KNOXVILLE, IA (August 14, 2021): Kyle Larsen always dreamed of winning the Knoxville Nationals. Now, that dream has become reality.
“The atmosphere this week was unbelievable,” Larson said. He speculated that the year off added to the buzz that surrounded the activities at the Knoxville Raceway. “I felt the energy all week and that kept me pumped up.” He also admitted to being quite nervous before the big race. “Honestly, this is as nervous as I’ve been leading up to a race in a couple of years. I had butterflies all day today.” He also admitted to being distracted during practice for his NASCAR Cup race, saying that he kept playing different scenarios through his head. He also gave thanks to Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon for their belief in him and for allowing him to come and race at Knoxville before racing a Cup car.
Larson revealed a bit of his race strategy. “I wanted to get the lead before the break. I looked at the board and I knew that we were coming down to the end of it. I just blitzed it for a lap and I pulled it off.” He lost the lead briefly on lap 26, but he managed to get back in front of his adversary, Donny Schatz, to be the leader heading into the pit stop.
He would see Schatz again, late in the second half of the race, but he picked up his pace and scooted away from the ten-time winner of the race. “I could see that Donny was taking huge chunks out of my lead lap after lap. He was on my rear bumper and I just told myself ‘I know he’s here, just don’t miss it.’ It was great to beat Donny here for the Nationals. He beat me a few years ago, and he’s the best there is.”
Giovanni Scelzi was the youngest driver ever to sit on the pole for the Knoxville Nationals finale. He had Brad Sweet by his side, and Larson and Brent Marks in the row behind. Schatz was inside row three, with David Gravel next to him. Kasey Kahne was in the fourth row, paired with Logan Schuchart. Brian Brown, a crowd favorite, had row five along with Ian Madsen aboard the Rudzik Excavating car formerly driven by Tim Shaffer. Row six belonged to Brooke Tatnell and Tyler Courtney.
Scelzi broke out to the early lead followed by Schatz, Larson, Gravel, Sweet, McFadden, Marks, and Kahne. By the time that the fans settled into their seats, the top five had formed a single file formation. That lasted for about five laps before racers began to make some moves to improve their track positions.
Schatz and Larson moved in on Scelzi and there was a brief three-car battle for the lead. Scelzi scooted away and Sweet moved in to make it a three-car battle for second.
This time, it was Schatz who drove away from his competition. He began to reel in the leader. He did get his nose out in front of Scelzi on lap nine, but the teen came right back to regain the lead before they got to the scoring loop. Schatz stayed close and he worked on Scelzi again. He succeeded in making the pass count on lap eleven.
Now, it was Larson giving chase to Scelzi, but it was for the second position. Larson made the pass stick on lap 14.
As the racers closed in on the halfway mark, Larson was catching the leader. He rolled the top of turns one and two to take the lead with 24 laps completed. Schatz fought back after the leaders took the halfway sign, but Larson rallied at the west end of the track to be scored as the leader on lap 26 when the yellow flag was displayed.
The racers all ventured pitside for final adjustments on their cars. Almost all of them changed both rear tires, but McFadden also replaced a heavily worn left front tire. The pit stop was uneventful for most teams, but Marks and Tatnell were penalized two positions each for working past the final horn.
When the race resumed, Larson darted out to the lead. Before the racers could settle in for the second half, Rico Abreu brought out the caution. Two laps later, the race was halted again for a flip by Brown in turn one. That incident collected several other cars, including Brock Zearfoss and Sheldon Hadenschild. During the clean-up, Zearfoss replace dthe entire front end of his car and Haudenschild replaced a right rear tire. Cory Eliason’s crew also made a wing change and other repairs. Although he came back out with the others, he did not take the green as there was some additional damage that the crew did not correct when making their hasty repairs.
With those interruptions behind them Larson began to stretch his lead over Schatz. which he would never surrender. Larson settled in behind a lapped car and was riding along in the rubber. Schatz, meanwhile, was pouring on the coals. Behind him there was an intense three-car battle for third between Scelzi, Sweet, and Gravel. Soon after Sweet and Gravel overtook Scelzi, Gravel blew his engine.
With twenty laps remaining, Schatz was closing in on the leader, and he was bringing Sweet along for good measure. Scelzi was under attack from Schuchart, who was one of the few drivers to make headway in the second half of the contest.
