KNOXVILLE, IA (August 10, 2021): David Gravel hopes that history will repeat itself. When the Knoxville Nationals were last contested, in 2019, he hit a hot streak at just the right time, winning the Capitani Classic on Sunday, his qualifier, and then the Saturday A Main. Well, so far, he’s completed the first two steps and he’s well positioned to master the third.
“That was a fast-paced race,” Gravel said. “I was abusing my right rear, so I adjusted the wing, and then the wing kept sliding back on its own and I got tight.” Gravel was chasing Justin Henderson as the laps wound down. “He slid a lapped car and that broke his momentum. I was slipping in four and I knew I had to pull the trigger in one and two. I hope I passed him clean.”
As good as Gravel was, Giovanni Scelzi was a little better overall. Scelzi finished in second place in the race, but he earned the most points on the night, as he had better finishes than Gravel in the time trials and in the heat races. Scelzi, who dominated the 360 Nationals just the week before, claimed that he did not have much to do this night, explaining “this car just about drives itself.” He proclaimed himself “three-quarters of the way there.”
Another driver who was satisfied with his run on qualifier night was Donny Schatz, the third place finisher. “We could have got there,” Schatz commented. “Twenty-five laps is a lot shorter than it’s going to be come Saturday (the A Main will be fifty laps). We got going at the end. Man, you change one thing and you end up changing ten. You try to make a step in a certain direction and you take a step back. We’ll have a couple of days to let the masterminds come up with a plan. We’ll be there.” If anybody knows how to win at Knoxville, it’s Schatz, who has ten Nationals wins in the last fourteen attempts.
Zeb Wise, subbing for the injured Buddy Kofoid aboard the second CJB Motorsports entry, had the pole for the A Main. Next to him was track regular Justin Henderson. Third belonged to Justin Peck in a tribute car honoring Kramer Williamson, the late father of his crew chief Kurt. Next to him was surprising Josh Baughman. The third row consisted of James McFadden and Gravel. Schatz and Scelzi were in row four. Spencer Bayston matched up with Cory Eliason in row five. The sixth row had perennial 360 king Clint Garner and Sheldon Haudenschild. Further back in the field were Jason Sides (eighteenth), Logan Schuchart (twenty-first) and Danny Dietrich (twenty-third).
Wise led the field through the first lap and a half, but then Henderson assumed control. The Knoxville faithful were pulling for him to keep the invaders at bay, and for a long time, it appeared that he just might pull off the win.
Henderson led through lap twenty-one, but Gravel was lurking in his shadow. Gravel took over third on lap two and second on the next round. Wise held third until lap nine when his car gave out, leading to the first caution of the race.
Henderson maintained control over Gravel, but Scelzi moved up a notch when Wise dropped out. Scelzi closed in on Gravel, but could not get close enough to make a bid for the second spot. Schatz was riding along in fourth, with Peck holding down fifth.
Henderson was caught in heavy traffic as the race drew to a close. Gravel drew closer and he was able to execute a slide job in turn one to take the lead with twenty-one complete. Soon thereafter, Scelzi passed Henderson and Schatz was nipping at his heels.
At the finish, it was Gravel over Scelzi, Schatz, Henderson, and Peck. Haudenschild was sixth. Schuchart drove a strong race, coming from twenty-first to seventh with the aid of just one caution to gather up the field. Schuchart was the hard charger for the night. McFadden, Eliason, and Bayston completed the top ten.
Five heats were held, with the wins going to Josh Schneiderman, Kyle Reinhardt, Riley Goodno, Jake Bubak, and Ayrton Gennetten. Tanner Carrick won the C Main, and Schuchart took the B Main. Brooke Tatnell was the night’s fastest qualifier at 15.208 seconds.
The points for the night had Scelzi topping the list with 487, Schatz scoring 477, and Gravel 475. Schuchart came in with 472, followed by Tatnell at 460, McFadden at 459, Henderson and Peck tied at 458, Danny Dietrich at 449, and Baughman at 447.
A Main: David Gravel, Giovanni Scelzi, Donny Schatz, Justin Henderson, Justin Peck, Sheldon Haudenschild, Logan Schuchart, James McFadden, Cory Eliason, Spencer Bayston, Josh Baughman, Brooke Tatnell, Ayrton Gennetten, Davey Heskin, Clint Garner, Danny Dietrich, Josh Schneiderman, Jason Sides, Skylar Gee, Jake Bubak, Kyle Reinhardt, Don Droud, Jr., Riley Goodno, Zeb Wise.
