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11th Annual Knoxville Nationals Central Page

Swan Song? Birkhofer Completes Storybook Weekend with Last Turn Pass

In what was perhaps the most fairy tale like ending in dirt racing this year, or perhaps in many, Brian Birkhofer rode off into the sunset with $40,000 and a Knoxville Late Model Nationals trophy Saturday night.

The veteran late model pilot pulled out a victory in a race in which he had the lead, gave it up and got it back, on the last lap, in the last turn, in front of thousands of fans who probably were left hoarse for days to come after witnessing their home state driver win in such dramatic fashion.

Birkhofer led the first 61 laps, fighting off strong challenges from Darrell Lanigan and Scott Bloomquist before the latter dove underneath him in turn two on lap 62. Bloomquist then stretched out a half a straight-a-way lead as the laps dwindled down while Birkhofer switched his “hunted” cap to “hunter”, shaving down the deficit just enough to give himself a chance at the end. until the last final set of turns when he passed Bloomquist coming out of turn four for the win.

Bloomquist may have had something break on the car coming down to the wire, he explained in the post race presser, but the night belonged to Birkhofer who claimed his 2nd Nationals championship.

As of this moment, Birkhofer has no plans on racing in 2015, and may have just taken part in the last race of his life. And though we’ve seen false or “semi” retirements over the years, but if this was the last night for him, it couldn’t have ended better for him if a Hollywood script writer had tried to fashion it.

Lucas Oil Late Models- $40,000 to win Finals/Late Model Nationals- Knoxville Raceway

100 Laps:

1. Brian Birkhofer
2. Scott Bloomquist
3. Mike Marlar
4. Jimmy Mars
5. Don O’Neal
6. Steve Francis
7. Jimmy Owens
8. Frank Heckenast Jr
9. Chase Junghans
10. Chad Simpson
11. Wendell Wallace
12. Jason Hughes
13. Jason Papich
14. Denny Eckrich
15. Dennis Erb Jr
16. Jared Landers
17. Eddie Carrier Jr
18. Jonathan Davenport
19. Darrell Lanigan
20. John Blankenship
21. Brandon Sheppard
22. Earl Pearson Jr
23. Rick Eckert
24. Morgan Bagley
25. Dale McDowell
26. Brady Smith
27. Kent Robinson
28. Billy Moyer
29. Brandon Overton
30. Brian Shirley
31. Shannon Babb
32. AJ Diemel
33. Rodney Sanders
34. Terry Phillps
The Stories:

  • WoO Late Model Rookie of the Year candidates Frank Heckenast Jr and Chase Junghans both ended up with top 10 finishes
  • Darrell Lanigan who’d challenged for the lead earlier succumbed to a caution on lap 86 while running 6th
  • Don O’Neal needed a provisional to start the final and had looked very ordinary in the preliminary nights, charged from 31st starting spot to a top 5 finish
  • Jimmy Owens started 32nd and finished 7th after being the beneficiary of a “lucky dog” to preserve his status on the lead lap earlier in the race.

Alphabet Soup:

B-Main Transfers: Wendell Wallace, Rick Eckert, Chase Junghans, Morgan Bagley, Terry Phillips, Denny Eckrich

C-Main Transfers: Billy Moyer Jr, Scott James, Chris Simpson, Tim Lance

D-Main Transfers: Ryan Gustin, Jordan Yaggy, Mike Fryer, Skip Frye

 September 27, (The Finals)

And we’ve come down to the finals tonight. First thing’s first, the weather! Tonight it looks as if it’ll be outstanding, temps in the low 70’s and upper 60’s for race time and only a slight chance of a shower with mostly sunny skies and a few clouds.

So tonight, they’ll go 100 laps for $40,000 to win! The starting 24 were determined by highest point finish in either preliminary night, it’ll be Brian Birkhofer’s race to start when the green flag drops.


