The Friday night portion of the NOS Energy Drink 59th running of the Knoxville Nationals was held for drivers, who failed to lock in spots among the top 16 in points through the first two days of qualifying.
Some of the best racing at the Nationals over the years, takes place on Friday evening. The 2019 show didn’t disappoint.
The FVP “Hard Knox” Night lived up to its name Friday.
The first four in the Friday A-Feature earned the final four positions in the Saturday A-Main, which paid $10,000 just to start.
Australian pilot Kerry Madsen is no stranger when it comes to success at the Knoxville half-mile. Madsen, started the Friday A-Feature outside the front row.
He took advantage to lead all 25-laps and pick up one of the precious final four spots in the Saturday main event.
Chasing Madsen to the finish line were Logan Schuchart, who finished second, Shane Stewart in third and Dominic Scelzi in fourth.
Running fifth in the Friday feature and just missing a spot in the Saturday main event was defending Knoxville Track Champion Austin McCarl.
A few other top notch drivers who ran the Friday A-Feature, but failed to earn one of the four transfers to the big show Saturday were Sammy Swindell (1983 Nationals Champion), who was eighth Friday.
Kraig Kinser (2005 Nationals Champion) was ninth Friday.
Seven-time Knoxville Track Champion Terry McCarl was 12th in the Friday feature.
Brian Brown, who has ran second at the Nationals, was 22nd in the feature.
Chris Martin motored his way to a victory in the C-Feature which was 10-laps in length.
Terry McCarl captured the B-Feature ahead of Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Chad Kemenah and Josh Schneiderman.
In the second B-Feature of the night Carson McCarl took the checkered flag with Skylar Prochaska, Taker Phillips and Brady Bacon rounding out the top four.
Only the top three in each B-Feature qualified for the Friday night A-Feature.
It was Madsen’s 23rd career win at the Knoxville Raceway.
“Nobody cared about winning, it was all about getting locked into Saturday night. The car was a rocket ship all night, “ Madsen said.
Schuchart said he reverted back to using the car he raced at the King’s Royal back in July.
Stewart had set quick time Thursday night. On the first lap of the heat race he wrecked.
“The wreck happened so fast. Tonight we were running out of gas with four laps to go. We were completely out of gas at the end, we couldn’t have made another lap,” Stewart said.
In 2018 Dominic Scelzi won the World Challenge race to pick up the so called “Golden Ticket,” 25th entry into the A-Feature.
The Golden Ticket path to the A-Feature was scrapped in 2019.
“This is the best moment of my life. It was just as hard to get into the A-Feature this year. Instead of starting 25th Saturday, I guess we’ll start 24th,” Scelzi said.
A main, 25 Laps, NT: 1. Kerry Madsen (2); 2. Logan Schuchart (8); 3. Shane Stewart (3); 4. Dominic Scelzi (5); 5. Austin McCarl (9); 6. Spencer Bayston (17); 7. Josh Baughman (4); 8. Sammy Swindell (7); 9. Kraig Kinser (18); 10. Bill Balog (10) (Top 10 only)