DNQ: Roger Crockett, Anthony Macri, Wayne Johnson, Terry McCarl, Tim Shaffer, Lucas Wolfe, Carson McCarl, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, Tasker Phillips, Robbie Kendall, McKenna Haase, Tanner Carrick, A.J. Moeller, Derek Hagar, Ryan Roberts, Austin Miller, John Carney, II, Jordan Goldesberry, Scott Bogucki, Matt Moro, Tori Knutson, Joe Simbro, Ryan Giles, Hunter Schuerenberg.
Logan Wagner Wins Tuscarora 50
PORT ROYAL, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Logan Wagner passed Lance Dewease with two-laps-to-go to win Saturday night’s All Star Circuit of Champions Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway.
“I’m living the dream in a different universe, man, this is just unreal,” said an elated Wagner in victory lane. “I knew in that second 25-lapper that I had something for (Dewease). It was so awesome to race him clean…I didn’t even know how many laps were left when we got by him. I just ran as hard as I could…just about stuffed it into the fence a couple of times. I’m out of breath!”
Dewease took the lead on lap 12 from Rico Abreu, who led the first 11 laps, and led all the way to the halfway mark. An oil leak didn’t deter Dewease in the second half of the 50-lapper as he was back out front when the green flag dropped.
Wagner, a four-time track Champion at Port Royal, caught Dewease on lap 34 when the leader encountered lap traffic but subsequent cautions on lap 36 and lap 38 gave Dewease clear track on both restarts and he took full advantage.
It took Wagner 11-more laps to get back to Dewease. Wagner got a great run off turn two and passed Dewease on the backstretch for the lead before diving into turn three. The victory was the third All-Star victory for Wagner, who also captured the 2021 Keith Kauffman Classic at ‘The Speed Palace’.
Dewease held on for second with Anthony Macri rounding out the podium.
The All Star Circuit of Champions will continue their September calendar with another round in the Keystone State, this time setting aim at Williams Grove Speedway and Lincoln Speedway for back-to-back blockbusters on Friday and Saturday, September 17-18. The rescheduled Jack Gunn Memorial, featuring a $7,000-to-win headliner, will kick things off on Friday, followed by Lincoln’s $20,000-to-win Dirt Classic VIII on Saturday. Fans and teams should note that the rescheduled Jack Gunn Memorial will feature only one main event.
Eliason Wins after Motor Change in Lincoln All Stars Go
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (August 28, 2021): Cory Eliason turned a disaster to his advantage in the Kramer Klash for the All Stars Circuit of Champions at Lincoln Speedway. His motor expired at the very end of his heat race. His crew went into action and swapped it out in time for him to take the pole for his dash, which he dominated with the new powerplant. Then, Eliason led all thirty-five laps in the A Main. The win was his second of the season and seventh of his career with the traveling band. Eliason collected $7,300 for the victory.
When they pulled the pills for the dash, Eliason gave props to his team for making the engine change. “We were lucky that they had the Legends cars tonight, that gave my crew a little extra time to make the engine change.”
Eliason’s dash win snared the pole for the A Main. Next to him was the second dash winner, Zeb Wise. Parker Price-Miller and Robbie Kendall were in row two. Hunter Schuerenberg and Gerard McIntyre, Jr. started from the third row. Kyle Reinhardt and Brent Marks lined up in the fourth row, with the remaining dash cars, T.J. Stutts and Justin Peck in row five. The sixth row was made up of All Stars points leader, Tyler Courtney, and Chad Trout.
It took three tries to get the A Main going while a light mist was falling.The fist was waived off when Tyler Ross smacked the wall between turns one and two. The second resulted in a multi-car crash in turn one that involved at least seven cars, four of which were able to resume the action. One each of the three attempts, Eliason went to the cushion and held off Wise to take control.
Before the racers could sort themselves out, another massive wreck occurred at the opposite end of the track. Kendall went over Schuerenberg’s wheel and took a violent tumble. Schuerenberg hit the wall head on, and at least two other cars turned over in the chaos. This time, three of the racers could continue on.
Despite the toll on the machines, none of the drivers were injured.
