KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Brian Brown passed Keystone State pilot Greg Hodnett on lap 11 and held on to win the sixth annual Weld Racing Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank at Knoxville Raceway Sunday night.
The Grain Valley, Mo., driver earned $5,000 for his first Capitani Classic win and his 37th 410 win triumph at the half-mile oval.
Hodnett led from the outside of row one in the 25-lap feature, besting Greenland Homes Pole Shuffle $5,000 winner, Kerry Madsen. Madsen has won all three Pole Shuffles contested in the Capitani Classic. Madsen dropped into second, ahead of Brad Sweet, Joey Saldana and Brown to start the main event.
Brown was on the move, jetting to third on lap two, and taking second from Madsen on the next go-around. A slowing Lynton Jeffrey brought out the caution three laps in. The restart saw Hodnett ahead of Brown, Madsen, Sweet and Saldana. At that point, Brown began his onslaught of the leader, running on the cushion. Hodnett stayed true to the low groove.
Brown shot by Hodnett to lead lap four, while Austin McCarl moved himself into the top five after starting 10th. Hodnett got a run on the leader, passing him on lap six and pulling away a big. Meanwhile, McCarl and Chad Kemenah battled hard for the fifth spot.
The leaders entered lapped traffic, and Brown took advantage, driving back into the lead on lap eleven. Four circuits later, Madsen worked by Hodnett for second. Brown’s Casey’s General Stores/FVP No. 21 was working well in traffic, but a final caution slowed the event one last time.
With two laps to go, Belleville Midget Nationals winner Spencer Bayston blew his right-rear tire. Brown would pull away for the green-white-checkered finish ahead of Madsen.
Sweet captured third from Hodnett and Austin McCarl finished fifth.
Kerry Madsen and Tim Shaffer set quick time in their respective groups for the 69-car field.
“My hat goes off to the (track preparers) Dunkin family,” said Brown. “There was an awesome bottom and an awesome top. They’ve knocked it out of the park the last few days. To win the Capitani Classic is up there on my list. Ralph was hard on me, and then would pat me on the back and tell me I did a good job when things went right. I didn’t really know what my plan was on the start. We started eighth and they kind of left the top open for me, and away we went. Greg’s a heck of a race car driver and they’ve been running well all week long. Kerry…we know what we get with their team. We got lucky enough to beat them, and it’s really special.”
“We weren’t good enough,” said Madsen. “They were faster. I was doing all I could do to hang onto second. I just wasn’t good enough to run the top and I was running some weird lines. We were gaining on it. I’m not disappointed in second. I’m really proud. Brian was just a better car tonight.”
“If I could have just clipped Kerry there, we might have had something,” said Sweet. “We were running the bottom so well. Kerry was doing everything he could to protect. His car was just off a little. There are some tricks around Knoxville here, and he obviously has a lot of laps. He used every trick in the book to keep us behind him. That was something to learn. Tonight was test and tune, and we put together a nice solid night.”
Brian Brown, Kerry Madsen, Brad Sweet, Greg Hodnett, Austin McCarl, Ian Madsen, Joey Saldana, Danny Dietrich, Chad Kemenah, Davey Heskin, Dusty Zomer, Cory Eliason, Daryn Pittman, Sammy Swindell, James McFadden, Dominic Scelzi, Thomas Kennedy, Kevin Thomas Jr., Spencer Bayston, Brady Bacon, Don Droud Jr., Lynton Jeffrey, Trey Starks, Terry McCarl.
See photo gallery.
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