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Knoxville Nationals notes

NOTES FROM THE 34TH ANNUAL KNOXVILLE NATIONALS By Richard Day Kenny Jacobs entered the 34th Annual Knoxville Nationals in need of a new helmet. He heaved his old one in the stands at Eldora ...

NOTES FROM THE 34TH ANNUAL KNOXVILLE NATIONALS By Richard Day Kenny Jacobs entered the 34th Annual Knoxville Nationals in need of a new helmet. He heaved his old one in the stands at Eldora Speedway after claiming the $100,000 first prize in "The Historic Big One" the weekend before. When asked why he did it, he said, "I've just always wanted to do that after a big win" ... Jacobs had even more to be proud of Tuesday night when his daughter, Jennifer, was selected runner-up in the annual Nationals Queen contest. Judges Jeff Olson of the Des Moines Register, five-time Knoxville Raceway champion Danny Lasoski, Sammy Swindell's wife Amy, Ms. Motorsports Summer Smith, Jeff Grummer and Linda Hillyer selected Kerry Visser the 1994 Queen of the Nationals ... An opening-day rumor at the Knoxville Nationals was that Richard Petty would announce that he was hiring Steve Kinser to drive his #43 STP Pontiac on the 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup tour and that Andy Hillenburg would drive an STP entry in NASCAR's Busch Grand National series. Neither announcement was made during the "Pair of Kings" press conference at Knoxville Raceway's press facility. Petty heard the rumor, and had a little fun with it, putting his arm around Kinser and saying, "I have one," when asked who he would hire as his driver for the 1995 season ... A crash during the Jayhawk Nationals Monday helped the #47 Casey's General Stores Maxim team whether Lasoski would drive its current car or build a new one for the Knoxville Nationals. "The Dude" was glad to be in a new sprinter Friday when he won the Vivarin Pole Position Scramble race. He announced that he would be racing the #47 full-time with the World of Outlaws in 1995 ... Knoxville Raceway residents often open their homes to out-of-town visitors during Nationals week. Mayor Mike Cunningham had the most beautiful of visitors, Ms. Motorsports Summer Smith, staying in the Mayor's Mansion ... Billy Pauch, a living legend in northeastern modified racing circles, met the press during the annual Knoxville Nationals Press Luncheon, saying "Nothing compares to racing a sprint car on dirt" ... World of Outlaws President Ted Johnson, another featured speaker at the press luncheon, emphasized the need for promoters to put money back into their racing facilities like Knoxville Raceway has. He added that the World of Outlaws would never race on asphalt again ... Knoxville Raceway Racing Director Ralph Capitani announced Thursday that the Nationals' 35th Anniversary event in 1995 will feature a $500,000 purse, with $100,000 being paid to the winner ... Mark Kinser's crew, with the help of Workin' Woody co-pilots Art and Carol Malies, replaced two engines in the #5M Maxim before the heat races Thursday night. "I don't think if we've ever gone through three engines in 10 laps before in my career," the discouraged Kinser said ... Mark's second cousin, Steve Kinser, was discouraged Friday night when he raced into second place in the Vivarin Pole Scramble race only to be disqualified when the #11 Valvoline Maxim lost its muffler. "I don't know when or where Kinser lost his muffler, but it wasn't there when we inspected the car after the race, so we had no other choice but to disqualify him. Those are the rules" ... When asked how he felt about starting Saturday's championship feature next to his brother, Sammy, Jeff Swindell said, "In the two features I've won this year, Sammy and I have raced wheel-to-wheel for at least half the race and we haven't had any problems." He added that he didn't expect anything like the Bodine brothers controversy in NASCAR's Brickyard 400 ... The annual World of Outlaws Benevolent Fund softball game pitting World of Outlaws officials, sponsors and car owners against the drivers raised $6,000 - more than doubled the amount raised last year ... Diamond P Sports video-taped the Knoxville Nationals for the eighth consecutive year. Two separate 90-minute shows Diamond P produced will be telecast on TNN: The Nashville Network's "American Sports Cavalcade" program starting on September 4th at 5 p.m. (EDT). The other two shows featuring the preliminary programs will be aired on October 9th at 5 p.m. (EST) and on December 11th at midnight (EST). The show featuring the championship racing program will also be shown three times - on September 11th at midnight (EDT), on October 2nd at 5 p.m. (EST) and on November 6th at midnight (EST) ... Randy Hannagan, the Ecowater Fast-Time Award winner on opening night and the 19th-place finisher in Saturday's championship feature, was voted the 1994 Rookie of the Nationals. Hannagan, the defending San Jose Speedway champion, announced that he will follow the World of Outlaws tour on a full-time basis in 1995 ... Al Hamilton's #77 MAC Tools team received the "Best Appearing Crew" award. Jack Elden's #22 Pennzoil crew finished second, while the Motter Brothers' #71M Ecowater team ranked third in the voting ... Greg Hodnett, the Non-Qualifiers' Feature winner, passed seven cars to finish third in the "C" Feature, 19 for a third-place run in the "B" and roared past 18 cars to finish fifth in the championship feature Saturday night. He received the Hard-Charger Award for driving the #8TW Kele & Associates Maxim past 44 sprinters in the three races ... A plane circled Knoxville Raceway early in Saturday's feature racing program pulling the message, "Not again ... Please not Kinser again!" The airborne, anti-Kinser messages, an annual occurrence at the Nationals in recent years, haven't kept "The King of the Outlaws" from winning the last three championships ... STP's Chuck Spicer was at Des Moines International Airport to board a plane to Brooklyn, MI, for the GM Goodwrench Dealers 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Michigan International Speedway Saturday when he decided to stay for the Nationals' championship racing program. STP racer Andy Hillenburg didn't make him regret his decision, coming back from a crash in hot laps to finish fourth in the main event ... Hillenburg has hired Brian Sperry to help his crew prepare the #2 STP J&J. The former crew chief of Jeff Gilliam's #1 Bull & Hannah's Jenkins team officially became a member of Hillenburg's team Tuesday when the World of Outlaws opened its Wild Wild Northwest Tour at Magic City Speedway in Billings, MT. WoO *eof

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