A mix of the old guard and the new guard defined the battle for the lead during round two of the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) at Knoxville and the old guard emerged victorious as Tony Stewart won Saturday night’s race.
Stewart led 43 of 50 laps and bested Hailie Deegan, Ernie Francis Jr., Michael Waltrip and Helio Castroneves, who rounded out the Top 5.
There were two lead changes among two drivers and five cautions during the 50-lap feature.
Tony Stewart won the first heat and Scott Bloomquist won the second heat.
In the first heat, Stewart bested Marco Andretti, Deegan, Francis Jr. and Paul Tracy, who rounded out the Top 5.
In the second heat, Bloomquist bested Francis Jr., Waltrip, Stewart and Deegan, who rounded out the Top 5.
Throughout the night, the word “fun” came up several times, even when tempers flared.
During the break before the feature, Paul Tracy and Michael Waltrip engaged in a war of words after Waltrip spun Tracy during the second heat.
Tracy said of Michael that he would “Boogity boogity boogity him out of the way”, in reference to the elder Waltrip brother, Darrell, who Tracy was not feuding with Saturday night. Michael Waltrip responded with quoting, “It’s not my fault…,” in reference to a Brothers Osborne song. All in good fun.
The lineup for the feature was as follows: Tony Stewart, Ernie Francis Jr., Hailie Deegan, Scott Bloomquist, Marco Andretti, Bill Elliott, Michael Waltrip, Brian Brown, Helio Castroneves, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs.
Bloomquist quickly moved to second-place before the first caution fell for debris on Lap 5.
Tony Stewart and ringer Scott Bloomquist then led the field to the green four times, following a debris caution and three subsequent cautions.
Two cautions fell for Brian Brown, the local driver, spinning and one caution fell for Willy T. Ribbs spinning.
As the race resumed on Lap 9, Bloomquist quickly fell back after saving the car from spinning after it jumped the cushion.
Stewart held the lead until Michael Waltrip passed him on Lap 14. Stewart kept Waltrip in sight, however, as he retook the lead on Lap 21.
On Lap 33, Helio Castroneves made contact with Scott Bloomquist and spun Bloomquist to bring out the fifth caution.
During the caution, Bill Elliott incurred mechanical issues that took him out of the race. Elliott was in fifth-place when the issues occurred.
Tony Stewart pulled away on the restart but Ernie Francis Jr. and Hailie Deegan were close to Stewart as the green flag run progressed. However, Francis Jr. and Deegan battled for second which allowed Stewart to easily win the SRX feature at Knoxville.
The full field of finishers are as follows: Tony Stewart, Hailie Deegan, Ernie Francis Jr., Helio Castroneves, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Marco Andretti, Brian Brown, Scott Bloomquist, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Paul Tracy.
Tony Stewart leads the SRX points standings by 11 points over Ernie Francis Jr. as the series heads to Eldora Speedway June 26 (8 p.m. ET; TV: CBS)
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX)