Editor’s Note: Former Knoxville Raceway track champion Brian Brown will be writing a daily blog for www.nationalspeedsportnews.com during the 53rd running of the FVP Knoxville Nationals. Here’s today’s installment.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — The track was pretty narrow last night and the heat races were very difficult. There were a few guys that started sixth, seventh or eighth that were able to get through there. And it will be the same way tonight.
Points are going to be tough to get tonight. There are a lot of good cars. There are not a lot of Outlaw cars, but there are a lot of cars that I feel like are capable of winning this race and that we will have to beat.
In qualifying, you have to get all the points that you can and in the heat you have to get through there. If you are starting eighth, you have to get in the top eight and it doesn’t matter what you have to do to get there. You have to scratch, claw and do whatever you have to do to make your way to the top four.
Those heat races are tough. They invert eight and take four, so it is tough. You have to take a few more chances than you normally would, especially on the starts. I feel like racing here every week lets me use some of the tricks that I learn and make a great move on the starts to get the lead or move forward.
You have to look at the heat lineup before you go out there, so that you know who is in front of you and who runs the bottom or the top, or what guy is going to try to run the bottom, but that he will likely miss it and you don’t want to ride his right-rear tire. You have to look at it the best you can, but you can’t overanalyze it. Sometimes you just have to have an exit plan and go for it.
I think the track tonight will be a little bit wider. It was pretty narrow last night and some guys were able to make passes, but they had to work their butt off to get there.
Last night was one of the better crowds that I’ve seen on a Wednesday night in a while and that is very excited for our sport and for FVP, the title sponsor.
Last night I sat back and watched and now tonight it is my turn. But you have to remember that you cannot win the Knoxville Nationals tonight, but you can definitely lose it.
You can’t make any mistakes. You have to have a smooth, solid night. At the end of the day, tonight is just another race. If you win tonight, you do not win the Knoxville Nationals, so that makes it another race. We just have to do our job and not have any mistakes and get all the points that we can.
We don’t have to win tonight, we just have to have a solid night and put ourselves in position for Saturday night, and if we do that I believe we have as good of an opportunity as anyone to win Saturday night.
Last year’s National was one of the closest finishes ever and I feel like we are running better coming into this year’s Nationals than we were coming into last year’s Nationals when we finished second.
As a team we are more excited and more focused than we were last year. For 360 days, we have thought about what we were going to do at the Knoxville Nationals. To me it is bigger than the Daytona 500 and bigger than the Indianapolis 500. It is what we dream about as drivers.