Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – KNOXVILLE, IA – Shane Clanton earned his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of 2022, lead wire-to-wire in night one of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway on Thursday night.
Clanton took the lead at the start of the 25-lap event, first holding off Hudson O’Neal and then Earl Pearson Jr. to pick up his second career win at Knoxville and becoming the 18th different winner this year with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Pearson came home in second, followed by Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, and Kyle Strickler. The top finishers in Thursday night’s preliminary feature have never won the Saturday night finale that pays $50,000 to the victor for the second year in a row.
The first caution of the race came with three laps complete when Chris Madden, who was making his first trip to Knoxville since 2019, slowed on the track ending his night. O’Neal stayed with Clanton on the restart, but just as it looked like O’Neal had something for Clanton, he slowed on the track with rear end issues to bring out the second and final caution of the race with ten laps scored.
On the restart Pearson and Davenport had a tight battle for second as the two drivers who have a combined seven Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Championships tried to track down the high-flying Clanton.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the sixth time in his career, the 47-year-old Georgia native was pleased with the performance of his car. “I could pass cars there on the bottom, so I knew my car was pretty good. I think we have a good enough car right now to win this on Saturday, we just need to be up front and take advantage of it. You need a car that is balanced to win here Saturday. You can’t use a lot of brake getting into the corners you need it where it turns free, and it still has traction, and that’s what we have right now so hopefully the track will be the same on Saturday. We can put a harder tire on the right rear maybe it will be alright.”
Pearson, whose win at Port Royal in August ended a two-year dry spell, came home in second. “The track was top dominate tonight, there is no doubt about it. We started fourth after transferring from our heat. The car was good all night with a lot of speed. We had a good points night. On the restarts you could do a little bit of a slide job. Jonathan [Davenport] drove me clean coming off of two, he could have slid on up and made me hit the brakes, but he didn’t.”
Davenport, who accumulated the most points among the top finishers in Thursday night’s preliminary feature, was concerned about overheating issues. “I need a bigger motor and a bigger fan. Everybody was running hot. It was just wide open around the cushion really. We got going there early and I was just trying to run around the bottom. About the last ten laps I was just started rolling out of it going down the straightaway, my temperature gauge was pegging over there. I was just trying to cool it down.”
The winners Greg Bruening-owned, Skyline Motorsports, Capital Race Car is powered by a Clements Racing Engine is sponsored by Olson Explosives, Inc., Brown’s Heavy Equipment, Truck Country, Carolina Concrete Finishing, Super K Express, Bennett Explosives, Penske Racing Shocks, Base Racing Fuels, and Go Lithium.
Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Ryan Gustin, Brian Shirley, and Chase Junghans.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals – Night 1
Thursday, September 15th, 2022
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Spencer Hughes / 17.557 seconds
Fast Time Group B: Brandon Overton / 17.494 seconds (overall)
Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 25C-Shane Clanton; 2. 7-Ross Robinson; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce; 5. 11-Spencer Hughes; 6. 32S-Chris Simpson; 7. 1T-Tyler Erb; 8. 15-Justin Duty
Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 44-Chris Madden; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 3. 62-Justin Zeitner; 4. 157-Mike Marlar; 5. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 6. 22-Charlie McKenna; 7. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 8. 14M-Reid Millard
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 2. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie; 4. 18S-Jesse Sobbing; 5. 53-Andrew Kosiski; 6. 48-Tim Lance; 7. 10-Junior Coover; 8. 29D-Spencer Diercks
Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 18J-Chase Junghans; 2. 8-Kyle Strickler; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 4. 76-Brandon Overton; 5. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck; 6. 42-Johnathan Huston; 7. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 8. 25-Chad Simpson
Wrisco Industries Heat Race #5 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 2. 04-Tad Pospisil; 3. 20-Jimmy Owens; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 6. 56-Chris Spieker; 7. 21M-Billy Moyer Sr; 8. 6H-Al Humphrey
Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 2S-Stormy Scott; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 58-Garrett Alberson; 6. 33-Nick Marolf; 7. 51-Matt Furman; 8. 14W-Dustin Walker
FAST Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (15 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 157-Mike Marlar; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 3. 11-Spencer Hughes; 4. 32S-Chris Simpson; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb; 6. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 7. 22-Charlie McKenna; 8. 53-Andrew Kosiski; 9. 14M-Reid Millard; 10. 18S-Jesse Sobbing; 11. 32-Bobby Pierce; 12. 10-Junior Coover; 13. (DNS) 29D-Spencer Diercks; 14. (DNS) 15-Justin Duty; 15. (DNS) 48-Tim Lance
UNOH B-Main #2 Finish (15 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 58-Garrett Alberson; 2. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck; 3. 56-Chris Spieker; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 51-Matt Furman; 6. 14W-Dustin Walker; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening; 8. 76-Brandon Overton; 9. 33-Nick Marolf; 10. 6H-Al Humphrey; 11. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 12. 42-Johnathan Huston; 13. (DNS) 1ST-Johnny Scott; 14. (DNS) 21M-Billy Moyer Sr; 15. (DNS) 25-Chad Simpson
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Feature – Night 1 Finish (25 Laps):
Lap Leaders: Shane Clanton (Laps 1-25)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Shane Clanton
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: Shane Clanton
Margin of Victory: 0.703 seconds
Stop-Tech Cautions: Chris Madden (Lap 3); Hudson O’Neal (Lap 10)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Shane Clanton, Earl Pearson, Jr., Jonathan Davenport
Penske Shocks Top 5: Shane Clanton, Earl Pearson, Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Strickler
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Brian Shirley (Advanced 8 Positions)
Hot Rod Processing Most Laps Led: Shane Clanton (25 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Tim McCreadie
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Garrett Alberson
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Hudson O’Neal (Lap 3 – 18.852 seconds)
DirtonDirt.com Tough Break of the Race: Hudson O’Neal
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Wyatt Eichelberger
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Capital Race Cars
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Tad Pospisil (18.2059 seconds)
Time of Race: 14 minutes 05 seconds