Knoxville, Iowa-Friday August 12, 2011
A “Reverse Draw” occurred before the “Race of Champions”. Competitors drew a number and gave it to a competitor. The result saw many of the top contenders sent to the back of the 21-car field. One big exception was Aliquippa, Pennsylvania’s Tim Shaffer, who received the pole position pill from a young driver he often helps, Danny Holtgraver, from nearby Pittsburgh.
The event got off to a messy start when Kerry Madsen took a hard ride in turns one and two that ended his night. He was uninjured. Shaffer took off in his Weld Racing wheel equipped sprint car when the green flag fell for good, but many eyes were focused further back in the field.
Shane Stewart, who started 17th was making quick progress in his Weld Racing wheel equipped racer and was into the top ten by lap five. Kraig Kinser moved up from row five to take second from Lynton Jeffrey shortly thereafter. With ten laps down, Stewart was into sixth, and at the halfway point, Shaffer led Kinser, Jeffrey, Johnny Herrera and Holtgraver.
Stewart cracked the top five by lap fifteen, and in the next circuit, he took fourth from Herrera. With seventeen laps in, Herrera went up in smoke while running fifth, and brought out the only caution of the night. It erased a 5.3 second lead for Shaffer, who now had Kinser, Jeffrey, Stewart and Jason Meyers, up from 14th, on his tail.
Stewart quickly disposed of Kinser and set his sights on the leader as the crowd moved to the edge of their seat. Shaffer was solid on the bottom and maintained his lead to take his fourth career win at Knoxville. He was paid $10,000. Stewart settled for second.
“I figured someone was coming,” said Shaffer of Stewart. “At Knoxville, you never know. Someone is always coming. You run as hard as you can and do the best you can. Danny Holtgraver gave us a good starting spot and that helped us a lot. We’re pretty excited about this motor we have in now.”