Knoxville Nationals - Race Recaps From the Past (1970-1979)

By 1970, the Amoco Knoxville Nationals was the summer's biggest dirt track race. During the decade, the event began to see trends that still occur in the modern era of the event. Joe Saldana made up for a disappointing second in 1967 by winning...

By 1970, the Amoco Knoxville Nationals was the summer's biggest dirt track race. During the decade, the event began to see trends that still occur in the modern era of the event. Joe Saldana made up for a disappointing second in 1967 by winning the 1970 event after being the fastest qualifier and winner of Thursday's preliminary feature. In 1971, Jan Opperman, a transplanted Californian that called Pennsylvania home, won the National Championship after also being the fastest qualifier at the event. Kenny Weld returned to victory lane at Knoxville in 1972 and 1973 in the now-famous Bob Wiekert #29 repeating his back-to-back wins of 1964 and 1965 becoming the first four-time winner. In 1974, Dick Gaines from Indiana narrowly beat 1971 Knoxville Champion Jan Opperman to win Karl Kinser his first Knoxville crown. Eddie Leavitt continued the back-to-back trend by winning the 1975 and 1976 Nationals. Doug Wolfgang picked up where Leavitt left off by winning the 1977 and 1978 Nationals, winning in '77 while driving for longtime Knoxville car-owner Bob Trostle. Ron Shuman closed the decade with a thrilling Knoxville victory in 1979 driving for Gary Stanton and beating Randy Smith to the checkered flag.

In the decade, the event produced five new winners and three drivers won consecutive races. The winner's share grew from $3,000 to $5,000 while the overall purse jumped from $20,400 to $61,000.

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Series World of Outlaws