Today is Friday, September 17th, two thousand and twenty one. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.
Coming up we are talking last night's Lucas action at Knoxville, the Hockett McMillin Memorial, and what's ahead this weekend for the Outlaws, All Stars, USAC and more.
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Last night was the opening night of the Late Model Knoxville Nationals for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. I haven't paid super close attention to this event in the past, so I have to say that it was a bit weird seeing late models at Knoxville last night. You get so used to just seeing sprint cars there, that it's almost like surreal seeing the late models race around that place. There ended up being just shy of 50 cars for last night's racing, which I think is really good considering all the things that are working against this event. We had Shannon Babb, a lot of the MLRA guys like Chris Simpson, Mason Oberkramer, Tony Jackson Jr., and Garrett Alberson. And that was on top of the regular Lucas guys, plus several Outlaws like Brandon Sheppard and Ricky Weiss, and Kyle Larson. These first two nights are not for championship points, but drivers are trying to set themselves up for good spots on Saturday. In the $7000 to win feature, it was basically all Tyler Erb out front. He got the topside rolling quickly and took the lead from pole sitter Ricky Weiss and then basically disappeared out to a huge lead. On some late cautions Jonathan Davenport threw a few shots at him, but Erb was just better. It was Erb's fifth Lucas win of the season and a bounceback from what wasn't a great World 100 week. Davenport ended up second, Kyle Larson went eighth to third, Weiss ended up fourth, and Kyle Strickler was fifth after being the night's fast timer in qualifying. Tonight's program is basically the same, and then the top guys will be guaranteed into the Saturday night 100 lap feature. Everyone else will be slotted into B mains. It's a bit of a shame that Larson won't be around tonight or tomorrow, because after the way he raced last night, I definitely think he could have been a factor in the big show on Saturday night. Quite a few guys will be looking to have better races tonight and Saturday, including past event winners Mike Marlar and Jimmy Owens, along with Hudson O'Neal and Ricky Thornton Jr. I was a bit surprised as well last night about how sparse the crowd looked. Hopefully I either didn't get a good view, or things will be better for the weekend. I know Knoxville isn't normally late model country, but I'd expect a big event like this would do pretty well in terms of attendance. If you can't be at Knoxville this weekend, MAVTV Plus has live streams, and Saturday's racing will be live on the MAVTV network. Fun side note, last night's Lucas results became the 800th race I've inputted into the dirtrackr.com analytics database. Hopefully we can push that over 1000 in the coming months and keep expanding those available stats.
At the Hockett McMillin Memorial last night Derek Hagar topped the ASCS field for his first series win of 2021 and fourth of his career. Hagar went eighth to the lead, taking over the top spot from Jeremy Campbell on lap 10 and leading the rest of the way. Scott Bogucki, Howard Moore, Jason Martin, and Campbell completed the top five. Blake Hahn added to his championship lead over Matt Covington after transferring through a B main and going 20th to 7th in the feature. Covington ended up ninth, and JJ Hickle was 11th. Hahn now leads Covington by 61 and Hickle by 99 with six race nights left. In the non-wing cars, Kory Schudy took the WAR win over Mario Clouser, Zach Daum, Casey Shuman, and Riley Kreisel. Schudy started fourth, but was quickly to the lead at the start, and he was good out front for the duration of the race. Nice top five run for World of Outlaws Late Model Series director Shuman who used to run the WAR series. Both the ASCS and WAR competitors will line it up and do it all over again tonight. From there, these opening two race nights will set lineups for Saturday's action and the big money races. If you can't be at Wheatland, MAVTV Plus and RacinBoys have streams through the weekend.
