Knoxville Nationals Preview

2013 Knoxville Nationals Preview
(8/5/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

53rd Square TwitterThe Knoxville Nationals is one of the hardest races to win, the most prestigious, and pays the most money, $150,000 to the winner!  I study a lot of stats, data, prior year finishes, and try to account how their current season is progressing to come up with my power rankings and predictions.  As I look into my crystal ball, this is how I break down the field.

 

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Shane Stewart wins 5th 360 Title

View from the Stands (8/4/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

2013-08-03_DerekCShane Stewart won his fifth 360 Nationals title, as expected.  He and Paul Silva have the right combination for this event, and should be close next week for Knoxville Nationals.  Hope they can get up front then as well.

The race behind Stewart was good, with Kevin Swindell, Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet, Wayne Johnson, Clint Garner, Jason Johnson, Danny Lasoski… all were swapping positions throughout the entire race.  Larson was running eighth at halfway, and then all of a sudden he picked off cars quickly and moved into fifth by lap 20, and third on lap 24, and he and Kevin raced hard for second on the last restart.

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Henderson Wins Night Two of 360 Nationals

View from the Stands (8/3/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

Justin Henderson (Max Dolder photo)

Justin Henderson (Max Dolder photo)

The feature for night two of the 360 Nationals was dominated by Justin Henderson who went from his second row starting spot to the lead and drove away from the field in the non-stop 20 lapper.  Henderson is no stranger to victory lane at Knoxville, winning a 410 feature earlier this season in his first night driving the Bryan Sundby #1, and winning the Friday Nationals “Hard Knox” feature a year ago in the LaHaise 82 car.
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The Dude Wins 360 Nationals Opener

View from the Stands (8/2/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

23rd Annual Knoxville 360 Final_SmallNight one of the Arnold Motor Supply 360 Nationals is in the books and what a show Danny Lasoski and Kyle Larson put on for us!  On the start of the feature front row starters Danny Dietrich and Larson went low racing each other to the bottom, leaving the top open and Lasoski took advantage and raced by them both and came away with the lead.  Larson would catch Lasoski in traffic and attempted a last lap slider going into turn three, but the veteran Lasoski stuck his 1m on the bottom coming off of turn four to win by a car length.

Lasoski timed tenth, and barely made it through his heat race finishing fourth and transferring after a hard fought battle with Dustin Selvage.  That heat race set the tone for the feature, and the Dude is fifth in points and will start mid-pack on Saturday night. The feature was so good, and probably the most aggressive I’ve seen the Dude at Knoxville in a long time.  Hopefully this gives him a confidence boost as well going into next week, because I desperately want to see him run 50 laps in that race.

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Knoxville Nationals 101

View From the Stands
(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.

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Brown dominates, Power Rankings, Goodbye to Fast Fred Rahmer

View from the Stands (7/29/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

Brown & Kaeding (Ryan Northcote photo)

Brown & Kaeding (Ryan Northcote photo)

I can remember 2004 when Terry McCarl was a weekly competitor and there were a couple of nights where he just blew the field away and won features in dominating fashion. He was in a completely different gear than the rest of the field, and  I just knew he was going to be up front at the Nationals that year.  T-Mac was, and he went on to lead the first fifteen laps of the Nationals and finish fifth that year.  I haven’t seen that kind of performance, or had that same feeling since then from a Knoxville Regular, until I saw Brian Brown this week.  HOLY COW!  Brian Brown was FAST in the 410 feature, and probably would have won the 360 feature if he didn’t have to pull in for the throttle sticking wide open in that race.  Brown and his team have to be anxious for Nationals.  I’m having a heckuva time trying to decide who to pick to win the 360 Nationals now.  Brown or Shane Stewart?  I’m giving the edge to Stewart, but only because he has won the race the past three years.  It’s a toss up between these two guys and I will be shocked if anyone other than these two drivers wins.

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99 for Lasoski, Brown Strong, Steering Wheel Toss, Stats, and Countdown to Nationals

View from the Stands (7/22/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

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Danny Lasoski (Danny Howk photo)

Danny Lasoski won his first race at Knoxville Raceway June 2, 1984, twenty-nine years later he gets win number 99 at the famed half-mile.  Hard to believe someone is within grasp of 100 career wins here at Knoxville, but The Dude is going to pull it off at some point, another milestone in his already storied Hall of Fame career!  Lasoski has struggled in 2013 to this point and if he is going to start peaking, now is the time to do it three weeks before the Nationals.

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Maeschen wins, Sweet, Pittman, & The King

View from the Stands (7/16/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

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Bronson Maeschen (Brandon Anderson photo)

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Bronson Maeschen pulls into victory lane. (Brandon Anderson photo)

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Selvage and Maeschen race for the lead. (Brandon Anderson photo)

Bronson Maeschen…. 410 point leader!  Bronson has matured as a driver, a very good driver, and after six top fives, finishing second twice this season, and almost winning last week, he wins the feature this week and it works out he has a fifty point lead over Ian Madsen, and 115 point lead over third place Terry McCarl.  If Maeschen wins the title, he would be the first resident of Marion County to win the Knoxville track championship since Mike Brooks in 1980, and I believe Earl Wagner is the only other Marion County driver to do that.  Bronson has been consistent all season.  He has seven top five’s, nine top ten’s, and two quick times.  If Bronson just keeps doing what he has done all season, I think he gets it done. With only four more weekly races left, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch!  I asked him what he thought of being the point leader in the pits afterwards and he said, “I guess the target is on my back now huh.”  Good answer.  Being the point leader doesn’t mean much until the end of the season.

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410 Twin Features Report

View from the Stands (7/8/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

2013-07-06 116Twin features night is always pivotal for the track championship, and that was proved to be the case again this year.  Ian Madsen came into the night with a 188 point lead over Bronson Maeschen and at the end of the night Madsen retained the point lead, but it is now a slim 27 points over Maeschen with Terry McCarl lurking 47 points back.  Last week I said I had this feeling T-Mac was going to find a way to pull this out, and it’s looking more like it. Over the course of a whole season, Terry has always been the man and has seven track championships to back that up. Somehow, someway, I think he wins it in the end. But boy would I like to see someone new like Ian or Bronson win it.

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Dobmeier Wins Again & 360 Twin Features

View from the Stands (7/1/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

2013-06-30 052Well, Mark Dobmeier certainly has something figured out since Guy Forbrook joined their team. Congrats to the Lunstra/Dobmeier #13 team for their performance.  Has to be rewarding making that drive from Grand Forks and going home with a trophy, and they won again Sunday at Huset’s. They have timed eighth and sixth the past two weeks, which is a huge help considering they hadn’t timed in the top ten all season previously.  Keep an eye on this team over the next month leading up to Nationals. Dobs just moved way up in my Nationals Power Rankings this week.

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