KNOXVILLE, Iowa — In what many feel is the most competitive weekly field Knoxville Raceway has ever assembled in the 410 class, Ian Madsen struck the first blow by winning the season opener at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World” on Saturday night.
The win was the third in the Aussie’s career at Knoxville.
Brooke Tatnell took the lead from his pole position when the green flag dropped, but the start was called back for a Cole Wood spin. Don Droud Jr. lost an engine at the same time. Madsen used the reprieve to storm into the lead on the restart and set sail with Tatnell in pursuit. While the lead trio of Madsen, Tatnell and Dusty Zomer were maneuvering lapped traffic, a battle featuring slide jobs, near misses and edge of your seat action was behind them.
At the halfway point of the 20-lapper, Justin Henderson, Brian Brown, Terry McCarl, Mark Dobmeier and Davey Heskin were dicing in spots four through eight. The only caution flew with 11 laps in the books, when Craig Dollansky got into the turn two wall. Dobmeier would go up in smoke on lap twelve, ending his bid for a solid finish, but the rest of the event went non-stop.
Tatnell closed late in traffic, but Madsen threaded the needle on a couple of occasions and pulled away. Henderson closed on Zomer and took third on the white flag lap. McCarl was fifth.
“The lapped cars were pretty hairy,” said Madsen. “I didn’t want to slide across and give someone the opportunity to gain some ground on me. I have to thank Brett Nehring, Matt Barbara and everyone who put this team together. It’s very special everything that everyone’s done everything they have to make this team so great. There was a great crowd tonight, and I thank all the fans for coming out. I hope they come back.”
Joe Beaver took home the win with the 360 class and veteran Steve Breazeale won in the 305s.