By: World of Outlaws on August 12, 2017 | 3:29 A.M. EST
Defending 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals Champion Jason Johnson had two opportunities to lock-in to Saturday Night’s finale and took advantage of both them sweeping both the Friday night feature and the SPEED SPORT World Challenge. (Photo: Paul Arch)
KNOXVILLE, IA – August 11, 2017 – Defending 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals Champion Jason Johnson had two opportunities to lock-in to Saturday Night’s finale and took advantage of both them sweeping both the Friday night feature and the SPEED SPORT World Challenge. World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series Driver Logan Schuchart, Texas wheelman Aaron Reutzel and California’s Cory Eliason also punched their tickets into Saturday night’s 50-lap, $150,000 to-win feature Friday night at Knoxville.
Johnson set quick time in his group, won his heat race and dominated the 25-lap Feature.
“We came back with confidence after last night. I just needed to hit my marks and do my job,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s win will line him up 17th in tomorrow’s 50-lap Feature.
“It’s a mindset difference,” Johnson said about starting further back versus 2016. “Obviously, you want to start on the front row but you just have to sit down with yourself and know it will be a different outcome. The best we could do tonight was win and start 17th tomorrow and we did that.”
Jacob Allen started on the pole and led the opening circuit before giving way to Johnson. Allen stayed with Johnson throughout the early portion of the race. A Lap 4 red flag for Lynton Jeffrey bunched the field together, which was exactly what Allen’s teammate, Logan Schuchart needed. Schuchart, who originally started 11th, restarted eighth and begun his charge on the bottom of the half-mile. Schuchart worked his way through the field and overtook Eliason for the fourth and final transfer spot. A lap later Schuchart breezed by both his teammate Allen and Reutzel to move into the runner-up position, where he would finish.
Reutzel got by Allen and a lap later Allen hit the inside berm the wrong and allowed Eliason to sneak underneath the No. 1A off of turn four. 20th starting Chad Kemenah charged his way forward but was unable to get by Eliason for the final spot.
Johnson would go on to win by 4.535 seconds. Schuchart, who locked into his second consecutive Knoxville Nationals Feature, becomes the seventh World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series driver to lock-in to tomorrow’s Feature.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season. I’m happy for my team. We had a lot of confidence coming in for our qualifying night but we blew up. I felt like we had a good shot at it tonight and I’m glad we were able to lock in to the Feature tomorrow,” a happy Schuchart said.
Aaron Reutzel and Cory Eliason both qualified for their first Knoxville Nationals A-Main.
Johnson was not done there. He started fourth in the SPEED SPORT World Challenge and passed race-long leader James McFadden on lap seven and never looked back. McFadden settled for second with 14th starting Brad Sweet, Dominic Scelzi and Brian Brown completing the top five.
Saturday night the 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals come to an end, concluding with a 50-lap, $150,000 to-win Feature. There will be an E-Main, D-main, C-Main and Last Chance Showdown leading up the finale.