Henderson, Madsen and Johnson win Knoxville Raceway mains

Saturday, July 07, 2012
Henderson, Madsen and Johnson win Knoxville Raceway mains

By Stacy Ervin

Justin Henderson of South Dakota and Ian Madsen of Australia won the feature events on 410 Twin Features Night and RJ Johnson of Florida won the companion 360 division main on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.

Henderson started on the pole for the first 20-lap 410 feature event and led every lap in a race that went green to checkered. That gave him his third career win at the Sprint Car Capital of the World.

He came into traffic on the third lap around and that allowed some of his competitors to close a bit. Outside front-row starter Terry McCarl stayed in second for the entire race, while behind him there was a good battle between Dusty Zomer, Davey Heskin and Mark Dobmeier.

A bobble behind a slower car allowed McCarl to close on Henderson briefly but by the end, Henderson had a half-straightaway lead and had lapped up to the 14th place finisher.

“I love my life. I love being back in the Midwest,” Henderson said in victory lane, noting he had a good run in Pennsylvania but was glad to have joined a new team recently. “Sprint car racing is awesome.”

Madsen started sixth in the inverted second 20-lap event and bided his time to get his second win at the speedway. The beginning of the race saw front-row starters Josh Schneiderman and Lynton Jeffrey throw slide jobs on each other for the point.

Madsen crept up patiently behind the pair until he was able to put on a slide job of his own and wrestle the lead from Schneiderman in the first turn of the 10th lap. As soon as he made the pass, the yellow flag came out for Randy Anderson, who had slowed to a stop. Madsen was a bit too anxious on the restart and it was called back when he got on the gas too soon. The next attempt was better and he stayed in the lead as Mark Dobmeier made a big move to second.

Dobmeier tried to close on Madsen as the laps wound down, but Ryan Bunton’s left rear tire blew out at lap 16 and Dobmeier’s left rear tire followed suit, bringing out another yellow. Madsen held on to get the win over a charging Dusty Zomer.

“It’s even better than the first time,” Madsen said of his second win here, as he noted he had come close to winning earlier this year. “I just knew I couldn’t make any mistakes.”

RJ Johnson started on the pole of the 18-lap 360 feature and led all the laps in a race that went caution-free. He came to traffic at the sixth lap but managed to stay far ahead of a torrid battle for second place between Ryan Anderson and Randy Martin.

Coming to the white flag, Johnson misjudged a slower car in front of him, got over the cushion and banged the wall in turn four. That allowed Anderson to run right up on him but Johnson held on by a slim margin for his first official win at Knoxville.

“I’ve been here one time before but it didn’t stick,” Johnson said in victory lane, referring to a race he won but was disqualified for afterward. He noted that the win on this night was a “definite testament” to the fact that hard work could beat money.

Four new inductees were welcomed into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame on this night. They were former track champion driver Skip Jackson, former track champion car owner Ken Hesmer, car owner Mike VanderEcken and longtime official and fair-board member Dwayne Robuck.