KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Sept. 13) — Team Zero shined on Friday at Knoxville Raceway, with Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Manitoba, outdueling fellow Bloomquist Race Car pilot Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., for a $7,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals preliminary feature victory.
The frontrunners working through heavy lapped traffic, Weiss slipped under Madden in turn two to assume the point on lap 16 of 25, leading the remaining distance for his second career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory, his first at Knoxville.
“It’s just awesome,” Weiss said in victory lane. “Never did we think we’d be in victory lane at Eldora (earlier this season). We didn’t get to capitalize on a big one, but we’re taking steps at it. After last night, we were happy with it. We knew we were locked in the show. We debated on switching cars tonight and trying something. (Crew chief) Shawn (Gage) didn’t want to. We knew this thing was good and he had confidence we could keep it in one piece.
“Every time we touch the track it gets better and better and better. I said (before the race) that I don’t mind if Chris (Madden) kind of sets the pace and takes off a little bit, which he did. He got a real good start and kind of floated the middle. We never seem to fire as good as those guys, but we’re there at the end. It was good to be able to learn off of him and watch where we were better and where he was struggling a little bit. I used to place this racetrack on a video game and now we’re here.”
Starting outside the front row, Madden charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag, the top three cars distancing themselves from rest of the field in the early running. As the frontrunners entered lapped traffic on the 11th circuit, second-running Weiss began closing in on Madden, attempting to slip past for the first time on lap 14.
The race leader’s pace slowed as he tried to get around a lapped car in turns one and two, Weiss capitalized, working the low groove to pull ahead of Madden down the backstretch and take the lead just past the halfway mark. From there, Weiss cruised to his sixth victory of the 2019 season.
“There was actually a couple of laps before that that I was beside him, but I didn’t want to pinch to the point where we might wreck both of us,” Weiss said. “So I kind of eased back and when he moved up to the middle there to try to pass that lapped car, I thought, ‘If I can just hold the bottom here.’
“I was a little snug into the corner and once we got around him I thought we were good until I got behind (Brian Birkhofer) there and I shot the air off the car. I shot way up the track. I opened the door wide enough that if he had something, he was going to stick it there. The next two laps I made sure I didn’t get off that bottom. It’s just awesome. This car’s been phenomenal since we unloaded here.”
Madden finished runner-up, with Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., charging from the 11th starting spot to run third. Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, finished fourth, with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., rounding out the top five.
Though he closed back in on Weiss in late-race lapped traffic, Madden was never able to challenge for the lead. But after failing to qualify for Thursday’s opener, he was still happy with his Friday performance.
“We had a good car for about half the race there and then I got extremely tight and we couldn’t turn across the middle there,” Madden said. “We were just trying to bide our own and hope we didn’t get into lapped traffic. I think we would have been okay. I got to a lapped car down here and he about put me in the infield there and I about spun out and that left the door open for Ricky. Overall, to have the night we had last night and bounce back and have the night we had tonight, I’m satisfied with it.”
Finishing a quiet 13th in Thursday’s opener, Friday’s run was also an improvement for Richards. He overtook Bruening in the final laps to round out the podium.
“I felt like we were running them down pretty good,” Richards said. “We had a fast car, I just had to hit it just right, rely on the cushion. But I had a lot of fun out there. That was more traditional, old school Knoxville. The ledge is out by the wall and it’s slick all the way across and you can carry speed wherever you want to go. I just had a lot of fun out there.”
Row 1: Ricky Weiss, Chris Madden
Row 2: Tyler Bruening, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Tyler Erb, Don O’Neal
Row 4: Scott Bloomquist, Chris Simpson
Row 5: Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal
Row 6: Josh Richards, Mike Mataragas
Row 7: Brian Birkhofer, Darrell Lanigan
Row 8: Shannon Babb, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 9: Ricky Thornton Jr., Jason Feger
Row 10: Jonathan Davenport, Shane Clanton
Row 11: Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens
Row 12: Kyle Bronson, Chad Simpson
Polesitter Jimmy Owens shot to the lead at the drop of the green flag, as Shane Clanton advanced from the fifth starting spot to overtake second-running Chad Simpson on the second lap. A yellow flag waved on the third lap when Jake Neal came to a stop in turn two. Another caution fell on the ensuing restart for a turn-one tangle involving J.C. Wyman and Charlie McKenna. Gaining momentum from the restart, Clanton slid ahead of Owens in turn two to lead the fifth lap. As Clanton began stretching his lead, Owens and Simpson raced side-by-side for second, Simpson nosing ahead at the line on lap seven. Rolling round the high side, Owens closed back in on Simpson, pulling ahead down the backstretch to retake second on the 13th circuit. A yellow flag flew on lap 13 when Brian Harris slowed in turn four, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Clanton led the final laps to win the consolation, with Owens finishing second. Simpson edged out Devin Moran to take the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Chad Simpson, Devin Moran, Jimmy Mars, Billy Moyer, Johnny Scott, Spencer Diercks, Mike Fryer, J.C. Wyman, Brian Harris, Dustin Nobbe, Charlie McKenna, Jake Neal, Jonathan Brauns. Scratched: Junior Coover, Billy Moyer Jr., Tim Simpson.
