Today we've got results and reactions from night one of the Knoxville Nationals, I'll finally reveal the DIRTRACRK t-shirts, the North/South 100 begins for Lucas, and more. Let's go!
It's Thursday, August 11th, I'm Justin Fiedler. This is DIRTRACKR Daily.
We are off and running for the 61st Knoxville Nationals with prelim night number one from Wednesday complete. The big story line from last night that you'll see everyone talking today about was how difficult it was to move forward come heat race time. If you watched yesterday's show, or you're a long time fan, you know that after time trials, Knoxville inverts the top eight in heat races for the Nationals. That means if you qualify well, you've got to be fast come those heats because they are only taking the top four to the night's feature. The drivers that are hardest hit by the invert are those that qualify in the top ten. They started on the fourth row of each of the five heats, and of those ten drivers, only David Gravel transferred through his heat race to make the night's feature. That left Parker Price Miller, Brent Marks, Justin Sanders, Ian Madsen, Josh Schneiderman, Ayrton Gennetten, Sawyer Phillips, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Shane Golobic all in the night's B main, and of that group, with only four transfers available, only PPM, Marks, Madsen, and Sanders made the feature. I feel like the biggest name of that group to miss was Sheldon and he's way down in 19th in event points after night one. He'll either have to make something happen on Friday, or run the alphabet come Saturday. With all the issues for these guys in heat races, they were people bemoaning the format, and those defending the format, but complaining about the track surface. When you have inverts though, this is the risk that is out there for teams that qualify quick. If you have a problem, or the track doesn't widen out in time, you get trapped down the order. You can't be okay with inverts, but then mad when we have a night like last night. That is just the nature of the beast. In the night's 25 lap feature, Logan Schuchart and James McFadden led the field to green from the front row, and out front it was all Schuchart for the duration. Seventh starting Donny Schatz looked like he might have had a chance late to catch the 1S, but issues in lap traffic ended his bid. So Schuchart your winner, with Donny Schatz, David Gravel, Gio Scelzi, and McFadden rounding out the top five. Keep in mind that it's not necessarily about running up front in these features, but more about maximizing points, because the top 16 in event points after these first two nights are the ones guaranteed into the Saturday main event. After last night, Schatz and Gravel are tied for the most points, so they are safe. And according to World of Outlaws PR guy Brian Walker, the average point total needed to earn the final feature transfer over the past six Nationals is 453.3, with the highest total being 457, and the lowest being 439. So with that in mind, Marks, PPM, and Justin Sanders, who are third through fifth are all most likely safe as well. From there, Aaron Reutzel has 447 in sixth, Gio has 445, and last night's winner Schuchart is eighth with 444. It would not be outside the realm of possibility that a prelim night winner could end up in a Saturday B-Main. Looking forward to tonight, we'll do it all over again, just with a different group of cars. We ended up with 51 total last night, and we should be about that same number for tonight. The Thursday field includes names like Kerry Madsen, defending winner Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet, Carson Macedo, Anthony Macri, Daryn Pittman, Rico Abreu, Brian Brown, Buddy Kofoid, Tyler Courtney, Spencer Bayston, and Jacob Allen among others. Today's schedule is the same as yesterday's with hot laps scheduled for 7:15PM central time, time trials at 7:40, and opening ceremonies at 8:05. The dirtrackr.com analytics prediction formula likes Kyle Larson tonight. I'm gonna go Brad Sweet. The Big Cat hasn't won a prelim night since he won the Nationals in 2018, but obviously heat race passing will be at a premium, and he leads the Outlaws this season in heat race plus/minus. If you aren't headed out the Sprint Car Capital of the World tonight, you can watch live over on DIRTVision.
