Live From Knoxville: Nationals News & Notes

The infield Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway. (Joe Tripp photo)
The infield Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway. (Joe Tripp photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Cars are rolling to the race track for the second night of qualifying action for the 52nd Goodyear Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.

We welcome you to and will be providing you news and notes from the week’s activities.

Tonight’s qualifiers include Johnny Herrera, Lance Dewease, Mark Dobmeier, Daryn Pittman, 2010 Nationals winner Tim Shaffer, Brian Brown, Kraig Kinser, Terry McCarl, Tim Kaeding, Stevie Smith, Jason Meyers, Danny Lasoski, Dale Blaney and Sammy Swindell.

• Two-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Jason Meyers makes his return to the series tonight after having stepped away from the sport at the end of March.

Meyers, who raced here during last week’s 360 Nationals told National Speed Sport News earlier tonight that this would like likely be his last Nationals, though, he allowed, “Never say never.”

Meyers said he would like to continue racing occasionally in his native California and also noted that he was surprised how much the set ups that teams were using on their sprint cars had changed in the four months he was away from cockpit.

• Danny Lasoski and Sammy Swindell turned the two fastest laps during hot laps. Cars are staging for qualifying.

• Tim Shaffer and the Call Motorsports team have one of the sharpest car in the pits. The entire No. 83 has been wrapped, not painted, including the chassis.

• Earlier today STP announced that it would sponsor the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2013. The multi-year arrangement calls for the series to be known as the World of Outlaws STP Series.

• Knoxville regular and Australian driver Ian Madsen was fast qualifier with a lap of 15.491 seconds. Top five:

1. Ian Madsen, Vermeer 55, 15.491;

2. Brian Brown, Brown 21, 15.532;

3. Tim Kaeding, Roth 83jr, 15.550;

4. Stevie Smith, CL 19, 15.588;

5. Daryn Pittman, Heffner 27, 15.592;

“It feels really good,” said fast qualifier Ian Madsen.” It was a great start. Now we need to get through the heat and finish in the top eight in the feature and that should put us in the A for Saturday night.”

• Many-time All Star sprint car champion Dale Blaney scratched from tonight’s program after hot laps.

• Jason Johnson and Cody Darrah tangled on the opening lap of the first heat with Darrah flipping in turn three.

• Multiple sprint cars competing tonight including those driven by Danny Lasoski, Tim Kaeding, Brian Brown and Logan Schuchart are carrying National Speed Sport News decals tonight.

• Tony Bruce Jr. won the first heat when Josh Hodges lost power off the final turn. Bruce won by mere feet with Hodges, Ian Madsen and Jason Johnson earning transfer spots.

“The guys have been working hard and I haven’t been holding up my end of the deal as far as driving and fortunately we were able to get our car up front,” Bruce said.

• One of the hot topics in the pits this week has been tires. It appears Goodyear’s three-year run as the official tire of the series will come to an end after this season. Many speculate Goodyear will be replaced by American Racer with others hoping for Hoosier’s return to prominence in sprint car racing. Several drivers also complained that the current Goodyear tires have “less feel” than any tire they’ve raced on.

• On the final lap of the second heat, fourth-place Geoff Ensign blew an engine in spectacular fashion, igniting a fire with fifth-place Terry McCarl and sixth-place Brian Brown splitting the burning car. McCarl, however, lost control on the cushion and flipped his No. 24. No drivers were injured and Brown inherited the fourth transfer spot.

Tyler Walker won the race with Tim Shaffer second and Kraig Kinser third.

• Josh Schneiderman won the third heat over Australian James McFadden. Jason Meyers and Knoxville Raceway regular Mark Dobmeier also earned transfer positions.

• Two-time Knoxville Raceway track champion Johnny Herrera won the fourth heat in dominant fashion. Lance Dewease, Australian Jamie Veal and Stevie Smith filled the top four.

• Sammy Swindell electrified the crowd and still didn’t win the fifth heat Thursday night. Swindell raced four wide on the opening lap to charge into a qualified position, slipped over the cushion the next lap (making a spectacular save), losing two spots, but still roared back to finish second behind race winner Joey Moughan. Wayne Johnson and Greg Hodnett also transferred.

• After a lengthy Legends car race, the B main took the track and Tim Kaeding led it flag to flag. Dusty Zomer, Daryn Pittman and Danny Lasoski earned the transfer positions.

• Mark Dobmeier has led the first seven laps. Sammy Swindell dropped out with a broken u-joint on lap four and the yellow waved on lap eight when Greg Hodnett stopped on the track.

• Ian Madsen spun after contact with another car and contacted the No. 1 of Danny Lasoski, sending Lasoski flipping.

• Yellow flag after 15 laps, Jason Meyers took the lead on lap eight. Mark Dobmeier, Stevie Smith, Tim Shaffer, who started 15th, and Kraig Kinser fill the top five.

• Jason Meyers holds off hard-charging Tim Shaffer, who started 15th, to win Thursday night’s preliminary feature after having stepped out of the car in March. Shaffer finished second ahead of Kraig Kinser, Stevie Smith and Lance Dewease.