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AUTO RACING: GF's Mark Dobmeier will start seventh in Saturday's Knoxville Nationals A main

KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- Qualifying for the Knoxville Nationals A main has been Mark Dobmeier's goal for the past few years. And it's been an elusive goal.

Mark Dobmeier (center) holds his trophy
Mark Dobmeier (center) holds his trophy in Victory Lane after winning Thursday night's Knoxville Nationals preliminary feature in Knoxville, Iowa. Jason Meyers (left) finished second. Brian Brown was third in the 25-lap feature. (Submitted photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- Qualifying for the Knoxville Nationals A main has been Mark Dobmeier's goal for the past few years. And it's been an elusive goal.

After his performance in Thursday night's preliminary feature at the Nationals, Dobmeier has moved on to a new goal. He now wants to win the event -- considered the Super Bowl of sprint car racing.

Dobmeier put himself in position to make a serious run at winning Saturday's Knoxville Nationals A main -- a race that pays $150,000 to the winner.

The Grand Forks driver won Thursday night's 25-lap preliminary feature, a win that finally qualified him for the A main. Dobmeier will start seventh in the A main alongside 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser. Sammy Swindell, Wednesday's preliminary winner, will start on the pole and is considered the favorite.

Dobmeier, however, has been on the move at Knoxville in recent weeks while racing at the half-mile track's regular shows.

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"We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing," Dobmeier said Friday, a day after stunning the field that included the top drivers from across the country. "We're not going to do anything drastic. We've been fast down here the last few weeks.

"We'll just try read the track and focus on this not being the Knoxville Nationals but just another race."

That's easier said than done as a crowd of approximately 25,000 will be on hand to watch the race, won last year by Tim Shaffer.

"We've been coming down here the last 4-5 years with the goal of making the A main," Dobmeier said. "Finally, we got it done. Knoxville is the type of track where you just can't pull up one day and expect to run well.

"You have to learn your lessons and go through the school of hard knocks."

In winning the preliminary feature, Dobmeier battled WoO points leader Jason Meyers for the last half of the race. Dobmeier passed Meyers for the lead on Lap 14. He then had to hold off Meyers later on a restart.

The California driver tried to make a slide job stick in Turn 4 after the restart, but Dobmeier never lifted -- maintaining his momentum and the lead coming down the front straightaway. He went on to win by nearly two seconds.

"It was a clean but hard race," Dobmeier said. "We had some wild slide jobs. I knew (Meyers) would be coming back at me on the (final) restart. I committed to the top side of the track and I was wide open all the way. I had just enough speed to carry me around him.

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"I made up my mind I wasn't going to settle for second."

There were 54 drivers in Thursday's field. Dobmeier qualified 11th and finished fourth in his heat -- passing Danny Lasoski for the fourth and final transfer spot late in the race.

That left him starting fourth in the feature.

Twenty starting positions are locked in for tonight's A main. The B main will determine the final four starting positions.

Tonight's second-place finisher will receive $75,000 while the third-, fourth- and fifth-place drivers will take home $37,500, $26,000 and $21,000, respectively.

Fargo's Donny Schatz, who won four straight Knoxville Nationals titles from 2006-2009, will start 13th in tonight's feature.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: WORLD OF OUTLAWS
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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