KNOXVILLE, IA (September 25, 2014) – Jonathan Davenport led from start to finish in dominating fashion during Thursday Night’s Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals opener. Davenport started second and survived a close battle early on with Brian Birkhofer to score his first-ever win at Knoxville Raceway in the 25-lap preliminary feature event.

 

Darrell Lanigan slipped by Birkhofer on lap nine for second place but never got close enough to challenge Davenport. Birkhofer came home third, followed by Earl Pearson Jr., and 22nd-starting Brandon Sheppard rounding out the top five.

 

“It feels great to win at such a prestigious place as Knoxville Raceway. I have to thank Kevin and Leroy Rumley. What a car we had tonight! I felt so comfortable out there. This Longhorn Chassis has been fast all year. Hopefully we can get three wins here this weekend,” said the winner in Lucas Oil Victory Lane.

 

Davenport sprinted to the lead at the drop of the green flag and was challenged by Birkhofer for just a few laps before pulling away for his 21st win overall in 2014. “This track fits my driving style. It’s wide-open, no doubt! I just kept it glued to the top for most of the race. I want to thank Steve Cooke of AES Racing, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, VP, CV Products, and JRi Shocks. Leroy Rumley builds a heck of an engine. What a great start to the weekend!”

 

Lanigan, the defending winner of the event, followed up his big victory a year ago with a runner-up finish on the opening night this year. “We had a good car tonight. We had a really good battle with Brian [Birkhofer] there for a while. Once we got by him, he [Davenport] was so far out in front and with only 25 laps tonight, I wasn’t going to be able to catch him. It’s a good start for the weekend. We will make some adjustments and come out Friday Night ready to go,” said the driver of the Keyser MFG, Gotta Race, Cornett Racing Engines-powered, Club 29 Chevrolet.

 

Birkhofer started the weekend off on a positive note after a disappointing run in 2013. “After last year, this is just tremendous to be to come out tonight and get a podium finish. We just got this Vic Hill Racing Engine this week and it gives us a confidence boost heading into Friday and Saturday Night. It looked like a really good crowd tonight and I hope we put on a good show for everyone.”

 

Completing the top ten were Kent Robinson, Scott Bloomquist, Eddie Carrier Jr., Frank Heckenast Jr., and Tim McCreadie.

 

In preliminary action, Dale McDowell set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time (Group A) amongst the 79 entrants, with a lap of 17.635 seconds. Eddie Carrier Jr. set the fastest time in Group B with a time of 17.836 seconds. Brady Smith, John Blankenship, Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar, Rick Eckert won their respective heat races. Chris Simpson won the D-Main; Terry Phillips won the C-Main and Chad Simpson won the B-Main.

 

For the latest breaking news on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.lucasdirt.com and follow the series on www.facebook.com/lucasdirt and www.twitter.com/lucasdirt.

 

-Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Press Release and Photo

 

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Thursday, September 25 – Knoxville Nationals

 

1

2

6

Jonathan Davenport

Mount Airy, NC

2

6

29

Darrell Lanigan

Union, KY

3

4

15b

Brian Birkhofer

Muscatine, IA

4

5

44

Earl Pearson, Jr.

Jacksonville, FL

5

22

B5

Brandon Sheppard

New Berlin, IL

6

1

7R

Kent Robinson

Bloomington, IN

7

12

0

Scott Bloomquist

Mooresburg, TN

8

8

28

Eddie Carrier, Jr.

Salt Rock, WV

9

10

99JR

Frank Heckenast, Jr.

Frankfort, IL

10

24

39

Tim McCreadie

Watertown, NY

11

7

17m

Dale McDowell

Chickamauga, GA

12

21

15

Steve Francis

Ashland, KY

13

13

2

Brady Smith

Solon Springs, WI

14

16

157

Mike Marlar

Winfield, TN

15

18

1

Rick Eckert

York, PA

16

14

58d

AJ Diemel

Elk Mound, WI

17

17

1V

Will Vaught

Crane, MO

18

20

777

Jared Landers

Batesville, AR

19

3

23

John Blankenship

Williamson, WV

20

23

98

Jason Rauen

Farley, IA

Davenport Dominates First Night of Knoxville Nationals