Jimmy Owens Breaks Through With His First Knoxville Late Model Nationals Win!

Jimmy Owens won the $40,000 Knoxville Late Model Nationals Saturday (Knoxville Raceway Photo)

Jimmy Owens won the $40,000 Knoxville Late Model Nationals Saturday (Knoxville Raceway Photo)

Tad Pospisil Wins Bang Bang Finish with Malvern Bank SLMR Series

by Bill Wright

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (September 15, 2018) – Over the years, Newport, Tennesee’s Jimmy Owens has had his share of bad luck at the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores, but Saturday night his perseverance paid off to the tune of $40,000! Gaining the lead before the halfway point, he built big leads and fended off all challenges in winning his first ever Knoxville Late Model Nationals. The Malvern Bank SLMR Series provided excitement of their own. In a fender-clashing finish, Tad Pospisil won the series inaugural race at Knoxville over Kyle Berck.

The 100-lap Knoxville Late Model Nationals saw Earl Pearson Jr. lead Brandon Sheppard early on, while Don O’Neal and Scott Bloomquist traded third. Fan favorite Brian Birkhofer was done early on, bowing out on lap six.

Sheppard took his turn at the point, passing Pearson on lap seven. He entered lapped traffic before the first of several cautions in the first half of the race flew for Ricky Thornton Jr. While Sheppard looked comfortable out front, Bloomquist would move into second for a time. Jimmy Owens was moving forward, however, and entered the top five before taking fourth from O’Neal on lap 16.

When Mason Zeigler tagged the wall on lap 22, a caution flew and the lone fuel stop for the race was called. Owens battled Pearson before taking third before Chris Simpson slowed on lap 38. Owens would shoot around Bloomquist to take second on the restart, and then overtook Sheppard to take the lead on lap 40 before Jared Landers made hard contact with the wall to bring the red flag on lap 41.

Owens led Sheppard, O’Neal, Bobby Pierce and Bloomquist at that point. Many had their eyes on Pierce, who was busting the cushion after starting 22nd. Pierce slid into third on the restart, and used another on lap 47 for Tyler Bruening to over come O’Neal for second. More yellow laundry flew for Jimmy Mars and a three-car altercation for Tim McCreadie, Gregg Satterlee and Kyle Bronson.

After Shane Clanton got over the turn two cushion into the wall while running eighth on lap 56, the race saw a long period of green flag racing. Bloomquist and O’Neal worked by Pierce and battled for second. Meanwhile, Owens was running away to a straightaway lead by lap 65 when he got into lapped traffic.

At that point, Pierce surged on the cushion again. Over the next ten laps, he gained on Owens, who was in traffic. On lap 81, he shot around the leader briefly before jumping the turn two cushion and almost coming to a stop. Owens was able to pull away again. A lap later, Sheppard surrendered third with a flat right rear. He would restart.

Owens led Pierce, O’Neal, Josh Richards and Bloomquist back to green. O’Neal surged into second, with Richards in tow. Pierce battled back by Richards before O’Neal jumped the turn four cushion and turned sideways, collecting him with 12 to go. Pierce spun, and the caution flag flew. He would restart.

Owens would pull away to win ahead of O’Neal, Richards, Bloomquist and hard-charger Brian Shirley who came from the B main. Sheppard and Pierce rebounded for sixth and seventh, respectively, while Tyler Erb, Chad Simpson and Pearson rounded out the top ten. Scott James won the C main, while Ricky Thornton Jr. claimed the B.

“It’s awesome!” said Owens in Victory Lane. “I’m thankful to get this win. I’ve got to thank my crew and everybody for busting their butts. We had a good car, and the lapped cars were in front of us. We knew they were going to close in on us. I was expecting some sort of pass. I was hoping there wasn’t a pass, but it was hard to maneuver through traffic. When they are three and four-wide in front of you, it’s hard to go anywhere. We lost this race several years ago. I saw there were five to go, and I thought, ‘Don’t hit no cushion, don’t hit anything.’”

“(The cushion) really got bad there towards the end,” said O’Neal. “We’d fall back a spot or two, and then get one back on the restart. We’ve got to thank everyone. We’ve been struggling lately, but we’ll take second. We’ve had a little bad luck and tonight sure helps. I thank the guys for how hard they work.”

“I had a blast out there,” said Richards who started 21st. “We had some problems yesterday that put us behind. I want to thank my guys for working hard on this car. I think we were a little better than Don at the end. We had a fun race there. I’m kind of glad we didn’t finish second for a fifth time there.”

It was the inaugural appearance for the Malvern Bank SLMR Series at Knoxville Raceway. The 22-lap feature saw Tad Pospisil lead Kyle Berck early. The leaders entered lapped traffic on lap eight before the only caution of the event came for a spun Corey Zeitner.

