KNOXVILLE, Iowa – 2005 5-hour Energy Knoxville Nationals champion Kraig Kinser punched his golden ticket into the 56th running of the historic event with a dominating run from the pole in Friday night’s SPEED SPORT World Challenge.
Kinser lost the top spot to Jason Sides on the opening circuit of the 20-lap event, but battled back quickly to take the lead on lap two before a caution the next time around slowed the pace, with Lynton Jeffrey and Brad Sweet crashing in turn four to brighten the yellow lights.
From there, Kinser pulled away and was never challenged the rest of the way home, as he ran off to a 2.364 second victory by the time the twin checkers flew.
With the highest-finishing driver on the World Challenge podium awarded the 25th-starting spot in Saturday’s $150,000-to-win A-main, Kinser was able to collect on the golden ticket and will start his eighth Nationals A-main as a result.
“It felt like there was somebody right on me there, for most of the race,” Kinser admitted. “I was just taking it cautious around the bottom, trying not to screw up and get off that line. I just felt like I kept slowing down more and more. I knew I had to pick it up, and was just waiting for (flagman) Doug Clark to wave that white flag. We didn’t have the best of weekends starting out, so this is a great ending to our night.”
“We struggled during the A-main tonight. I learned to hit the bottom and be patient more than anything. After stealing my dad’s frame for the car he is racing next week and putting my body on it, we were flying blind heading into tonight. It was a lucky turn and I’m glad it all worked out.”
With four-wide chaos in the second half of the event, Ian Madsen was ultimately able to pull out the second spot, charging forward from ninth but being unable to track down Kinser for the win.
Australian James McFadden completed the podium in third, followed by Danny Dietrich, Jamie Veal and Sides.
RESULTS: SPEED SPORT Knoxville World Challenge; Knoxville Raceway; Aug. 12, 2016
Feature (20 laps): 1. #11K – Kraig Kinser , 2. #18 – Ian Madsen , 3. #3H – James McFadden , 4. #29 – Danny Dietrich , 5. #71 – Jamie Veal , 6. #7S – Jason Sides , 7. #55 – Brooke Tatnell , 8. #4S – Danny Smith , 9. #1AUS – Kerry Madsen , 10. #7 – Paul McMahan , 11. #12H – Daniel Harding , 12. #49 – Brad Sweet , 13. #12 – Lynton Jeffrey , 14. #84 – Scott Bogucki , 15. #11N – Randy Hannagan , 16. #7X – Terry McCarl , 17. #75 – Glen Saville .
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.
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