When the race got going again, Eliason continued to lead. Wise ran along in second, with Price-Miller, McIntyre, and Peck trailing. About ten or twelve laps into the race, Wise came to life. For about five laps, he gave Eliason all that he could handle. However, Eliason found something extra and he was able to pull away from his challenger as they reached the halfway mark.
Soon, the leaders were into heavier traffic, and Peck began to flex some muscle. He reached third with twenty laps completed and he was certainly the fastest car on the track. With twenty-seven laps completed, Peck turned under Wise coming off turn four to take second. He began to close rapidly on Eliason, and the fans were getting ready for a battle royale.
With Peck in range of the leader, the caution flashed on. The crowd was anxious to see what Peck may do on the restart, but he was no match for Eliason on a clear track.
The final caution, on lap thirty, gave Peck another shot at the leader. But Peck missed his entry to turn one on the restart and he surrendered second to Price-Miller.
Eliason made the appointed rounds and took the checkers ahead of Price-Miller. Peck brought the Kramer Williamson tribute car home third. Fourth went to Wise, who held off a charge by McIntyre over the final three laps.
Reinhardt crossed in sixth, with Alan Krimes, Stutts, Brandon Rahmer, and Courtney completing the top ten. Brandon Rahmer was the hard charger, advancing fifteen positions.
The heat winners were Peck, Schuerenberg, Kendall, and Reinhardt. The B Main winner was Cap Henry. Stutts set the fastest time of the night, touring the speedway in 12.976 seconds.
Jeremy Ott was the winner in the PA Legends Cars feature that ended the night. Logan Carbaugh, Rravis McClelland, Chris Transeau and Stephen Wurtzer rounded out the top five. Bill Diehl, Blaine Leppo, McClelland, and Transeau won their heat race, The B Main victories went to Brent Marquis and Quinn Trimmer.
Next week, the Bob Leiby Memorial will be held. There will be twin twenties for the 410 Sprints, with each win worth $3,000. The PA Legends Cars will be on the card once again. September 11 will feature the Super Late Models. Support will be provided by the 358 and 305 Sprints. Then, on September 18, the All Stars will be back in the Pigeon Hills for the Eighth Annual Dirt Classic, paying $20,000.
McCreadie Makes up for Mistake at Port Royal
PORT ROYAL, PA (August 28, 2021): Tim McCreadie blamed himself for his fifth place finish on the opening night of the Rumble by the River. But, he made up for it by winning the second preliminary feature for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Port Royal Speedway.
He explained that he thought that the checkered flag came out a lap earlier in his heat race on Thursday, so he backed down and lost a position in the finish. That buried him in sixteenth place for the start and, with only thirty laps of racing, it was impossible for him to catch up to the leaders.
McCreadie made sure that he did not repeat the blunder on Friday night. He dominated his heat race to earn the outside front row starting spot for the A Main and then he went on to lead all but one of the fourty laps. The victory padded McCreadie’s series points lead and added $12,000 to his bank account.
Jonathan Davenport did stay within striking distance through the first twenty-five laps, which were all run under the green. But Davenport got a flat right front tire after running over some debris between turns one and two. Fourth place runner Chris Ferguson also got a flat due to the same cause. Ironically, McCreadie also ran over the same material, but his tires were good to go the distance. McCreadie confided that he did not even know that he ran over the same debris that sidelined two of his rivals.
“Man, I am tired,” McCreadie said as he was catching his breath. “When you get to be this old, you never know how many chances you will get to win, so you have to run hard all of the time. I was good throughout the race, I thought that JD might get me in traffic and then he had the flat, and Hudson was good, too, they’ve both been pretty good of late.”
Davenport and McCreadie shared the front row, having won heats one and three, respectively. The other heat winners, Ferguson and Jimmy Owens, lined up behind them. Then came Josh Richards and O’Neal, winner on the opening night. Stormy Scott and Michael Norris were in row four. The fifth verse was sung by Andy Haus and Tyler Erb. The sixth featured Ricky Thornton, Jr. and Shane Clanton.
Davenport took the early lead, lost it briefly to McCreadie, and then powered off turn four to claim the opening lap. McCreadie came down off the top to slide Davenport on lap two to take the lead. Although McCreadie led the rest of the way, Davenport stayed close and tried a slider or two himself without success.
O’Neal joined the fun around lap fifteen when McCreadie and Davenport were hung up behind some lapped traffic. That created a great three-car battle for the lead, but McCreadie managed to get away by a couple of car lengths, leaving the main characters from the opening night to fight for second.