Now, before we move on and talk about other racing stuff, it's DIRTRACKR t-shirt reveal time. I went up yesterday to Kahne Screen Print and picked up our first round of shirts, I have two options, a late model one and a sprint car one. I have 75 of each, with sizes ranging from adult small to 4X. They are $30 and I'll pay for sales tax and shipping. So $30 out the door for you. Thanks to my guy Kevin at KSP for getting this done for me and for showing me around their facility yesterday. It's really impressive what Kasey and everyone involved there have done over the last few years getting this business off the ground. They are handling apparel for a lot of sprint car drivers, including Larson, Sweet, Marks, Rico, Schuchart, Justin Grant, and Tyler Courtney just to name a few. I figured if KSP was good enough for those guys, it would be good enough for my little order. So shirts are in hand, and the Shopify store is live as of this morning. I contemplated putting everything live last night, but I figured you guys that watch and listen to my shows every day should get to see them first. So here they are. I'm going to wait a little bit today to give you guys a chance to get orders in first, so you get first crack at sizes. Later this afternoon I'll go live on social media with everything and hit my email list. Besides the shirts, the online store is also now the home for the decals as well, so if you don't have one of those, you can add one to your order. So when you're ready to purchase, head over to shop.dirtrackr.com. It's all there and ready to go right now. If for some reason you run into any issues, just drop me an email at email@example.com. I'll also have links in the video description, and I'm going to change the merch link on dirtrackr.com to point there. So shirts are now on sale, shop.dirtrackr.com, and I'll have them in the mail just as quickly as I can as orders come in. If this is successful, I've got ideas for more cool stuff, and we can continue getting quality items from KSP. Thanks in advance if you decide to get one.
Alright, moving on.
After a couple of weeks off from racing, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is back tonight to kick off three days of racing at Florence Speedway for the North/South 100. Saturday night's main event pays a very large $75,000 to win, which makes it one of the richest dirt late model races on the calendar in 2022. Tonight and tomorrow night we'll have split field shows, with each program featuring two $5000 to win features. So two features tonight, and two tomorrow night. Points earned through the first two nights will set heat races for Saturday's main event. Brandon Overton is the defending North/South 100 winner, he led 79 laps a year ago and topped Tim McCreadie and Jonathan Davenport. McCreadie was the winner in 2020. TMac also enters the weekend as the series points leader over Brandon Sheppard and Ricky Thornton Jr., and not only has he surged in recent weeks to take that top spot, but he's also been able to extend his lead. He is currently riding a streak of 22 straight top ten finishes with Lucas. That is by far the longest current active top ten streak in the country of any of the major dirt racing series. Because of the split field formats, I'm not going to do win picks for the next two nights, but besides Overton and McCreadie, other guys with recent wins at Florence include Josh Rice, Mike Marlar, Jimmy Owens, and Earl Pearson Jr. I also wouldn't sleep on Ricky Thornton Jr. and Sheppy. The field last year was just shy 50 cars, but with a purse bump for the entire weekend, I'd expect that number to swell. Besides the Lucas regulars, you can expect to see Davenport, Chris Madden, Cory Hedgecock, Kyle Bronson, and Kyle Strickler on top of the names I already mentioned. Remember that all of the Lucas shows are now part of the schedule over at FloRacing, so you can watch there tonight if you aren't headed to Florence. If you need a Flo subscription, click the affiliate link below or over on dirtrackr.com.
A bunch of you have contributed to this little DIRTRACKR project in recent weeks with Super Thanks on YouTube, and I wanted to shout those names out. So big thanks to Kim, Bruce, Jim, JonnyZee, Jason, Dennis, and Ben for their support on recent videos. You guys are very much appreciated. And thanks to all who tune in regularly and watch or listen.
Before we shut it down today, the USMTS is in action for three nights this weekend with some big money on the line. Tonight they are at Dallas County for the Bullring Bash, Friday they go to Lakeside for the Grant Junghans Memorial, and Saturday they take on I-70. Tonight is $5k to win, Friday is a very solid $20,000 to win, and Saturday is $10,000 to win. Dustin Sorensen continues to lead Tanner Mullens and Dereck Ramirez in the championship battle. If you're a modified fan, you can watch these live over on RacinDirt.
Plenty of options today on the streaming services if you need a dirt racing fix. Night two of the Knoxville Nationals on DIRTVision headlines the day. FloRacing has the opening night of the North/South 100 for Lucas, plus Flo 24/7. Dirt Track Digest TV has racing from Orange County Fair, RacinDirt has the USMTS from Dallas County, and there are four shows on Speed Sport. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
That's it for the show today, have a good Thursday. 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!