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Knoxville Raceway

Victims not happy with Knoxville's late tangles

September 29, 2013, 4:36 am
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Jason Feger's car is towed away. (thesportswire.net)
Jason Feger's car is towed away. (thesportswire.net)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Sept. 28) — The Don O’Neal Fan Club didn’t include too many drivers in the pits Saturday at the 10th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals after O’Neal played a role in separate red-flagged accidents, both on lap 94. | Complete Knoxville coverage

The first came in turn three when O’Neal made contact with the lapped car of Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., whose damaged No. 28 ended up on four wheels on the high side of the Knoxville Raceway oval after rolling over multiple times.

The second came on the ensuing restart in turn one when O’Neal tried to dive under the fourth-running Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., whose car was knocked into the fence and pirouetted on the driver’s side door, also coming to rest on its wheels with heavy damage.

Additionally, O’Neal’s ailing machine shot back down the racetrack and collected Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., ending McDowell’s race and forcing Bloomquist to the pits for repairs.

No injuries were reported.

McDowell, who was running just behind the O’Neal-Carrier incident before becoming an innocent victim in the second wreck, labelled O’Neal “a little too aggressive” in the late stages of the 100-lap Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event won by Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.

“With six laps to go, people are going to take big chances,” McDowell said. “That’s just a fact ... there’s a lot other stuff torn up because a chance — too big a chance, I think, was taken. That’s just part of racing.”

After climbing from his car, Feger walked the length of the pits to confront O’Neal at the Moring Motorsports hauler, but series officials and others kept the drivers in check. Feger, who had a discussion with Carrier and his father-crew chief Eddie Carrier Sr. shortly thereafter, wasn’t happy with the way he lost a top-five run.

“He just drove in there and never lifted, hit me in the front end and put me in the wall,” said Feger, who added that he was a little leery when he saw the scoreboard listing No. 71 behind him for the restart. “It’s not the first time he’s done it to me — it’s just the worst it’s happened to me. I’ve seen it happen a lot. It’s unfortunate. I’m just glad it got him out, too.”

O’Neal, a former Knoxville winner from Martinsville, Ind., made a quick exit from the infield pits and wasn’t immediately available for comment, but Moring Motorsports crew chief Ronnie Stuckey said O'Neal “took full blame” for the turn-one accident, adding that some good cars were torn up in the incident.

“It’s Knoxville. You only come here once a year, so you’re going to go for it,” Stuckey said.

Third-place finisher Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., benefitted from the accident that eliminated Feger, O’Neal and McDowell, and said Knoxville is a place that’s easy to get in trouble among competitive cars.

“It’s just hard racing, but unfortunately it’s just tough,” he said. “There’s not as much give and take after lap, maybe 30, tonight. After that it was a little rough back there.”

McDowell, who was more reserved in his comments than Feger, said he talked to O’Neal in the pits.

“He just asked if I got caught up in it, and I told him yeah,” said McDowell, who was pitted next to O'Neal. “He said he was sorry. There was a lot of people around, so he didn’t elaborate much.”

In the turn-one incident, McDowell said he thought O’Neal “went in way too hard for the amount of traction that was there.

“When they all wadded up, I missed (Feger), and I went to the bottom of the racetrack and thought I had everything missed. I guess it had broke something on Don’s car at that time. He came across the racetrack still in the fuel and got me and I think it got Scott (Bloomquist).”

“It’s just unfortunate. ... it’s just a mistake, but it’s costly, especially on these big racetracks, and the flat racetracks. A flat racetrack, when it starts losing traction and you go across there, things are going to happen big,” McDowell added. “Both times that he slid across there, cars turned over. I don’t know. Just a victim, you know? We’ll get her beat back out and go again.”

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