More rain postpones Knoxville until Sunday
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Oct. 3) — Well, the third time wasn't a charm at Knoxville Raceway. The rain-plagued Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals have been postponed until 4 p.m. Sunday after a half-hour shower during hot laps spoiled Saturday's action. The unsanctioned $40,0000-to-win event's sixth running will start from scratch on Sunday afternoon. | Slideshow
Knoxville officials had worked tirelessly Saturday to whip the racing surface into shape after two straight days of rain that wiped out Thursday and Friday's preliminaries. With the racetrack finally ready Saturday evening, 62 entrants began hot laps on a high-speed track that saw three drivers suffer flipping accidents; none of the three were injured.
But as some drivers were taking their second sessions of hot laps, rain began about 7:50 p.m. and lasted a half-hour. After using a jet drying in an attempt to dry the track, officials announced the postponed about two hours after the rain initially began.
Blog-style reports from Saturday's action:
9:52 p.m.: Postponed until Sunday
After more than an hour of trying to dry the track, track officials threw in the towel. The race is rescheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.
9:43 p.m.: Jet dryer doing its thing
Still in a rain delay with Boone Speedway's jet dryer on the track making at least some progress in drying the surface. They've still got a ways to go. The die-hard Late Model fans are having to make due with World of Outlaws Sprint Cars on the video scoreboard, live from Williams Grove.
8:40 p.m.: Bring out the jet dryer
Track officials have decided to try and whip the track back into shape (again) after a half-hour rain shower. They plan to use the jet dryer on loan from Boone (Iowa) Speedway, which they used early this afternoon to blow off the track. They've given no estimation on how long it'll take to get the track rolled in again, but it won't be a brief delay. The track announcer asked fans who parked in front of the barn that held the jet dryer to move their cars.
8:19 p.m.: Rain finally stops
After about a half-hour shower, the rain has stopped. That should be it according to the radar. Most of the teams have left their cars unloaded covered with tarps. Officials are evaluating the racetrack to decide how to proceed.
8:07 p.m.: In a holding pattern
The blip on the radar is still over Knoxville. The track has announced that, if the event is postponed, it will resume at 4 p.m. Sunday.
7:49 p.m.: You gotta be kidding — more precipitation
A sleety rain just started near the conclusion of hot laps. There's just a small blip on the radar but it's right over Knoxville.
7:42 p.m.: And flip No. 3
TIm Isenberg flipped in turn two, becoming the third driver to take a tumble in hot laps. He climbed from his car and was apparently OK. His No. 9T was taken off on a rollback with heavy damage.
7:34 p.m.: Victory Circles rolling
Three of the top five quickest drivers in hot laps were driving Victory Circle Chassis out of the Batesville, Ark., shop of Hall of Famer Billy Moyer. Moyer himself topped the list as the only driver under a 17-second lap in hot laps at 16.798 seconds. Second was Victory Circle driver Darren Miller of Milledgeville, Ill., and fifth was Victory Circle driver Will Vaught of Crane, Mo. Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards were third and fourth quickest.
7:26 p.m.: Guengerich replaces Smith
Rod Smith was entered in the No. A-1 car, but instead it will be driven by Jeff Guengerich of Washington, Iowa. Guengerich's machine slowed to a stop in turn three during his hot-lap session with apparent mechanical problems. Track officials said that 74 teams were accounted for, but lost about a dozen after two days of rain. Some drivers headed to Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday night for a $3,000-to-win O'Reilly Midwest LateModel Racing Association event. Matt Miller of Waterville, Iowa, driving for Illinois-based Moring Motorsports, finished second at Lakeside and Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., was fifth. Both Miller and Lux are at Knoxville.
7:25 p.m.: 1-for-2 with NASCAR
Two NASCAR drivers, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart, were scheduled to compete, but only Newman came up from Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., which is hosting NASCAR events this weekend. Stewart was listed on the time trial sheet but the Rocket Chassis camp told announcer James Essex that Stewart wouldn't be racing. Stewart has contended at Knoxville. Last year, he battled winner Tim McCreadie for the lead midway through the race, and in 2006 finished second to Brian Shirley.
7:11 p.m.: Another flip as Boen goes over
The red flag is out again in hot laps as Kelly Boen flipped in turn four and the car ended up on its roof. Boen is talking to track workers and is apparently OK. Drivers are rolling the car back over and to get it back on its wheels.
