1981: The King Of Knoxville Again

    Sprint cars sail through a corner during the 1981 running of the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. (Max Dolder Photo)
    Sprint cars sail through a corner during the 1981 running of the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. (Max Dolder Photo)

    Editor’s Note: This is the 24th installment in National Speed Sport News’ 30 Days of Knoxville countdown to the 52nd annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals. During the coming days we will revisit past races, drivers and statistics, while previewing this year’s event.

    KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Steve Kinser proved he still remembered the fast way around the Knoxville Raceway as he won his second consecutive National Sprint Car Championship Saturday night on the Iowa half-mile oval.

    Doug Wolfgang, was the early leader and held off the challenges of Kinser for the first twelve laps. Wolfgang later relinquished the second place spot to Sammy Swindell of Bartlett, Tennessee, to place the Wolf at the third spot at the checkers. Both those drivers, Wolfgang and Swindell, had to change blown engines after hot laps before competing in the National race.

    Rounding out the top 10 spots were Danny Smith, Lealand McSpadden, Ron Shuman, Don Reiners, Eddie Leavitt, Tim Green and Jeff Swindell.

    The start of the 30-lap feature event was delayed by an accident on the green flag. Cars driven by Shane Carson and Terry Doss began violent flips down the front stretch.

    Carson’s car became tangled on the front retaining fence and came back onto the race track upside down. Carson was taken to the Knoxville Community Hospital for observation. Doss was not injured in the incident. Several spectators in the grandstand received treatment of injuries caused by debris from the accident.

    Tim Green became the most raced driver of the Nationals. Green entered the race track as an alternate for the evening. Because of scratches, the Trostle sprinter with Green at the wheel, was placed at the tail of the C Main event. Green raced to a second place finish behind Jerry Potter of Kansas City, Missouri, and ahead of Mike Thomas of Des Moines. All three of these cars advanced to the B main.

    Green’s luck continued to hold out, and once again the car and Green set at the back of the pack for the 22-lap event.

    Joe Saldana was the B main winner, followed by Ken Schrader and Mike Brooks.

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