What to watch for on Hard Knox Night at Knoxville

Hard Knox Night
Shane Stewart rips his No. 5 car around a corner. Photo by Justin Fielder.

The two preliminary qualifying nights of the Knoxville Nationals have come and gone with 26 drivers from the 108-car field securing their spots in the later races on Saturday.

However, that doesn’t mean all of the big names are absent from the half-mile oval.

In fact, with the names that didn’t make clinch their way to the big show, Friday promises to be just as or even more exciting than the past two nights.

We’ll start off basic, with the format for FVP Hard Knox night that no longer includes the Speed Sport World Challenge.

The points from the first two nights will all be set to zero, and the 82-car field will be split into two qualifying groups. From there, they will set the field with six heat races to transfer into a C-Main, two B-Mains, and the 25-lap feature race.

The top four finishers from the feature on Friday will earn their way into the 50-lap Knoxville Nationals feature on Saturday night.

And… it’s anybody’s night.

Thursday’s quick time qualifier Shane Stewart wrecked out of the action early in his heat race later on a night 2. His CJB Motorsports crew has got the car turned around for tonight.

Brian Brown is obviously a local favorite and was driving like one on Thursday night in the B-Main.

Brown rode the high line around the outside of turns 1 and 2 to take the lead in the first pair of laps before shredding his right rear tire.

The incident put Brown in the back of the field and he was unable to make up the position to get into a transfer spot to the Thursday night feature.

Logan Schuchart won the Friday show last season and he’ll be back trying to clinch his spot into the A-Main once again this year.

Not to mention, if Sammy Swindell can punch a ticket into the A-Main, he’ll tie Steve Kinser for most appearances in the Knoxville Nationals A-Main of all time at 35.

Hot laps for Hard Knox Night are scheduled to kick off at 7:15 p.m.

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