Row 1: Brian Birkhofer – Darrell Lanigan
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport – Earl Pearson Jr
Row 3: Dale McDowell – Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Eddie Carrier Jr – Brandon Sheppard
Row 5: Kent Robinson – Steve Francis
Row 6: Rodney Sanders – Billy Moyer
Row 7: Frankie Heckenast Jr – Shannon Babb
Row 8: John Blankenship – AJ Diemel
Row 9: Jared Landers – Jimmy Mars
Row 10: Brandon Overton – Brady Smith
Row 11: Chad Simpson – Brian Shirley
Row 12: Mike Marlar – Dennis Erb Jr

The rest of the field (6 cars) will come from tonight’s B-Main

B-Main Lineup: Top 6 advance to the Final

Row 1: Jason Feger – Wendell Wallace
Row 2: Rick Eckert – Will Vaught
Row 3: Morgan Bagley – Chase Junghans
Row 4: Jason Rauen – Mark Dotson
Row 5: Jason Papich – Terry Phillps
Row 6: Tim McCreadie – Vic Coffey
Row 7: Jesse Stovall – Gregg Satterlee
Row 8: Jimmy Owens – Tyler Bruening
Row 9: Don O’Neal – Denny Echrich

C-Main Lineup:  Top 4 advance to the tail of the B-Main

Row 1: Donny Schatz – Scott James
Row 2: Mason Zeigler – Billy Moyer Jr
Row 3: Jason Utter – Tim Lance
Row 4: Rich Bell – Chris Simpson
Row 5: Ray Guss Jr – Brian Harris
Row 6: Jason Hughes – Jay Johnson
Row 7: Chris Spieker – Jake Meier
Row 8: Dave Eckrish – Todd Frank
Row 9: Justin Duty – Jonathan Brauns

D-Main Lineup: Top 4 advance to the tail of the C-Main

Row 1: Jordan Yaggy – Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Charlie McKenna – Mike Fryer
Row 3: John Duty – Greg Kimmons
Row 4: Skip Frey – Lyle Zanker
Row 5: Rob Moss – Matt Furman
Row 6: Andy Eckrich – Spencer Diercks
Row 7: Steve Lance jr – Dustin Walker
Row 8: Roger Brickler – Jordan Heiman
Row 9: Curt Schroeder – Al Humphrey
Row 10: Junior Coover


Birkhofer Snags Win and 2nd Podium Finish of Nationals

Muscatine, Iowa’s Brian Birkhofer will be in a good position to take his second Knoxville Late Model Nationals victory Saturday night, courtesy of a preliminary night two victory.  Modified star and possible late model star in the making, Rodney Sanders started on the front row of the 25 lap feature and led the first half of the race. But once in heavy lapped traffic, Birkhofer made his way around and then held off a hard charging Billy Moyer for the win.

Lucas Oil Late Models- $7,000 to win- A-Main: 25 Laps- Friday September 26

1. Brian Birkhofer
2. Billy Moyer
3. Steve Francis
4. Brandon Sheppard
5. Rodney Sanders
6. Scott Bloomquist
7. Dale McDowell
8. Shannon Babb
9. Frankie Heckenast Jr
10. Jonathan Davenport
11. AJ Diemel
12. Jason Feger
13. Earl Pearson Jr
14. Brian Shriley
15. Darrell Lanigan
16. Jared Landers
17. Morgan Bagley
18. Kent Robinson
19. Jimmy Mars
20. Rick Eckert
21. Terry Phillips
22. Will Vaught
23. Dennis Erb Jr
24. Mark Dotson

The Stories:

  • Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer Jr and Don O’Neal have yet to make a feature for various reasons (Jason Feger).
  • Brandon Sheppard is quietly having a good run with two top 5’s in two nights

Night 2: Friday September 26

74 Cars have answered the bell for night 2. Weather looks good tonight, partly cloudy with temps hanging in the upper 60’s and little chance of rain.

Alphabet Soup: (Transfers to A-Main)

D-Main Transfers: Denny Eckrich, Brian Harris, Chris Speiker, Mike Fryer

C-Main Transfers: Ray Guss Jr, Tyler Bruening, Chris Simpson, Chad Simpson

B-Main Transfers: Darrell Lanigan, Jared Landers, Dennis Erb Jr, Kent Robinson, Rick Eckert, Jimmy Mars (Make up the final six starters in the A-Main)

Heat Results:  Top 3 to the A-Main

Heat 1:  Brandon Sheppard, Shannon Babb, Mark Dotson, Jimmy Mars, Darrell Lanigan, Gregg Satterlee, Mike Marlar, Jay Johnson, Todd Frank, Charlie McKenna, John Duty, Chris Spieker, Ryan Gustin

Heat 2: Brian Shirley, AJ Diemel, Earl Pearson Jr,  Wendell Wallace, Chase Junghans, Scott James, Ray Guss Jr, Jordan Yaggy, Justin Duty, Briah Harris, Mason Zeigler, Vic Coffey

Heat 3: Steve Francis, Jason Feger, Will Vaught, Jason Papich, Jimmy Owens, Kent Robinson, John Blankenship, Chris Simpson, Tim Lance, Mike Fryer, Jordan Heiman, Jonathan Brauns

