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Daily Dirt 01/30/2023 22:35:54

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September 15
Knoxville Raceway,
Knoxville, IA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals) - $7,000
Information provided by: Alli Collis and Kevin Kovac (last updated September 16, 6:44 pm)
Moyer captures $7,000 Knoxville Nat'ls opener
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals
  1. Billy Moyer
  2. Brandon Sheppard
  3. Josh Richards
  4. Shane Clanton
  5. Jimmy Mars
  6. Bobby Pierce
  7. Chris Simpson
  8. Don O'Neal
  9. Jonathan Davenport
  10. Tim McCreadie
  11. Jimmy Owens
  12. Tyler Erb
  13. Darrell Lanigan
  14. Earl Pearson Jr.
  15. Steve Francis
  16. Gregg Satterlee
  17. Dennis Erb Jr.
  18. Jason Rauen
  19. Shannon Babb
  20. Jason Feger
  21. Mike Marlar
  22. Rodney Sanders
  23. Brent Larson
  24. Kyle Bronson
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Josh Richards congratulates Billy Moyer in victory lane.
What won the race: Successfully navigating lapped traffic, second-starting Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., held off polesitter Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., to capture a $7,000 Lucas Oil Series victory in the opening night of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals.
On the move: Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., improved from the 20th starting spot to post a top-10 finish.
Winner's sponsors: The winning Billy Moyer Victory Race Car is sponsored by Mesilla Valley Transportation, Henderson Motorsports, the Garnant Family, Jack's CarQuest and Karl's Performance.
Points chase: Entering the weekend, Bloomquist topped the series standings with 7,040 points over Jonathan Davenport (6,565).
Car count: 69
Fast qualifier: Mike Marlar
Time: 17.596 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Sheppard
Heat race winners: Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Darrell Lanigan, Billy Moyer, Gregg Satterlee, Jason Rauen
Consolation race winners: Mike Marlar
Next series race: September 16, Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA) $7,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
By Alli Collis and Kevin Kovac
DirtonDirt.com staff members

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Sept. 15) — Successfully navigating lapped traffic, second-starting Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., held off polesitter Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., to capture a $7,000 Lucas Oil Series victory Thursday in the opening night of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway.

Charging to the lead at the drop of the green flag, the 58-year-old Moyer distanced himself from the field in the early running, holding as much as a half straightaway lead by lap five. As the race reached the halfway mark Sheppard, 23, began working the bottom of the racetrack and reeling in the race leader, but his charge wouldn’t be enough as Moyer went on to capture the caution-free race for his ninth career victory at the famed Iowa oval in his native state.

“It’s hard for me to see anybody here, any kind of signal, so I slowed down there a little bit and it seemed like it was pretty good,” said Moyer, who was victorious in what might be his last weekend of racing at Knoxville because he plans to retire from regular competition at the end of the season. “Sometimes you slow down and get a little bit better. A few laps, it seemed like that was the better way to go and then it’d kind of go away. This track has always been hard to drive. Lap-to-lap, it just seems like things change all the time.

“I got up there behind (Mike) Marlar with 10 to go or whatever it was,  and felt like I was wasting too much time. I wasn’t gaining right up on them. I did that inside move once getting into turn three and it drove through there pretty good. I kind of knew then I could probably do that if they entered that wide. You’ve just got to make the right decision at the right minute.”

Sheppard held on to finish second, with sixth-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., improving three spots to notch a podium finish. Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., finished fourth, with Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., rounding out the top five after turning back several late-race challenges from last week's World 100 winner Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill.

“(Moyer) made some good moves in lapped traffic there,” Sheppard said. “The lapped cars kind of got a little aero-push and moved to the top and that’s where they were staying. So I had to do something. I knew that the line was eventually going to move to the bottom at some point Saturday night, whether it be early or late in the race. I knew I had to try it out sometime, whether I got passed it or not, it didn’t really matter. I kind of needed to try it to see how my car was.”

After finishing runner-up in last year’s Knoxville Nationals for the fourth time in his last five starts in the 100-lapper, Richards was happy to kick off the weekend with a top-three finish.

