Stewart Snaps On Knoxville Nationals Prelim Victory Belt KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 12, 2005) - Bixby, Oklahoma's Shane Stewart knows how to kick off a celebration. And he proved it Friday night by storming to victory lane in the 45th Annual ...
Stewart Snaps On Knoxville Nationals Prelim Victory Belt
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 12, 2005) - Bixby, Oklahoma's Shane Stewart knows how to kick off a celebration. And he proved it Friday night by storming to victory lane in the 45th Annual Knoxville Nationals 25-lap preliminary feature sporting the red and white colors of the Snap On Tools 85th Anniversary-themed entry, collecting the $12,000 winner's share.
The reverberation of the triumphant occasion was felt well beyond the Marion County Fairgrounds as well, as word was immediately released at Skagit Speedway's 360 Nationals in Alger, WA, where team owner Kevin Rudeen was invited to the front straight away to break the big news. The thunderous applause in Washington regarding Stewart's victory reportedly rivaled the raucous cheers the packed house at Knoxville Raceway sent Stewart's way.
After rain washed out Thursday's attempted go, in which Shane timed in second-quick, the Rudeen Racing team returned in full force Friday night. Hired for the week by Rudeen Racing powered by mIn Motorsports Team Manager Scott Chilcutt, crew chief Robert Hubbard dialed in the Wesmar-powered No. 26 Maxim once again, with Stewart timing in a strong twelfth amongst a loaded qualifying field.
Stewart then started eighth in the second of the evening's five fully-inverted heat races, making a daring early move to advance to sixth. Following a caution with just two laps to go, Stewart made the most spectacular move of the night by charging into the fourth and final transfer position in the final corner to lock the Snap On entry into the main event.
With the top eight qualifiers from heat race action inverted for the feature, Stewart gridded the feature field inside the second row and made quick work of polesitter Stephen Allard in the opening two corners to take over second.
With Kerry Madsen setting the pace, Stewart closed the gap and had his sights on the lead when a caution flew. Stewart wasted no time on the restart, getting a strong run as the green flag flew and sliding adeptly into the lead through turns one and two.
Stewart promptly raced away from the field and flawlessly sliced through lapped traffic until a final caution flew with just eight laps remaining. There was no denying Stewart his second career Knoxville Raceway victory however, as he locked himself into Saturday afternoon's "A" Main scramble by accumulating enough points to rank among the top ten in overall points.
"We've kind of struggled the last month, but we've always done well here during Nationals week, particularly the last couple of years or so," Stewart commented from victory lane. "This is a great win for us, the Snap On Tools Maxim with Wesmar power was working great tonight and I can't thank my crew enough, they're awesome."
After two consecutive seventh-place finishes from deep in the Knoxville Nationals championship feature field in 2003 and 2004, Stewart has his eye on Saturday night's big $140,000 winner's prize as he'll line up among the front several rows of the nationally-televised Speed Channel event aboard the Snap On Tools 85th Anniversary No. 26 racer.
More information regarding Shane Stewart and the Rudeen Racing powered by mIn Motorsports No. 26 team is available at www.rudeenracing.com.