KNOXVILLE, IA - Blake Feese left the Marion County Fairgrounds with a bad taste in his mouth following a disappointing performance in the 41st annual Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals. He drove home hoping that he'd get a chance for redemption,...
KNOXVILLE, IA - Blake Feese left the Marion County Fairgrounds with a bad taste in his mouth following a disappointing performance in the 41st annual Amoco Ultimate Knoxville Nationals. He drove home hoping that he'd get a chance for redemption, and on Saturday night, he got his chance and took full advantage of it by leading all 20 laps and winning his first career feature at the legendary Knoxville Raceway.
"What a great feeling this is to win at Knoxville," said Feese, following the $3000 victory. "To be able to pull a way from a driver like Don Droud there at the end was pretty tough, but tonight was our night. I have to thank Raymond Hensley and Eldon Dorn for giving me a chance in their car. We've driven four different cars this year and finally have our first win."
Feese, who has been a "replacement driver" for the past month, was behind the wheel the of Eldon Dorn's #1F Maxim for only the second night following his third place finish on Friday night at Red Cedar Speedway in Menominee (WI) in an IRA program. Feese qualified 12th in the field of 32 cars when he turned a lap of 15.933 sec (112.97 mph). He finished fifth in the third heat race and earned the poll position for the 20-lap feature.
Feese took the lead from the drop of the green and pulled away from the field. The 19 year-old driver did have to endure two yellow flags and one red, allowing Don Droud, Jr. a chance to close the gap. On the final restart with two laps to go, Droud made his move low in turns one and two, but Feese had the momentum around the top and he pulled away during the final two laps to claim the win by 10 car lengths.
"Anybody could have driven this thing," Feese said. "I figured with the late restart that somebody would make a run at me, so I just tried to keep the car as steady as possible. There have been some tough nights for us this year, but this one certainly helps. I can't believe I've won a race at this track where so many other great drivers have also won. I'll remember this for a long time."
Feese won three feature races in 2000 (two IRA main events at PowerCom and one at Hartford Speedway) in his family's #1f Maxim, but has been limited to only about 20 starts in 2001. He drove Kenny Mulligan's #3 sprinter in the East Bay Winternationals and the Channellock Challenge before he subbed for Brian Paulus in the Verdelli Farms #28 with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws at Williams Grove, Hagerstown, Eldora and the Nationals. Saturday was the second night of action for Feese in the Contract Furnishings #1.
"I knew that we were better than what we showed at the Nationals," said Feese. "Everything happens for a reason I guess. It's just like in Florida in February when we were running second to Joey Saldana and the fuel pump bolts backed out and shut the motor off. We've had a lot of bad luck all year, but tonight everything went our way. I just hope we can keep this momentum going no matter what car I'm driving next."