KNOXVILLE – Terry McCarl won his 59th career main event in the 410 class at the Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night. It was worth $4,000 to the Altoona, Iowa driver aboard the Destiny Motorsports No. 4 machine. It puts the veteran who is in third place on the all-time wins list here just one victory behind the 60 that Doug Wolfgang notched.
Ryan Giles topped a 48-car 360 sprint car field to earn $3,000. Matthew Stelzer made it three for three in wins this season with the Pro Sprint Series presented by Pace Performance.
McCarl started outside row one and outdueled pole-sitter Brooke Tatnell to the stripe completing lap one. Kerry Madsen had already moved up to third from outside row six.
Madsen continued his pursuit by shooting by Tatnell for second on the second lap. Five laps in, quick timer Trey Starks slowed his mount in turn four to bring the only caution of the event.
The restart saw McCarl leading Madsen, Tatnell, Austin McCarl and Wayne Johnson back to green. Madsen and Tatnell exchanged second, but Madsen took the spot for good, while Justin Henderson moved into the top five. Terry McCarl entered lapped traffic by lap ten.
While the veteran leader maneuvered through traffic, Davey Heskin was using the bottom to move into the top five himself. A pair of near disasters in lapped traffic late almost ended McCarl’s run, but he escaped and drove to his first win here since 2017. Madsen maintained second, ahead of Tatnell, Austin McCarl and Heskin.
Henderson, Matt Juhl, Johnson, Tasker Phillips and hard-charger Mark Dobmeier, who overcame a heat mishap, completed the top ten. Mike Reinke, Phillips and Johnson won heat races.
“We’ve been struggling really, even last year,” said McCarl in Victory Lane. “We were trying things and once I was injured, I didn’t think we had anything to lose. Steve (Fitzpatrick) and Doug (Rankin) liked to experiment and sometimes it hurt us and sometimes it helped us. It’s been a while since I had a car like that where I could change directions. When Kerry’s behind us, you certainly never let up. He’s such a great driver with such a great team. It’s (Destiny Motorsports) first 410 win at Knoxville, and that means a lot to me.”
Forty-eight 360’s packed the pits as the Nebraska 360 Sprints and the Midwest Power Series tangled with the regulars for the $3,000 payday.
Coming in, Brooke Tatnell had a shot at another $3,000 bonus for winning Friday’s event at Jackson Motorplex in Minnesota, and Lee Grosz had a $1,500 bonus if he finished in the top two. Tatnell’s chance was over after not qualifying for the main event through the B, while Grosz still had his shot.
Tasker Phillips shot out from his pole position to lead early over Thomas Kennedy and Carson McCarl. Kennedy was good on the high side and overtook the low riding Phillips for the point on lap three. Ryan Giles had moved into fourth, passing Grosz in the early going.
The leaders hit lapped traffic by the seventh circuit. Ryan Leavitt spun on the inside of turn four eight laps in, bringing the first caution of the race. Kennedy led Phillips, McCarl, Giles and Grosz back to green. Two laps later, Leavitt would flip in turn two, ending his night. He walked away.
Kennedy led the field back to green, while Giles made his way into third on the restart. He overtook Phillips for second with four laps to go before Christian Bowman spun, bringing about a four lap dash to the checkers. Giles used the restart to take the lead from Kennedy and march to his eighth win here.
Giles big win came ahead of Kennedy, Phillips, McCarl and Matt Juhl. Grosz, Terry McCarl, Jon Agan, Clint Garner and Calvin Landis rounded out the top ten.
Giles and Terry McCarl posted quick times in their respective groups, while Kennedy, Agan, Ryan Bowers and Garner were heat race winners.
Phillips earned his pole position with a Dash win, while feature hard-charger Travis Rilat and Ayrton Gennetten won B mains.
“I saw how brown and crumby it was out there, and I thought the middle looked juiced up,” said Giles of his winning pass. “This car worked so well around the bottom here. I could just ‘bonsai’ it, and then come up, float through and catch that brown. It worked out for us. (The track) is perfect. They can make it like this every week.”
Matthew Stelzer won his third straight Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance feature this year. The Nebraska native led from start to finish in the 15-lapper. By lap six, Stelzer had a straightaway lead, and by lap 11, his lead was almost a half lap.
Stelzer had built an almost eight-second lead when Brandon Worthington spun with a lap to go. The green, white, checker finish saw Chris Walraven on Stelzer’s bumper, but it was Chase Young who made the charge from third and threatened the leader.
Stelzer admitted afterwards that his fuel was low, but Young’s charge fell just short, and he ended second, followed by Walraven, Evan Epperson and Jeff Wilke.
Mike Ayers, Devin Wignall, Worthington, Matt Johnson and Mike Mayberry completed the top ten. Young set quick time, while Mike Johnston and Worthington won the heats.
“We just ran out of fuel,” said Stelzer in Victory Lane. “At the end of the day, I guess we’re up here and we made weight. I was trying to splash enough around going down the straightaway and let it pick up in the tank. We are lucky to be here tonight. My guys did a great job. I feel like we’ve lost enough here, and we finally got one.”
Saturday, June 8 will be Hy-Vee Night at the track.
All three sprint car classes will be back in action. Hy-Vee will hold a tailgate party from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
There will be FREE parking on the grounds for anyone attending the races showing a $25 receipt from Hy-Vee.