KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 7, 2016) – Tonight’s Capitani Classic was the final race to experiment with tune ups prior to the crown jewel of Sprint Car racing, the Knoxville Nationals.
With 61 cars on deck at Knoxville Raceway, Dave Blaney wheeled the Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop 71M to the No. 7 qualifying spot (15.710 seconds) in group two.
There were six heat races with the top three in each transferring to the A Main.
Blaney started on the outside of the front row in his heat that was chock full of A list drivers. He drove hard and finished third, earning a spot in the feature.
The pole scramble pitted the top eight drivers against each other in a two-lap race, with the winner taking on the next contestant. The results of the scramble determined the pole and the top eight starting positions in the A Main. After the scramble, Blaney was awarded the seventh starting position for the feature.
The first two attempts to start the main were foiled by spins before one lap could be completed. First Paul McMahan spun between turns three and four and in the second restart, Blaney spun in the same spot and had to go to the rear of the field.
On the third try, one lap went into the history books before another spin brought out the yellow. Kerry Madsen was the leader, Shane Stewart was second and Brian Brown third. On lap three, Stewart took the lead from Madsen. Blaney began to push forward to 18th.
The red stopped racing action on lap 16 when Danny Lasoski and Bronson Maeschen tangled. Both drivers were able to climb out of their cars.
Back to green. Shane Stewart led to the checkered flag, the only driver to win back to back Capitani Classics. Kerry Madsen finished second and Brian Brown third.
Blaney was 17th.
“We learned quite a bit tonight,” said team owner Dan Motter. “We believe we got a good baseline for this coming week at the Knoxville Nationals.
“We were fortunate to have the legendary crew chief Kenny Woodruff here tonight helping us and he will be with us during the Knoxville Nationals. Up until this point, Dave has tried to tune and drive, which is very difficult to do under ever-changing race conditions.
“Kenny and Dave spent many years as one of the strongest teams in sprint car racing before Dave headed to NASCAR in 1998. Together they won two Kings Royal events, and won the Historical Big One and the Knoxville Nationals in back-to-back events in 1997. They also notched a World of Outlaws championship together.
“Tonight the two of them spent a lot of time talking through everything.
“We were not far off in qualifying. We were experimenting with the set-up tonight and missed it a bit during the feature.
“This was our first time in Knoxville this year and it was a very valuable night for us.”
Next on the agenda: the Knoxville Nationals. Dave Blaney will qualify on Thursday, August 11.
“Our team’s thoughts and prayers are with Bryan Clauson and his family,” said Motter. “I know Bryan is weighing on everyone’s minds in the entire racing fraternity.”
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