Editor’s Note: In advance of the 2018 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway, we’re taking a look back in history to the 2017 running of the SPEED SPORT Challenge. Below is the race recap from the 2017 running of the SPEED SPORT Challenge, won by the late Jason Johnson.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Jason Johnson doubled down Friday night at Knoxville Raceway, winning the SPEED SPORT World Challenge and its $10,000 top prize only an hour after winning the Hard Knox qualifying feature.
Johnson took the lead on lap seven and blasted away from the field during the remainder of the 20-lap race on the half-mile, black-dirt oval at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
“It’s an honor to race these guys, they are really tough,” said Johnson after thanking his Australian team owner.
Johnson said his team made changes to his No. 41 after winning the feature, and that he didn’t think his car was quite as good in the SPEED SPORT World Challenge, though, plenty good enough to win.
Johnson acknowledged the team was testing things to prepare for Saturday’s race by using Friday’s doubleheader to simulate the two segments in Saturday’s 50-lap race.
Johnson’s sweep came a night after various problems kept the defending Knoxville Nationals winner from transferring into Saturday’s program on his qualifying night.
“It is a mindset,” Johnson said of the team’s one day turnaround. “On qualifying night, you want to get as close to the front as possible, but once last night didn’t go the way as planned, you have to realize there is going to be a different outcome. We knew the best we could do tonight was to win the race and start 17th.”
Australian James McFadden started on the pole and led the first six laps, and stayed within striking distance, finishing .774 seconds behind Johnson.
Brad Sweet, who will start third in Saturday night’s feature, charged from 14th to finish third in what was the fastest car on the track throughout the race.
Dominic Scelzi and Brian Brown rounded out the top five, with Americans taking four of the top five positions.
Jason Johnson, James McFadden, Brad Sweet, Dominic Scelzi, Brian Brown, Lynton Jeffrey, Ian Madsen, Greg Hodnett, Logan Schuchart, Shane Stewart, Kerry Madsen, Jamie Veal, Carson Macedo, Terry McCarl, Lucas Wolfe, Skyler Gee, Harli White, Jason Kendrick, Brooke Tatnell, Jordyn Brazier, Thomas Kennedy, Scott Bogucki.