From knoxvilleraceway.com / Bill Wright
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (September 18, 2022) – Blairsville, Georgia’s Jonathan Davenport was faithful to the high side and it paid off as he made a late race pass to cash in the $50,000 to win 18th Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway Sunday. It was his fourth career win here, and his first Late Model Nationals victory. Jesse Sobbing won the Bob Maschman Memorial for the Malvern Bank Super Late Models in companion action.
It was a bit of a wait for fans in Knoxville, who saw a rain out on Saturday night. After lengthy track preparation, things were in place for great racing.
Davenport led from outside row one in the 50-lap feature, ahead of pole-sitter Bobby Pierce, Tyler Bruening, Earl Pearson Jr. and Ricky Thornton Jr. Thornton moved by Bruening to take fourth on lap two. Davenport entered lapped traffic by the eighth circuit. With most of it hanging low, he tried the high side, only to have Pierce shoot under him to take the point on lap nine.
Justin Zeitner stopped to bring caution at that point. Bruening hit the high side on the restart, challenging the leaders and taking the second spot in the process. Shortly after, Pierce succumbed to possible ignition issues, and Hunter O’Neal slapped the turn one wall, retiring from the event.
Bruening assumed the lead at that point, setting a good pace. He was back into lappers by lap nineteen, but a slowing Ryan Gustin opened up the track for him again. Pearson and Davenport put on a great battle behind the leader, with both ranging high and low on the half-mile.
The leaders were back in traffic with 16 to go. Davenport utilized a slide job in turns three and four with seven to go to capture second from Pearson, while Thornton followed him into third with four to go.
Davenport slowly reeled in Bruening and slid by him with two laps to go in turn one to execute the winning pass. Davenport and Bruening were followed by Brandon Sheppard, who closed late to take third on the final lap. Thornton, Pearson, Ricky Weiss, Shane Clanton, Spencer Hughes, Brandon Overton and Kyle Strickler completed the top ten. Tyler Erb won the B main.
“I just had to go up there (top groove),” said Davenport in Victory Lane. “I didn’t know if there was anything up there. I just had to go up there and clean it off. I kept inching further and further up before I found a little moisture and not crumbs. I made a mistake in lapped traffic early, and I made a mistake picking the wrong line on a restart. I could have fell back to fourth pretty easy. I just got up on the wheel, and we did everything we could. It just feels special to finally come to Knoxville and get one here.”
“I just got beat by the best in the world,” said Bruening of his near miss and $25,000 second place finish. “Just one too many laps. It’s a tough one to get beat, but the car was really good. I didn’t see my guys pointing to the top until it was too late, and I just didn’t know how high to get. I’m a small town boy from Iowa, and we’re racing with the big dogs. I hope we put on a hell of a race for the fans. It was fun up front for the while I was leading it there.”
Bob Maschman Memorial
Kyle Berck led early in the 22-lap Bob Maschman Memorial for the Malvern Bank Super Late Model Series invitational over Jeff Aikey, Jesse Sobbing, Tad Pospisil and Jason Hahne. Hahne quickly moved by Pospisil for fourth. Sobbing used the high side to gain second from Aikey on lap four.
Berck was into lapped traffic by the tenth circuit, but the caution flew for Chad Holladay, who stopped in turn four. Berck looked unstoppable after the restart, but with six laps to go, lost a tire and hit the turn two wall violently. He was uninjured.
Sobbing assumed the lead and was never headed in his quest for $4,000. It was his first win in a late model at Knoxville, adding that to a victory he struck with a sport mod here in 2011. Aikey was second, ahead of Hahne, Leighton and Andy Eckrich. Dave Eckrich, Pospisil, Todd Cooney, Brian Kosiski and Curt Schroeder completed the top ten. Berck and Aikey set quick time over their respective groups.
“I didn’t have anything for Kyle,” said Sobbing in Victory Lane. “It was unfortunate for him to wreck his car like that. I’d say that clean air was huge for how my car handled. I wish somebody was here to celebrate with me, but it’s just me. This is my first win with these guys this year. It’s unfortunate Kyle wrecked. You don’t like to get it like that. It’s huge to win at Knoxville. We have to thank the Maschman family for stepping up with all the money for this race.”
For more information on the Knoxville Raceway, visit the website at www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com or on Facebook and Twitter.
18th Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Results
A main, 50 laps, NT:
1. 49, Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA (2); 2. 16, Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA (3); 3. 1, Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL (11); 4. 20RT, Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, AZ (4); 5. 46, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL (5); 6. 7w, Ricky Weiss, Headingley, MB, Can. (14); 7. 25c, Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA (7); 8. 11, Spencer Hughes, Meridian, MS (15); 9. 76, Brandon Overton, Evans, GA (8); 10. 8, Kyle Strickler, Mooresville, NC (12); 11. 58, Garrett Alberson, Las Cruces, NM (21); 12. 3s, Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL (20); 13. Tyler Erb (25); 14. 18J, Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS (19); 15. 04, Tad Pospisil, Norfolk, NE (17); 16. Daulton Wilson (29); 17. Daniel Hilsabeck (26); 18. Ross Robinson (27); 19. Justin Duty (28); 20. 32s, Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA (6); 21. 157, Mike Marlar, Winfield, TN (22); 22. 19R, Ryan Gustin, Marshalltown, IA (16); 23. 1x, Aaron Marrant, Richmond, MO (18); 24. 29D, Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA (24); 25. 39, Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY (9); 26. 32, Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL (1); 27. 71, Hudson O'Neal, Martinsville, IN (13); 28. Matt Furman (30); 29. 62, Justin Zeitner, Malvern, IA (23); 30. 20, Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN (10).
For the full story and results:
See the recap at lucasdirt.com:
Photo: knoxvilleraceway.com / lucasdirt.com
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