latemodelamerica.com - Sept 29 - Knoxville Raceway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Knoxville Top Thursday

Jimmy Owens poses with third finishing Austin Hubbard and runner up Darrell Lanigan after Owens' Thursday night win in the annual "Knoxville Late Model Nationals". (Jeff Bylsma)

Lucas Oil Series: Owens Takes Thursday Night Kick-off at Knoxville

James Essex

KNOXVILLE, Ia. – Sept. 30. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. captured the opening night of the eighth annual Lucas Oil "Knoxville Nationals" presented by Casey’s General Stores on Thursday at Knoxville Raceway. Owens took the lead from Darrell Lanigan to score his first ever win at the historic oval. Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del. placed third, followed by Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Ia. and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill.

Will Vaught and Jimmy Owens at Knoxville Raceway

Jimmy Owens and #1 Darrell Laniganat Knoxville Raceway. Owens sailed to Thursday's win over Lanigan. (Jeff Bylsma)

Chad Simpson and Scott Bloomquist at Knoxville Raceway

Iowa standout Chad Simpson races #0 Scott Bloomquist at midfield. (Jason Durst)

Lanigan grabbed the lead at the start of the 25-lap main with Chad Simpson and Owens in tow. Owens, who started third on the grid, quickly moved into contention for the lead as he raced past Simpson and began to challenge Lanigan for the top spot. Lanigan and Owens then battled it out until Owens grabbed the point on lap nine. A circuit later, Lanigan charged back around Owens to regain the lead. Lanigan was only out in front for two more laps before Owens made the pass on the outside on lap 12.

Owens pulled away from a terrific battle for second between Lanigan, Hubbard, and Birkhofer. Owens made it look easy in the final laps as he took the Mike Reece-owned Bloomquist Race Cars to victory lane. 

Austin Hubbard and Shannon Babb at Knoxville Raceway

Austin Hubbard leads Shannon Babb inside the top five before finishing third at Knoxville on Thursday. (Jason Durst)

Jason Feger and Jared Landers at Knoxville Raceway

Jason Feger and Jared Landers at Knoxville. (Jason Durst)

“We’ve been here for the last two or three years, we’ve been decent, almost won here once before and Darrell (Lanigan) passed us late to win. To get a win here is special, this is such a nice place, we qualified kind of bad, but the invert helped us tonight,” said the 39-year-old driver.

“We were pretty good in the heat; we made some changes for the feature. We came here with a completely different motor program from Cornett, we were able to capitalize on that restart and we were able to pass Darrell for the win, if they can keep this track in this kind of shape for the rest of the weekend, it would be great. We are using the same setup as before, we jumped down to the bottom after getting by Darrell, it was a great win for us,” said Owens.

Jason Utter at Knoxville Raceway

In preliminary action, Iowa's Jason Utter gets a piece of the fence, ending his night early at Knoxville. (Jeff Bylsma)

Knoxville Nationals Night #1
1) Jimmy Owens, 2) Darrell Lanigan, 3) Austin Hubbard, 4) Brian Birkhofer,5) Shannon Babb, 6) Scott James, 7) Billy Moyer, 8) Will Vaught, 9) Scott Bloomquist, 10) Dale McDowell, 11) Chris Simpson, 12) Tyler Reddick, 13) Chad Simpson, 14) Tim McCreadie, 15) Jimmy Mars, 16) Jason Feger, 17) Brad Neat, 18) John Blankenship, 19) Jared Landers, 20) Dan Schlieper, 21) Jason Rauen, 22) Eric Wells, 23) Steve Francis, 24) Brian Shirley

Fast Time (64 entries): Bloomquist (17.335); Heat winners: Bloomquist, Birkhofer, Hubbard, Francis, Mars; B-Main winner: Feger; C-Main winner: Chris Spieker.

Lloyd Collins photo

 

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