WOO: Brownie Points; Brian Brown Storms to Opening Night Knoxville Nationals Win

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Midwest, Other Sprint Cars, Sprints & Midgets, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars 0 Comments

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — official release — Brian Brown fired the opening shot in the battle for the FVP Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores, surging past Sam Hafertepe Jr. to win Thursday night’s qualifying feature.

Brown, who has found himself in recent years fighting five-time World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Champion Donny Schatz for the Knoxville Nationals title, said he is keeping Schatz in his sights but is also thinking about tonight’s third place finisher, Kerry Madsen.

“When your car is working that good and your motor is working that good the driver doesn’t have to do anything that’s too crazy – just don’t put yourself out of position,” said Brown, driver of the FVP, Casey’s General Stores car. “We didn’t do it tonight. We weren’t too crazy fast in qualifying, we weren’t that great in the heat and in the feature, to me, we were just kind of mediocre and we found a way to squeak one out – we’ve got to work on our car a little bit more if we want to beat Madsen and Schatz.”

The rain that postponed Wednesday’s first night of qualifying did not return Thursday, however a light mist fell on the track for much of the late afternoon. Brown said the weather conditions lowered his expectations for the night.

“We went out to hot lap and it’s misting rain and every half a lap your shield fogs up where you can’t even see,” Brown said. “So I was thinking, I waited 360 days for this Knoxville Nationals and this is what I’m going to get?… I was thinking one lane, no passing. I’m going to get third to fourth quick time; I’m going run eighth in the heat, I’m going start fourth in the B and transfer. I’m going go from 22nd to 10th and be 14th in points is what I was thinking. Obviously it changed quite a bit.”

Brown complimented Knoxville officials for the work they did to get the track back in racing condition after a day of rain. He also thanked the fans for sticking it out through less than ideal weather.

After qualifying fourth and finishing fourth in his heat, Brown finds himself second in the Knoxville points standings. He is six points out of the lead.

Bryan Clauson and Jeff Swindell led the field to the green flag – second place finishing Sam Hafertepe Jr. started in third, Brown started in fifth and Madsen started in seventh.

Jeff Swindell jumped out to an early lead, taking lap one of the feature. It was a position he held through much of the first half of the feature, as Clauson tried to hold off his competition. By lap five, Hafertepe moved into the second spot, setting his sights on Swindell, as Brown pushed into the top-five.

On lap 12, Hafertepe had reeled in Swindell and was battling with him for the lead. Hafertepe took over the lead a lap later as Brown pressed Clauson for third. Brown took over the spot on lap 15. After a short battle, Madsen also got around Clauson, taking over the fourth spot.

Shortly after Brown passed Swindell for second, a red flag flew. It was the break Brown needed.

“Sam (Hafertepe) did a good job and brought me around pretty slow (on the restart),” Brown said. “My motor didn’t take off quite as well as I would like and he got going a little bit better. I was going to throw a Hail Mary there and try to slide him and I went across there and it stuck pretty well. And then I stuck the bottom off of two and went down the back straightaway and he chopped me pretty good. I thought I really want to win this but I really want to finish so I let him go and then got back going again and got another good run and stuck it.”

Hafertepe said he came into Knoxville with a lot of confidence after good runs at the 360 Nationals and a weekly show at the track. That confidence Hafertepe had faded though as he struggled through qualifying.

“We thought we’d qualify top-10 and we qualified 20th,” Hafertepe said. “I was pretty upset after qualifying because I knew we had a better car than that. The way the track was, it just caught us off guard. We were kind of geared up to be a little bit slicker. I just told myself, hey, we’ve got to deal with what we have and we did. We made our car better and better and we ran second in the heat from fifth. In the feature, if the only guy that beats you is Brown, you’re doing alright around here.”

With a fifth place position in the Knoxville Nationals’ points, Hafertepe said he hopes it will be enough to lock him into the show on Saturday night.

Madsen, who is now leading the Knoxville Nationals’ point standings and is carrying momentum from wins at Eldora Speedway’s Kings Royal and The Ironman 55, credited his American Racing Custom Wheels team and more specifically his crew chief Tyler Swank for the his success this season.

“You know, I’m more excited that we had a good night and we’re solidly in the show rather than being the point leader,” Madsen said. “We had a solid car all night – qualifying, heat race and the A main. I just drove really conservatively in the A main – I just wanted to get a finish. The car was great and it’s going to be a good relief tonight. A good night’s sleep and I’ll go watch the races tomorrow and Saturday is probably going to be pretty intense.”

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series returns to action tomorrow night at Knoxville Raceway as Wednesday’s qualifying group makes up its rain postponed show. All of Friday’s events have been moved to Saturday afternoon, prior to the regularly scheduled Saturday show.

 

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Knoxville Raceway; Knoxville, Iowa; Aug. 7, 2014

A-main (25 Laps): 1. Brian Brown (5) ($12,000); 2. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (3); 3. Kerry Madsen (7); 4. Terry McCarl (6); 5. Bryan Clauson (1); 6. Paul McMahan (8); 7. Jason Johnson (11); 8. Joey Saldana (22); 9. Clint Garner (10); 10. Jon Agan (13); 11. Ian Madsen (15); 12. Cole Wood (18); 13. Bill Balog (12); 14. Matt Moro (9); 15. Ryan Bunton (4); 16. Jeff Swindell (2); 17. Cody Darrah (21); 18. James McFadden (20); 19. Stevie Smith (24); 20. Brandon Wimmer (17); 21. Chad Kemenah (19); 22. Kevin Swindell (16); 23. Jack Dover (14); 24. Sheldon Haudenschild (23).

Qualifying: 1. 51, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN (26), 14.633

 

Unofficial Knoxville Nationals Points

1. Kerry Madsen – 491
2. Brian Brown – 485
3. Paul McMahan – 484
4. Terry McCarl – 481
5. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. – 457
6. Joey Saldana – 454
7. Bryan Clauson – 444
8. Ryan Bunton – 443
9. Cody Darrah – 437
10. Stevie Smith – 434
11. Clint Garner – 430
12. Sheldon Haudenschild – 428
13. Jeff Swindell – 427
14. Jason Johnson – 426
15. Matt Moro – 424
16. Jon Agan – 420
17. Bill Balog – 416
18. Ian Madsen – 414
19. Lucas Wolfe – 409
20. Cole Wood – 401
21. Gary Taylor – 401
22. Rico Abreu – 399
23. Dale Blaney – 394
24. Brent Marks – 394
25. Jack Dover – 392
26. Kevin Swindell – 390
27. Steve Kinser – 383
28. Brandon Wimmer – 381
29. Chad Kemenah – 381
30. Danny Lasoski – 380
31. James McFadden – 379
32. Danny Holtgraver – 377
33. Seth Brahmer – 367
34. Dusty Zomer – 366
35. Trey Starks – 365
36. Austin Johnson – 361
37. Jason Meyers – 360
38. Logan Schuchart – 344
39. Chris Shirek – 326
40. Kaley Gharst – 310
41. Dustin Selvage – 308
42. Ed Lynch, Jr. – 302
43. Chris Martin – 301
44. Mike Moore – 299
45. Rob Kubli – 298
46. Joey Moughan – 274
47. Cap Henry – 271
48. Kody Kinser – 271
49. Jimmy Light – 265
50. Chrtis Evans – 261
51. Tyler Courtney – 230
52. Skylar Prochaska – 223

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