August 7th, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Shane Stewart made it back-to-back ASCS Knoxville Nationals championships by taking the $10,000 winner’s share in Saturday night’s 25-lap Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters feature event atop the half-mile Knoxville Raceway clay oval.
Stewart held off a mid-race bid from Sammy Swindell and then slipped away in the final circuits aboard Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rockstar Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T. for his third career ASCS Knoxville Nationals championship and 24th career ASCS National triumph.
“I could hear him back there, you can’t mess around when he’s behind you,” the current Lucas Oil Sprint Car point leader explained after his second series win of the year.
Stewart ultimately took the checkered flag ahead of Tim Shaffer, who took second away from Swindell in the closing laps. Swindell settled for the show position, with Billy Alley and Davey Heskin rounding out the top five.
After accumulating the most points in Friday’s preliminary action to earn the pole position, Stewart led the feature field to the green flag with Randy Hannagan alongside only to have the initial start waved off when 20th-starter Dustin Selvage went for a wild ride in the opening pair of corners.
On the restart, Stewart beat Hannagan into turn one and held a slight advantage on the low side of the track before the red flag flew again on the fourth circuit for Derek Hagar’s turn two flip.
Stewart led Hannagan and third-starter Sammy Swindell when action resumed and began to slip away from his chasers by the sixth round, with Swindell moving past Hannagan for second on the seventh circuit.
With Stewart working the low side and Swindell on the cushion in the Big Game Tree Stands No. 1, the battle for the point was heating up just as the final caution of the race flew after 11 laps for Clint Garner, who came to a stop in turn one.
Stewart took off on the restart, sticking primarily to the low side over the remaining laps. Swindell tried to move in to challenge, but Stewart worked through traffic with ease in the final handful of circuits to secure the win.
“That seemed like the slowest 25 laps I’ve ever run here,” Stewart explained. “We watched Kevin (Swindell) win the 410 feature and figured the bottom was the place to be. You just have to be so patient on the bottom and being out front you don’t know exactly how hard you need to run.”
Stewart ran hard enough to take the checkered flag with a comfortable 1.451-second edge over ninth-starter Tim Shaffer, who took second away from Swindell on the 22nd circuit.
Swindell settled for the show position, with Alley making his way past Hannagan for fourth on the 17th round. Alley held fourth to the line, with Heskin making a late move to round out the top five.