Front-row starters Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport raced side-by-side down the backstretch, with Davenport pulling ahead out of turn four to take an early lead. A yellow flag waved on the second lap when Jeremy Grady got into the wall in turn two. Daveport held his lead on the restart, with Tim McCreadie challenging second-running Sheppard. Rolling around the high side, Kyle Bronson closed in on McCreadie, the pair racing door-to-door for third when they crossed the line on the sixth lap. Davenport continued to show the way out front at the halfway mark, as Bronson attempted to reel in McCreadie after losing ground. Ninth-starting Stormy Scott joined the battle for the final transfer spot late-race, running a close fifth to Bronson and McCreadie. Davenport won the consolation, with Sheppard running second. Bronson finished third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Bronson, Stormy Scott, Tim McCreadie, Shanon Buckingham, Chase Junghans, Bobby Pierce, Nick Marolf, Dave Eckrich, Jeremiah Hurst, Cody Laney, Brent Larson, Chad White, Reid Millard, David Webster, Jeremy Grady. Scratched: Corey Zeitner.
(15 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Chase Junghans, Shanon Buckingham
Row 4: Jeremy Grady, Dave Eckrich
Row 5: Stormy Scott, Bobby Pierce
Row 6: Nick Marolf, Brent Larson
Row 7: Cody Laney, Reid Millard
Row 8: Jeremiah Hurst, Chad White
Row 9: Corey Zeitner, David Webster
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Chad Simpson
Row 2: Johnny Scott, Devin Moran
Row 3: Shane Clanton, Spencer Diercks
Row 4: Jake Neal, Jimmy Mars
Row 5: Billy Moyer, Jonathan Brauns
Row 6: Mike Fryer, J.C. Wyman
Row 7: Charlie McKenna, Dustin Nobbe
Row 8: Brian Harris, Billy MoyerJr.
Row 9: Tim Simpson, Junior Coover
Polesitter Jake Neal edged ahead of fellow front-row starter Frank Heckenast Jr. to lead the opening laps, with Heckenast rolling around the outside to assume the point on the third circuit. Sixth-starting Chad Simpson was on the move early, battling Neal and Mike Mataragas for third on the fifth lap. Heckenast began stretching his lead late-race, holding nearly a full straightaway advantage on the eighth lap. With Neal falling back, Hudson O’Neal began charging to the front, overtaking Simpson for third on lap nine. Heckenast won the heat, with Mataragas finishing second. O’Neal finished third to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top three transfer): Frank Heckenast Jr., Mike Mataragas, Hudson O’Neal, Chad Simpson, Johnny Scott, Jake Neal, J.C. Wyman, Brian Harris, Junior Coover.
Polesitter Jason Feger shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with sixth-starting Jimmy Owens challenging Dustin Nobbe for second in the opening laps. It was a tight battle at the front of the field early on, with Nobbe running a close second to Feger and Chris Madden and Shane Clanton racing side-by-side for third. Madden charged to second on the sixth lap, with a yellow flag waving on the seventh circuit when Nobbe slowed off the pace in the top of turn three. Madden began closing in on Feger on the restart, pulling ahead down the backstretch to lead the ninth lap. Owens and Don O’Neal raced door-to-door for third late-race, with O’Neal charging around the outside to overtake Feger for second on the white-flag lap. Madden won the heat, with O’Neal and Feger grabbing feature transfer spots.
Finish (top three transfer): Chris Madden, Don O’Neal, Jason Feger, Shane Clanton, Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer, Mike Fryer, Dustin Nobbe. Scratched: Tim Simpson.