Schatz caught up to Larsen with five to go. Larson was still riding behind the lapped car and Schatz moved up a groove in turns three and four with three laps remaining. Schatz came off turn four next to Larson, who realized that Schatz was within striking distance. He picked up his pace and gained a few car lengths on his challenger. Schatz tried again on the final lap, but he could not get a run on the leader.
Larson took the checkers to a thunderous ovation. Schatz was second, followed by Sweet, Scelzi, and Schuchart. Marks crossed in sixth. McFadden paid for the new rubber with a seventh place finish. His car owner, Kahne, was next, with Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild rounding out the top ten.
The B Main transfer cars were Macedo, Kerry Madsen, Eliason, and Haudenschild. The B Main finish was quite thrilling, as Madsen, Eliason, Haudenschild, and Spencer Bayston were closing rapidly on a lapped car. All five came to the finish line in a wild scramble, with Haudenschild driving down to the berm to keep up his speed and grab the final transfer by just .008 seconds.
The C Main transfers were Hunter Schuereberg, Ayrton Gennetten, Harli White, and Sawyer Phillips. Wayne Johnson suffered a flat while leading on the last lap, forcing a green-white-checkered finish to the event.
The D Main was dominated by Jack Dover. Scotty Thiel, Dustin Selvage, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, and Jesse Attard also advanced.
The E Main winner was Jason Sides, followed by Dylan Cisney, Jacob Allen, John Carney, II, and Tyler Esh. Bobby Mincer was added to the D Main as an alternate when Skylar Gee scratched from the event.
A Main: Kyle Larson, Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, Giovanni Scelzi, Logan Schuchart, Brent Marks, James McFadden, Kasey Kahne, Carson Macedo, Sheldon Haudenschild, Kerry Madsen, Brooke Tatnell, Justin Peck, Shane Stewart, Brock Zearfoss, Ian Madsen, Anthony Macri, David Gravel, Justin Henderson, Brian Brown, Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Rico Abreu, Danny Dietrich.
B Main: Carson Macedo, Kerry Madsen, Cory Eliason, Sheldon Haudenschild, Spencer Bayston, Shane Golobic, Kraig Kinser, Scott Bogucki, Davey Heskin, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Bill Balog, Lynton Jeffrey, Sawyer Phillips, Ayrton Gennetten, Sye Lynch, Daryn Pittman, Hunter Schuerenberg, Josh Schneiderman, Josh Baughman, Sammy Swindell, Zeb Wise, Kyle Reinhardt, Harli White, Jac Haudenschild, Paul McMahan (DNS).
C Main: Hunter Schuerenberg, Ayrton Gennetten, Harli White, Sawyer Phillips, Carson McCarl, Tim Shaffer, Tim Kaeding, Marcus Dumesny, Roger Crockett, Clint Garner, Tasker Phillips, Mark Dobmeier, A.J. Moeller, Tanner Carrick, Colby Copeland, Jesse Attard, Dustin Selvage, Mike Wagner, Jack Dover, McKenna Haase, Chad Kemenah, Wayne Johnson, Terry McCarl, Scotty Thiel (DNS).
D Main: Jack Dover, Scotty Thiel, Dustin Selvage, Mark Dobmeier, Chad Kemenah, Jesse Attard, Jake Bubak, Don Droud, Jr., Derek Hagar, Greg Wilson, Robbie Kendall, Ryan Roberts, Jordan Goldesberry, Jacob Allen, Jeff Swindell, Riley Goodno, T.J. Stutts, Jason Sides, Dylan Cisney, John Carney, II, Chris Martin, Tyler Esh, Bobby Mincer, Noah Gass, Skylar Gee (DNS), Lucas Wolfe (DNS).
E Main: Jason Sides, Dylan Cisney, Jacob Allen, John Carney, II, Tyler Esh, Bobby Mincer, Kevin Ingle, Tori Knutson, Austin Miller, Joe Simbro, Logan Wagner (DNS), Ryan Giles (DNS), Austin MCCarl (DNS), Skylar prochaska (DNS), Matt Moro (DNS), Cale Thomas (DNS), Parker Price-Miller (DNS).
Reutzel Richer at Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 6, 2022): Aaron Reutzel raced to victory in the finale of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. By leading all thirty laps, his winnings were $30,000, split evenly between the purse and lap money.
“We had a very good car at the start, but not so good at the end,” Reutzel said. “We were struggling at the end. I knew probably someone was coming, but that’s how I wanted the race to play out. I wanted to go green to checker, so I could run in lapped traffic and try to hide a little bit. We were able to get up front and make the best of it. It all worked out good.”