Heat 4: Frankie Heckenast Jr, Billy Moyer, Dale McDowell, Eddie Carrier Jr, Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr, Chad Simpson, Brandon Overton, Jason Hughes, Jason Eckrich, Steve Lance Jr, Matt Furman, Rob Moss

Heat 5: Jonathan Davenport, Brian Birkhofer, Brady Smith, Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie, Brady Smith, Jason Utter, Jason Rauen, Jake Meier, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker, Denny Eckrich, Spencer Diercks

Heat 6: Rodney Sanders, Terry Phillips, Morgan Bagley, Don O’Neal, Jared Landers, Rich Bell, Jesse Stovall, Tyler Bruening, Skip Frye, Dustin Walker, Roger Brickler, Billy Moyer Jr,

Heat Lineups:

Heat 1:
Frank-Gustin Dotson-Babb Sheppard-Mars Satterlee-Lanigan Marlar-Duty5d Johnson-Spieker McKenna

Heat 2:
James-Shirley Coffey-Diemel Harris-Zeigler Pearson-Wallace Guss-Duty15d Junghans-Yaggy

Heat 3:
Fryer-Feger Blankenship-Vaught Francis-Owens Papich-Robinson Simpson32-Heiman Lance-Brauns

Heat 4:
Heckenast-Furman Moyer-Eckert Simpson25-Carrier Erb-McDowell Hughes-Moss Eckrich58e-Lance Overton

Heat 5:
Diercks-Smith Davenport-Rauen Eckrich50-McCreadie Birkhofer-Bloomquist Utter-Meier Zanker-Kimmons

Heat 6:
Phillips-Bagley ONeal-Stovall Sanders-Bruening Landers-MoyerJR Bell-Walker Frey-Brickler

Time Trials:
Group “A”

1.Darrell Lanigan   17.865
2.Wendell Wallace   17.902
3. Kent Robinson   18.038
4. Gregg Satterlee  18.345
5. Earl Pearson Jr   18.346
6. Jason Papich  18.396

Group “B”

1. Dale McDowell   18.121
2. Scott Bloomquist   18.323
3. Billy Moyer Jr.   18.381
4. Dennis Erb Jr.   18.461
5. Brian Birkhofer   18.568
6. Jared Landers  18.665

Hot Laps:
The leaders:

1. Scott Bloomquist  17.288
2. Billy Moyer  17.838
3. Jonathan Davenport   17.871
4. Jared Landers   17.942
5. Tim McCreadie   18.048


Davenport Dominates

Patrick Davis Photo

Superman Jonathan Davenport pocketed $7,000 with his win from the pole tonight in preliminary night one action at the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals. Davenport led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged in his first victory at the historic Knoxville Raceway. It was not the first preliminary night win at a crown jewel event in 2014, he took home such a victory in Eldora just a few weeks ago during the World 100 preliminary nights. 

Lucas Oil Late Models- $7,000 to win- A-Main: 25 Laps- Thursday September 25

1. Jonathan Davenport
2. Darrell Lanigan
3. Brian Birkhofer
4. Earl Pearson Jr
5. Brandon Sheppard
6. Kent Robinson
7. Scott Bloomquist
8. Eddie Carrier Jr
9. Frankie Heckenast Jr
10. Tim McCreadie
11. Dale McDowell
12. Steve Francis
13. Brady Smith
14. Mike Marlar
15. Rick Eckert
16. AJ Diemel
17. Will Vaught
18. Jared Landers
19. John Blankenship
20. Jason Rauen
21. Vic Coffey
22. Brandon Overton
23. Chad Simpson
24. Chase Junghans

*There were no provisionals used (Non Points Night)

The Stories: 

  • It was an “R” Rated night in Knoxville as a multitude of crashes scarred opening night. One of the worst involved one Jimmy Owens who was basically taken out by one Jason Feger in heat race action.  Owens had some strong words for Feger, none of which need to be relayed here. (Basically he called Feger an “effin idiot”). At any rate, Owens car was sent flipping hard entering turn one and ended up a twisted wreck. Owens was physically okay after the incident and pulled out a backup car in D-Main

  • Sprint car pilot Donny Schatz took his chances on making the show and came up short with a mid-pack finish in the B-main. Schatz’s chances for a Saturday night starting spot are not looking all that great as of now, but are not impossible.
  • Kent Robinson keeps on making believers out of former cynics with his recent performances. Robinson’s World 100 finish was eye opening, but after tonight’s performance, he’s definitely one to watch if you’re looking for a darkhorse.
  • Brandon Sheppard was the night’s hard charger. Sheppard came from the 22nd starting spot to earn a top five finish in the brief, 25 lap A-main

Thursday September 25:

We’ll keep this page updated as best we can. Looks like it’ll be a great evening for some racing. The forecast calls for some clouds, but no chance of rain and temps in the 60’s after sunset.

