HMIEL LANDS NATIONAL VICTORY #1 AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
Sheldon Kinser won USAC’s last non-winged Sprint race at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, back in 1982. This Sunday night, the series returns to the storied half-mile dirt oval for a complete program of events, including a 30-lap feature.
Levi Jones of Avon, Ind. leads the standings, 50 ahead of Dave Darland, entering the Knoxville race, which will be closely followed by Tuesday night’s Casey’s General Stores “Ultimate Challenge” at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Jones finished ninth in Friday’s 50-lap race at Iowa Speedway but he already has dirt-track victories this season at Terre Haute, Ind. (Tony Hulman Classic) and Haubstadt. Ind. (Indiana Sprint Week) and claimed the recent “Indiana Sprint Week” title.
Shane Hmiel of Pleasant Garden, N.C. finally cracked the USAC National winners circle Friday at Iowa Speedway, winning the “Casey’s General Stores Challenge” 50-lap USAC National Sprint race in his Rotondo Weirich/Benic Enterprises Maxim/Gaerte Chevy. He led all 50 laps to beat Bobby Santos III, Darland, Tracy Hines and Jacob Wilson. Jerry Coons Jr. was the fastest qualifier.
Sunday’s Knoxville race continues a rich tradition of USAC racing at the home of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Twenty-six previous USAC races there have included six for the Sprint cars, beginning with Gary Bettenhausen’s victory in 1968. Sammy Swindell won the last USAC Sprint race at Knoxville, with a wing, in 1988.
Tracy Hines, teammate to Jones at Tony Stewart Racing, could be one to watch Sunday. He won the USAC Midget “King Doodlebug Classic” at Knoxville in May.