Pospisil led Berck, Ryan Griffith, Paul Glendenning and Andrew Kosiski back to green. Kosiski surged to second, but Berck would battle back by on lap 11. Pospisil was back in traffic with six to go.

Berck tracked the leader down and went door to door to take the lead on the white flag. The pair swapped metal all the way to the checkers with Pospisil rubbing by again for a .089 second win at the checkers! Berck followed, ahead of Andrew Kosiski, Chad Holladay and Brian Kosiski. Josh Krug, Jason Hahne, Matt Buller, Denny Eckrich and Ryan Griffith completed the top ten. Glendenning set quick time over the 29-car field, while Pospisil, Krug and Allan Hopp won heats. Jerry Roose presented Jeff Aikey with $500 for his hard-charger honors (25th to 12th).

“With about four to go, I wasn’t gaining on the lapped cars as much,” said Pospisil, who accepted $4,000 in $2 bills in Victory Lane. “I guess I wasn’t looking at my signal guy close enough. He must have been telling me to go to the bottom. I was hanging up there in four and Kyle went by. I’ve lost a lot of races to that guy on the last lap. Hats off to him. I know we got together a little in four, but I would have expected the same from him. I’m just proud to be here. We’ve worked hard all season. To win at Knoxville…this is just awesome!”

The 2018 race season at Knoxville Raceway concludes with the annual enduro on Saturday, September 22! For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com
Knoxville Raceway – Sprint Car Capital of the World!
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Knoxville Raceway: 7h: 5 more days away until the 15th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store! more: Knoxville Raceway

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Results the 15th Annual Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores

C main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. 83, Scott James, Lawrenceburg, IN (1); 2. 14m, Morgan Bagley, Longview, TX (3); 3. 22, Greg Satterlee, Indiana, PA (2); 4. B1, Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, MN (5) / 5. 39T, Rob Toland, Davenport, IA (4); 6. 4w, JC Wyman, Griswold, IA (9); 7. 54, Mike Fryer, Freeport, IL (7); 8. 6H, Al Humphrey, Giltner, NE (10); 9. 93, Brian Harris, Davenport, IA (8); 10. 1GRT, Justin Zeitner, Malvern, IA (6); 11. 10c, Junior Coover, Norfolk, NE (12); 12. 9, Lyle Zanker, Rockford, IL (11) DNS – 14z, Zach McMillan, Gladewater, TX, 93J, Jay Johnson, West Burlington, IA, 22B, Jonathan Brauns, Muscatine, IA, 40, Joel Callahan, Dubuque, IA.

B main (started), 20 Laps, NT: 1. 20RT, Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, AZ (13); 2. 1777, Jared Landers, Batesville, AR (4); 3. 28, Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL (11); 4. 3s, Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL (2); 5. Scott James (19); 6. 14, Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY (9) / 7. 25F, Jason Feger, Bloomington, IL (17); 8. 58H, Jeremiah Hurst, Dubuque, IA (1); 9. 15D, Justin Duty, Portland, OR (5); 10. 14J, Jake Neal, Omaha, NE (10); 11. 1M, Mike Mataragas, DeKalb, IL (14); 12. Morgan Bagley (20); 13. 56s, Chris Spieker, Massena, IA (16); 14. 51M, Joey Moriarty, Phoenix, AZ (15); 15. 37, Scott Ward, Hayti, SD (7); 16. 51, Matt Furman, Iowa City, IA (3); 17. 94, Austin Rettig, Sikeston, MO (6); 18. Greg Satterlee (21); 19. Brent Larson (22); 20. 58, Dave Eckrich, Oxford, IA (8); 21. 33, Nick Marolf, Moscow, IA (18); 22. 29D, Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA (12)

A main (started), 100 Laps, NT: 1. 20, Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN (7); 2. 5, Don O’Neal, Martinsville, IN (4); 3. 1R, Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV (21); 4. 0, Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN (3); 5. Brian Shirley (27); 6. 1s, Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL (1); 7. 32, Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL (22); 8. 91, Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX (5); 9. 25s, Chad Simpson, , Mt. Vernon, IA (6); 10. 1, Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL (2); 11. 49, Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA (9); 12. Dennis Erb Jr. (26); 13. 99JR, Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL (8); 14. 18J, Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS (20); 15. Ricky Thornton Jr. (24); 16. Darrell Lanigan (29); 17. 16T, Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA (14); 18. 25z, Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA (18); 19. 76, Brandon Overton, Evans, GA (12); 20. 32s, Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA (10); 21. 21, Billy Moyer, Batesville, AR (23); 22. Jason Feger (31); 23. 18, Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, IL (17); 24. 25c, Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA (15); 25. Greg Satterlee (30); 26. 39, Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY (13); 27. 40B, Kyle Bronson, Brandon, FL (11); 28. 28M, Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI (16); 29. Jared Landers (25); 30. Scott James (28); 31. 30, Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, IA (19); 32. 00S, Jesse Stovall, Billings, MO (32). Lap Leaders: Pearson 1-6, Sheppard 7-39, Owens 40-100. Hard-charger: Shirley.