In 410 sprint car competition last night, Danny Dietrich topped the field at BAPS Motor Speedway winning the $5000 Greg Hodnett Foundation race. He took the lead from Ryan Smith on lap 12 and drove away to his sixth sprint car win of the season. Brent Marks finished second, Freddie Rahmer was third, Smith fourth, and Rico Abreu completed the top five. The focus in Pennsylvania tonight shifts to Williams Grove as the All Star Circuit of Champions comes into the area for two weekend races. The Jack Gunn Memorial at the Grove pays $7000 to win tonight, and then the racers head to Lincoln Speedway on Saturday for the $20,000 to win Dirt Classic. I believe that Dietrich's win last night at BAPS guarantees him a starting spot in the feature on Saturday at Lincoln. Tonight's winner at the Grove will also be guaranteed in. Aaron Reutzel is the defending winner at the Grove from 2020, and Kyle Larson won the Dirt Classic last season. These weekend stops in Central PA are the start of the final five race stretch for the All Stars to close out 2021. Following this weekend they will race at Eldora on September 25th as part of the 4 Crown weekend, and then close out on October 8th and 9th at Fremont Speedway. With a 276 point lead in the standings, Tyler Courtney has the All Star championship in hand. He can spend these final five races just trying to win and stack up some cash. Sunshine will be looking to bounce back from a rough weekend at Port Royal where he failed to finish in the top ten any night. As I said yesterday, the only positions in the top ten really up for grabs are fourth through sixth, with Bill Balog, Zeb Wise and Cap Henry all close. One series regular we won't see this weekend is Kyle Reinhardt and the 91 machine. He tweeted out yesterday that he tested positive for covid and was going to sit out the weekend. Hopefully he's healthy soon. Both nights this weekend for the All Stars in Pennsylvania will be streamed live on Flo.
Elsewhere this weekend we've got the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars at Hanford for the $21,000 to win Tommy Tarlton Classic, the USAC sprint cars are headed to Circle City and Haubstadt, and the Fonda 200 will pay $53,000 to the winner this weekend for the Short Track Super Series.
Out in California, the Outlaws wrap up their 2021 fall west coast swing on Saturday night before they head back east. David Gravel is the most recent winner at Hanford, back in March of 2019. He'll be looking to repeat that success, and he'll need it if he's going to somehow run down Brad Sweet for this championship. With only 12 race nights left, Gravel is 140 points out, meaning he needs to beat Sweet on a nightly basis by nearly 6 positions to pull back even. That's going to be a very tall task, especially with how good Sweet has been in recent months. Sweet hasn't finished worse than 11th since June 12th and has an average finish of 2.8 over the last five races. He'd need to have big trouble, and probably in multiple races have issues for Gravel to have a chance. Besides the points battle to watch, this will also be the final chance for a California regular to top the Outlaws this season. Dominic Scelzi and Justin Sanders have been very good in 2021, and Tanner Carrick was very impressive last weekend at Chico before that loose tail tank ended his run. I'm assuming Shane Golobic will be back in action and I'm curious to see what Parker Price Miller can do driving the Tarlton 21. And speaking of Tarlton, did you see the blacked out Tarlton scheme that Kyle Larson will run during the NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas? Very cool looking car. The Tarlton stuff is always top notch.
For the USAC National Sprint Cars, they are making their debut at Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis tonight, before heading to Haubstadt on Saturday for the $12,000 to win Hustler. Kevin Thomas Jr. and Justin Grant are still trying to keep pace with Brady Bacon for the title, but the Macho Man was able to pull away a little bit during the USAC Nationals at Huset's. KTJ is 56 back and Grant is 95 out. Another driver to keep an eye on is Tanner Thorson, who has been on fire lately. He hasn't finished worse than sixth in his last six races, including a win at Huset's. CJ Leary is also coming off back to back wins in South Dakota and he has five total for the season. Haubstadt is always a favorite, and with the midget and sprint car races we've seen at Circle City this weekend, I would expect the non-wing cars to put on a great show as well.
And at Fonda Speedway this weekend, the Short Track Super Series is in action for the $53,000 to win Fonda 200. Stewart Friesen is the defending winner of the event from 2019, and fresh off advancing to the next round of the NASCAR truck series playoffs, he'll be looking to repeat. The event will pay out more than $150,000 over the three night event. We'll have to see what the field looks like, as the Super DIRTcar Series is also racing on Saturday, as they take on Land of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua. Definitely a little gamesmanship with the schedule there between the two series. The drama in the northeast never ends. If you're a modified fan, both events are available through the streaming services.
Drop me a comment below or on social media and let me know where you're headed this weekend, or what you'll be watching on the streaming services. Also feel free to drop some win predictions and your thoughts on what's coming up. I definitely read all the comments and appreciate those who participate regularly.
There are 24 items on the streaming schedule for today, with a lot more coming this weekend. That includes the Late Model Knoxville Nationals, Hockett McMillin Memorial, USAC sprint cars at Circle City, Fonda 200, All Stars in Pennsylvania, and a lot more. To see the full daily streaming schedule through the weekend, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
That's it for the show today, hope you have a good Friday and a good weekend. If you have thoughts about the topics on today's show, leave them in the comments below or tweet at me.
Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you tomorrow for more DIRTRACKR Daily!