KNOXVILLE– Brian Brown notched his 47th career win at the Knoxville Raceway Saturday night. It was good timing, considering the World of Outlaws will be in town next weekend. The Grain Valley, Missouri driver bested Matt Juhl early in the non-stop event, and pulled away to the $4,000 win in the Brian Brown Racing 21.
Carson McCarl held off Clint Garner in a late restart to record his first ever 360 win, and his first since his 305 championship season in 2011 at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World.”
Matthew Stelzer had a serious challenge from Mike Ayers but persevered to win his fourth straight main event with the Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance.
Matt Juhl shot out from his starting spot outside row one to lead early in the 20-lap 410 feature. Quickly, Brown, who started fourth, was all over the leader. On lap three, he slid in front of Juhl in turn three and took the point for good.
Lynton Jeffrey was also on the move, and bested Juhl for second on lap five. Terry McCarl was moving forward as well, and claimed fourth from Justin Henderson on the seventh circuit. The leaders entered lapped traffic on lap eight, and by the halfway point, Brown’s lead over Jeffrey was a straightaway.
Though the leader had checked out, the battle for second between Jeffrey, Juhl and McCarl was a showstopper lasting a good ten laps.
McCarl had the momentum late, grabbing third with two to go, and second coming for the white flag. Austin McCarl entered the fray as well, claiming fourth on the last lap.
Brown was 5.7 seconds out front at the checkers, ahead of Terry McCarl, Jeffrey, Austin McCarl and Juhl. Henderson, Trey Starks, Mason Daniel, Sammy Swindell and Brooke Tatnell rounded out the top ten.
Brown set quick time and won his heat for a clean sweep. Juhl and Austin McCarl were the other heat winners.
“Our car is just so good,” said Brown in Victory Lane. “It’s just not much fun running that bottom. But you’re not going to win the bigger races this summer just blasting around the top. I made a conscious effort to watch video and run the bottom when I can. We’re glad to be back here on a Saturday night. This is home. You guys are my fans. We’re not going to put to much pressure on ourselves (next weekend). If we get our car good like it is and I drive smart, we can beat anybody in the country. We just have to do our best. We’re not going to overthink it.”
The 27-car 18-lap 360 feature was a good one. Matt Moro held a four-thousandths of a second lead over Carson McCarl at the outset, but that was negated by a Jayce Jenkins spin.
The restart saw Moro again take the point ahead of McCarl, Thomas Kennedy, Clint Garner and Jamie Ball. Garner and Kennedy battled for the show position, with Garner gaining it on lap five.
Moro hit lapped traffic on lap six, and McCarl closed. When Moro was trapped behind a lapper on the low side of three, McCarl pounced to gain the lead on lap nine. Garner followed him into second a circuit later. Jenkins tipped over with eight laps to go. He walked away.
McCarl went back to green ahead of the veteran Garner, Moro, Kennedy and Ball. Using the low line while Garner went high, McCarl was able to keep his advantage to the checkers. Garner had his hands busy with Moro, who gained the second spot back briefly.
McCarl’s first career 360 win, came ahead of Garner, Moro, and Ryan Grimes, who passed Kennedy with two to go. Ball, Jon Agan, Joe Beaver, Calvin Landis and McKenna Haase completed the top ten. Moro nailed down quick time, while Cody Wehrle, Garner and Ball won heats.
“I knew the bottom was good,” said McCarl in Victory Lane. “Matt got me on the start. The outside wasn’t the place to be. I just got in line and was staying patient with traffic. You had to pick your lines right. I’m not usually a bottom runner. I like it up top, so this is a little more special for me! I have Gerald and Johnn Cressman to thank. This is a 12-year-old Ford in this thing and it’s ripping good. There was a time in January when I didn’t think we’d get this deal done. I’m just really thankful.”
