KNOXVILLE – Knoxville regular Ryan Giles led wire to wire on Dingus Lounge Qualifying Night one of the 29th Annual MyPlace Hotels Knoxville 360 Nationals presented by Great Southern Bank.
The Grimes, Iowa native’s ninth career win at Knoxville and first with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MavTV earned him $3,000.
Dusty Zomer was the high point earner for the night heading into Saturday’s finale, followed by Aaron Reutzel and Wayne Johnson.
Giles early lead in the 20-lapper came ahead of Thomas Kennedy, Rob Kubli, Johnson and Trey Starks.
Zomer thrust himself into the top five by lap four, but he was overtaken by Reutzel on lap seven. A spin by Lee Grosz eight laps in brought the first caution. Thirteenth running Dominic Scelzi had a right rear tire explode at the same time.
Giles led Kennedy, Kubli, Johnson and Reutzel back to green. Kubli’s restart was a rocky one as Zomer and Johnson went to the outside and inside of him in turn two.
Kubli got over the turn three cushion, came back off of it and had contact with Reutzel, sending him into the wall and ending his night. Calvin Landis would spin on that restart, negating a move from fourth to second by Reutzel.
Johnson claimed second on yet another restart, while Reutzel took third from Kennedy on lap 14.
Giles was back in lapped traffic with three to go, while Reutzel took second from Johnson. Giles was coming for the checkers, but the caution flew one last time for Grosz, setting up a green, white, checker finish.
Giles was able to hold onto the win, ahead of Reutzel, Johnson, Eliason and Kennedy. Justin Henderson, Zomer, Carson McCarl, hard-charger Parker Price-Miller and Sam Hafertepe Jr. rounded out the top ten.
Zomer set quick time over the 42-car field, and Devon Dobie, Kennedy, Mason Daniel, Jack Dover and Henderson won heat races, and Price-Miller claimed the B main.
“I could have done without any of them,” Giles said of the restarts in Victory Lane. “I have to give a big shout out to my wife. She’s six months pregnant with our baby girl, and she was in the hospital this morning. I felt like I abandoned her and had to work all day. She told me to go have fun, so…this one’s for her. I definitely have to thank Gary Isom. This is all his deal.”
“The guys did a great job,” said Reutzel. “We were really good on long runs. I knew unless (Giles) made a big mistake, we wouldn’t be able to get him. We got lucky there with that one caution (lap eight restart). I don’t even know what happened on that deal. There was one big cluster of people and I drove across the track and I guess made contact. It was a racing deal.”
“We had a really good racecar,” said Johnson. “It’s unfortunate that I got by Kennedy on that restart, and the thing started blowing up. We finished this thing on seven cylinders. I was pretty excited just to finish. To take third and be pretty good in points for Saturday night…we have another fresh bullet we can put in. Hopefully, we’ll have all eight cylinders on Saturday.”
A main, 21 Laps, NT: 1. Ryan Giles (1); 2. Aaron Reutzel (5); 3. Wayne Johnson (4); 4. Cory Eliason (9); 5. Thomas Kennedy (3); 6. Justin Henderson (12); 7. Dusty Zomer (8); 8. Carson McCarl (10); 9. Parker Price-Miller (21); 10. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (7); 11. Jeff Swindell (17); 12. Brady Bacon (18); 13. Mason Daniel (14); 14. Travis Rilat (15); 15. Chris Martin (11); 16. Jack Dover (19); 17. Sawyer Phillips (24); 18. Lee Grosz (22); 19. Devon Dobie (13); 20. Brad Comegys (20); 21. Calvin Landis (23); 22. Trey Starks (6); 23. Dominic Scelzi (16); 24. Rob Kubli (2). Lap Leader: Giles 1-21. Hard-charger: Price-Miller.