Knoxville Nationals 101

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(7/29/13) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger and Twitter Commentator

53rd Square TwitterThe Knoxville Nationals qualifying scoring system is something I get questions about frequently.  I thought it would be nice to have an explanation in the blog to reference to.  The Knoxville Nationals Points System was created by promoter Ray Grimes and his wife Naomi.

A perfect score is 500 points, 200 time trials, 100 heat race win, 200 feature win.

Time Trials: 1st 200 points, 2nd 198, 3rd 196, and drops 2 points per position.

Heat Races: 1st 100, 2nd 97, 3rd 94, and drops 3 points per position.

A-Main: (same as time trials) 24th place = 154 points.

B-Main: 5th place 142, 6th 140, dropping 2 points per position

The qualifying night heat races are lined up by time trials with 8 cars inverted. (360 Nationals 6 cars are inverted.) Quick time in time trials falls into heat 1 in the 8th position, 2nd quick is in heat 2 in the 8th position, etc. Heat race finishing position 1-4 transfer to the A-main, positions 5-8 go the B main, 9-10 to the C main.

The C and B mains are lined up by time trials with no invert, so the fastest car in the B main starts on the pole.

The A main has an invert of 8. So the fastest car transferring from the heat races will start 8th, second quickest in 7th…. 8th fastest of the cars transferring from the heats is on the pole. 9th fastest starts 9th, 10th fastest starts 10th, etc.

Invert of 8 cars example.
Row 1: 8-7          Row 6: 11-12
Row 2: 6-5          Row 7: 13-14
Row 3: 4-3          Row 8: 15-16
Row 4: 2-1          Row 9: 17-18
Row 5: 9-10        Row 10: 19-20

All heats and mains are lined up according to your qualifying time. The B-Main transfer cars start on the tail of the A-Main in positions 21-24, they do not earn their time slot back.

At then end of the night the points are added up. So quick time in qualifying earns the same amount of points as winning the A-Main (200) and a perfect score is 500.

This system has been used since 1977, and it works. Every position matters in every event. No settling for a transfer spot in the heat race, you have to keep racing to earn more points. Qualifying is a huge part of the format as it’s just as important as the feature, and determines the lineup of everything. There are no extra passing points.

After both qualifying nights, the points are combined. The top 16 over all from Wednesday and Thursday points are locked in for Saturday’s A-Main. Position 17-26 in points have the option to start up front in the Saturday B-Main, or hit the reset button and race Friday night. Positions 17-20 of the Saturday A-Main are made up of the top four finishers of Friday night’s feature. Friday night feature finishers 5-14 make up the last five rows of the B-Main Saturday, and as they finish on Friday from there in the B and C main is where you start in the C, D, and E on Saturday night.


A-Main and Time Trials: 1-200, 2-198, 3-196, 4-194, 5-192, 6-190, 7-188, 8-186, 9-184, 10-182, 11-180, 12-178, 13-176, 14-174, 15-172, 16-170, 17-168, 18-166, 19-164, 20-162…

Heats: 1-100, 2-97, 3-94, 4-91, 5-88, 6-85, 7-82, 8-79, 9-76, 10-73

Any further questions, feel free to tweet me @_EricArnold or contact me by e-mail at

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