Regulars from the Knoxville Raceway dominated the front rows of the A Main starting lineup, which was based on the unique Nationals point system. Points are awarded for each competitive event–time trials, heat races, and qualifying night feature events–and the driver with the highest total starts on the pole. That honor belonged to Lynton Jeffrey. To his right was Reutzel. In row two were Clint Garner and Terry McCarl. Brain Brown and Ayrton Gennetten were in row three. Sam Hafertepe was the first outsider, and he started in seventeen next to the defending race champion, Giovanni Scelzi. Christopher Thram and Wayne Johnson made up row five, followed by Thomas Kennedy and Cory Eliason.
Reutzel carried a lot of speed into turn one and he rode the rim to take a modest lead over Jeffrey. Garner, Brown, and McCarl battled for the third position. Gennetten and Hafertepe watched the action unfold.
Reutzel began to pull away from Jeffrey while the battle amongst Brown, Garner, and McCarl became more intense when Hafertepe entered the fray. Hafertepe had the dominant car through the middle stage of the race, and he began to move forward.
Hafertepe made contact with Garner in turn two while moving into the third position with fourteen laps complete. Both drivers kept their cars under control, and they separated quickly and without any further incident. Garner fell back a bit, but, as the race wore on, he picked up speed again.
Meanwhile, Hafertepe pulled away unscathed and soon he was challenging Jeffrey for the second position. Hafertepe did take over second at the midpoint in the race, but he was more than two and a half seconds behind the leader.
As Hafertepe began to whittle away at the lead, the tension was beginning to build. It was obvious that Reutzel was fighting a loose car the last ten laps and Hafetepe was coming. The question was whether he would have enough time to catch and pass the leader.
Hafertepe cut the margin to under a second. With two laps remaining, he got the car up onto the inside berm between turns three and four. He scrubbed off some speed when the car got a little sideways. Although that miscue gave Reutzel some needed breathing space, Hafertepe came back on the final lap. He drew near to Reutzel entering turn one. But Reutzel had the better line and he was able to keep his momentum up as he rolled through the first and second turns.
Reutzel had a couple of car lengths on Hafertepe as they raced toward turn three. He took the checkers 0.725 seconds ahead of his fellow Texan.
Garner rebounded for third, followed by Jeffrey and McCarl. Brown slipped back to sixth. Eliason, Gennetten, Chase Randall, and Scelzi completed the top ten.
“We could have used a caution or anything,” Hafertepe observed. “He (Reutzel) drove a pretty good race and got through lapped traffic pretty well.” Hafertepe added that Reutzel got to spend a lot of time in clean air. He was apologetic about his scuffle with Garner in the second corner. “I got into Clint, which I didn’t mean to do. I was running in the middle and hitting a little patch of moisture and I missed it and got up into him. I didn’t want to race him like that.”
Garner downplayed his achievement. “The car was fast, you know. I did my best to do what I could there. I definitely felt like the ultimate underdog again here. When I stood in the lineup to do the introductions, there were a lot of great racecar drivers. Most of them could be the best or one of the best in the country. I’m privileged to be here . . . and I’m glad to be up here talking with you guys.” He assigned no blame at all to Hafertepe for the incident in turn two. “Good drivers know what they are doing and I knew what I was doing. We both kept them under control.” In fact, Garner took some of the responsibility himself, noting that he should have backed out but he did not want to give up another position.
Randall was named the Rookie of the Race and the Hard Charger. He passed nine cars in the contest. He netted an extra $1,000 for those awards.
The all-features format got off to a rocky start. A couple of cautions punctuated the E Main, which was won by Jett Carney. The D Main had two vicious accidents on the initial attempts to start that race. Seth Brehmer and Ryan Bowers collided head-on at full speed in the middle of the frontstretch. After a delay for fence repairs, a six-car pile-up occurred in turn one, with several cars flipping and one landing on top of another car. Fortunately no drivers were injured in either incident, but nine cars were eliminated in the process. Justin Sanders grabbed the win. The C Main win went to Kaleb Johnson, and Tyler Courtney scored the B Main victory. Sye Lynch was the only driver to race in three of the feature events, ending his night in the C Main.
