By Tom Gianinni
(PENSACOLA, FL) John Kennedy has been the driver to beat so far in this inaugural ASRS Sportsman Truck Series. He came into Independence Day weekend 13 points over 2nd place Scott Smith. Kris Titus came into the event 15 markers back. Tim Knott was 17 points back and Jeremy Banning rounded out the top 5 with a 23 point deficit. Perhaps the biggest story of the night was John Kennedy failing to show up for the 100 lap event at Five Flags Speedway. That would leave the door open for others to make a move. Tim Knott was not satisfied sitting 3rd in the standings and he showed it from the moment his team unloaded the #41 Chevy. Knott was fastest in practice and then backed it up with the fastest time in qualifying. Jeremy Banning followed Tim Knott to the line. Scott Smith was 3rd, Brett Matthews 4th and Gary LaViolette rounded out the top 5 on the starting grid.
The night was slowed by 5 cautions. The worst yellow having come out after the #5 of Scott Haller lost control coming off of turn 4. The car would spin up the track and collide with the #25 of Kris Titus hard. Another major incident would see Scott Smith (2nd in points) spin and collect the inside wall hard with less than 15 laps remaining. The #21 team would get to work and starting repairing his badly damaged Toyota. Luckily for them, the bulk of the damage turned out to be cosmetic and on the short track, there was not much of a need for pristine aerodynamic fenders. He would rebound on the night and finish 2nd. The driver Scott Smith finished 2nd to was no other than the dominating driver on the night, Tim Knott. From the drop of the green, he showed up the field, leading every green flag lap en-route to the victory.
The most Knott had to work was on the last restart when the #21 was charging hard. He was able to maintain the lead even on older tires and seal the deal for his impressive victory, his first of the season.
The series will roll into Michigan on July 16. From one of the shortest tracks on the schedule to one of the longest, it will be sure to put on a good show as these young guns look to put on a show and position themselves for a championship down the stretch. Tune in!