Greg Hodnett Leads All 25 Laps to Score Night One of Knoxville Nationals

KNOXVILLE, IA – Greg Hodnett got the early jump and never looked back to score Night One of the 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals for the Pennsylvania Posse. Tim Shaffer threw everything he had for the lead, but settled for second with Kyle Larson, who ended the night as the high point guy, settling for third.

Brock Zearfoss hit the 8-car invert for the Feature perfectly, earning the pole for the 25-Lap Feature in his first Knoxville Nationals appearance, which set up an all Pennsylvania front row.

Hodnett drag-raced with Zearfoss down the long Knoxville Raceway front stretch to lead into turn one and subsequently the opening circuit. Hodnett and Zearfoss paced the field but as the duo began to approach heavy lapped traffic, the Red Flag flew for Clyde Knipp and Jamie Ball, who got upside down in turn three with 8 laps complete.

Both drivers walked away from the accident unscathed. When action resumed, Tim Shaffer pounced and got by Zearfoss for second and began chasing down Hodnett for the lead.

Austin McCarl brought out the caution with 11 laps remaining. Hodnett powered away on the restart, as Shaffer, Kyle Larson and 16-year-old Giovanni Scelzi went three-wide down the backstretch for second, inciting a roar from the Knoxville Raceway crowd.

Shaffer muscled his way into turn three to maintain the runner-up position and once again set his sights on Hodnett, who was establishing a strong pace.

Shaffer closed in on Hodnett and was poised to make a move before the final caution of the night flew for Dominic Scelzi with six laps remaining. Hodnett went to the cushion in turn one as Shaffer tried to stick his Demyan-Rudzik Racing No.49X to the bottom.

The duo switched lines on the other side of the Knoxville Raceway as Hodnett was glued to the bottom. Shaffer threw everything he had at Hodnett one last time in turn one, but couldn’t complete the pass for the lead as Hodnett went on to win his second career 410 Sprint Car Feature at Knoxville Raceway by less than a half of a second.

Hodnett described the last few laps as just hanging on, “I had no clue where anyone else was running, I was just trying to drive it hard. Seeing guys like Shaffer and Larson climb up the board is pretty tough, because you don’t know where, while you are running out front,” Hodnett said in the post-race interview.

“I really do like Knoxville, it tends to make you drive pretty straight and hard, which is what I like to do. I’ve always felt comfortable here and I really enjoy the atmosphere,” the pilot of the Heffner Racing No.27 added.

Tim Shaffer, the 2010 Knoxville Nationals Champion, settled for second and was in good spirits. “Greg was rolling pretty good, I had to run the car a little harder to try and close in, but Greg wasn’t making any mistakes. We had speed early this year but haven’t had as much lately. My guys have been working hard and trying to find speed at the same and we did that tonight,” Shaffer said.

Kyle Larson ended his night on the podium, but more importantly as the high point man for the night with 475 markers. “It’s cool to be the high point man after your Qualifying night, I doubt it will stand after tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll be in the second row,” Larson said.

“Prelim nights are obviously so important for everyone, but it’s essential for me to lock-in. With my NASCAR schedule, I can’t come back Friday, so I knew that I needed to lock-in for Saturday’s Feature or I would be watching. And I don’t want to watch on Saturday,” Larson added with a smile.

Giovanni Scelzi continues to impress the Sprint Car world and came home fourth in his first Knoxville Nationals appearance aboard the Indy Race Parts No.71. Donny Schatz picked up the KSE Hard Charger on the evening, blasting from 21st to complete the top five and secure himself 474 points, good enough for second on the night. Ian Madsen charged from 22nd to sixth with Lucas Wolfe hanging on for seventh after his top wing panel collapsed late in the race.

Aaron Reutzel, Kerry Madsen and Brock Zearfoss completed the top ten. Logan Schuchart set fast time over the field but after winning the Last Chance Showdown failed to go to the scales, thus disqualifying him from the event and burying him in the point standings. Schuchart owned up the mistake and hopes to prove himself Friday.

Brandt Professional Agriculture Night #1 of the 58th Annual 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores Results

Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 1S, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA (3), 14.933; 2. 2M, Kerry Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (5), 15.133; 3. 87, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX (24), 15.139; 4. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND (1), 15.208; 5. 18, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (18), 15.282; 6. 9, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK (2), 15.296; 7. 0, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (35), 15.305; 8. 2KS, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (4), 15.346; 9. 4K, Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, WA (12), 15.350; 10. 57, Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA (45), 15.368; 11. 71, Gio Scelzi, Fresno, CA (17), 15.406; 12. 13X, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN (10), 15.422; 13. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA (40), 15.424; 14. 24W, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA (28), 15.438; 15. 3H, James McFadden, Ormeau, QLD, Aust. (20), 15.439; 16. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (15), 15.485; 17. 27, Greg Hodnett, Spring Grove, PA (23), 15.531; 18. 7S, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN (6), 15.577; 19. 17, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH (37), 15.588; 20. 4, Brock Zearfoss, Jonesville, PA (21), 15.614; 21. 11, Roger Crockett, Medford, OR (25), 15.647; 22. 5H, Sammy Walsh, Orangeville, NSW, Aust. (31), 15.649; 23. 41S, Dominic Scelzi, Fresno, CA (41), 15.656; 24. 09, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD (30), 15.664; 25. 12N, Cole Duncan, Lockbourne, OH (26), 15.731; 26. 19, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA (39), 15.769; 27. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (11), 15.811; 28. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI (38), 15.824; 29. 97G, Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO (34), 15.827; 30. 29, Willie Croft, Roseville, CA (7), 15.854; 31. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (33), 15.858; 32. 5J, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (14), 15.923; 33. 71X, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL (19), 15.926; 34. 10, Clyde Knipp, California, MO (13), 15.948; 35. 85, Chase Wanner, Batavia, IA (27), 15.964; 36. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (22), 15.976; 37. 17WX, Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA (36), 16.012; 38. 28P, Brian Paulus, Mooresville, IN (32), 16.021; 39. 15M, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA (8), 16.127; 40. 9X, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO (29), 16.144; 41. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA (42), 16.224; 42. 2K, Kevin Ingle, Huron, SD (43), 16.380; 43. 70S, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN (9), NT; 44. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell City, IA (16), NT; 45. 7W, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (44), NT.

Heat one (started), 10 Laps, 2:39.9: 1. Brady Bacon (1); 2. Clint Garner (2); 3. Gio Scelzi (6); 4. Roger Crockett (4) / 5. Logan Schuchart (8); 6. Brent Marks (3); 7. Daryn Pittman (7); 8. Davey Heskin (5); 9. Chase Johnson (9)

Heat two (started), 10 Laps, 2:41.3: 1. Jamie Ball (2); 2. Sammy Walsh (4); 3. Greg Hodnett (5); 4. Kerry Madsen (8) / 5. Shane Golobic (1); 6. Paul McMahan (6); 7. Lynton Jeffrey (7); 8. Sawyer Phillips (3); 9. Kevin Ingle (9)

Heat three (started), 10 Laps, 2:40.2: 1. Dominic Scelzi (4); 2. Tim Shaffer (6); 3. Kevin Thomas Jr. (2); 4. Aaron Reutzel (8) / 5. Bill Balog (3); 6. Austin McCarl (7); 7. Jason Sides (5); 8. Brian Paulus (1); DNS – 9. Jeff Swindell

Heat four (started), 10 Laps, 2:42.3: 1. Clyde Knipp (2); 2. Matt Juhl (4); 3. Bobby Mincer (1); 4. Lucas Wolfe (6) / 5. Donny Schatz (8); 6. Hunter Schuerenberg (3); 7. Sheldon Haudenschild (5); 8. Kasey Kahne (7) DNS – 9. AJ Moeller

Heat five (started), 10 Laps, 2:39.7: 1. Brock Zearfoss (5); 2. Kyle Larson (7); 3. Chase Wanner (2); 4. Willie Croft (3) / 5. James McFadden (6); 6. Ian Madsen (8); 7. Jake Bubak (1); 8. Cole Duncan (4) DNS – 9. Tasker Phillips

B main (started), 12 Laps, 3:15.7: 1. Donny Schatz (2); 2. Ian Madsen (3); 3. Daryn Pittman (4); 4. Austin McCarl (6) / 5. Paul McMahan (8); 6. James McFadden (9); 7. Kasey Kahne (7); 8. Sheldon Haudenschild (12); 9. Lynton Jeffrey (5); 10. Brent Marks (14); 11. Cole Duncan (13); 12. Bill Balog (16); 13. Shane Golobic (18); 14. Sawyer Phillips (15); 15. Davey Heskin (10); 16. Jason Sides (11); 17. Hunter Schuerenberg (17); 18. Chase Johnson (21); 19. Brian Paulus (19); DQ (Scales) – Logan Schuchart (1) DNS – 21. Jake Bubak; 22. Kevin Ingle; 23. Jeff Swindell; 24. AJ Moeller

A main (started), 25 Laps, NT: 1. Greg Hodnett (2); 2. Tim Shaffer (4); 3. Kyle Larson (6); 4. Gio Scelzi (5); 5. Donny Schatz (21); 6. Ian Madsen (22); 7. Lucas Wolfe (3); 8. Aaron Reutzel (7); 9. Kerry Madsen (8); 10. Brock Zearfoss (1); 11. Daryn Pittman (23); 12. Willie Croft (13); 13. Sammy Walsh (10); 14. Brady Bacon (19); 15. Matt Juhl (12); 16. Roger Crockett (9); 17. Kevin Thomas Jr. (16); 18. Clint Garner (14); 19. Bobby Mincer (20); 20. Chase Wanner (18); 21. Dominic Scelzi (11); 22. Austin McCarl (24); 23. Clyde Knipp (17); 24. Jamie Ball (15).

Lap Leader: Hodnett 1-25.

Hard-charger: Schatz.