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Dakotah Knuckles Claims Biggest Prize in Southern Nationals Finale at Tazewell

(July 25, 2020) Dakotah Knuckles claimed the biggest win of his career on Saturday Night by picking up the $10,053 first place prize during the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series by Sunoco Race Fuels at Tazewell Speedway. (Brian McLeod/Dirt Scenes Photo)

Knuckles became only the fourth different winner on the 12-race tour. Overton won six races on the series, while Madden collected four victory and Cory Hedgecock picked up a lone series victory. Knuckles drove the Vic Hill Racing Engines-powered Rocket Chassis which is sponsored by Hill’s Truck Repair, Western Building Supply, Timberline Barns, Interstate Construction Products, Dynamic Machine, Marcum Oil Company, Johnny Jones Plumbling, Dean Properties, Florida Veterinary, Brucebilt Performance and Hickory Star Resort and Marina.

Dale McDowell outdistanced Ross Bailes from their front-row starting positions at the drop of the green flag on the Ray Varner Ford 53, with Bailes falling into second, with Dakotah Knuckles, Ryan King, and Jason Trammell going third through fifth. McDowell would set a torrid pace up front and would start lapping backmarkers by lap five and by lap ten, McDowell had over a second and a half lead over second-place Bailes. The first caution of the event appeared on lap nineteen when Brandon Overton would slow with a flat right-rear tire and would duck into the work area and then return. The restart would see a wild scramble on the frontchute prior another lap getting scored when fifth place running Trammell would experience a flat right tire and the end result would see a three-car tangle that collected John Baker, Chris Madden, and David Payne, with Baker being done for the night. McDowell would lead the field on the restart, with Knuckles now second, King third, trailed by Chilton and Vic Hill. Kyle Hardy would draw the next caution with a flat right rear tire and during the caution period as series and track officials checked the track for debris, race leader McDowell would pull to the work area with a flat right-rear tire, change it, and return.

This turn of events put Knuckles to the lead, with King, Chilton, Donald McIntosh, and Hill giving chase on the restart. Knuckles would scoot away from the field until lap thirty-two when Tyler Millwood would shred a right-rear tire on the frontstretch to draw the caution flag. Knuckles would get a great restart, while King and Chilton would battle for second, with the duo trading slidejob passes on lap thirty-three before Chilton would snag the position only to see action slowed one tour later for fourth-place McIntosh, who slowed to a stop on the backchute with mechanical issues and would be done for the event. Knuckles would keep the lead on the restart, with Chilton, King, and Hill second through fourth, while Bailes, who also had pitted during an early race caution with a flat tire, had worked his way back to fifth. As Knuckles clicked laps off, Bailes would again suffer a flat tire, this on the right front, on lap forty-seven and the restart would see Millwood suffer another flat right rear tire. The final restart would see Knuckles go unchallenged over the remaining laps to score the biggest win of his career over Michael Chilton, Ryan King, Vic Hill, and Brandon Overton, after Overton suffered an early race caution. The remainder of the top ten finishers would be Pearson Lee Williams, Kyle Hardy, McDowell, Madden, and Payne.

In post-race celebrations, Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga. was crowned the Series Champion for the third time, second in a row. He won the title by 20 points over Chris Madden. Seven drivers completed the entire 12-race tour. The series was able to get all 12 races in with no rainouts. 113 different drivers raced in at least one race on the tour.

The Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels would like to thank all of the race teams, drivers, sponsors, media members and race fans who supported the tour in 2020. The series thanks everyone for making the 16th annual Southern Nationals another huge success. The Schaeffer’s Oil Fall Nationals Series will open the tour on Labor Day weekend in East Tennessee.

For more information on the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels, please log on to www.SouthernNationalsSeries.com or call promoter Ray Cook at (828) 360-5353.

Sponsors of the Southern Nationals Series include: Schaeffer’s Oil & Specialized Lubricants, Sunoco Race Fuels, American Race Tires, Delph Communications, E-Z-GO, Arizona Sport Shirts, Capital Race Cars, Collins Signs, DirtonDirt.com, FK Rod Ends, Hoosier Racing Tire, Keyser Manufacturing, MasterSbilt Race Cars, RockAuto.com, Wiles Driveshafts, Vic Hill Racing Engines, The Steering Buddy, Knowles Race Parts & Bodies, Coosa Heating & Air, The Joie of Seating, and DirtCarLift.com.

Official Summary of Results
Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels
Tazewell Speedway-Tazewell, TN
July 25, 2020

Feature Finish:

1. Dakotah Knuckles-Ewing, Va.
2. Michael Chilton-Salvisa, Ky.
3. Ryan King-Seymour, Tenn.
4. Vic Hill-Mosheim, Tenn.
5. Brandon Overton-Evans, Ga.
6. Pearson Lee Williams-Dublin, Ga.
7. Kyle Hardy-Stephens City, Va.
8. Dale McDowell-Chickamauga, Ga.
9. Chris Madden-Gray Court, S.C.
10. David Payne-Murphy, N.C.
11. Jason Trammell-Powell, Tenn.
12. Ross Bailes-Clover, S.C.
13. Tyler Millwood-Kingston, Ga.
14. Donald McIntosh-Dawsonville, Ga.
15. John Baker-Norman Park, Ga.
16. Colton Burdette-Parkersburg, W.V.
17. Brian Shockley-Thornhill, Tenn.
18. Heath Hindman-Signal Mountain, Tenn.
19. Danny Helton-Rogersville, Tenn.
20. Lynn Leach-Andersonville, Tenn.
21. Brian Smith-Barbourville, Ky.
22. Jake Knowles-Rome, Ga.

Time of Race: 45 minutes, 22 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.828 seconds
Yellow Flags: Seven (laps 19, 19, 21, 32, 34, 47, 47)
Red Flags: None
Lap Leaders: McDowell (1-20), Knuckles (21-53)
Entries: 22
Overall Fast Qualifier: Ross Bailes-11.218 seconds
Highest Finishing CT525 Engine ($200): None
Highest Finishing Steel Head/SPEC Engine ($200): None
Provisional Starters: None

Heat One Finish: Dale McDowell, Ryan King, Tyler Millwood, David Payne, Heath Hindman, Colton Burdette.

Heat Two Finish: Kyle Hardy, Michael Chilton, John Baker, Brandon Overton, Lynn Leach.

Heat Three Finish: Ross Bailes, Jason Trammell, Donald McIntosh, Pearson Lee Williams, Brian Smith (DNS), Jake Knowles (DNS).

Heat Four Finish: Dakotah Knuckles, Chris Madden, Vic Hill, Brian Shockley, Danny Helton.

Final Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Points (after 7/25/20)
1. Brandon Overton-2,360
2. Chris Madden-2,340
3. Ross Bailes-2,242
4. Donald McIntosh-2,214
5. Tyler Millwood-2,148
6. Pearson Lee Williams-2,148
7. Jake Knowles-2,044
8. John Baker-1,485
9. Cory Hedgecock-1,328
10. Mark Whitener-1,262

2020 Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series Schedule:
Friday July 10-Smoky Mountain Speedway-Maryville, TN-CHRIS MADDEN
Saturday July 11-Wythe Raceway-Rural Retreat, VA-BRANDON OVERTON
Monday July 13-Volunteer Speedway-Bulls Gap, TN-CHRIS MADDEN
Tuesday July 14-I-75 Raceway-Sweetwater, TN-CORY HEDGECOCK
Thursday July 16-Senoia Raceway-Senoia, GA-BRANDON OVERTON
Friday July 17-Needmore Speedway-Norman Park, GA-BRANDON OVERTON
Saturday July 18-Screven Motor Speedway-Sylvania, GA-BRANDON OVERTON
Sunday July 19-Cochran Motor Speedway-Cochran, GA-BRANDON OVERTON
Tuesday July 21-Tri-County Race Track-Brasstown, NC-CHRIS MADDEN
Thursday July 23-Crossville Speedway-Crossville, TN-BRANDON OVERTON
Friday July 24-411 Motor Speedway-Seymour, TN-CHRIS MADDEN
Saturday July 25-Tazewell Speedway-Tazewell, TN-DAKOTAH KNUCKLES

All Pictures Below Courtesy of Brian McLeod/Dirt Scenes Photo

 

 

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