“I feel like we had a winning car,” said Richards, who accumulated the most points on the first night of the Knoxville Nationals. “We had that really long green and I was kind of rolling the middle. I wasn’t really that good on the top and I started running the middle and was actually really good. I got to (Sheppard) and got underneath of him and got my rhythm off a little bit and he got back by and we got shuffled back a little bit and then I ran him back down.

"You get your rhythm off just a little bit … it’s like (Moyer) said, this is a tough place. You can make a lot of time, or if you miss a little bit, you’re sitting there waiting."

Notes: Moyer, a former Knoxville Nationals winner, scored his 24th career Lucas Oil Series triumph and his ninth victory on the 2016 season. … While the preliminary program was not a Lucas Oil Series points race, the tour's points leader, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., was a no-show. He was listed on the qualifying order as being entered but he did not arrive in time to compete in Thursday’s program. … The car count of 69 cars was an increase of six from last year’s Thursday show. … Feature starters Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., and Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., were among drivers making their first-ever visit to Knoxville for the Nationals. ... Last year's Thursday-night preliminary feature winner, Chad SImpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, failed to qualify. ... Richards and Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, topped the Knoxville Nationals points standings at the end of the night. With Saturday evening's top 24 feature starters and the lineups for the alphabet last-chance races being determined by each drivers' best preliminary points night, Friday's program provides entrants another chance to better their points totals.

Preliminary notes and results:

Knoxville Nationals points standings

(after first preliminary night)
1. Josh Richards 489
2. Chris Simpson 483
3. Billy Moyer 482
4. Shane Clanton 479
5. Bobby Pierce 476
6. Don O'Neal 474
7. Brandon Sheppard 469
8. Tim McCreadie 467
9. Jimmy Mars 466
10. Earl Pearson, Jr. 455
11. Tyler Erb 452
12. Mike Marlar 451
13. Dennis Erb Jr. 449
14. Jonathan Davenport 448
15. Shannon Babb 448
16. Jimmy Owens 446
17. Steve Francis 442
18. Kyle Bronson 442
19. Darrell Lanigan 438
20. Gregg Satterlee 432
21. Jason Rauen 426
22. Chad Simpson 420
23. Rodney Sanders 415
24. Brent Larson 411
25. Jason Feger 410
26. Billy Moyer Jr. 403
27. Chase Junghans 397
28. Ricky Weiss 396
29. Frank Heckenast Jr. 391
30. Jake O’Neil 388
31. Nick Hoffman 383
32. Joey Moriarty 382
33. Ricky Thornton Jr. 373
34. R.C. Whitwell 370
35. Tim Lance 363
36. Kent Robinson 361
37. Rob Toland 360
38. Ray Guss Jr. 357
39. Matt Furman 353
40. Rich Bell 352
41. Morgan Bagley 351
42. Vic Hill 337
43. Chad Mahder 327
44. Chad Holladay 322
45. Nick Marolf 311
46. Justin Duty 310
47. Jason Utter 310
48. Mike Fryer 309
49. Spencer Diercks 303
50. Ryan Unzicker 302
51. Joel Callahan 300
52. Jay Johnson 297
53. Kerry King Sr. 294
54. Dave Eckrich 294
55. Mason Zeigler 292
56. Jared Hawkins 289
57. Dale McDowell 289
58. Mitch McGrath 278
59. Colton Flinner 278
60. John Duty 278
61. Donny Schatz 277
62. Rob Moss 269
63. Jesse Sobbing 265
64. Doug Sanders 246
65. Ryan Gustin 245
66. Brian Ledbetter 242
67. Charlie McKenna 242
68. Al Humphrey 238
69. Scott Bloomquist 0

Consolation results

B-main finish (top six transfer): Mike Marlar, Tim McCreadie, Shannon Babb, Earl Pearson Jr., Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Chase Junghans, Ricky Weiss, Chad Simpson, Nick Hoffman, Billy Moyer Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., Kent Robinson, Morgan Bagley, Joey Moriarty, Tim Lance, Ricky Thornton Jr., Ray Guss, Jake O’Neil, Vic Hill, R.C. Whitwell, Rich Bell

