Knoxville Naitonals: Friday qualifying report

Shane Stewart Rolls to Knoxville Nationals Qualifying Night Victory Knoxville, IA -- August 12, 2005 -- Shane Stewart surged past Kerry Madsen on a restart four laps into the A-main Friday night and held off Brooke Tatnell to capture the...

Shane Stewart Rolls to Knoxville Nationals Qualifying Night Victory

Knoxville, IA -- August 12, 2005 -- Shane Stewart surged past Kerry Madsen on a restart four laps into the A-main Friday night and held off Brooke Tatnell to capture the checkered flag on the rain-delayed second qualifying night for the 45th Annual Knoxville Nationals.

Four-time and defending champion Danny Lasoski accumluated the most points after the two nights of qualifying. He leads Billy Alley by two points, Brian Paulus by three points and Kraig Kinser and Brooke Tatnell by five points.

In the 25-lap A-main Friday night, which was originally scheduled to run Thursday, Stewart started on the inside of Row 2 and followed Madsen to the lead in the first corner. Only four laps into the race, a caution flew when Josh Higday's car stopped in Turns 1 and 2.

Everybody in the top five tried to take advantage on the restart. Stewart shot past Madsen in the first turn, then Tatnell got by in the second corner. Lasoski followed, too, and those three set the pace the rest of the way.

With clear track in front of him, Stewart continued to distance himself from the field in his Rudeen Racing Maxim, which is decked out for the Nationals with a special paint scheme to honor sponsor Snap-On Tools' 85th anniversary. It didn't take long to catch lapped traffic again, and with 15 laps to go Tatnell was able to cut his deficit to about a half-second.

As the leaders picked their way through the field, fifth-place running Jason Johnson, a preliminary feature winner with the Outlaws last month at Williams Grove Speedway, appeared to have the motor in his car let go, bringing out another caution with eight laps to go.

That bunched the field and once again Stewart, from Bixby, Okla., motored to a big lead before catching the back of the pack with three laps to go. He smoothly worked through the traffic, clearly pushing his car as hard as he could on his way to Victory Lane at Knoxville Raceway for the second time in his career.

Tatnell, who was burning up the track in his newly painted flame-inspired Rush Racing Steel Dreams-sponsored Eagle, held on for second ahead of Lasoski, Billy Alley and Daryn Pittman, who later went on to win the Clean-O World Challenge in his Titan Racing Maxim. Madsen wound up in sixth, followed by six-time Knoxville Raceway champion Terry McCarl, Dean Jacobs, Kraig Kinser and Jeremy Campbell.

"That thing was just unbelievable," said Stewart, who is the leading contender for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. "Even when I was did my slide jobs it never would skate out from underneath me. It kept driving forward. To win a race of this caliber you have to have a car like that. I couldn't ask more from my crew. It's a big week for Snap-On Tools, Kevin Rudeen, all the Rudeen guys out west. My Wesmar engine was running good, the Hoosier tires, the Maxim chassis, everything was good.

"I can tell you right now, if I have a car like that, I can win the race. Somebody told me you have to be lucky here five times and that's true. You have to have a good number to qualify, you got to have a good heat race and the yellows have to work in your favor, which they have."

Aided by lapped traffic, Tatnell was beginning to reel in Stewart but the late caution gave Stewart clear track, making him nearly uncatchable.

"I think we would have been better without the yellow, but that's not to say we would have beat him, either," said Tatnell, a two-time A-feature winner on the World of Outlaws circuit this season. "He had times when he made lapped traffic moves and we didn't, and there were times when we did. But on a track like this, it's just like being on the end of a string. There's a pin point in the middle and you're just winging around it. Lapped traffic was going to be the only way that guys were going to pass each other unless you're just sliding each other. But if you make a slide on a guy and don't clear him, you're going to lose six or seven car lengths."

Pittman's strong run into the top-five, followed by an impressive run in the Clean-O World Challenge, has given his team a confidence boost heading into the final day of competition.

"We haven't been in the top five race-wise in the last five races we've run," Pittman said. "We have to figure out why we qualify so bad. We were good, but we're still a long way back in points.

"We have some motors running really good. We just got a new motor from Don Ott and it runs great. The car's working a lot better. We have a lot of confidence. We're just going to have to work a little harder than we really wanted to on Saturday."

After completing the Nationals, the series begins a swing to the West Coast Aug. 16 with a one-night show at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., before invading Billings Speedway on Aug.19-20 in Billings, Mont.; Grays Harbor Speedway Aug. 26-27 in Elma, Wash.; and Cottage Grove Speedway Aug. 30 in Cottage Grove, Ore.

