KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Jacob Allen had already won three World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series features this season, but Friday night’s preliminary victory during the Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway may have been his coming out party as race car driver.
Allen, who has been inconsistent during his career driving his legendary father Bobby’s Shark Racing No. 1a, did some of his best driving in holding off three-time series champion Brad Sweet on Thursday night.
The victory gave Shark Racing a sweep of the preliminary races, as Logan Schuchart won on Wednesday night.
More importantly, it showed the confidence that Allen has accumulated.
“I’ve been lapped traffic pretty much every time I have been here (Knoxville Raceway) besides tonight,” Allen said. “It’s a big deal. When you get in the position, starting second, you don’t have an option but to race hard considering the guys behind you. It is about racing hard but it is about hitting your marks, being patient and executing through lapped traffic and that’s about it.”
Allen wasn’t quick to say it was his biggest victory, citing a hometown triumph earlier this season at Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Speedway, but he acknowledged the importance of his accomplishment.
“I would say this is the biggest win for me,” said Allen, who will start 11th in Saturday’s $175,000-to-win main event. “I have been terrible at Knoxville in some ways, as far as feature results and stuff haven’t been ideal. But I have had good moments and I’ve felt good on the race track.
“I have been hopeful to get in a good position to see how well I could drive the track,” continued Allen, whose father won this race in 1990. “With winning some races this year I have the confidence of knowing how to manage a race, but that was a test for me tonight to see if I could put together 25 good laps and not just stay on one line but to run two lines, navigate lapped traffic, hit the bottom good, use my feet well, judge the cars and lines to the best of my ability.
“I think I capitalized on all of that, but I am pretty proud of it.”