THE PIT STOP
By SCOTT WATSON
---- — Hello race fans and welcome to The Pit Stop.
Even though it is called the Cox Design Iowa Sprint Week, it is actually 10 consecutive nights of Sprint Car racing held between two tracks in the area and it begins Thursday night at The Knoxville Raceway.
Thursday night is the first of three nights of the 23rd annual Arnold Motor Supply 360 Knoxville Nationals. Thursday and Friday are qualifying nights where the entries are divided up with half of them running each night. The drivers accumulate points from time trials, heat races and features each night and those points are how they are lined up for the E, D, C, B and A Main races on Saturday night.
The A Main winner on Saturday night will take home $10,000 for the victory. Some of the big names set up for qualifying Thursday night are ‘Young Money’ Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, California, Danny Lasoski of Dover, Missouri, Jason Johnson of Eunice, Louisiana and Brad Sweet of Mooresville, North Carolina.
Larson recently won the Nascar Truck Series race at The Eldora Speedway I wrote about in last week’s Pit Stop.
Friday Night qualifiers include Terry McCarl of Altoona, Kevin Swindell of Bartlett, Tennessee, Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and Shane Stewart of Bixby, Oklahoma. Stewart has won the 360 Nationals the last three years and is gunning for his fourth straight title.
Sunday night at Knoxville, they will be hosting the Second Annual Capitani Classic for the 410 Sprinters. This is named after legendary Knoxville Raceway General Manager, Ralph Capitani, who retired two years ago.
The next two nights of racing, head east on Highway 92 to The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa for the Musco Lighting Front Row Challenge presented by Casey’s General Stores and the Casey’s General Stores Ultimate Challenge presented by Searsboro Telephone Company on Monday and Tuesday nights respectively. Both shows are promoted by Sprint Car racer Terry McCarl.
The Front Row Challenge has changed this year to be an American Sprint Car Series event for the 360 Sprinters with $3,000 going to the winner. The front row qualifiers have the opportunity to relinquish their starting position and elect to start in the rear of the field for a $30,000 payday if they can make it to victory lane from the tail of the grid.
Three-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart has confirmed that he will be racing Monday night at Oskaloosa. The Ultimate Challenge on Tuesday night is a United States Auto Club Sprint Car race for the Non-winged Sprint Cars.
Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, California, has won the event the last two years and is shooting for a three-peat at Oskaloosa in the event. The TK Concrete Keith Hutton Memorial King of the Hill Dash will finalize the starting grid for the feature race and the winner will pocket $10,000 for their efforts. The 305 Sprinters are on the card of racing Tuesday night with the USAC Sprinters.
The Speed Week then heads back west to Knoxville for the 53rd Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals for the final four nights of the Speed Week. Racers accumulate points at each of the 10 events with the racer achieving the highest point total being awarded the ‘Jesse Hockett Mr. Sprint Car’ title. $3,000 also accompanies the title of Mr. Sprint Car.
Racing this week in the area begins tomorrow night at The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, where the night of racing is being sponsored by Community 1st Credit Union.
Eddyville Raceway Park has a Fun Night scheduled for Friday night with the fourth Midnight Madness racing event of 2013 taking place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday night as well. Saturday racing at Eddyville is a non-points race with not all of the details finalized at the writing of this report.
The Bloomfield Speedway has racing action this Saturday night with the night being sponsored by Ottumwa Radio. It is also “Support Your Local 4-H” night and the Sport Modifieds will be racing for a $500 top prize going to the winner.
The Figure 8 races return to the Keokuk County Expo in Sigourney Saturday night.
Next week I will write my annual pre-Knoxville Nationals Pit Stop. Gotta go for this week. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you at the track. Gone racin’.