- Sept. 30 - Knoxville (Ia.) Late Model Nationals - race 1 by Sam Holbrooks


Conrad Nelson photo

Moyer Reels In Late Model Nationals Opening Night Win

Bob Wilson

KNOXVILLE, Ia. - Sept. 30. Billy Moyer of Batesville, Arkansas, the hottest late model driver in the nation, grabbed the first night of qualifying at the 7th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals presented by Casey's General Stores. The win marked his 22nd of the year.
Though Moyer won this 25-lap Thursday qualifier, it was front row starter Tim

Jimmy Mars spin - Knoxville Nationals

While #24 Rick Eckert and others inflict body damage on each other, Jimmy Mars (#28) goes for a spin before getting hit by Jill George on the first lap of heat race five at Knoxville. George and Mars spent the rest of the evening as spectators. (Conrad Nelson) 

McCreadie who claimed the first two laps on this Thursday night. He gave way the lead to pole sitter Josh Richards on lap three and was content to follow till the first caution flag on lap eight. That slow down came about when ninth running Steve Francis exited to become the first drop out of the event.

Ryan Newman - Kerry Hansen - Knoxville Nationals

South Bend, Indiana's Ryan Newman passes Wisconsin driver Kerry Hansen on his way to fourth place in the third heat race at Knoxville.  Newman advanced to the main event through a B-Feature. Hansen did not. (Conrad Nelson)

Richards led McCreadie, hard-charging Moyer, Earl Pearson, Jr. and race rookie Austin Hubbard back to the line on the restart. A real tug of war ensued for that top spot and McCreadie gained it back at the five-mile mark from Richards as that driver slowly drifted backwards to the finish. Pearson made a pass of Moyer at this point to grab second and defending event champion Scott Bloomquist was now in fifth.

Brian Shirley - Dan Schlieper - Conrad Newman

Brian Shirley races past #9 Dan Schlieper at Knoxville. A past winner of the Knoxville Nationals final, Shirley mustered a 13th place in Thursday night's opener. (Conrad Nelson)

On a track that began the evening as too wet, most of the front runners now circled the bottom as the quickest way around this big half-mile oval. In fact, the track had come in so nicely that the leaders were running at or near a track record pace. Only McCreadie experimented with the top at the cushion which was only two-thirds of the way up the track in the turns.

McCreadie finally gave way the lead to Moyer on lap 17. The top was just not fast enough to hold off the hard charge of Moyer who had started 11th. Behind those two Pearson continued to fend off all Bloomquist challenges. Bloomquist would make that pass with just five laps to go.

Brian Birkhofer - Knoxville Nationals B Main winner

Brian Birkhofer races toward a B-Main win after just missing the cut through his heat race at Knoxville. (Conrad Nelson)

In the end, Moyer picked up the $7,000 to win event by a comfortable 20-car advantage over McCreadie. Bloomquist, a fourth row starter was third and Pearson was fourth. Tenth starter Brady Smith claimed fifth. Top point totals on this first night of qualifications went to Bloomquist, Pearson, McCreadie, Hubbard and Matt Miller. Moyer was sixth.

Second man out, Jimmy Owens led all participants in qualifying time trials with a lap of 17.950. He was the only driver to drop below eighteen seconds. Heat events went to Mark Burgtorf, Brady Smith, event rookie Bud McCool, Jack Sullivan and Moyer. Will Vaught won the C Main in track record time and Brian Birkhofer took the B Main. A field of 61 cars entered the pits on this night.

Sept. 30 - Knoxille Late Model Nationals Race #1 
1. Billy Moyer, 2. Tim McCreadie, 3. Scott Bloomquist, 4. Earl Pearson Jr., 5. Brady Smith, 6. Austin Hubbard, 7. Josh Richards, 8. Brian Birkhofer, 9. Kelly Boen, 10. Chad Simpson, 11. Matt Miller, 12. Scott James, 13. Brian Shirley, 14. Rick Eckert, 15. Bub McCool, 16. Mark Burgtorf, 17. Ryan Newman, 18. Brad Neat, 19. Denny Eckrich, 20. John VandenBerg, 21. Darren Miller, 22. Jack Sullivan, 23. Rob Moss, 24. Steve Francis

Fast Time (61 entries): Jimmy Owens (17.950); Heat winners: Burgtorf, Smith, McCool, Sullivan, Moyer; B-Main winner: Birkhofer

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