Below are the rankings after the 15th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway last weekend.
Jimmy Owens took home $40,000 Saturday night on the famed ½ mile. The Newport, Tennessee driver has Durham Racing Engines under the hood of his Integra Shocks, Rocket Chassis #20. This was Owens first late model Championship at Knoxville. He has won some preliminaries but never got the big check at the end of the week. He has always been a contender each and every year at Knoxville, and this week he was fast every night and the key was he finished.
Action kicked off Thursday night and 57 Super Late Model teams were on hand for the event. Scott Bloomquist was the quickest qualifier by 6/10 of a second. Tyer Erb was the victor on Thursday with Earl Pearson Jr, and Chad Simpson rounding out the top 3. Erb was very good in his Rocket Chassis #91 and had a tough battle with Mason Ziegler midway thru the race. Pearson finished second but not without some drama he damn near cleaned Simpson’s clock on the final lap. Simpson held on and gained his composure to finish third. He was not happy with Pearson afterwards and Earl owned up to his mistake.
Friday it was Brandon Sheppard coming from the B-Main to take home the win. It was a great race and Sheppard was on a mission in the Rocket House Car. Frankie Heckenast led most of the feature and probably would have won the race if the caution would not had come out with just 3 laps left. Brandon got a great restart and Frankie was basically a sitting duck. Don O’Neal finished third in the Clint Bowyer Peak Club 29 race car.
Saturday Championship Finale if you asked 10 people who was going to win the race half would have said Sheppard and the other half would have said Bloomquist. 100 lap features it just hard to bet against Scott especially on the big tracks. Scott, don’t get me wrong was solid all weekend but just never seemed to get a handle on his machine in the features. His car was good in the middle and bottom but if the top was a dominant line the Mooresburg, Tennessee driver was in a little trouble. Sheppard led early and looked to be the car to beat and Bobby Pierce was making some noise of his own coming from mid pack. Bobby was definitely putting on a show running up front with the leaders Sheppard, Pearson, and Owens. He was killing the cushion as always til it finally bit him while racing for the lead. He still managed to finish just outside the top five finishing 7th. Sheppard finished 6th not was he was looking for but not bad after making a late pit stop. Brian Shirley was making some noise of his own Squirrel finished 3rd in the consolation race and just seemed to race a smart race and was sneaky fast. Brian came home 5th in the feature and what a year he has had. This was his 3rd top five in Crown Jewels this year, the Show-Me 100, Cedar Lake, and now Knoxville. Shirley spent his entire Saturday under his #3s machine trying to get some speed and get it to turn.
Scott Bloomquist finished 4th Saturday night at Knoxville, I am sure he was not happy but sometime its just not your night. Josh Richards also came from deep in the field to finish third in his Best Performance Rocket Chassis. Josh and Shirley had similar Knoxville trip, both had high expectations and were not good out of the gate and struggled both preliminary nights before hitting the setup to a solid finish.
Tyler Erb, Chad Simpson, and Earl Pearson Jr all were inside of the top ten. Most disappointing drives of the week had to be Jonathan Davenport and Tim McCreadie. Davenport never looked fast all weekend the team, and TMAC was caught up in a crash with Gregg Satterlee and Kyle Bronson Saturday night. It has been a very tough year for the New Yorker especially after the season he had a year ago.
The biggest surprise of the weekend had to be NO Mike Marlar. The Two-Time Champ and defending event winner was a no show. The team was re-grouping after a crash at Eldora.
Knoxville Saturday night had a support class that featured the Malvern Super Late Models in an invitation only. 30 cars were in the pits and they did not disappoint it was a great battle between Nebraska drivers Kyle Berck and Ted Popisill. The two raced each other hard and at the checkers by half a car length it was Ted Popisill taking home the $4,000. I have a feeling they will be back next year it was a great show.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend at Knoxville, and Saturday had to be one of the biggest crowds they have ever had for the event. Great job to Kendra and her staff at Knoxville who continue to build the event this is one of the best purses of the year it tops $400,000.
Other news this past week included Michael Page, Eddie Carrier Jr, and Ricky Weiss all taking home $10,000. Page won the Southern National event at North Georgia, Carrier won at Richmond, Kentucky, and Weiss won at I-94 in Minnesota.
This coming weekend both the World of Outlaws and Lucas Series will be in action. The World of Outlaws will be in New York and the Lucas Series will invade the Hoosier state for the Jackson 100 at Brownstown, Illinois for $20,000 to win.
Local action has a pair of $5,000 to win event this weekend. Peoria is Saturday and LaSalle is Sunday evening.
StlRacing.com Top 25 Super Dirt Late Model Rankings 9.20.2018
1 Brandon Sheppard
2 Scott Bloomquist
3 Jonathan Davenport
4 Jimmy Owens
5 Mike Marlar
6 Bobby Pierce
7 Chris Madden
8 Dale McDowell
9 Earl Pearson Jr.
10 Brian Shirley
11 Ricky Weiss
12 Josh Richards
13 Shannon Babb
14 Tim McCreadie
15 Don O’Neal
16 Tyler Erb
17 Gregg Satterlee
18 Brandon Overton
19 Devin Moran
20 Hudson O’Neal
21 Billy Moyer
22 Darrell Lanigan
23 Chris Simpson
24 Dennis Erb Jr.
25 Shane Clanton
Enjoy the races and keep supporting your local dirt tracks !!