Shane Stewart makes last lap pass to win Knoxville Nationals qualifier
Stewart ties Madsen for second in points; Schatz takes the lead and the pole in Saturday’s A main.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa - Aug. 8, 2014 - One lap is all Shane Stewart led at Friday night's qualifying feature for the FVP Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey's General Stores, but it was the one that mattered.
Stewart, who has one World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series win on the season at Eldora Speedway in May, started the feature Friday night in sixth and after working his way through the field, passed Kraig Kinser on the final lap for the win.
"I was able to keep up with (Kraig) doing (running on the bottom in) one and two and it just worked out for me," Stewart said. "My car was good. The time trials are stressful and of course making it through the heat races is stressful. I feel like if you could do both of those, the A main is crucial, but it's not as crucial. I was going to be happy with running second and it just played out well for me."
"Anytime you can turn right off them scales, there's no better feeling. Just really, really happy for my guys; really happy for Kick-It and GoPro and Justin and Kyle."
Starting from the front row tomorrow, Stewart said tonight's win was great momentum for his team and that he feels like they will be in a position to win the Knoxville Nationals on Saturday night.
We've got a situation where we don't know what we have going into Knoxville or we're not where we'd like to be...
"I honestly feel like if I can put myself in a position to win it - I really feel like we have a good shot. I know 50 laps is a long race. We're with a great group of cars this year. All those guys are going to be really hard to beat. I feel like if all our stars are in line, I feel like I can finish tomorrow on top of the podium."
Kinser and Mark Dobmeier led the field to the green flag with Kinser leading the first lap. Though Kinser maintained the lead, the two battled through much of the feature. Farther back, Stewart, who started in sixth, was working his way through the field.
By the first caution on lap two, Stewart had moved to fourth and was able to pass David Gravel on the restart to take over the third position. Stewart set his sights on Dobmeier in second and by lap 13 was fighting for the position. Eight laps later, Stewart took over the second spot after a side-by-side battle with Dobmeier.
One final caution flew with three to go giving Stewart the opportunity he needed. Kinser held the lead for the first lap as Stewart looked for a way around. As Kinser took the white flag, he went high as Stewart looked low. Stewart was able to make it stick and complete the pass on the bottom.
"I heard him on that restart," said Kinser, who finished second in his Mesilla Valley Transportation car. "I wasn't getting the best restarts. I just couldn't get it taken off. I thought he was on the outside of me. I just came up trying to block the line. I felt good at the top when I was in traffic. I thought I would run around the top and opened the door for him and he was right there."
Kinser said his performance Friday night gave him confidence going into Saturday.
"We've got a situation where we don't know what we have going into Knoxville or we're not where we'd like to be," Kinser said. "I've gotten away with some good finishes so hopefully we continue it. We've got a decent starting spot for the A main and we'll go from there and see how we do tomorrow."
Dobmeier, who battled with Donny Schatz throughout much of the feature, said he figured out too late that he could make his Senske & Son Transfer car work on the bottom.
"Right before that (final) caution, (Schatz) showed me he was a little bit better there on the bottom he got by me but luckily the yellow came out so I was able to get my spot back," Dobmeier said. "Off the restart I didn't know if these two were going to go to the bottom or what but I had a good car up top. So they both went to the bottom and I had to take a runner on top. After that I got down on the bottom and found I was pretty good down there. I was actually kicking myself I wasn't down on the bottom more in that race. My crew, everybody gave me a good car."
Donny Schatz leads the Knoxville Nationals points heading into Saturday with Shane Stewart in second, Kerry Madsen in third, Brian Brown in fourth and Paul McMahan in fifth. The top-20 starting positions in Saturday's A main are now set.
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series returns to action Saturday morning at Knoxville Raceway. All of Friday's events, including the SPEED SPORT Knoxville World Challenge will be run prior to Saturday's regularly scheduled show.
World of Outlaws
Brian Brown takes night one at the FVP Knoxville Nationals
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz takes eighth Knoxville Nationals