Worth the Wait: Stewart Wins at Knoxville

Shane Stewart

Stewart celebrates in Victory Lane. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Race Results | Nationals Lineups/Points

KNOXVILLE, Iowa - After rain moved the event from Wednesday to Friday, Shane Stewart was able to race his way to Victory Lane in the final qualifying night for the FVP Knoxville Nationals.

Stewart, who started sixth, was able to get by Kraig Kinser coming to the white flag of the 25-lap feature to earn him a front row starting spot for tomorrow night's $150,000-to-win A-Main.

Photo: Jeff Wackerlin"Honestly he just left the bottom open for me and I was able to capitalize on it," Stewart said. "My car was good. The time trials were stressful, and of course making it through the heat race was stressful, and I feel like if you can do both of those the A-Main is crucial, but it's not as crucial. I was going to be happy with running second and it just played out well for me."

The checkered flag was the second in World of Outlaws STP Series competition with the newly formed Larson Marks team.

"We had an up and down season and it started off with a big bang at Eldora," Stewart said. "We've had our moments of speed and we've had our moments of what the heck are we doing? It's a testament to all the guys at LMR Racing. Justin (Marks) and Kyle (Larson) have given us the equipment to do our jobs and it’s kind of up to Steve (Suchy) and I to make good judgment calls to work better together, which we are starting to do."

In the past five years, Stewart has finished outside the top 10 in the Nationals just one time, and outside the top five only twice.

"We have been knocking on the door a few times to win this race," Stewart said. "I always tell myself you've got to put yourself in a better position to win it and we have been able to do that this year."

Photo: Jeff WackerlinStewart will start alongside pole-sitter Donny Schatz, who was second in qualifying, won his heat and finished fourth to accumulate the most points (492) over the two qualifying days. Last year, Schatz came from the 21st starting position to win his seventh Nationals.

"I'm excited to be on the front row," Stewart said. "It's a long race. Last year, I started third and the guy that won it lapped me so I hope I can have a little better finish that I did last year."

Tonight's win was also special because it came on the same day the Kick-It (Stewart's sponsor) game was held in Knoxville. The third annual kick ball game, along with an event at Slideways Karting Center on Wednesday, raised $110,000.

"What the sprint car community has done with the Kick-It organization is just unbelievable," Stewart said. "To be a small part of it is definitely special for me."

Kinser's second-place finish helped give him the ninth starting position for Saturday.

"I'm happy we finished second for our points," said Kinser, who won the Nationals in 2005. "We haven’t had the greatest year and we didn’t really know where we were going to be at with the half-miles when we came into Knoxville."

Photo: Jeff WackerlinMark Dobmeier started from the pole and finished third and afterwards wished he would of chose the bottom lane through-out the race.

"I knew I had a good car up top and they both went to the bottom and I had to take the line around the top," said Dobmeier, who will start 11th. "After that, I got down on the bottom to protect it and found out I was pretty darn good there. I was kicking myself that I wasn’t on the bottom more in the race. My crew and everybody gave me a great car and I think we had a car that could have won. I just made a few wrong lane choices."

David Gravel, Craig Dollansky, Justin Henderson, Brooke Tatnell, Lee Jacobs and Danny Dietrich rounded out the top 10 in the race.

Kerry Madsen, Brian Brown (winner on Thursday), Paul McMahan and Terry McCarl, who all raced in the opening night, will start third through sixth, respectively, in the Nationals. Dollansky, who was fastest in time trials tonight, will roll off seventh.

Saturday will begin with the qualifier originally slated for Friday night with Hot Laps beginning at 11 a.m. (CT)

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, Shane Stewart

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