KNOXVILLE, IOWA (AUGUST 8, 2017) - The Larson Marks Racing team and Shane Stewart were originally scheduled to compete at the Capitani Classic on Sunday at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, but changed their plans to compete for the $20,000 pay day at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa on Monday.
Stewart kicked off the night by earning the third-quickest lap time. After starting sixth in the heat race, he immediately charged to the front. The caution was displayed halfway through the heat and Stewart captured the lead on the ensuing restart to earn the win. The Bixby, Okla., native won the first round of the special King of the Hill challenge race to transfer into the final round. He finished then finished second to earn an outside row two starting spot for the 30-lap main event.
Stewart jumped to the early lead, but slipped back to third in the opening laps. On lap 20, he advanced back to second and was closing in on the leader. With three laps remaining, Stewart caught the leader in lapped traffic. It then became a three-way battle for the lead with co-owner, Kyle Larson. The pilot of the LMR No. 2 was able to seize and maintain the lead in the closing laps to earn his first Front Row Challenge win, with Larson finishing third after starting 13th.
"This feels so great," said Stewart. "I was about to pull in at the beginning of the race when we were really smoking. This is our motor for Knoxville [Nationals] and I didn't want to hurt it, but I am so glad we didn't pull in. It was a great battle when it came down to the end, and I'm so glad I was able to come out on top. I can't thank my guys enough for always working so hard and providing me with fast racecars and Justin [Marks] and Kyle for allowing me to continue to race for them. It's a step in the right direction before the biggest race of the year."
The Larson Marks Racing team will be back on track Wednesday, August 9 for their preliminary night during the 57th annual Knoxville Nationals.
TRACK: Southern Iowa Speedway DATE: August 7, 2017
QUALIFYING: 3rd HEAT RACE: 1st
DASH STARTING POSITION: 2nd DASH FINISH: 2nd
FEATURE STARTING POSITION: 2nd FEATURE FINISH: 1st