So far, there are 79 cars in the pits for preliminary night 1. Events will be underway soon.

7:45 PM (EST) Hot Laps:

Just a couple of times

1.Jared Landers: 17.762
2. Brian Birkhofer: 17.886
3. Billy Moyer: 17.900
4. Darrell Lanigan: 18.013
5. Jonathan Davenport: 18.014
6. Mason Zeigler: 18.015

8:15 PM (EST) Time Trials:

Group “A”

1. Dale McDowell 17.635
2. Dennis Erb Jr  17.845
3. Earl Pearson Jr 17.884
4. Steve Francis  17.885
5. John Blankenship 17.903

Group “B”

1. Eddie Carrier Jr  17.836
2. Chad Simpson   17.842
3. Darrell Lanigan  17.922
4. Terry Phillips  17.925
5. Brian Birkhofer   17.945
6. Jason Hughes  17.991

 Heats: There’ll be an invert of 8 tonight. Top three in each heat, to the show!

Heat Finishes: (12 Laps)
Heat 1: Brady Smith, Kent Robinson, Dale McDowell, Steve Francis, Jesse Stovall, Jason Papich, Jay Johnson, Brian Harris, Rich Bell, Skip Frey, Shannon Babb, Curt Schroeder, Billy Moyer, Jordan Heiman

Heat 2: John Blankenship, Will Vaught, Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr, Gregg Satterlee, Tim Lance, John Duty, Greg Kimmons, Lyle Zanker, Jimmy Mars, Andy Ekrich, Tyler Breuning, Junior Coover

Heat 3: Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr, Vic Coffey, Morgan Bagley, Wendell Wallace, Jason Rauen, Brian Shirley, Donny Schatz, Dave Eckrich, Rob Moss, Steve Lance, Roger Brickler, Spencer Diercks

Heat 4: Jonathan Davenport, AJ Diemel, Eddie Carrier Jr, Mark Dotson, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr, Terry Phillips, Jason Utter, Tim McCreadie, Chris Simpson, Jonathan Brauns, Al Humphrey, Mike Fryer

Heat 5: Mike Marlar, Brian Birkhofer, Frankie Heckenast Jr, Don O’Neal, Denny Eckrich, Chad Simpson, Rodney Sanders, Scott James, Jordan Yaggy, Todd Frank, Justin Duty, Matt Furman, Ryan Gustin,

Heat 6: Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist, Darrell Lanigan, Mason Zeigler, Brandon Sheppard, Ray Guss Jr, Jake Meier, Charlie McKenna, Chris Spieker, Dustin Walker, Jimmy Owens, Jason Feger, Jason Hughes. 

Alphabet Soup:

D-Main Transfers: Chris Simpson, Brauns, Babb & Gustin

C-Main Transfers: Terry Phillips, Scott James, Tim McCreadie, Donny Schatz

B-Main Transfers: Chad Simpson, Jared Landers, Steve Francis, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Rauen, Tim McCreadie

For the next three days, the smooth, rich-black surface at Knoxville, IA will play host to the 2014 Knoxville Late Model Nationals! This will serve as a central page, so you can completely follow the action and stay updated. We’ll post the standings as soon as we can and may even have some real time updates on Saturday Night, so check back often! 

2013 Knoxville Late Model National Highlights

When:   Thursday, Friday and Saturday September 25-27

At Stake:  Two Preliminary night events one each Thursday and Friday worth $7,000 to the winner. $40,000 to win on Saturday

Watch:  You can watch both Thursday and Friday via PPV at 
Click here for details: Knoxville LM Nationals PPV Information

Format: A point system will determine the field for the final 100 lap A-main Saturday night based on either preliminary night. Drivers are not required to take part on Friday as their highest point total on either night will be used (one night only).  The field on Saturday will be 30 cars, the first 24 coming from preliminary nights. The remaining six spots will come from the B-main. 

