'The King' Wins Nationals Preliminary With Late Pass KNOXVILLE, IA (August 14) - "They don't call him 'the King' for nothing," Wayne Johnson yelled to the crowd after losing the lead to Steve Kinser during a 24th-lap caution Thursday in the ...
'The King' Wins Nationals Preliminary With Late Pass
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 14) - "They don't call him 'the King' for nothing," Wayne Johnson yelled to the crowd after losing the lead to Steve Kinser during a 24th-lap caution Thursday in the Preliminary Feature at the 43rd Annual Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals. "I can't stay enough for Steve."
The defending and 12-time Ford Dealers of Iowa Knoxville Nationals champion passed Johnson during the seventh restart of the race and claimed the $10,000 first prize two laps later.
"I got enough shots to do it, I'll tell you that," Kinser said after taking the lead with two laps remaining. "He (Johnson) was better than me in a wide-open run. I was tight on the cushion; the only way I was going to pass him was on a restart."
Kinser, who leads the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings, blew an engine during his second qualifying lap and recorded the eighth-fastest lap in the 64-car field. His #11 Quaker State Maxim lined up inside the third row in the 25-lap feature.
Johnson, who lives in Mustang, OK, has raced regularly in Knoxville Raceway's weekly racing program this season. Wayne was the 25th-fastest qualifier and won the Fifth Heat Race. He drove the #12X Beaver Tool & Drill Maxim into the lead from the pole after Travis Cram brought back the original start with a first-corner spin.
Kinser passed Historical Big One champion Daryn Pittman early in the third lap only to have Jeff Mitrisin and "B" Feature winner Kerry Madsen collide and spin in turn four several seconds later. "The King of the Outlaws" took fourth place within a lap after the race resumed, then passed Josh Higday during a sixth-lap restart. Kinser and Tim Shaffer passed each other three times during the eighth and ninth laps before Second Heat Race winner Lynton Jeffrey's car turned on its side in turn two.
"The King of the Outlaws" took the low line through the second corner to take the lead as the green flag replaced the red, only to have Johnson regain first place on the back straightaway. Kinser and Johnson raced wheel-to-wheel and nose-to-tail throughout the race's middle stages.
Johnson enjoyed a comfortable advantage until he entered lapped traffic with six laps remaining. Twenty-second and 23rd-lap cautions tightened the field, took the leaders out of lapped traffic and gave "The King of the Outlaws" two more chances to win the second qualifying race.
Kinser's left front tire brushed the berm in the first corner when he maneuvered past Johnson as the green flag replaced the yellow. Shaffer also passed Johnson during the final lap - deep in turn four.
"He (Johnson) went to the bottom to block me and I just went a little bit lower," Kinser said of the winning pass. "I thought he might get back by me coming out of turn two because I was having trouble getting off the corners. It was his race; the yellow flags just cost him."
"Those yellows just killed me," Johnson said. "I guess he thought I was just going to give up on the cushion after he gave me that slide job. I wasn't giving up. Finishing third is just amazing. I never even fathomed I'd be here."
Jeff Shepard raced into fourth place from outside the fifth row. Pittman finished fifth, ahead of Kenny Jacobs, fast qualifier Kerry Madsen, Jac Haudenschild, Danny Smith and defending and five-time Knoxville Raceway champion Terry McCarl.
Jacobs, the fourth-fastest qualifier, finished second in the Fourth Heat Race and sixth in the feature for 481 points - one more than Kinser - to claim sixth place in the preliminary standings.
Madsen paced the qualifying session with a 15.290-second, 117.724-M.P.H., lap around the legendary half-mile oval, won the "B" Feature and raced past 14 cars to finish seventh in the evening's main event.