Malvern Bank SLMR Series Results

Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 33, Paul Glendenning, Mt. Ayr, IA (8) 18.776; 2. 14, Kyle Berck, Marquette, NE (15) 18.884; 3. 53, Andrew Kosiski, La Vista, NE (9) 19.120; 4. 52, Brian Kosiski, Papillion, NE (7) 19.123; 5. 15x, Ryan Griffith, Webster City, IA (11) 19.137; 6. 76H, Jason Hahne, Webster City, IA (14) 19.232; 7. 04, Tad Pospisil, Norfolk, NE (21) 19.233; 8. 15, Jason O’Brien, Atlantic, IA (4) 19.317; 9. 26JR, Corey Zeitner, Omaha, NE (3) 19.428; 10. 32c, Chad Holladay, Muscatine, IA (28) 19.484; 11. 4K, Josh Krug, Omaha, NE (23) 19.496; 12. 80, Allan Hopp, Harlan, IA (12) 19.502; 13. 24, Bill Leighton Jr., La Vista, NE (2) 19.509; 14. 301, Matt Buller, Henderson, NE (10) 19.522; 15. 99D, Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown, IA (22) 19.525; 16. P7, Eric Pollard, Peosta, IA (5) 19.537; 17. 30, Todd Cooney, Des Moines, IA (29) 19.562; 18. 1, Denny Eckrich, Tiffin, IA (26) 19.568; 19. 15K, Justin Kay, Wheatland, IA (20) 19.581; 20. 10T, Jeff Tharp, Sherrill, IA (16) 19.692; 21. 98, Ben Schaller, Omaha, NE (27) 19.716; 22. 3, Sterling Perkins, Lamoni, IA (6) 19.936; 23. 36, Jim Johnson, Plainview, NE (17) 19.976; 24. 1D, Ryan Dolan, Lisbon, IA (24) 20.045; 25. 24F, Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, IA (13) 20.060; 26. 83, Jake Bridge, Waverly, NE (18) 20.126; 27. 25, Brad Perdue, Council Bluffs, IA (19) 20.302; 28. 76, Zach Zeitner, Bellvue, NE (25) 20.326; 29. 87, John Emerson, Waterloo, IA (1) 21.312.

Heat one (started), 8 laps, 2:40.9: 1. Tad Pospisil (3) 2. Chad Holladay (2) 3. Paul Glendenning (5) 4. Brian Kosiski (4) 5. Bill Leighton Jr. (1) 6. Eric Pollard (6) 7. Justin Kay (7) 8. Zach Zeitner (10) 9. Jeff Aikey (9) 10. Sterling Perkins (8)

Heat two (started), 8 laps, 2:41.0: 1. Josh Krug (2) 2. Kyle Berck (5) 3. Ryan Griffith (4) 4. Todd Cooney (6) 5. Matt Buller (1) 6. Jim Johnson (8) 7. Jason O’Brien (3) 8. Jeff Tharp (7) 9. Jake Bridge (9) 10. John Emerson (10)

Heat three (started), 8 laps, 2:43.3: 1. Allan Hopp (2) 2. Jason Hahne (4) 3. Corey Zeitner (3) 4. Ben Schaller (7) 5. Darrel DeFrance (1) 6. Andrew Kosiski (5) 7. Denny Eckrich (6) 8. Ryan Dolan (8) 9. Brad Perdue (9)

A main (started), 22 laps, NT: 1. Tad Pospisil (3) 2. Kyle Berck (1) 3. Andrew Kosiski (7) 4. Chad Holladay (9) 5. Brian Kosiski (6) 6. Josh Krug (8) 7. Jason Hahne (4) 8. Matt Buller (12) 9. Denny Eckrich (19) 10. Ryan Griffith (5) 11. Justin Kay (18) 12. Jeff Aikey (25) 13. Paul Glendenning (2) 14. Ben Schaller (16) 15. Bill Leighton Jr. (13) 16. Todd Cooney (14) 17. Darrel DeFrance (15) 18. Ryan Dolan (23) 19. Jeff Tharp (21) 20. Brad Perdue (26) 21. Allan Hopp (11) 22. Jake Bridge (24) 23. Jim Johnson (20) 24. John Emerson (27) 25. Eric Pollard (17) 26. Sterling Perkins (22) 27. Corey Zeitner (10) DNS – Jason O’Brien, Zach Zeitner. Lap Leaders: Pospisil 1-20, Berck 21, Pospisil 22. Hard-charger: Aikey.

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