Brown Bags Second Prelim at Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, IA (August 5, 2022): Brian Brown sailed to victory on the second night of the 32nd Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals. Brown is the only driver to rank in the top five in career wins in both the 410 and 360 Sprint Car divisions at the famed raceway.
“It’s good to be up here,” Brown noted. “The final night of the 360s has been good to us, but not the qualifying night.” Brown, who is very good at maintaining relationships with his sponsors, added, “all of my sponsors are here and it’s really cool to be able to win in front of them.”
The twenty lap finale had Christopher Thram and Blake Hahn paired on the front row. Brown and Terry McCarl made for a powerful second row, with Wayne Johnson and Lynton Jeffrey in the third. Clint Garner and Kelby Watt were in row four. Tasker Phillips and Carson McCarl had row five, with Justin Sanders and Tyler Courtney in the sixth.
Brown wasted no time in getting to the front. He executed a textbook slider in turn three to take the lead away from Thram. Johnson was racing ahead of McCarl. Hahn fell to fifth on the opening lap, followed by Garner, Jeffrey, and Cale Thomas.
With Brown leading the way, McCarl moved into third and was pressing Thram for the second spot. Meanwhile, Johnson and Jeffrey were holding down the fourth and fifth positions.
On lap six, bad luck befell the night’s fastest qualifier. Watt was involved in a three-car tangle in turn one and he crashed while racing for a position in the top ten.
On the restart, Thram tried to dive bomb Brown in turn one. However, Brown had the momentum and the cushion going for him and he swept around the challenger as they raced through the first two corners. From there to the finish, Brown was untouchable.
There was a spirited battle for second between Thram and McCarl for the next ten laps. With six to go, McCarl powered by Thram in turn one. It looked as though Thram would pull off a bit of an upset by getting a podium finish, but Jeffrey came on in the final few laps to take the position away.
At the checkers, it was Brown by slightly more than four seconds over McCarl. Jeffrey, Thram, and Garner completed the top five. Johnson was sixth despite a very severe back condition. Thomas edged Kyle Larson for seventh. Phillips and Hahn completed the top ten.
“Those 24 cars are always tough,” McCarl said with a laugh. He was ready to make a move on Thram before the red flag on lap six, and he noted that Thram “took my line away from me. That’s exactly what I would have done with him. Then, McCarl commented that, after the restart, “it took me a while to get going again.” He speculated that his tire cooled down too much under the red.
Jeffrey was ecstatic with his third-place run, which earned him the pole for the big race Saturday night. He explained that, as of Friday morning, he was not sure if he was going to race. But, Jody Hegwood loaned Jeffrey the motor. It was removed from the car driven Thursday night by Devin Kline and it was installed in Jeffrey’s car in the morning. “It is a really good motor. I’m pretty excited. Sitting on the pole for the 360 Nationals is definitely a feather in the cap. We’ll just try and get it finished off.”
The five heat winners were Davey Heskin, Phillips, Austin Miller, Jeffrey, and Ian Madsen. The C Main victory went to Jett Carney, with Larson taking the B. Watt’s quick time was 16.422 seconds.
With all of the preliminaries completed, Lynton Jeffrey was the top point getter, edging Aaron Reutzel by three for the pole position. Clint Garner, Terry McCarl, Brian Brown, and Ayrton Gennetten will make up rows two and three for the A Main. Sam Hafertepe and Giovanni Scelzi will be in row four. Other drivers making the cut to the A Main were Christopher Thram, Wayne Johnson, Thomas Kennedy, Cory Eliason, Garrett Williamson, Justin Henderson, Tasker Phillips, Kyle Larson, Blake Hahn, Chase Randall, Matt Juhl, and Kelby Watt.
Hoffman and Fielding Reach the Top in Modified and Pro Stock Points, Respectively; Flick Closing In 410 Sprints; Maskal Still Ahead in Minis
FRANKLIN, PA (August 2, 2022): The big news coming out of Sunday’s event at Tri-City Raceway Park were the changes in the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modified ranks. But the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks also have a new name on the top of the standings. What is more, a battle is brewing for the title in the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars!
Jeremiah Shingledecker, the most successful driver in the 358 Modified division, is at the center of the story. He sold the car that carried him to the 2021 title and that was best in class in the first half of the 2022 season. The 37MD now belongs to rookie Austin Eyler. And, if that name sounds familiar, it is because he is kin to former 410 Sprint Car racer Rob Eyler. Well, Eyler stripped off the “MD” and he now campaigns the car as the 37. So, that left Shingledecker without a ride for the balance of the 2022 season at the track.
