Sprint Car racing’s biggest event begins Wednesday night (8/7) with the first of two nights of qualifying at the 59th Knoxville Nationals. Saturday night’s (8/10) championship lineup will be determined by a points system which includes qualifying, heat races and qualifying feature races. Race director John McCoy says it’s a system that’s been in place since the 1970s.
“It’s a ‘stand on the gas’ format and it’s a points thing and you have to make points every time you hit the track. Everybody’s complained about it and said there’s a better way of doing it and they’ve raised Cain and everything. But you know what? Day in and day out, year in and year out, it just seems to be the fairest result.”
Ten time winner Donny Schatz makes a qualifying run on Wednesday night, while defending champion Brad Sweet will be part of Thursday night’s (8/8) qualifying program.
“We try to split the nights up. More importantly by a little bit of seeding, so we try to get some of the guys, the nationwide guys, the (World of) Outlaws, we try to go every other car in their points. Some of the other tracks around the country, we look at their points, and if some of those guys came, we try to slough them up a little bit. (We try to) do everything we can. Of course, some years it’s impossible.”
The more than $1 million purse will pay $150,000 to the winner. Saturday night’s championship race will be 50 laps.
Wednesday’s racing at Knoxville Nationals has hot laps at 7:15pm with the heat races starting around 8:30.