Matthew Stelzer had the pole position in the Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance 15-lapper, and it looked inevitable that he would make it four wins in a row. As he led Mike Ayers, Mike Johnston, Chris Walraven and Russ Hall early, there seemed little doubt that would be ture.
Walraven gained third, and Hall followed him into fourth by lap five. Stelzer entered lapped traffic on the seventh circuit, while Hall continued his good run on the bottom, claiming third from Walraven on lap 11.
Suddenly, Ayers was reeling in the leader as his car was working better on the bottom. He passed Stelzer to lead lap 13, but the veteran battled back by to lead the white flag lap and go on for the win. Ayers settled for second, ahead of Hall, Walraven and Johnston. Brandon Worthington, Jeff Wilke, Evan Epperson, Devin Wignall and Chase Young rounded out the top ten. Walraven set quick time, and Worthington and Epperson were heat winners.
“I didn’t know how big of a lead we had,” said Stelzer in Victory Lane. “I didn’t know how hard to push it. At the end of the day, Mike should have had this. It was his race. We just got lucky. He outdrove me tonight. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. The guys gave me a good car tonight. It was ‘stylin’ and profilin’.’”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series hits the Knoxville Raceway this weekend for the Brownell’s Big Guns Bash.
On Friday night, June 14, the Pro Sprints Presented by Pace Performance will join the 410 action, while the 360 sprint cars will be running with the WoO on Saturday, June 15.
A main, 20 Laps, 6:07.8: 1. Brian Brown (4); 2. Terry McCarl (5); 3. Lynton Jeffrey (3); 4. Austin McCarl (7); 5. Matt Juhl (2); 6. Justin Henderson (1); 7. Trey Starks (6); 8. Mason Daniel (8); 9. Sammy Swindell (11); 10. Brooke Tatnell (9); 11. Craig Dollansky (12); 12. Davey Heskin (17); 13. Chris Martin (10); 14. Tasker Phillips (14); 15. Sawyer Phillips (13); 16. Josh Baughman (16); 17. Josh Schneiderman (15); 18. Bobby Mincer (19); 19. Joe Simbro (20); 20. RJ Johnson (18) DNS – AJ Moeller, Chase Wanner. Lap Leaders: Juhl 1-2, Brown 3-20. Hard-charger: Heskin.
A main, 18 Laps, NT: 1. Carson McCarl (2); 2. Clint Garner (5); 3. Matt Moro (1); 4. Ryan Giles (4); 5. Thomas Kennedy (3); 6. Jamie Ball (6); 7. Jon Agan (9); 8. Joe Beaver (7); 9. Calvin Landis (8); 10. McKenna Haase (15); 11. Christian Bowman (11); 12. Ryan Leavitt (21); 13. Kelby Watt (14); 14. Rob Kubli (18); 15. Josh Higday (12); 16. Brad Comegys (13); 17. Eric Bridger (16); 18. Nathan Mills (17); 19. Casey Greubel (22); 20. John Anderson (25); 21. Dustin Adams (23); 22. Cody Wehrle (10); 23. Richard Nelson (27); 24. Jayce Jenkins (19); 25. Ben Woods (24); 26. Alan Zoutte (20); 27. Rob Weuve (26) DNS – Tom Lenz. Lap Leaders: Moro 1-8, C. McCarl 9-18. Hard-charger: Leavitt.
A main, 15 Laps, 4:47.8: 1. Matthew Stelzer (1); 2. Mike Ayers (2); 3. Russ Hall (6); 4. Chris Walraven (3); 5. Mike Johnston (4); 6. Brandon Worthington (7); 7. Jeff Wilke (5); 8. Evan Epperson (8); 9. Devin Wignall (10); 10. Chase Young (9); 11. Mike Mayberry (11); 12. Tyler Barrick (13); 13. Matt Johnson (12) DNS – TJ Massick. Lap Leaders: Stelzer 1-12, Ayers 13, Stelzer 14-15. Hard-charger: Hall.