But wait, there’s more.
Shingledecker signed in to drive the potent Hoffman Door 00 on Sunday. The owner and driver, Kevin Hoffman, was under the weather, so he asked Shingledecker to take the seat for the night. Shingledecker did the Hoffmans proud, taking the wins in his heat and in the feature event.
Under track rules, the points for Shingledecker’s successes were awarded to the car, and not the driver. So, the Hoffman 00 vaulted into first place in the championship standings, as Kevin was the winner before the track had consecutive cancellations due to weather.
It is anticipated that Kevin Hoffman will return to the seat this weekend, so it will be up to him to keep the winning streak alive. But, if he is unable to race again due to his health, he knows that he will have a capable substitute to fill in for him again.
So, the Hoffman 00 sits at the top of the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group standings, thanks to the assist from Jeremiah Shingledecker. Jimmy Holden, who was second to Shingledecker Sunday evening, is second in the season’s standings by just 13 points, so things are not so settled any more. Shingledecker is still third based on his outstanding performances in his own car before it was sold. Nick Joy, who travels down from New York to race at Tri-City, is just eight points back, so he could easily surpass Shingledecker this week. Lonny Riggs, who had a strong top five last week, is now fifth in the standings and he could move up a notch with another good run.
In the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, Pat Fielding now tops the points after getting his first career win in this division. Fielding has been in the Pro Stock game for a decade, just a few years less than his closest rival has been alive. Teenager Tyler Wyant trails by only ten markers, but his DNF (“did not finish”) on Sunday hurt him in the championship tilt. Josh Seippel, Charlie McMillen, and the Boozel brothers complete the top five.
Older brother Ayden Boozel started the season in the family car, wrenched by their grandfather, Bob Sloss, who was a successful Pro Stock driver in his day. But the younger sibling, Quinten, took his turn behind the wheel of the 44B on Sunday and he brought it home in the top five. Not bad for the first-time racer!
In the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprint Cars, A.J. Flick moved into second behind former champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. More importantly, Flick shaved a couple of points off the lead. He now trails Sodeman by 23. Just one point further back is Jeremy Weaver, who now drives Bob McMillin’s car re-numbered as 35W. Bob Felmlee and Chase Metheney complete the top five in the winged warriors.
Levi Maskal still sits atop the rankings in the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Matt Urey, a recent feature winner, is second. Chad Greeley, D.J. Macrae, and recently engaged Bodey McClintock make up the rest of the top five. Dalton Speer, who regained the winning ways last week, is seventh, behind Dillon Thorne.
The action will start for these racers, and many more, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 8. Pit gates will open at 2 p.m., and spectators can enter the grandstands at 4 p.m.
Regular event ticket pricing will prevail on Sunday evening. Adult admission, for those aged 16 to 62, will be $15. Seniors (ages 62 and up) will be $13. Student tickets will be $10 for those ages 10 to 16. Children under the age of 10, will be free, as usual. The Family Pass (good for two adults of any age and two students) will be $45. Pit Passes will be $30.
If you cannot make it to the track on August 8, Tri-City Raceway Park will be back in action on August 15 with another Sunday Thunder event, which will include the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, and the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks.
Then, on August 21, the speedway will host the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Joining the most powerful Late Models on the planet will be the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks. Please note this schedule change.
The track will close out the month of August with another Sunday Thunder program on August 28.
Get ready for the season-ending spectacular to be held over the Labor Day weekend. The activity will start with a practice session on Friday, September 2, with free grandstand admission. Racing will begin on Saturday, September 3, for the Shawgo Real Estate LLC 410 Sprints, the Donovan & Bauer Auto Group 358 Modifieds, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Pro Stocks, the 4 Your Car Connection Mini Stocks, and the Junior Sprints. All five classes will return for the finale on Sunday, September 4, along with the RUSH Sprint Cars. Camping will be free throughout the weekend, and there will be fireworks and a bonfire Sunday to celebrate the end of the summer.
Further information about Tri-City Raceway Park can be obtained by calling the track office at 724-967-4601, or by e-mailing the office at email@example.com. Or, you can check the web at Tri-CityRacewayPark.com, or the Facebook page at Tri City Raceway Park. Tri-City Raceway Park is located just a few miles north of Franklin, PA, at 3430 State Route 417 in Oakland Township.