Charging around the high side, outside polesitter Darrell Lanigan took an early lead, with Chris Simpson improving from sixth to fourth on the opening lap. A yellow flag waved on the second lap when Billy Moyer Jr. came to a stop in the top of turn one after sustaining heavy damage to his car. Second-running Dennis Erb Jr., challenged Lanigan on the restart before falling to Simpson on the fourth lap. After falling back early, Devin Moran began rallying around the high side at the halfway mark, challenging Simpson for second on the seventh lap. Erb powered back by Moran on the eighth lap, crossing the line side-by-side with second-running Simpson. Erb shot ahead of Simpson to take the second-place spot on the 10th circuit, with Lanigan continuing to hold a comfortable lead. Lanigan held off a charging Erb to win the heat, with Simpson taking the third and final transfer spot.
Finish (top three transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Simpson, Jimmy Mars, Devin Moran, Spencer Diercks, Jonathan Brauns, Charlie McKenna, Billy Moyer Jr.
The front-row starters raced side-by-side down the backstretch, with outside polesitter Brian Birkhofer pulling ahead out of turn four to lead the opening lap. Starting sixth, Tyler Erb quickly moved to the front of the field, challenging second-running Dave Eckrich on the third lap and taking the position on the following circuit. As the top-three cars distanced themselves from the field at the halfway mark, fourth-starting Ricky Weiss began closing in on Erb, grabbing the second-place spot on lap seven. Rolling around the bottom of the racetrack, Weiss slid ahead of Birkhofer out of turn two to lead the ninth lap. Birkhofer continued to slip back, with Erb regaining the second spot on the 10th circuit. Holding a half straightaway lead, Weiss won the heat, with Erb and Birkhofer rounding out the podium.
Finish (top three transfer): Ricky Weiss, Tyler Erb, Brian Birkhofer, Kyle Bronson, Dave Eckrich, Jeremy Grady, Brent Larson, Jeremiah Hurst. Scratched: David Webster.
Outside polesitter Josh Richards took and early lead, as Tyler Bruening and Shanon Buckingham battled for third in the opening laps. Pulling away from Buckingham, Bruening challenged second-running Ricky Thornton Jr., at the halfway mark, Bruening falling back after nearly making contact with Thornton in turn four on the eighth lap. Entering lapped traffic late-race, Richards continued to stretch his lead, winning the heat. Thornton ran second, with Bruening holding off a hard-charging Tim McCreadie on the final lap to finish third.
Finish (top three transfer): Josh Richards, Ricky Thornton Jr., Tyler Bruening, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Shanon Buckingham, Nick Marolf, Reid Millard, Corey Zeitner.
Polesitter Shannon Babb charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with Chase Junghans advancing from fourth to second on the opening lap. Sixth-starting Scott Bloomquist was on the move early, challenging third-running Earl Pearson Jr. on the third lap. Pearson nosed ahead at he line to overtake Junghans for second on the fourth lap, with Bloomquist grabbing third on the following circuit. Pearson and Bloomquist raced side-by-side for second at the halfway mark, with Bloomquist holding the advantage on lap seven. Closing in on Babb, Bloomquist and the race leader crossed the line door-to-door on the 10th circuit, with Bloomquist losing ground as the pair raced out of turn two. Babb held on to win the heat, with Bloomquist finishing second and Pearson running third.
Finish (top three transfer): Shannon Babb, Scott Bloomquist, Earl Pearson Jr., Chase Junghans, Jonathan Davenport, Story Scott, Bobby Pierce, Cody Laney, Chad White.
