KNOXVILLE, Iowa — No. 10 was so sweet for Mark Dobmeier on Farm Bureau Night Saturday at Knoxville Raceway.
In the 25-lap Mid-season championship, Dobmeier trailed race-long leader Danny Lasoski until lap 23 when he closed in on the “Dude” in heavy lap traffic and grabbed the top spot as they headed into turn three.
Lasoski was not done by any means as he battled Dobmeier the rest of the way and came within two car lengths of winning. Dobmeier’s 10th 410 win came at the expense of Lasoski’s 99th career victory at this historic Iowa fairgrounds.
Dobmeier started right beside Lasoski on the front row grid, as each time a yellow slowed the race, the “Dude” was able to pull away. In the early portion of the event, both drivers chose to run the cushion, which was no more than six feet from the Knoxville tall fences. At this time, the top five began to sort out and all were running the same line.
As the front runners headed into heavy lap traffic on lap nine, both second running Dobmeier and third running McCarl had closed in on the lead and it was simple to see that some battles would be at hand. Just as this was developing, the yellow came out for Dakota Hendrickson who had spun in turn two.
On the restart, Lasoski again secured the lead, but a newcomer Bronson Maeschen had joined the charge. At this point Lasoski had pulled away to a 20-car-length advantage and looked to be in control of the race. Heavy lapped traffic once again slowed the leaders and made the race vastly exciting to the fans. That was also when the nose wing on Rager Phillips’ car came loose and he stopped on the track unable to make it to the pit area. There were 10 laps to go.
The final restart saw Lasoski lead Dobmeier, McCarl, Maeschen and Ian Madsen back to green. This time the “Dude” was unable to shake Dobmeier. Davey Heskin also got a great start and shot to the fifth spot while being the only one racing the bottom.
As the top running cars once again came upon the back markers, Dobmeier was set to make his move. With the leaders again being impeded by these cars it was Dobmeier who took his sprinter into turn three hard and came out of turn four with the lead on lap 23. Lasoski stayed very close to the Dobmeier machine but was unable to make a pass in the waning laps of the race. He finished just two car lengths behind the driver from Grand Forks, North Dakota. Trailing behind those two was a close Terry McCarl.
Rounding out the top five were Maeschen and Ian Madsen.
The 20-lap 360 feature was a “Doozey” too. Local driver Wayne Johnson led that event past the halfway point as Clint Garner trailed ever so closely. When they headed into lap traffic on the eleventh circuit, both drivers manipulated the slower cars with ease. Just as Johnson flew past the flag stand completing lap 13, his left-rear tire popped and exploded sending him into a near miss of the turn one fence.
Garner led the field back to green and immediately began to pull away from them. There was no one to challenge the Sioux Falls driver and he coasted to his 18th career win here, tying him for third on the all-time 360 list with Randy Martin and Dean Chadd. Jamie Ball, Jamie Veal, John Agan and Nate Van Haaften trailed to the finish line.
Larry Ball Jr. captured his fifth career win in the 305 sprint division. Mathew Stelzer led the event from the get-go with Ball chasing him on this big half-mile oval. Stelzer had the race in hand and was in fact pulling away when Cody Ambers spun his car in turn three on the 9th go-around. Stelzer, who was focusing on the lap traffic tried to dodge the Ambers’ machine but slid into him nonetheless. It was not a hard hit but Stelzer was pushed to his pit stall unable to continue.
The restart saw Ball Jr. take control of the closing laps and finish ahead of Jay Kinder, Josh Higday, Chris Walraven and Jake Strayer.