KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Kerry Madsen led all 25 laps of Friday night’s start-and-stop FVP Hard Knox feature on night three of the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.
Madsen’s payoff for the night’s work was the 21ststarting position in Saturday night’s A-main. Logan Schuchart, Shane Stewart and Dominic Scelzi finished second through fourth and earned starting positions 22 through 24 for Saturday.
Madsen started outside the front row and survived multiple restarts in a race that was slowed by five yellow flags and one red.
“It’s like someone is throwing a bomb at you, but I felt like I was getting good restarts,” Madsen said after his 23rdcareer victory at the historic half-mile oval. “I was actually liking the clean air. I want to thank the boys for working so hard.”
All four drivers said they were relieved when the race was over and they’d qualified for Saturday night.
“When that checkered flag comes out I can’t tell you what a relief it is because it is such a big race and everyone puts so much effort into this race,” Madsen explained. “If your Nationals doesn’t go according to planned there are a lot of sad faces back in the pit area.”
For Schuchart, who won this race last year, it was the third straight year he’s transferred through the Hard Knox program. His team went back to an old race car after struggling on Wednesday night.
“It’s stress relief,” Schuchart said. “This is the biggest week of the year and there are a lot of good cars. A lot of good cars that aren’t in the A main. I’d like to do it on my qualifying night one year, but I’m happy to do it this way for the third year in a row.”
Stewart finished third one night after setting fast time and then destroying his CJB Motorsports entry on the first lap of his heat race.
“We were completely out of fuel,” Stewart said. “We were lucky to finish that race. This is a huge relief. When you come here your goal is to sit on the front row for the A main. People like myself and a few others had a mishap on their qualifying night.”
Last year on Friday night, Scelzi won the SPEED SPORT Challenge to earn the 25thstarting spot in the A-main. With that race no longer part of the program, the California native found a new way to make Knoxville’s main event.
“Winning the SPEED SPORT last year was the best moment of my life last year,” Scelzi said. “To make it tonight was just as hard. I’m excited to be in again. Can’t go backward. It’s two Nationals I never thought I was going to make.”
Austin McCarl finished fifth.
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