenth circuit.  On lap 16, he tried to shoot under the lapped car of Mike Mataragas, and slid across turn one.  It was all Weiss needed to jump to the point.

Weiss would pull away to win his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event.

“It’s just awesome,” said Weiss, who recently scored a marquee victory in the Baltes Classic at Eldora Speedway.  “Never did we think we’d be in victory lane at Eldora. We didn’t get to capitalize on it. We’re just taking baby steps at it.  We’re there. After last night, we were happy with that. We knew we were locked in the show.  We debated on switching cars tonight and trying something, but we knew this thing was good.  Every time we touched the track, we just got better and better.  (Madden) was struggling a little bit.  I eased a little bit, and when he got up in the middle of the track, I tried to hold the bottom. This car’s been phenomenal since we unloaded here.”

Madden held on for second, ahead of a late charging Richards, Bruening and Don O’Neal.

“We had a good car about half the race there,” said Madden. “Then I got extremely tight and I couldn’t turn across the middle there. We were trying to bide our own, and if we didn’t get to lapped traffic, I think we would have been OK. I about spun out there, and that left the door open for Ricky. To have the night we did last night, we were able to bounce back and have a good one tonight.”

Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., hard-charger Brandon Sheppard, Frank Heckenast Jr. and Hudson O’Neal rounded out the top 10.

Weiss’s win gave him $7,000 and 472 points, placing him in row two of Saturday night’s $40,000 to win finale. Thursday’s winner Shane Clanton will start on the pole alongside Darrell Lanigan. Friday’s runner-up Madden will start fourth alongside Weiss.

Others who have locked themselves into Saturday’s feature include Erb, Ricky Thornton Jr., Don O’Neal, Bruening, Sheppard, Scott Bloomquist, Richards, Chris Simpson, Chad Simpson, Erb Jr., Pearson, Hudson O’Neal, Devin Moran, defending event winner Jimmy Owens, Bobby Pierce, Kyle Bronson, Heckenast, Shanon Buckingham, Stormy Scott and World 100 winner Jonathan Davenport.

The finish:

Ricky Weiss, Chris Madden, Josh Richards, Tyler Bruening, Don O’Neal, Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Frank Heckenast Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Dennis Erb Jr., Chad Simpson, Kyle Bronson, Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan, Ricky Thornton Jr., Shannon Babb, Brian Birkhofer, Shane Clanton, Jason Feger, Mike Mataragas.