1997: Blaney Claims Delayed Nationals

    Dave Blaney (10) won the Knoxville Nationals in 1997 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. (NSSN Archives Photo)

    Dave Blaney (10) won the Knoxville Nationals in 1997 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. (NSSN Archives Photo)

    Editor’s Note: This is the 12th 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 — Lightning lit up the sky, rain pelted the track and tornadoes were nearby. All the weather postponed the 37th annual Amoco Knoxville Nationals Championship feature races one day.

    Instead of running the customary Saturday finals, the results came in a day late. Not complaining at all was Dave Blaney, of Cortland, Ohio.

    Blaney pocketed $100,000 for the second week in a row as he took advantage of a mishap on lap 10.

    Race leaders Sammy Swindell, running first, and Mark Kinser, the defending Nationals champion, was in second when the two cars hit each other. Don Droud Jr, flipped in between turns three and four.

    Swindell slowed to avoid the Droud sprinter, but from behind came a hard-charging Kinser, who ran into the back of the No. 1 car of Swindell.

    The mishap sent both Swindell and Kinser to the back of the pack. Both drivers are front-runners in the World of Outlaws races on a regular basis. Swindell is the WoO point leader. Kinser won the WoO title a year ago.

    Taking over the front spot was Blaney, who had been running third at the time, but closing fast on the leaders.

    Blaney never looked back as he led the final 20 laps for the $100,000 payday. The week before heading to Knoxville Blaney pocketed $100,000 for capturing “The Historical Big One” at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

    In the press conference following the event Blaney said it’s not the money that’s the big issue, it’s the win itself and all the prestige that goes with the victories.

    It was Blaney’s first Knoxville Nationals crown.

    Greg Hodnett ran second in the main event and he was followed by Danny Lasoski in third place. Lasoski is the all-time leader in feature wins at Knoxville. Jac Haudenschild and Johnny Herrera filled the top five.

    Jeff Swindell won the B main with Ed Lynch Jr. topping the C main. Steve Beitler won the D main and Billy Vielhauer bested the E-main field.

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