Knoxville, Iowa - Jeff Shepard dominated the Pella Corporation 1200lb Nationals at Knoxville Raceway Saturday night to take a flag to flag victory in the 30-lap A-Main event and the $12,000 first place prize. The event was sanctioned by the All...
Knoxville, Iowa - Jeff Shepard dominated the Pella Corporation 1200lb Nationals at Knoxville Raceway Saturday night to take a flag to flag victory in the 30-lap A-Main event and the $12,000 first place prize. The event was sanctioned by the All Star Circuit of Champions, NCRA and Interstate Racing Association (IRA).
Driving the Ashworth owned Eagle Shepard started from pole position and led the field through the opening turn, only to have the green lights be replaced by red due to an incident involving Kim Mock on turn four.
At the complete restart he asserted his dominance on the event to open a 15 car-length lead over second placed, Dean Jacobs within two laps. This lead was reduced to eight car lengths as the lead pack tried different lines on the ever-changing race track.
As Shepard entered lapped traffic five laps later Skip Jackson spun in turn four bringing the race into caution. As the charging pack of Jacobs, Madsen and McMahon exchanged the minor positions at the restart Shepard opened an eight car-length lead within five laps.
The track continued to slicken off allowing Jacobs to close in on the race leader and attempt a pass on the outside of the 31-year-old, Shepard. Just at this point Dennis Moore Jr. contacted the wall to again bring the race to caution.
With a dozen laps remaining Shepard got a good restart on what was beginning to be a one-lane race track and within six laps had distanced himself by the length of the straight from the rest of the field. Shepard began to negotiate lapped traffic with four laps from the finish allowing Jacobs to close the gap to 10 car-lengths.
Shepard wasn't to be denied of the victory crossing the line 10 car-lengths clear to capture his first 1200 pound Nationals win and his first at the Knoxville Raceway. An elated Shepard finished the proceedings with a polish victory lap.
"The team needed this one as we have been struggling a bit lately. The track came to us and everything seemed to come together when it mattered," said an excited Shepard in victory lane.
"We had a soft 12 compound tire on for the feature and I felt the rubber coming out of turn three during the hot laps and therefore conserved a little during the opening half of the race.
"Just before that last restart I saw Jacobs look on the outside and thought it's time to win it or wear it, I didn't want to get to the end and finish second then realize that I had enough rubber left to take the win.
"From that point on I rolled the wing back and put the hammer down," Shepard concluded. Jacobs was second in the Baker Excavating No. 34 with Kerry Madsen third, Paul McMahan fourth in Warren Johnson's U-2 and NCRA driver Jason Johnson was fifth in Lanny Row's No. 41. Don Droud Jr. was sixth, followed by 12th starting Kelly Kinser, Travis Rilat, up from 19th starting spot, Blake Feese and Brooke Tatnell.
The cars of Calvin Landis, Danny Smith, and Whitney all failed to take the green. Brian Ellenberger joined the field as an alternate.
Kenny Jacobs hit the wall on the start and was unable to continue as Kim Mock tipped over at the same time in a different incident, but was able to restart at the tail after some repairs. McCarl changed both rear tires during the first red flag, thus started tail for the restart. Tatnell was the B Main winner, Leonard Lee won the C Main, Travis Cram was victorious in the D main and IRA driver Todd Hepfner won the E Main.