McKnight Toledo MSA Winner
TOLEDO (OH) – Dave McKnight came into Toledo (OH) Speedway last Friday night and won a wild one. The slam bang with but two laps to go between McKnight and last year’s race winner AJ Lesicki just added to a night of wild racing along with yellow and red flags. The racing program could well be an example of the school of hard knocks as the Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA) put on a wham banger of a show. From the start of the racing program hard driving and bent race cars seemed to be the normal of the night. A night filled with some wild accidents and eventually great racing action highlighted the 16th Annual Fastest Short Track Show in the World Friday night.
With 50 laps on tap, and $4000 awaiting the race winner McKnight and 2015 MSA Champion Jon Henes would bring the field to the start a blistering first eight laps saw McKnight muscle to the lead as the May Motorsports No. 7 of Charlie Schultz would sail into second with Henes third. A yellow turn red at lap eight when Kyle Edwards and Tim Ice got together and hard into the turn one wall, both cars leaving on the hook. Back to green and off McKnight would go with Schultz right on his heels looking for an opportunity to get by. Lap 16 and the No. 22 car of Mike McVetta would go hard, head long into the turn three wall when a wheel broke loose of the mustard colored car. He to on the hook, and back green they would go. On that restart Lesicki would get the run and sail into third right behind his May Motorsports teammate Schultz in pursuit of race long leader McKnight. At lap 37 Lesicki would sail by the ill car of Schultz and travel after McKnight. Schultz would continue to back pedal with a broken tie rod end. Talon Stephens making his first start in a new winter project car was now in third and coming strong at lap 40. At lap 48, with two laps to go, Lesicki would get under McKnight off turn four in a drag race to the flag stand. Contact would be made and just like that, Lesicki was sideways and hard into the front stretch wall nose first, done for the night. With significant nose damage, McKnight was set to lead the field to the restart with just two laps to go with Stephens in second and now Brandon Fisher up to third with the only small block engine car in the field. Coming down to the checkers Stephens would get the run to get up beside McKnight but could only watch as McKnight got the victory. Fisher easily got third with Jim Paller in fourth. Henes would round out the top five finishers.
It should be noted on the white flag lap young Kevin Shirey would back his mount up into the backstretch wall coming off turn two destroying the back end of the No. 72 car. Shirey was taken to the local hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. Earlier in the day Third generation driver Zach Gibson had a wing strut break sending him hard into the turn three wall backwards. Gibson was transported to the local hospital in Toledo and put into ICU for observation, as early diagnoses indicated some broken vertebrae. Heat race one would see Henes and Rich Reid get together destroying the Reid driven No. 55 as parts would get into the grandstands and two race fans would have to be transported to the hospital for care and observation. Two fans were injured after debris flew off the Reid car and into the stands. Both of the injured men were expected to be okay. This is all that is known at this time on these accidents. A bizarre night at Toledo saw the Reid 55, Gibson 0, Edwards 11, Shirey 72, McVetta 22, Ice 65, and the Lesicki 77 all sustain significant damage.
“It was a crazy night,” said McKnight. “Rubbing is racing. I know AJ is a little upset, but with two to go, it was just one of those deals, we just got together. I was lucky to get out of there and misfortune for him. That’s racing, and we will move on to the next one. All in all a good night for the Gary Morton Motorsports car. Everybody involved with this race team did a great job tonight. Just before we went to green for that last restart I turned all the front brake out of the car and put it in the rear. I just figured I could keep the car down on the rumble pads and not lock up the front wheels, that way if anybody was going to get by me they were going to have to go to the outside. He got to the outside of us going down the back stretch then in the corner I drove it in pretty deep and then coming off he got in the loose stuff and I got sideways coming to the finish. It was wild, but great for the fans,” finished the race winning driver.
“I was so slow in practice,” said Stephens. “But the crew just kept working, and kept working. My goal was just to finish the race and stay out of trouble. Next thing I know I looked up at halfway and I am in the top five. We were creep in there, I was trying to take care of my tires for the finish. I could see I was catching up, but did not want to burn the tire off. I knew with two laps left I was going to drive it in as deep as I could. This has been a rough night. Zach was in a very bad crash today, an eye opener for sure, best wishes to him. This place is crazy,” finished Stephens.
“I want to thank my Dad, Girlfriend, and family,” stated Fisher. “We spent a lot of nights out in the garage and here we are. We came out today knowing we were going to run good, and was just hoping to get at least half of race. This is the first time my girlfriend has ever been to the race track. I told her this is not what the races are normally like, we all know Toledo is hard on equipment, but they are not like this. This was very out of the ordinary. Unfortunately we will not be able to run Lorain with ISMA in two weeks because of the small block motor. We are just taking it day by day. If the car is together and we have the time we will go race. Other than that, we are just going to pick and choose when we run,” finished Fisher.