Heat race notes

A clod of mud apparently kicked up off the track and broke the fan blade of Ryan Gustin’s car during the second heat, forcing him to the pit area. “It cooked the motor,” said Gustin, who has a second car that he will likely pull out for Friday night’s program. … Making his first-ever Dirt Late Model start with an open-competition engine, Iowa’s Jesse Sobbing had a very impressive run going in the fourth heat. He surged off the outside pole and led the race’s first half until his powerplant — a Pro Power piece the open-wheel modified regular borrowed from Farley, Iowa’s Jason Rauen for the weekend — broke and forced him out. “Unless someone’s gonna put me in their car,” he said, “we’re done (for the weekend).” … Jared Hawkins and car owner Eric Hudkins made a last-minute decision to tow overnight from their West Virginia home to enter the Knoxville Nationals, but it was all for naught as the engine in Hawkins’s machine went up in a huge cloud of smoke during the first heat. With no backup motor available because they lost one last Thursday night at Eldora, Hawkins’s first-ever visit to Knoxville came to an apparent early end. … Dale McDowell pulled up lame running third in the sixth heat after his Team Dillon Racing car’s radiator was knocked out, likely damaging the motor in the process. … Jason Utter’s car sustained significant damage after a blown right-rear tire sent him into the turn-one wall during the fourth heat.

Consolation lineups

B-main lineup
(15 laps; top six transfer to A-main)
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Kyle Bronson
Row 2: Chad Simpson, Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Earl Pearson
Row 4: Dennis Erb Jr., Joey Moriarty
Row 5: Billy Moyer Jr., Chase Junghans
Row 6: Frank Heckenast Jr., Nick Hoffman
Row 7: R.C. Whitwell, Tim Lance
Row 8: Ray Guss Jr., Rich Bell
Row 9: Vic Hill, Kent Robinson]
C-main lineup
(12 laps; top four transfer to B-main)
Row 1: Rob Toland, Jake O’Neil
Row 2: Matt Furman, Chad Madher
Row 3: Ricky Thornton Jr., Ricky Weiss
Row 4: Chad Holladay, Jason Utter
Row 5: Justin Duty, Dave Eckrich
Row 6: Morgan Bagley, Mike Fryer
Row 7: Joel Callahan, Nick Marholf
Row 8: Mason Zeigler, Kerry King Sr.
Row 9: Ryan Unzicker, John Duty
D-main lineup
(10 laps; top four transfer to C-main)
Row 1: Jared Hawkins, Dale McDowell
Row 2: Spencer Directs, Donny Schatz
Row 3: Rob Moss, Jesse Sobbing
Row 4: Ryan Gustin, Al Humphrey
Row 5: Jay Johnson, Colton Flinner
Row 6: Mitch McGrath, Charlie McKenna
Row 7: Doug Sanders, Brian Ledbetter

Heat race results

First heat finish (top three transfer): Jimmy Owens, Rodney Sanders, Don O’Neal, Mike Marlar, R.C. Whitwell, Frank Heckenast Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Morgan Bagley, Mason Zeigler, Rob Moss, Doug Sanders, Jared Hawkins.

Second heat finish (top three transfer): Steve Francis, Brent Larson, Bobby Pierce, Billy Moyer Jr., Chad Simpson, Vic Hill, Rob Toland, Ricky Thornton Jr., Joel Callahan, Spencer Diercks, Brian Ledbetter, Ryan Gustin.

Third heat finish (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Mars, Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb, Ray Guss Jr., Chad Holladay, Matt Furman, Justin Duty, Jay Johnson, Mitch McGrath.

Fourth heat finish (top three transfer): Billy Moyer, Shane Clanton, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson, Tim Lance, Dave Eckrich, Nick Marolf, Jason Utter, Jesse Sobbing, Colton Flinner.

Fifth heat finish (top three transfer): Gregg Satterlee, Chris Simpson, Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans, Rich Bell, Kent Robinson, Jake O’Neil, Chad Mahder, John Duty, Donny Schatz, Al Humphrey.

Sixth heat finish (top three transfer): Jason Rauen, Josh Richards, Jason Feger, Earl Pearson Jr., Joey Moriarty, Nick Hoffman, Ricky Weiss, Mike Fryer, Kerry King Jr., Dale McDowell, Charlie McKenna.

Heat race lineups

(12 laps; top three transfer to A-main)
First heat
Row 1: Rodney Sanders, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: R.C. Whitwell, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 3: Ryan Unzicker, Jared Hawkins
Row 4: Don O’Neal, Mike Marlar
Row 5: Rob Moss, Morgan Bagley
Row 6: Mason Zeigler, Doug Sanders
Second heat
Row 1: Brent Larson, Spencer Diercks
Row 2: Steve Francis, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr., Rob Toland
Row 4: Bobby Pierce, Chad Simpson
Row 5: Ryan Guston, Joel Callahan
Row 6: Vic Hill, Brian Ledbetter
Third heat
Row 1: Ray Guss Jr., Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Chad Holladay, Brandon Sheppard
Row 3: Jimmy Mars, Matt Furman
Row 4: Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb
Row 5: Justin Duty, Jay Johnson
Row 6: Mitch McGrath
Fourth heat
Row 1: Tim Lance, Jesse Sobbing
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Jason Utter
Row 3: Billy Moyer, Shane Clanton
Row 4: Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson
Row 5: Dave Eckrich, Nick Marolf
Row 6: Colton Flinner
Fifth heat
Row 1: Rich Bell, Gregg Satterlee,
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Donny Schatz
Row 3: Tyler Erb, Chad Mahder
Row 4: Jake O’Neil, Chris Simpson
Row 5: Kent Robinson, Al Humphrey
Row 6: John Duty
Sixth heat
Row 1: Jason Feger, Jason Rauen
Row 2: Nick Hoffman, Joey Moriarty
Row 3: Ricky Weiss, Dale McDowell
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Josh Richards
Row 5: Mike Fryer, Kerry King Jr.
Row 6: Charlie Mckenna

Pre-race notes

Weather conditions for the Knoxville Nationals opener have been gorgeous throughout the day — partly sunny skies and temperatures around 80 — but heavy rain is looming off to the northwest. Forecasts are calling for rain chances to increase steadily from 10 p.m. onward, so track and Lucas Oil Series officials said during the drivers’ meeting that they will be in “rain mode” to hurry the show along. … The 69-car field is up six from 2015’s turnout. … Hot off becoming the youngest World 100 in history last Saturday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., is in the Knoxville Nationals field for the second time in his career. His only previous appearance was in 2012 when, as an upstart 15-year-old, he failed to qualify for any of the weekend’s features. … Wisconsin team owner J.R. Haley is fielding a two-car effort with Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., behind the wheel of a Club 29 Race Car and Chad Mahder of Eau Claire, Wis., driving a Rocket machine. … Ricky Weiss of Headingly, Manitoba, has Knoxville Nationals experience, but his car owner/teammate, Vic Hill of Mosheim, Tenn., is making his first-ever competitive visit to Knoxville. “I’m actually closer to home than they are for once,” said Weiss, who has spent the season working in Hill’s shop in the Volunteer State. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., is debuting a new Capital Race Car that sports a yellow-dominated paint scheme. … Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., is making his last Knoxville start as he plans to retire at the end of the 2016 season. … WoO Sprint Car star Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D., has a new, brightly-colored wrap on his Rocket Dirt Late Model, which the Knoxville expert will enter in Thursday night’s action. He has WoO Sprint Car events on Friday and Saturday, however, so, barring assistance from Mother Nature, he won’t be in the fields on Friday and Saturday. … Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga, is making his first Knoxville Nationals start since he finished 11th in the inaugural event in 2004 and his first visit to the track since a 2007 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series show. … There’s a healthy list of first-time Knoxville Nationals participants, including Hill, Mahder, Texan Tyler Erb, Floridian Kyle Bronson, Arizona’s Jake O’Neil, Iowa’s Jesse Sobbing and North Carolina drivers Nick Hoffman, Brian Ledbetter and Doug Sanders. … The tire rule for the weekend mandates the use of Hoosier LM-20, LM-40 or WRS-55 tires  on the front and LM-40 or WRS-55 tires on the rear.

Pre-race setup

The 13th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store kick off Thursday night with the first of two preliminary nights at the famed Knoxville Raceway, a half-mile fairgrounds oval best known for hosting sprint car racing.

Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. CT, followed by time trials and the evening's racing action.

Tonight’s racing card features a complete program with time trials and most likely six heat races, a D-Main, C-Main, B-Main and 25-lap A-Main paying $7,000 to win. Drivers accrue points based on performances each time they hit the track to set the lineups for Saturday’s final night of action.

Friday’s program is identical to Thursday’s. Drivers will use their best points night — not combined points — to see where they stand for Saturday’s alphabet soup of features, which are topped by the 100-lap A-Man paying $40,000 to win. Twenty-four drivers will be locked directly into Saturday night’s headliner at the conclusion of Friday’s action, with the remainder positioned in Saturday’s D- (if necessary), C- and B-Mains.

Time trial results

Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Group A
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 17.596
Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 17.729
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 17.881
Rob Toland (39), Davenport, Iowa, 17.933
Dennis Erb Jr. (28e), Carpentersville, Ill., 17.936
Jared Hawkins (1H), Fairmont, W.Va., 17.987
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 17.995
Matt Furman (51), Portland, Ore., 18.024
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 18.030
Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 18.042
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 18.097
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99JR), Frankfort, Ill., 18.182
Ricky Thornton Jr. (33x), Chandler, Ariz., 18.197
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 18.209
R.C. Whitwell (96T), Tucson, Ariz., 18.212
Billy Moyer Jr. (21JR), Batesville, Ark., 18.248
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 18.263
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 18.288
Spencer Diercks (29D), Davenport, Iowa, 18.330
Darrell Lanigan (15), Union, Ky., 18.350
Rodney Sanders (20x), Happy, Texas, 18.386
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 18.422
Ray Guss Jr. (12), Milan, Ill., 18.539
Rob Moss (1M), Iowa City, Iowa, 18.558
Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 18.638
Justin Duty (15x), Portland, Ore., 18.653
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 18.683
Joel Callahan (40), Dubuque, Iowa, 18.725
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 18.921
Vic Hill (1), Morristown, Tenn., 19.025
Chad Holladay (32c), Muscatine, Iowa, 19.080
Mitch McGrath (74M), Waukeshaw, Wis., 19.089
Jay Johnson (93), West Burlington, Iowa, 19.177
Doug Sanders (42), McAdenville, N.C., 19.753
Brian Ledbetter (07), Dallas, N.C., 20.199
Group B
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 17.644
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 17.728
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 17.805
Jake O’Neil (J0), Tucson, Ariz., 17.859
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 17.866
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 17.902
Chad Madher (33c), Eau Claire, Wis., 17.944
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 17.946
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 18.061
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverley, Texas, 18.094
Ricky Weiss (7), Headingley, Manitoba, 18.122
Jason Utter (31), Columbus Junction, Iowa, 18.158
Donny Schatz (15), Fargo, N.D., 18.191
Joey Moriarty (51M), Phoenix, Ariz., 18.231
Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairsville, Ga., 18.233
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 18.251
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 18.290
Nick Hoffman (2H), Mooresville, N.C., 18.334
Jesse Sobbing (99), Malvern, Iowa, 18.346
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 18.358
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 18.363
Tim Lance (48L), Brimfield, Ill., 18.374
Rich Bell (21B), Sheffield, Ill., 18.442
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 18.553
Dave Eckrich (58), Oxford, Iowa, 18.568
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 18.641
Mike Fryer (54), Freeport, Ill., 18.841
Nick Marolf (33), Moscow, Iowa, 18.895
Al Humphrey (6H), Giltner, Neb., 19.182
Kerry King Sr. (0KB), Delmar, Del., 19.223
Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., 19.318
John Duty (5D), Portland, Ore., 19.357
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., no time
Charlie McKenna (22c), Clear Lake, Iowa, no time

Feature lineup

Row 1: Sheppard, Moyer
Row 2: Mars, Clanton
Row 3: Pierce, Richards
Row 4: O’Neal, Simpson
Row 5: Francis, T. Erb
Row 6: Owens, Davenport
Row 7: Lanigan, Satterlee
Row 8: Sanders, Rauen
Row 9: Larson, Feger
Row 10: Marlar, McCreadie
Row 11: Babb, Pearson
Row 12: Bronson, D. Erb

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