G ’day mates!
We have been really busy up here in the states and a few plans changed around here and there. I was all set to take a trip into the the Hall of Fame and share photos of the current displays. I wanted to do an interview with Glen Saville as he completes his rookie season at Knoxville and I will do that at a later time. The weekend I had planned this, a mate decided to come down that I hadn’t seen for some time. He brought a carton of amber fluid and well, you can pretty much figure out what happened after that. It was a good time to say the least but not good for doing any journalistic work. That was the race meeting on June 2 which was won by Danny Lasoski. He has been winning or toward the front of the field each time he has raced at Knoxville this season. Rumor here is that he may end up getting the ride in the Zemco #1z car in Pennsylvania which would limit his racing in Knoxville. (see later – Sam Hafertepe has been released from this ride) . We’ll see where that all ends up.
That nights racing had mostly single file heats but the A mains featured a lot of passing and a bit of controversy. At the start, Carson McCarl (from pole) got squirrely off the bottom of the track and pulled a big wheelie coming out of turn 4. The field stacked up a bit and ran 3 wide into the first turn. Carson was able to take the lead and lead the first few laps of the feature. On lap 3, a collision between JD Johnson and Lee Grosz sent Johnson’s car skyward and on top of the turn 3-4 wall. This was an unfortunate incident for Grosz as the first race of the year he was involved in a horrific crash where he too almost sailed out of turn one of the speedway. The photo below is of that wreck.
When the race restarted, Clint Garner had a very quick car and was moving toward the front of the field from 8th position on the restart. When trying to pass Jamie Ball on lap 7, he clipped the berm on the inside of turn three which pushed his car up the track toward Jamie. Jamie jumped the cushion and hit the wall, bending his rear end and sending him to the pits. Clint has been the fastest 360 all season and he apologized in victory lane for what happened. Some fans were probably unable to see that Clint had brushed the berm with his left front that sent his car up the track. He certainly didn’t try to take Jamie out. Clint passed Randy Martin for second after the restart and took the lead for good on Lap 9 from Carson McCarl. Carson was second with Randy Martin 3rd.
The 410 feature had some excellent racing and passing with some late race drama. Two visitors had issues in the preliminaries. Sam Hafertepe had recently been released from the Zemco 1z in PA. He had brought his own car to Knoxville but experienced engine issues and scratched for the night. Jason Johnson was testing the new Roush/Yates Ford 410 engine and suffered a peeled right front tire in his heat race. The peeled tire sent his car into the wall and he rolled over on the tail The Stenhouse racing team was able to make repairs and Jason had a good run in the A main coming from last to finish 8th. At the start of the A main, Josh Schneiderman took the lead with Mark Dobmeier and Rager Phillips in tow. A lap 3 restart allowed Dobmeier to get under Schneiderman with a big slide job in turn 3.
After the races were completed, we found our way back to the campground for more libations and a nice big fire to complete the racing weekend.
I had my class reunion this past weekend (June 9) so I was unable to attend the World of Outlaws race in Knoxville that was won by Australia’s own Kerry Madsen. From the video, Kerry took advantage of rubbering up track to pass Sammy Swindell on lap 7 and lead the rest of the way. Kerry’s right rear was almost completely bald telling the story of the track conditions. Ironically I ran into Sammy that evening while having a late night meal in a local Newton eatery. He was a little bummed out to come in second due to the track being one lane. My friend Eric Arnold reports that the heat racing was pretty good but during the B main you could see the track rubbering up in spots. His blog on the weekend’s events is linked below:
For the June 9 meeting the track started drying out in time trials. Unfortunately our weather here has been hotter than normal for several weeks and we have not had much in terms of rain. The Dunkin’s have done a great job with track prep all things considered. Brooke Tatnell made his Knoxville raceway debut in his own machine. He might be running up to 10 races in that car at Knoxville for the remainder of the season. Joey Saldana had quick time but was one of the first cars to take his time trial lap. Ian Madsen had a good run in his heat, winning over Donny Schatz, Craig Dollansky, and Danny Lasoski. Ian followed that up with a 3rd place finish in the dash and a 7th in the A main. Unfortunately Glen Saville and Lynton Jeffrey were unable to transfer to the A main from the B feature. Of course the big winner was Kerry Madsen who claimed his 3rd World of Outlaws victory of his career. Kerry qualified very well in 6th, had a strong heat race run from 3rd to 1st place and he won the dash to take the pole for the A main. He has had a lot of good runs but tough luck and some crashes have spoiled a few good finishes for him this season. Following Madsen home was Sammy Swindell, Brian Brown, Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet. Clint Garner won the 360 a main and has a commanding lead in their point standings.
This weekend (June 16) sees another weekly race at Knoxville. Our group will also commune in Newton Iowa the weekend of the June 23 for the Indy cars at the Iowa Speedway. I will have coverage of both events in the next blog – so watch out for that.