Heat race lineups
(12 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Shannon Babb, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Stormy Scott, Cody Laney
Row 5: Chad White
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Josh Richards
Row 2: Shanon Buckingham, Tyler Bruening
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard
Row 4: Nick Marolf, Corey Zeitner
Row 5: Reid Millard
Row 1: Dave Eckrich, Brian Birkhofer
Row 2: Jeremy Grady, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Brent Larson, Jeremiah Hurst
Row 5: David Webster
Row 1: Spencer Diercks, Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Devin Moran, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr., Chris Simpson
Row 4: Jimmy Mars, Charlie McKenna
Row 5: Jonathan Brauns
Row 1: Jason Feger, Dustin Nobbe
Row 2: Shane Clanton, Chris Madden
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Jimmy Owens
Row 4: Billy Moyer, Mike Fryer
Row 5: Tim Simpson
Row 1: Jake Neal, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 2: Mike Mataragas, Hudson O’Neal
Row 3: Johnny Scott, Chad Simpson
Row 4: Brian Harris, J.C. Wyman
Row 5: Junior Coover
After Thursday’s opening-night program was run under a threat of rain, Friday’s weather are absolutely gorgeous. Skies have turned sunny with a high temperature in the early 70s. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., is back racing a car sporting his conventional graphics scheme after his wildly popular Brewster Baker-inspired machine was sidelined by significant front end damage it sustained during Thursday’s feature. Davenport caught the track’s inside berm in turns one and two with such force that the Six Pack car’s front frame rail was broke off. … Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., is ready for action after a broken transmission while leading a Thursday heat forced him to scratch from further action. … Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., didn’t turn a lap on Thursday after his Sweeteners Plus-backed Longhorn house car was struck by terminal engine trouble during qualifying. For Friday’s program, his crew swapped to a freshened Cornett powerplant — the same engine that carried McCreadie to victory in June’s Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., when he was driving the K&L Rumley No. 6. Notable is that McCreadie is actually driving the Rumley mount this weekend, albeit with Sweeteners Plus No. 39 skin on it. … Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., is the only Thursday entrant who is not back for Friday competition. Engine woes knocked him out for the weekend. … Lucas Oil TV pit reporter Dave Argabright hosted a well-attended Q&A with Rocket Chassis house car owner Mark Richards and his driver, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., on Friday afternoon in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum on the Knoxville Raceway grounds.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals preliminary action continues Friday with another $7,000-to-win preliminary program. Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was the winner of Thursday’s opener.
Friday’s program will be identical to Thursday’s and will include hot laps, time trials, heat races (with an six-car inversion), consolations and the 25-lap main event. Drivers will earn points based on their performances over the first two nights of action, which will set the lineups for Saturday’s consolations and the 100-lap finale.
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 $40,000-to-win main event. Twenty-four drivers will be locked directly into Saturday night’s headliner at the conclusion of Friday’s program, with the remainder positioned in Saturday’s C- and B-Mains. DirtonDirt.com is offering live coverage of Thursday and Friday's prelims.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 18.009
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 18.189
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 18.262
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 18.295
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 18.349
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 18.406
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 18.465
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 18.468
Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 18.521
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 18.525
Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 18.540
Jeremy Grady (43), Story City, Iowa, 18.648
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 18.672
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 18.691
Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 18.739
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 18.756
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 18.790
Dave Eckrich (58), Oxford, Iowa, 18.831
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.869
Nick Marolf (33), Moscow, Iowa, 18.919
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 18.924
Cody Laney (32B), Torrance, Calif., 19.059
Corey Zeitner (6z), Bellevue, Neb., 19.486
Jeremiah Hurst (58), Dubuque, Iowa, 19.515
Chad White (20w), Saint Joseph, Mich., 19.621
Reid Millard (14R), Jefferson City, Mo., 20.343
David Webster (44w), Monroe, Wis., no time
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 18.212
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 18.290
Chad Simpson (1), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 18.301
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 18.398
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 18.420
Johnny Scott (1st) Las Cruces, N.M., 18.423
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 18.438
Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 18.486
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 18.568
Devin Moran (1), Dresden, Ohio, 18.618
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 18.640
Mike Mataragas (1m), DeKalb, Ill., 18.848
Darrell Lanigan (29), Union, Ky., 18.883
Dustin Nobbe (5N), Batesville, Ind., 18.916
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 18.943
Spencer Diercks (29D), Davenport, Iowa, 18.979
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 19.000
Jake Neal (14J), Omaha, Neb., 19.045
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 19.112
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 19.128
Brian Harris (99), Davenport, Iowa, 19.190
Charlie McKenna (22C), Clear Lake, Iowa, 19.318
Mike Fryer (54), Freeport, Ill., 19.330
J.C. Wyman (4W), Griswold, Iowa, 19.526
Jonathan Brauns (22B), Muscatine, Ill., 19.866
Tim Simpson (17), Iowa City, Iowa, 20.068
Junior Coover (10C), Norfolk, Neb., 20.091
6:15 p.m.: Drivers meeting
6:45 p.m.: Hot laps
7:30 p.m: Time trials
- Heat races (12 laps)
- B-mains (15 laps)
- Feature (25 laps)