A few years ago Jimmy Owens did an interview with this website in which he counted winning the Knoxville Late Model Nationals as a bucket list item. In 2018 the Newport, Tenn. driver checked that item off of his list when he left Iowa and the historic Knoxville Raceway with the $40,000 first prize. The three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion added that coveted trophy to the numerous pieces of crown jewel hardware he has collected over the course of his sterling career.
Now the time has come for the 47-year-old Dirt Late Model racer to defend his title as the champion of the Knoxville Nationals as the stars of the LOLMDS will again make their way to the small Midwestern town for three nights of racing on the black clay that rings the facility most noted for Sprint Car action.
The return trip to Iowa couldn’t come at a better time for Owens. The Ramirez Motorsports team has been on an outstanding run of success that has seen the No. 20 Rocket Chassis car finish in the top-6 in seven consecutive starts culminating with a runner-up result in the prestigious World 100 at the Eldora Speedway this past weekend.
Owens has been particularly solid in recent crown jewel runs by posting the previously mentioned second in the World 100, fifth in the Hillbilly 100, fourth in the Dirt Million, third in the North-South 100 and sixth in the USA Nationals. As has been the case throughout his career, this is a driver who has consistently risen to the occasion under the brightest of spotlights.
Predicting a winner for these monster events is never easy. And certainly, there are numerous drivers who could be counted as favorites going into the Knoxville Nationals. But among those would have to be Jimmy Owens. He has proven time and again that he can not only contend but can win crown jewel features. And since this time last year, he has proof that he can win on the revered dirt in Iowa.