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.

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Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Thursday Night, September 25th, 2014
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA

Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Dale McDowell / 17.635 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Eddie Carrier Jr. / 17.635 seconds

Fast Shafts Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Brady Smith, Kent Robinson, Dale McDowell, Steve Francis, Jesse Stovall, Jason Papich, Jay Johnson, Brian Harris, Rich Bell, Skip Fry, Shannon Babb, Curt Schroeder, Billy Moyer-DNS, Jordan Heiman-DNS

Eibach Springs Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): John Blankenship, Will Vaught, Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr., Gregg Satterlee, Tim Lance, John Duty, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker, Jimmy Mars, Andy Eckrich, Tyler Bruening, Junior Coover-DNS

Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr., Vic Coffey, Morgan Bagley, Wendell Wallace, Jason Rauen, Brian Shirley, Donny Schatz, Rob Moss, Steve Lance, Roger Brickler, Spencer Diercks

FK Rod Ends Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, AJ Diemel, Eddie Carrier Jr., Mark Dotson, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr., Terry Phillips, Jason Utter, Tim McCreadie, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Brauns, Al Humphrey, Mike Fryer

Fast Shafts Heat Race #5 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Mike Marlar, Brian Birkhofer, Frank Heckenast Jr., Don O’Neal, Denny Eckrich, Chad Simpson, Rodney Sanders, Scott James, Jordan Yaggy, Todd Frank, Justin Duty, Matt Furman, Ryan Gustin

Eibach Springs Heat Race #6 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Mason Zeigler, Brandon Sheppard, Ray Guss Jr., Jake Meier, Charlie McKenna, Chris Spieker, Dustin Walker, Jimmy Owens, Jason Feger, Jason Hughes

JRi Shocks D-Main (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Chris Simpson, Jonathan Brauns, Shannon Babb, Ryan Gustin, Rob Moss, Matt Furman, Justin Duty, Skip Fry, Mike Fryer, Steve Lance, Roger Brickler, Todd Frank, Dustin Walker, Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Mars-DNS, Jason Hughes-DNS, Tyler Bruening-DNS, Jason Feger-DNS, Andy Eckrich-DNS, Billy Moyer-DNS, Junior Coover-DNS, Al Humphrey-DNS, Spencer Diercks-DNS, Jordan Heiman-DNS

CV Products C-Main (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Terry Phillips, Scott James, Tim McCreadie, Donny Schatz, Ryan Gustin, Brian Shirley, Chris Spieker, Brian Harris, Rodney Sanders, Shannon Babb, Rich Bell, Jay Johnson, Jason Utter, Charlie McKenna, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Brauns, Dave Eckrich, Jordan Yaggy, John Duty, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker

JRi Shocks B-Main (15 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): Chad Simpson, Jared Landers, Steve Francis, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Rauen, Tim McCreadie, Wendell Wallace, Dennis Erb Jr., Jason Papich, Jesse Stovall, Gregg Satterlee, Morgan Bagley, Scott James, Denny Eckrich, Tim Lance, Donny Schatz, Mark Dotson, Don O’Neal, Mason Zeigler, Ray Guss Jr., Terry Phillips, Billy Moyer Jr.

Feature Finish (25 Laps):

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
21 15 32c Vic Coffey Caledonia, NY
22 9 5X Brandon Overton Appling, GA
23 19 25 Chad Simpson Mt. Vernon, IA
24 11 18c Chase Junghans Manhattan, KS

Race Statistics
Entrants: 79
Lap Leaders: Jonathan Davenport (Laps 1 – 25)
Cautions: Debris (Lap 8)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: n/a
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Miller Welders Fast Time Provisionals: n/a
Wrisco Feature Winner: Jonathan Davenport
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Brandon Sheppard (Started: 22nd; Finished: 5th; Advanced 17 Positions)
Keyser Mfg Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Don O’Neal
Allstar Performer of the Race: Brandon Sheppard
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson Jr.
Dunn Benson Ford Rookie of the Race: n/a
Midwest Sheet Metal Highest Finishing Rookie: n/a
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Rumley Race Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Bryan Liverman (Jonathan Davenport)
HAWK Performance Fastest Lap of the Race: Jonathan Davenport (Lap # 3 – 19.233 seconds)
Time of Race: 13 minutes 34 seconds