KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Welcome to the opening night of the 52nd Goodyear Knoxville Nationals. We will be posting live updates in this space throughout the four days of the event Knoxville Raceway.
Kyle Larson, who won the Ultimate Challenge on Tuesday, earned his first Knoxville Raceway victory on the opening night of the Knoxville Nationals. Davey Heskin, Donny Schatz, Craig Dollansky and Lucas Wolfe filled the top five.
With the white flag in the air, second-place Brian Paulus stopped with a flat tire. Kyle Larson still leads and will have Davey Heskin and Donny Schatz behind him on the restart.
Yellow with four laps remaining. Kyle Larson leads with Brian Paulus second. Craig Dollansky has raced from the B main and currently runs sixth.
Jason Sides blows a left-rear tire heading into turn two with six laps remaining and flips while leading the race. Kyle Larson, who won the Ultimate Challenge last night at Oskaloosa, inherits the lead.
Jason Sides storms into the lead on a lap 14-restart.
Yellow flag after 13 laps. Davey Heskin has led every lap. Randy Hannagan blew an engine while running second. Shane Stewart has raced from 23rd to 10th.
Joey Saldana won the B main with Craig Dollansky, Shane Stewart and Paul McMahan also transferring. Steve Kinser failed to qualify for the feature.
Kinser has made 35 consecutive A mains at the Knoxville Nationals and will have some work to do the rest of the week to extend that streak.
Rager Phillips won the C Main.
Davey Heskin and Randy Hannagan will share the front row for the feature.
Tonight’s B Main will include Joey Saldana, Craig Dollansky, Paul McMahan, Shane Stewart, Fred Rahmer, Chad Kemenah, Steve Kinser and Kevin Swindell.
The World of Outlaws will be sponsored by STP next season.
Lee Sowell passed Mike Reinke with one lap remaining and won the fifth heat. Reinke, Dustin Selvage and Randy Hannagan transferred, but Steve Kinser will have to run the B main.
Ed Lynch Jr. dominated the fourth heat with Austin McCarl and Kyle Larson following. Lucas Wolfe stole the final transfer spot from Brad Sweet in the final turn.
Jac Haudenschild broke a driveline in the No. 59 with two laps remaining.
Kerry Madsen, who won a WoO feature at Knoxville Raceway earlier this year, won the third heat with Jonathan Allard, Glen Saville and Jeff Swindell completing the top four.
Austin Johnson wrecked hard at the start of the third heat.
Local driver A.J. Moeller led every lap of the second heat with Donny Schatz finishing second. Jason Sides and Casey Mack also transferred, but Craig Dollansky will need to run the B main.
-It is expected that the World of Outlaws will name a new title sponsor Thursday afternoon at Knoxville Raceway.
Brooke Tatnell won the first heat with Don Droud Jr., Brian Paulus and Davey Heskin taking qualifying positions. Fast-qualifier Joey Saldana did not transfer.
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is in attendance tonight and waved the green flag for the third heat.
Joey Saldana was the fast qualifier with a lap of 14.715 seconds.
“It gets the mood of everybody going in the right direction and it is a good start to the weekend,” Joey Saldana. “My guys did a great job setting my car up and hopefully we can carry this over to our heat race, too.”
-9:49 hot laps are complete and cars are preparing to hit the track for qualifying.
-Former Central Pennsylvania sprint car driver Sean Michael is now working as a crewman on the No. 7 wheeled by Craig Dollansky. Michael started the season working on the Zemaitis No. 1z sprint car that he used to drive.
-Former USAC racer Critter Malone is competing here tonight.
-All cars are getting a second set of hot laps because the track was still very wet at the start.
-There are three Swindells in competition this week with Kevin Swindell and his uncle Jeff both racing this evening while Sammy Swindell, Kevin’s dad, hits the track Thursday.
-Dan Motter, a former car owner on the World of Outlaws circuit, is sponsoring the No. 59 Leidig sprint car wheeled by Jac Haudenschild.
-Ed Lynch Jr’s familiar No. 2L isn’t as familiar as usual. His black car with florescent colors have been replaced by a white car with black lettering. It is one of many special paint schemes for the Nationals including Steve Kinser driving a black car.
-Former racer and television analyst Brad Doty is seated alongside us for tonight’s program. Doty astutely observed that black race cars are difficult to see for a racing driver.
9:10: Craig Dollansky turned the fastest lap during the second session of hot laps .
9:05: The checkered flag has waved on the first session of hot laps.
9:01 CT: The first cars have fired off and are rolling around the race track.
8:59 p.m. CT: Cars are in the staging lanes and will be pushed on to the race track soon.
8:43 p.m. CT: Sprint cars are being pushed off to get heat in the engines and the push trucks are finishing the job of running in the race track. It looks like we may be ready to hot lap in another 15 to 20 minutes.
8:25 p.m.: A heavy downpour hit Knoxville Raceway around 4:30 p.m local time this afternoon dumping more than two inches of rain on the half-mile black-dirt oval and tonight’s program has been delayed. Push trucks are currently on the truck running in the surface but progress has been slow.
Officials are estimating that hot laps will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. local time.
Among the drivers scheduled to hit the track tonight are Craig Dollansky, Joey Saldana, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Fred Rahmer, Brad Sweet, Shane Stewart, Jac Haudenschild, Chad Kemenah, Kevin Swindell, Kyle Larson, Ed Lynch Jr., Jeff Swindell, Jason Sides and Brady Bacon.
There have been many visitors to the SPEED SPORT Magazine/National Speed Sport News booth already during the first day of the Nationals and we invite anyone attending this year’s event to stop by and say hello.