DRIVERS LIST: (Pre-Entries)

0 Scott Bloomquist – Mooresburg, TN
1 Rick Eckert – York, PA
1M Rob Moss – Iowa City, IA
1w Wendell Wallace – Batesville, AR
2 Brady Smith – Solon Springs, WI
3X Skip Frey – Swisher, IA
B5 Brandon Sheppard – New Berlin, IL 
5 Don O’Neal – Martinsville, IN
5D John Duty – Happy Valley, OR
5M Mike Fryer – Freeport, IL
6 Jonathan Davenport – Mount Airy, NC
7R Kent Robinson – Bloomington, IN
8 Sonny Findling – Kirksville, MO
9 Lyle Zanker – Rockford, IL
12 Jason Hughes – Watts, OK
14M Morgan Bagley – Gladewater, TX
15 Steve Francis – Ashland, KY
15B Brian Birkhofer – Muscatine, IA
15c Curt Schroeder – Ames, IA
15D Justin Duty – Happy Valley, OR
15R Brian Harris – Davenport, IA
15s Dan Schlieper – Newport, IL
15x Donny Schatz – Fargo, ND
17M Dale McDowell – Chickamauga, GA
18 Shannon Babb – Moweaqua, IL
18c Chase Junghans – Manhattan, KS
19R Ryan Gustin – Marshalltown, IA
20 Jimmy Owens – Newport, IN
20x Jake Meier – Tipton, IA
21 Billy Moyer – Batesville, AR
21B Rich Bell – Sheffield, IL
21F Todd Frank – Montrose, IA
21JR Billy Moyer, Jr. – Batesville, AR
22 Gregg Satterlee – Indiana, PA
22B Jonathan Brauns – Muscatine, IA
23 John Blankenship – Knoxville, TN
24 Ryan Unzicker – El Paso, IL
25 Chad Simpson – Mt. Vernon, IA
25F Jason Feger – Bloomington, IL
25L Steve Lance – Cuba, IL
27 Greg Kimmons – Pleasant Plains, IL
28 Eddie Carrier, Jr. – Salt Rock, WV
28E Dennis Erb, Jr. – Carpentersville, IL 
28M Jimmy Mars – Menomonie, WI
29 Darrell Lanigan – Union, KY
29x Spencer Diercks – Davenport, IA
31 Jason Utter – Columbus Junction, IA
32 Chris Simpson – Oxford, IA
38 Jordan Heiman – Sioux Falls, SD
44 Earl Pearson, Jr. – Trinity, NC
48 Tim Lance – Brimfield, IL
50 Denny Eckrich – Tiffin, IA
51 Matt Furman – Columbus, OH
56 Chris Spieker – Massena, IA
56E Andy Eckrich – Oxford, IA
58 Ray Guss, Jr. – Milan, IL
58D AJ Diemel – Elk Mound, WI
58E Dave Eckrich – Oxford, IN
77 Jordan Yaggy – Rochester, MN
82 Roger Brickler – Springfield, IL
85D Mark Dotson – Cameron, MO
91P Jason Papich – Nipomo, CA
93 Jay Johnson – West Burlington, IA
98 Jason Rauen – Farley, IA
99 Frank Heckenast Jr. – Frankfort, IL
777 Jared Landers – Batesville, AR
WING 10 Jr. Coover – Norfolk, NE

Previous Winners:

  • 2013: Darrell Lanigan
  • 2012: Steve Francis
  • 2011: Don O’Neal
  • 2010: Billy Moyer
  • 2009: Scott Bloomquist
  • 2008: Tim McCreadie
  • 2007: Brady Smith
  • 2006: Brian Shirley
  • 2005 : Scott Bloomquist
  • 2004: Brian Birkhofer

Favorites:  Coming into this one, Bloomquist is the hottest driver on the planet, late model wise. Fresh off his fourth World 100 victory and a win the next week in the Jackson 100, he’s had the most dominant car out there, either with or without a window net! 

But, Darrell Lanigan has been fairly dominant in 2014 too and will be looking to repeat as champion. We’ve got to mention Brian Birkhofer here too, the inaugural champion is always a home state favorite and should be considered a strong candidate once again this year. Of course, Jimmy Owens and Don O’Neal can’t be overlooked either.

Watch List:  Donny Schatz will be there Thursday and may very well be there Saturday if all goes well. There’s really no telling how he’ll do, but whatever happens, you can be assured that the eyes of both the 410 sprint fan base and the late model lovers will be watching with intrigue.  But, if you’re looking for a dark horse, keep an eye on Ryan Gustin. He might not win, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he had a particularly strong showing. 




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