KNOXVILLE – Brady Bacon dominated the Brandt Professional Agriculture Corn Belt Nationals Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native led all 30 laps to take home the top prize of $20,000 aboard the Hoffman Racing #69.
Parker Price-Miller led wire to wire in a competitive main event in the winged 410 class, taking his first career win here. It was worth $4,000 aboard the Indy Race Parts No. 71P.
Bacon, who won the preliminary event Friday night, led the 24-car USAC National Sprint Car/POWRi WAR field from the outset ahead of CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Tyler Courtney. Kevin Thomas Jr. entered the top five on lap four, but was under pressure from Chase Stockon in a good battle for fifth.
By lap ten, Bacon opened up an advantage of 4.5 seconds running the cushion, and entered lapped traffic on lap 14. With ten to go, his lead had eclipsed seven seconds, and his margin of victory was 8.286 seconds at the checkers.
Behind him, good battles from positions two through six had the fans’ attention. Courtney shot by both Grant and Leary to climb to second with nine to go.
Leary went back by for the spot a lap later, and Courtney returned the favor again on lap 23. When Courtney jumped the cushion with two to go, Leary grabbed the runner-up spot for good. Courtney, Thomas and Chris Windom followed. Grant, Jason McDougal, Chase Stockon, Ryan Bernal and Carson Short rounded out the top ten.
It was Bacon’s third career win here under the USAC sanction. Grant and Thomas set quick time in their respective groups.
Qualifier winners included Grant, Stockon, Courtney and Bacon. Chris Morgan won the C main, and Dave Darland won the B. Wesley Smith took a wild ride in the third heat race, but would return to start the main event.
“I was like ‘Doug (Clark), Doug, throw the white, let’s go, I’m done with this!” said an excited Bacon in Victory Lane. “I was having some trouble with those lapped cars, and it was getting treacherous. Obviously, you don’t know how good you are. The competition with USAC is so good. We picked up some momentum in Eastern Storm and we carried it on here. My guys have been working hard. It’s obviously awesome to win here at Knoxville. A big check makes it a lot better! Hopefully, we can come back and do this again.”
“The #19AZ was pretty fast all weekend,” said Leary. “Last night, we had a lifter that got stuck, and had the pushrod run out. We were running on seven cylinders all night. Tonight, the racetrack kind of fooled us. We got too tight. There was a soft spot coming off four, and coming off two. It about bit me, and let Tyler catch up. It bit him too, and let me get back to second. A $12,000 payday is a good night for us.”
“We were way too tight,” said Courtney. “Our hat’s off to Brady. He got two big wins this weekend. It was a great event, and hopefully, we can come back next year. Hopefully, we can come back and get a couple more spots on the podium. We’ll go on to the next race and go from there.”
The 20-lap 410 sprint car feature went non-stop as well. Parker Price-Miller shot out from the pole position to lead early over Justin Henderson and Lynton Jeffrey.
Price-Miller’s Indy Race Parts teammate Gio Scelzi entered the top five early on. He claimed fourth on lap four from Davey Heskin before the leaders entered lapped traffic on the sixth circuit.
Jeffrey capitalized on a fast car, shooting by Henderson for second on lap six. Jeffrey gained on the leader and challenged at times in the second half of the event. Scelzi was gaining ground as well, getting by Henderson for third with five to go.
Price-Miller’s mount worked well all over the track, as he maneuvered through traffic, holding off Jeffrey for his first career win.
Scelzi joined his teammate on the podium in third, followed by Heskin and Austin McCarl.
Henderson, Trey Starks, Matt Juhl, Brooke Tatnell and Terry McCarl completed the top ten.
“My car was really good wherever I went,” said Price-Miller afterwards. “My motor stumbled on the start, and Justin got a good start. I could hit the bottom those first few laps, and I kept slipping the left rear, and I kept pulling my wing back to make up for it. I just felt like I was wasting too much time with tire spin. I moved up and pounded the cushion. I saw Lynton a few times and I was looking at the board. I wanted to win this one so bad. It’s been a tough year. To get our first win here at Knoxville…it’s a pleasure. I’m so excited…I can’t imagine what it feels like to win here in August.”
On Saturday, July 13, Van Wall Equipment Night will showcase all three sprint car classes and dirt trucks, and include the make-up 360 feature from June 22.
Corn Belt Nationals
A main, 30 Laps, 11:08.8: 1. Brady Bacon (2); 2. CJ Leary (4); 3. Tyler Courtney (6); 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (5); 5. Chris Windom (8); 6. Justin Grant (1); 7. Jason McDougal (7); 8. Chase Stockon (3); 9. Ryan Bernal (12); 10. Carson Short (11); 11. Matt Westfall (9); 12. Korey Weyant (23); 13. Wyatt Burks (10); 14. Josh Hodges (20); 15. Nick Bilbee (14); 16. Dave Darland (19); 17. Mario Clouser (16); 18. Steve Irwin (24); 19. Kory Schudy (22); 20. Anthony Nicholson (21); 21. Riley Kreisel (13); 22. Chad Boespflug (15); 23. Tim Buckwalter (18); 24. Wesley Smith (17). Lap Leader: Bacon 1-30. Hard-charger: Weyant.
A main, 20 Laps, 6:09.1: 1. Parker Price-Miller (1); 2. Lynton Jeffrey (3); 3. Gio Scelzi (6); 4. Davey Heskin (4); 5. Austin McCarl (5); 6. Justin Henderson (2); 7. Trey Starks (10); 8. Matt Juhl (12); 9. Brooke Tatnell (8); 10. Terry McCarl (9); 11. Carson McCarl (7); 12. Tasker Phillips (14); 13. Wayne Johnson (11); 14. Sawyer Phillips (17); 15. Jeff Swindell (20); 16. Jamie Ball (15); 17. Chris Martin (13); 18. Cody Ledger (19); 19. Matt Moro (21); 20. Bob Weuve (22); 21. Joe Simbro (23); 22. Bobby Mincer (16) DNS – AJ Moeller. Lap Leader: Price-Miller 1-20. Hard-charger: J. Swindell.