7:07 p.m.: Here's the format
Hot laps have resumed after Nick Kramer's accident in his No. 40, but we'll take a minute to try and explain the night's format. Knoxville planned to use its unique format where drivers earned points based on performances in Thursday and Friday night's action, but with the first two nights rained out, there had been much conjecture about what format would be used. Here it is:
Every driver will take a time trial lap, and qualifying gives 200 points to the fastest qualifier, 198 to second quickest, 196 to third and so on. Five heat races are scheduled with a six-car inversion in each heat race, meaning the fastest five qualifiers will start outside the third row in each heat.
Drivers are also awarded points for heat races, 100 for a victory, 97 for second, 94 for third and so on. After the heats, officials add the points drivers earned in qualifying and heat races. The top 20 points-earners are locked into the first 10 rows of the feature. (For instance, if a driver sets fast time for 200 points and wins a heat for 100 points, he'll earn 300 total points; or if a driver is third quickest in qualifying for 196 points and finishes second in a heat race for 97 points, he'll earn 293 points).
After the top 20 points earners are pulled out, the track plans a D-Main, C-Main and B-Main, with the top finishers in the first two consolations advancing to the next race. The top six finishers in the B-Main round out the 26-car starting field.
6:51 p.m.: Hot laps begin (ouch!)
Minnesota driver Nick Kramer flipped in between turns one and two just as the first hot-lap session got rolling. Workers are attending to him and he's unhurt. He climbed from the car and waves to fans before getting a ride back to the pits in an ATV. Brad Neat appeared to also be involved, and his car came to a stop in turn two with left-front damage. Neat climbed out of his car and his checking it before it's towed to the pits.
6:47 p.m.: Time trial order (62 cars)
Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y.
Kerry Hansen (25), Spencer, Wis.
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill.
Jeep Van Wormer (55), Pinconning, Mich.
Rickey Frankel (33F), Quincy, Ill.
Nick Kramer (40), Pine Island, Minn.
Tommy Elston (15), Keokuk, Iowa
Paul Glendenning (33), Mount Ayr, Iowa
Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky.
Rick Eckert (24), York, Pa.
Matt Miller (7), Waterville, Ohio
Denny Eckrich (50), Tiffin, Iowa
Chris Smyser (25), Lancaster, Mo.
Curt Martin (45), Independence, Iowa
Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis.
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill.
Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa
Dave Eckrich (58), Cosgrove, Iowa
Mike Fryer (5m), Freeport, Ill.
Terry Casey (42), New London, Wis.
Jason Utter (31), Columbus Junction, Iowa
Dan Shelliam (16), Hazel Green, Wis.
Ken Schrader (9), Fenton, Mo.
Scott James (83), Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Matt Furman (51), Iowa City, Iowa
Eddie Kirchoff (00), Gillette, Wyo.
John Duty (5), Portland, Ore.
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va.
Andy Eckrich (56), Iowa City, Iowa
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky.
Rod Smith (A-1), Monmouth, Ill.
Jeremiah Hurst (29), Dubuque, Iowa
Will Vaught (1v), Crane, Mo.
Kelly Boen (07), Henderson, Colo.
Chris Spieker (56x), Massena, Iowa
Ed Sanger (95), Postville, Iowa
Jill George (22), Cedar Falls, Iowa
Rich Bell (21B), Sheffield, Iowa
Boone McLaughlin (14), Mediapolis, Iowa
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark.
Steve Francis (19), Ashland, Ky.
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa
Curt Schroeder (15c), Des Moines, Iowa
Justin Fegers (F15), Minnetonka, Minn.
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla.
Ryan Newman (39), Statesville, N.C.
Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis.
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y.
Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va.
Darrel DeFrance (99D), Marshalltown, Iowa
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn.
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn.
Nick Marolf (33), Moscow, Iowa
Chris Schroeder (3c), West Des Moines, Iowa
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa
Rob Moss (1m), Iowa City, Iowa
Brady Smith (2), Solon Springs, Wis.
Dan Schlieper (9), Sullivan, Wis.
Junior Coover (10), Norfolk, Neb.
Darren Miller (32D), Milledgeville, Ill.
Matt Lux (21), Franklin, Pa.
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis.