KNOXVILLE, IA: Tim Kaeding completed the comeback in his Sprint Car career Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway.
A couple of years ago, Kaeding was forced to take some time off from the sport. He needed to get some personal things in order before he could even think about getting back in a car.
But Kaeding got another shot with Midwest owner Dave Lunstra. And the California driver has been content and grateful ever since.
That feeling turned to celebration during Night 2 of the Knoxville Nationals. Kaeding drove under Dale Blaney and went on to score his third qualifying night victory at the famed oval.
The triumph was also special in that it came on a big half mile, a program the Lunstra team has struggled with this season. It was also a win that paid $12,000 and locked Kaeding into Saturday’s A-main.
“It feels amazing,” Kaeding said. “Dave Lunstra gave me an opportunity to do what I do and for us to be a team that is underfunded … we are a short-track team.
“For us to come here and beat guys like Terry [McCarl] and Jason [Johnson], who have run big tracks more than I have, it’s awesome.”
Continued Kaeding, “We finally found something these last few weeks and got it going … pretty much got the driver’s head out of his you know what. We are having fun.”
And a lot of it.
Kaeding started fourth on the grid, but he charged into second behind Blaney with a low move through Turns 3 and 4 to pass Justin Henderson on Lap 1.
While Kaeding was chasing down Blaney, Johnson and McCarl were locked in a tight battle for fourth. Johnson took the position on the bottom of Turn 1 and set his sights on Henderson.
Kaeding closed on Blaney going down the backstretch on Lap 8. He ripped to the bottom of Turn 3 and had the lead by a nose at the flagstand.
Blaney tried to come back in the next corner, but Kaeding had him covered. The Lunstra Motorsports ace hit the bottom perfect and mashed the accelerator off the exit of Turn 2 to pull away to a sizable advantage.
“It was a prayer and a whim at that point,” Kaeding said. “We had a great car tonight. I was able to stick low in one and two, not so much in three and four, but I really have to thank my crew.
“They stuck with me the last couple of months, and we want to come out and just have some fun.”
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Photos from Night 2 of the Knoxville Nationals
Category: World of Outlaws
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