KNOXVILLE NOTEBOOK

* Shane Stewart won the preliminary A-main Friday night at Knoxville Raceway, visiting Victory Lane with the Outlaws for the first time this season, making him the 21st different driver to do so. There have been 16 different A-feature winners. -- Steve Kinser earned his series-leading 16th A-feature victory by winning July 30th at Princeton Speedway. Kinser, the Kings Royal winner, also has a preliminary feature victory this season in the Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway. -- Kraig Kinser won at Lawrenceburg for his fifth A-feature victory of the season. He also has a preliminary feature win at Las Vegas. -- Jason Meyers earned his fourth win of the season July 2 at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D. -- Donny Schatz also has four A-feature victories, winning most recently on July 8 in Joliet, Ill. -- Tim Shaffer's victory July 19 in the Silver Cup was his third of the season, going with wins Lake Ozark Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway. -- Brian Paulus won June 28 at Huset's Speedway for his second victory of the season, and picked up a preliminary feature win in the following race at Red River Valley Speedway. -- Craig Dollansky has won two features, most recently at Powercom Park, and he also has two preliminary feature wins. -- Brooke Tatnell has two A-feature victories, winning at Cedar Lake and Fulton speedways, as well as a preliminary feature win at Princeton Speedway. -- Sammy Swindell won his second A-feature of the season June 4 at Eldora Speedway. Swindell also has a preliminary feature win April 8 at Eldora. -- Fred Rahmer won the Summer Nationals crown July 23 and picked up a preliminary feature win in the Knoxville Nationals on Aug. 10. -- Single-event winners include Jac Haudenschild on Aug. 5 at Eldora Speedway, Stevie Smith July 13 at Attica Raceway Park, Tim Kaeding June 11 at Sheboygan County Fair Park, Daryn Pittman April 23 at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Chad Kemenah July 9 at I-55 Raceway, and Jeff Shepard Feb. 11 at Volusia Speedway Park. -- In preliminary features, Danny Lasoski has won twice while Joey Saldana, Paul McMahan and Jason Johnson have each won once.

* Knoxville Raceway is a half-mile oval. Including preliminary features, the series has raced 25 times this year on half-mile circuits with Steve Kinser winning seven times (Volusia, Eldora three times, Knoxville, Williams Grove and Hartford), Sammy Swindell winning three times (twice at Eldora, once at Hagerstown), Craig Dollansky winning twice (Manzanita and Williams Grove), Kraig Kinser winning twice (Las Vegas, Knoxville), Jason Meyers winning twice (Granite City and Red River Valley), Donny Schatz winning twice (Las Vegas and Route 66 Raceway), Fred Rahmer winning twice (Williams Grove and Knoxville), and Brian Paulus (Red River Valley), Danny Lasoski (Knoxville), Jeff Shepard (Volusia), Jason Johnson (Williams Grove), Paul McMahan (Williams Grove), Jac Haudenschild (Eldora) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville) each winning once.

* In the B-main, Joey Saldana shot out to a quick lead with fast-qualifier Craig Dollansky in tow. Those two pulled out as Jason Solwold and Jason Meyers settled into third and fourth. Coming off a caution with five to go, Terry McCarl surged to fifth on the restart and on the final two laps traded the final transfer spot back and forth with Meyers. With two laps to go, McCarl slid by Meyers before Meyers shot back on the final lap in Turns 1 and 2. Meyers' momentum carried him high into Turns 3 and 4 as McCarl ducked to the inside and grabbed the last spot in the A-main by winning a drag race to the checkered flag behind winner Saldana, Dollansky and Solwold.

* In the C-main, Sammy Swindell powered to the lead and never was challenged, lapping cars left and right on only the third lap around the half-mile oval. Scott Neitzel wound up second as he and Swindell advanced to the B-main.

* Heat race winners included Travis Whitney, Jaymie Moyle, Dean Jacobs, Don Droud Jr., and Larry Ball Jr.

* Craig Dollansky paced the 58 cars that went through time trials with a lap around the half-mile oval timed by AMB i.t. at 15.782 seconds. Despite the cancellation of the program Friday night, Knoxville officials determined Terry McCarl's record-breaking qualifying run of 14.709 sWhen the Outlaws raced in April at Knoxville, Joey Saldana broke the track record by turning a lap in 14.908 seconds at 120.741 mph. Saldana will qualify on Thursday.

* There's no rest for the Outlaws after completing the Nationals. The series begins a swing to the West Coast Aug. 16 with a one-night show at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., before invading Billings Speedway on Aug.19-20 in Billings, Mont.; Grays Harbor Speedway Aug. 26-27 in Elma, Wash.; and Cottage Grove Speedway Aug. 30 in Cottage Grove, Ore.

* The Knoxville Nationals can be seen live from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern Saturday on SPEED Channel.

-woo-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Dean Jacobs , Jason Meyers , Joey Saldana , Kerry Madsen , Kraig Kinser , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Jac Haudenschild , Chad Kemenah , Tim Kaeding , Jason Johnson
Teams Williams