Moyer Masters Knoxville Opener
KNOXVILLE, Iowa – Billy Moyer still claimed his Iowa heritage Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway.
He also claimed the opening night feature of the ninth Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals. Moyer led a good portion of the 25-lap feature event to garner $7,000 in this first of two nights of qualifications leading up to the championship finale on Saturday night.
Moyer and his father (Bill Moyer, Sr.) have both run on and won feature events at this historical half-mile oval.
At the start of the feature event, 16-year-old Tyler Reddick took the point to pace the 24-car field. He quickly found Shannon Babb on his tail in his fight to maintain the top spot. Reddick held that position until Babb slid him going through turns three and four on lap six to grab the lead.
Moyer, who started third in the eight-car invert, was quickly on Babb’s rear bumper and was able to pass the Illini driver with a superb slide in turn four. With that move Moyer took the lead and was never again challenged on the big half-mile dirt oval.
Behind Moyer, second through sixth was hotly contested for the remainder of the race. He entered lap traffic with ten to go but he had a healthy lead and forged ahead masterfully.
Babb trailed and seemed to have the runner-up spot in hand. Behind those two were Steve Francis and Brian Birkhofer who ran nose to tail for most of the event. Reddick continued to drift backward and was eventually passed by five other cars.
In the end, Moyer took the checkered flag as Babb roared into turn four. Francis and Birkhofer came across the line in third and fourth with ninth starting Jimmy Mars taking fifth. Chasing that duo was Scott Bloomquist, Brady Smith and Brian Shirley.
“Growing up in Des Moines, I came down here quite a bit to watch my dad race sprint cars, and then I moved away to Arkansas, but this place has always been special to me and my family, we have a lot of sponsors from this area, so it’s always nice to win here, it’s such a great facility,” said Moyer. “The track was great all night long, those heat races were something else, we started alongside Shannon in the feature and we had a good race, once I got up to him and was able to get around him, the car just handled terrific, even through traffic we were good and it’s nice to have Shannon finish second, so it was a clean sweep for the Moyer Victory Circle cars.”
Five qualifying heats saw Birkhofer, Jesse Stovell, Mars, Moyer and Reddick in the winners’ circle. Earl Pearson Jr. won the D Main after changing an engine and then parking his car for Friday’s qualifying.
Frank Heckenast was the class of the field in the C Main and Smith led Jason Fegers, Chris Simpson and Terry Phillips through the B Main to qualify for the A Main transfer.