KNOXVILLE, Iowa — In search of his first-career 5-hour Energy Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores victory, Owosso, Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman will start Saturday night’s 50-lap main event from the pole after topping the preliminary point standings through two nights of action.
Pittman’s performance of quick time, a fourth in his heat race and fourth in the main event during Wednesday night’s program gave him 485 out of a possible 500 points, topping a 107-car field of drivers attempting to qualify for this year’s Nationals finale.
Jason Johnson will join Pittman on the front row, topping the Thursday night qualifiers with 481 points, just four less than Pittman.
Johnson finished second in Thursday’s A-main after starting seventh, and will also be looking for his first Nationals crown on Saturday night.
In fact, the top four starters in Saturday’s championship feature are winless at the Nationals, with Australians Kerry Madsen and Jamie Veal making up row two. Madsen compiled 479 points, with Veal two markers behind him.
Nine-time Nationals champion Donny Schatz, who is on a quest for his 10th Nationals title in the last 11 years, will roll off Saturday from fifth alongside current All Star Circuit of Champions points leader Chad Kemenah.
Brad Sweet and Wednesday night winner Shane Stewart line up on row four, with Thursday winner Tim Kaeding and Terry McCarl rounding out the top 10 starters.
The remainder of the drivers locked into Saturday’s finale include, in order of starting position: David Gravel, Sammy Swindell, James McFadden, Dusty Zomer, Craig Dollansky and Jeff Swindell.
Drivers locked into the first five rows of the Last Chance Showdown (B-Main) on Saturday are: Ian Madsen, Dale Blaney, Kyle Larson, Wayne Johnson, Brooke Tatnell, Gary Taylor, Brent Marks, Mark Dobmeier, Lynton Jeffrey and Danny Dietrich.
Notables who were outside of the top 26 in points and will have to try again on Friday to race their way into one of four available starting positions include:
- Four-time season winner Joey Saldana
- NASCAR Truck regular & Ironman 55 winner Rico Abreu
- Three-time Nationals runner-up Brian Brown
- Four-time Nationals champion Danny Lasoski
- 1997 Nationals champion Dave Blaney
- Outlaws regulars Logan Schuchart & Greg Wilson
The 56th annual Knoxville Nationals continues Friday with a third full-day program, featuring two-lap time trials, heat races and a 25-lap preliminary A-main, which will lock the top four finishers into positions 17-20 on the Saturday finale grid.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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