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May 3, 2013

Stewart, Garner, Ball win main events

Shane Stewart scored a convincing win in the 2013 opener at Knoxville Raceway’s Pella Motors Race for Your School night Saturday. The Bixby, Oklahoma native was running the Indy Race Parts #71x for Bernie Steubgen.

Clint Garner scored his 16th career win in the 360 class, while Larry Ball Jr. won the opener for the 305 class.

Pole-sitter Don Droud Jr. led the first circuit in the 20-lapper, while Stewart worked his way by front row starter, Terry McCarl. He then made the move for the lead sliding in front of Droud to complete lap two.

While Stewart pulled away and got into traffic, McCarl pressured Droud for second, taking the spot on lap eight. Dusty Zomer was able to move into third a lap later. With nine laps in the books, Austin McCarl, who had moved up to 13th, went up in smoke. The restart saw Stewart leading, McCarl, Zomer, Droud and Ian Madsen.

A frontstretch tangle involving Jody Rosenboom and Mike Moore slowed the pace on lap 12.

It would be the final slowdown. Brian Brown, who suffered mechanical difficulties in his heat and made the feature by winning the B, was on the move from his 19th starting spot. By lap 13, he was into sixth and pressuring Droud for a top five spot.

Madsen worked by Zomer on lap 14 to move into third.

Up front, Stewart was unchallenged to the finish for his fifth career 410 win here, with McCarl and Madsen in tow. Zomer held off Brown for fourth. Droud, Mark Dobmeier, Davey Heskin, Bronson Maeschen and Lynton Jeffrey rounded out the top ten.

Madsen set quick time and won his heat. Dustin Selvage and Shane Stewart won heats and Brown took the B. Jarrod Schneiderman was a flip victim in the B. He was uninjured.

“I’ve been absolutely terrible here at the weekly shows,” said Stewart in victory lane. “I have to thank all the guys at Indy Race Parts. The car got kind of evil for me. I’d have a couple laps with some good lines…and then, I don’t know if I had a steering issue, or maybe a tire getting big on me, but the cautions really saved me.”

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