PETERSEN MEDIA: After losing their primary engine on Monday night at the Front Row Challenge, Cory Eliason and Van Dyke Motorsports were unsure if they would be able to run the Knoxville Nationals. With a little luck on their side, the team was able to run an engine out of Lynton Jeffrey’s stable and Eliason would finish in the C Main of his first Knoxville Nationals.
“It was a little stressful early in the week wondering if we were going to be able to run, but luckily we were able to get an engine from Lynton Jeffrey and run all week,” Eliason said. “I really have to thank everyone who made this possible and let me take part in a race I have always wanted to run.”
Hitting the track on Thursday night, Eliason and his team would struggle early in the night as the Kingsburg, CA driver timed in 45th quick.
Lining up ninth in his heat race, Eliason would finish eight and take his Lucas Oil/Hansen Machine/NAAKE Suspension No. 5h machine to the B Main.
From his 20th starting position, Eliason would finish in the 17th spot, and begin to turn his attention to Friday night’s program.
Continuing to work on both the car and engine combination, Eliason would get off to a much better start as he would time in eighth fastest in qualifying time trials. An entertaining heat race battle with Logan Schuchart would see the duo fight hard for the final transfer spot into the feature event.
A late race move by Schuchart would give him the spot and force Eliason into the ‘B’ Main event. Lining up in the third spot of the semi, Eliason would again look for a Top-Three finish to move into the feature event. Battling with Greg Hodnett and Davey Heskin for position during the race, Eliason would see Heskin get by him and secure the final spot into the feature event, leaving Eliason on the outside looking in.
With his Friday night finish, Eliason would line the Van Dyke Motorsports machine up in the 11th spot of the Knoxville Nationals C Main event. On a track that was still narrow at that time, Eliason felt comfortable and was able to pick up some spots as he vied for a spot in the Top-Four.
Not quite making it to the transfer spot, Eliason would end his Nationals with a seventh place finish in the C Main.
“Thursday night was a struggle as we tried to figure the engine out, but I was happy with the speed we had Friday and Saturday,” Eliason said. “We missed a couple of transfers on Friday night that might have helped our position on Saturday but that is part of this race. Again, I really just have to thank Harley Van Dyke and everyone that helped us out in some way on this trip.”
The Van Dyke Motorsports team would like to thank Lucas Oil, Hansen Machine, NAAKE Suspension, Maxim Chassis, and Moyle Racing Engines for their support during the year.
2016 BY THE NUMBERS: Starts- 34, Wins-6, Top-5’s-10, Top-10’s-18
ON TAP: Eliason hopes to return to action in one week when the King of the West Series invades the Petaluma Speedway.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay updated with Cory Eliason by following him on Twitter @Cory_Eliason.
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