The race took a dramatic turn on lap twenty-five. Thornton slapped the wall between one and two. Although he kept going, his car was badly damaged and parts were strewn in the high groove. The leaders all ran over the stuff, and two of the contestants, Davenport and Ferguson, got flats that would send them pitside soon thereafter.
The race got going again but another shake-up within the top ten was about to occur. The restart produced two three-car battles within the top ten. One was for third and the other was for seventh. The latter resulted in contact in turn three that claimed Richards, Jason Covert, and Scott. While that was being cleaned up, Davenport and Ferguson pitted for fresh rubber.
On the ensuing restart, Erb made his move to the front. The racers only got one lap recorded before Gregg Satterlee, who was running ninth, came to a halt on the back stretch.
Then, on the next restart, Erb blasted into second and Norris threaded the needle to get to fourth. O’Neal got shuffled back on the restart and fell out of the top five. The action was intense through the field, and that led to another caution.
Fortunately, the racers had that spell worked out of their systems and the remaining twelve laps were run off without incident.
McCreadie took the checkers first, followed by Owens, Erb, Clanton, and O’Neal. Earl Pearson, Jr. was sixth. Norris, Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson, and Trevor Feathers completed the top ten. Robinson’s perseverance paid off as he picked up several positions in the final laps to crack the top ten from last on the grid. He was named the hard charger and got $400 extra as his reward.
Pearson and Satterlee copped the twin B Mains. The night’s top qualifiers were Davenport, at 18.616, and McCreadie at 18.727.
The Mid Atlantic Modifieds were the undercard this night. George Dixon took the lead from his fourth starting spot. His time out front was limited, however, He spun on his own on lap six, handing the lead over to Steve Arpin. That would be the only caution of the event.
Mike Altobelli worked his way forward from eighth at the start to take the lead on lap nine. While he would go the rest of the way unchecked, David Stremme did close in during the final laps to make things interesting.
Third went to Arpin. Then came Keith Jackson, Austin Holcombe, Mitch Thomas, Ron Davies, Carl McKinney, Steve Axtell, and Ryan Ayers.
Port Royal Speedway will conclude the Rumble by the River on Saturday night. The Juniata Fair will take over the grounds for seven days, but racing will take place on five of them. The action starts with the annual Butch Renninger Memorial on Saturday, September 4, featuring the Super Late Models and the Limited Late Models. The 410 Sprints will also be on the card. The Sprints return on Monday afternoon, September 6 for the 70th Annual Labor Day Classic. Four Cylinders and non-wing Super Sportsmen will add to the fun. Then the big show, the 54th Tuscarora 50 will be held Thursday through Saturday. The All Stars Circuit of Champions will headline all three nights. The 305 Sprints (Thursday), and Super Late Models (Friday) will also be in action. The finale will be all 410 Sprints.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series: Tim, McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb, Shane Clabton, Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson, Jr., Michael Norris, Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson, Trevor Feathers, Colton Flinner, Gary Stuhler, Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport, Andy Haus, Kyle Bronson, Ricky Thornton, Jr., Matt Cosner, Gregg Satterlee, Josh Richards, Stormy Scott, Jason Covert, Jeff Rine, Mike Marlar, Kyle Lee. DNQ: Brian Booze, Dylan Yoder, Dillan Stake, Logan Zarin, Tim Smith, Shaun Jones, Mason Miller, Pancho Lawler, Scott Flickinger, Kyle Hardy, Michael Brown, Rick Eckert, Tyler Bare, Mike Lupfer, Dan Stone, Johnny Scott, Dale Hollidge, Brett Schadel, Austin Berry, Chris Casner, Deshawn Gingerich.
Mid Atlantic Modifieds: Michael Altobelli, David Stremme, Steve Arpin, Keith Jackson, Austin Holcombe, Mitch Thomas, Ron Davies, Carl McKinney, Steve Axtell, Ryan Ayers, George Dixon, Jonathan Taylor, T.J. DeHaven, Jerry Foster, Rim Fedder, Alyssa Rowe, Amber Mills, Brad Kling, Brandon Householder, Tom Wakefield, Deron Henry, Michael Pappas, Jacob Marker, Justin Collum.
DNQ: Nick Dibella, Al Brewer, David green, John Lobb, Ray Kable, Jr., Doug Stine, Frank Dibella.