T.J.’s Notebook: Friday Optimism

Teams working on their cars getting ready to compete Friday night at Knoxville Raceway. - T.J. Buffenbarger Photo
Teams working on their cars getting ready to compete Friday night at Knoxville Raceway. - T.J. Buffenbarger Photo
Teams working on their cars getting ready to compete Friday night at Knoxville Raceway. – T.J. Buffenbarger Photo

Knoxville, IA – (August 9, 2013) – The largest change I have seen in the FVP Knoxville Nationals in the 10 years I have been away is the different atmosphere Friday has on the grounds.  With teams now having a chance to qualify for Saturday night’s A-Main via the features or the Speed Sport World Challenge the general mood of the teams is much more upbeat.  Most of the teams I visited with walking around the grounds on Friday were participating in tonight’s program and anxious to have another shot at the four or five positions available tonight for Saturday night’s A-Main.


Spectators I spoke to on the concourse are s excited about Friday night after seeing last year’s program.  Some are a bit skeptical about the highest non A-Main qualified driver in the top three of the Speed Sport World Challenge getting the 25th starting spot in the A-Main, but I liken it to how I felt at first about the Little Feature at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals where the winner is locked into the final starting spot at the Canadian Nationals A-Main.  After seeing the little feature I was in favor of it and think that I will likely feel the same about the World Challenge format as well.


Notes from around the grounds…


  • The second Kick-It for Cancer game held on Friday at the baseball fields located next to Knoxville Raceway was a huge success.  The biggest ticket item sold during a charity auction as part of the event was Joey Saldana’s helmet from this year’s FVP Knoxville Nationals designed by Saldana’s son Reece.  The helmet ended being sold for an astounding $10,000.
  • One other notable bid from the Kick-It Auction today was Brian Brown donating $500 for Kerry Madsen to wear a Danica Patrick worn Go-Daddy.com tank top under his fire suit for Saturday night’s program at the Knoxville Nationals.   Madsen and Brown also had a great exchange in Thursday night’s post-race press conference where Madsen talked about Brown running him through the infield, but was light hearted with both drivers chalking the race for the lead up to the style of racing needed to win the Knoxville Nationals.
  • Bill Rose has been on an uphill climb since coming back from breaking his arm during the opening week of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series action at Volusia Speedway Park in February.  Last night Rose has a bolt come off that held on the throttle linkage that ended up burying him the rest of the night.  Rose will attempt to re-qualify tonight and take next weekend off before heading out west to race with the World of Outlaws on their western swing minus the event in Edmonton.
  • Knoxville Raceway point leader Bronson Maeschen will attempt to re-qualify as part of tonight’s program after a heat race incident with Rico Abreu on Thursday night.  Maeschen indicated the crash damaged a front end, header, and various other bolt on parts.  Maeschen’s team had the front end of the car completely torn down on the grounds on Friday and were going through the car to prepare racing tonight.
  • Brandon Wimmer was riding around the grounds and informed us that the Destiny Motorsports team will tackle the West Coast swing with the World of Outlaws minus the Edmonton event.  Wimmer also mentioned the team is looking at possibly racing at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals depending on how the west coast swing goes.
  • Performance Racing Industry held a luncheon at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday for some of their vendors.  The mood was extremely upbeat about the show coming up on December 12-14 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Every vendor and promoter we spoke to at the luncheon was excited about only having to prepare for one show instead of having to either pick and choose or prepare for two shows when PRI was in Orlando and the IMIS show was in Indianapolis.
  • During the luncheon we had a chance to speak with 2007 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee and board member Shane Carson.  Carson will be taking part in a fan forum tomorrow at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum remembering Ted Johnson with Grant Rankin, Ralph Capitani, and other guests Saturday August 10th at 1:30 p.m.