The 2019 racing season at the Knoxville Raceway was another tremendous year filled with excitement from the drop of the green flag in April to the final checkered flag in September.
It marked the 66th consecutive season of weekly racing at the Knoxville Raceway at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
The 2019 season was the 59th season for the Knoxville Nationals, which started back in 1961.
Listed below are the top 28 highlights associated with racing at the track,
The list was compiled by Knoxville Journal-Express Sports Editor Perry Bell.
The list is subject to debate, but here is what we have for 2019, the Race Year in Review.
• At No. 1 is the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals. This highlight is brought to you by Mr. C’s Restaurant.
David Gravel dominated in winning the 59th Annual Knoxville Nationals title and $150,000 first place prize money.
The No. 41 car driven by Gravel is owned by Jason Johnson Racing.
Logan Schuchart ran second in the feature coming from the 22nd starting spot to the runner-up finish. Settling for third place was Daryn Pittman.
Prelim wins at the Nationals were gained by Gravel and Trey Starks.
Earning the Friday “Hard Knox,” win was Kerry Madsen.
• At No. 2 is Doug Clark. This highlight is brought to you by Three Seasons Lawn Care.
Flagman Doug Clark started flagging races in 1979.
His full-tine start at Knoxville came in 1983 after track promotor Ralph Capitani asked him if he wanted to flag at Knoxville.
After 37 years on the flag stand at Knoxville, Clark is calling it a career.
He’s professional style of working the races has earned him a spot in three Hall of Fames.
Clark makes his home in Sioux Falls, S.D.
• At No. 3 are the 360 Knoxville Nationals. This highlight is brought to you by Hube’s Garage.
Australian pilot James McFadden claimed the 360 Knoville Nationals crown.
The win was worth $15,000. McFadden had to hold off Brian Brown, who ran second.
The 360 prelim night wins were collected by Ryan Giles and McFadden.
• At No. 4 is Gio Scelzi. This highlight is brought to you by Motor Inn.
Scelzi became the youngest sprint car driver to win a 410 feature at Knoxville.
The $5,000 win at the All-Star show came with Scelzi at 17 years and 8 months.
• At No. 5 are the Corn Belt Nationals. This highlight is brought to you by Fareway.
The inagural Corn Belt Nationals two-day non-wing show was claimed by Brady Bacon.
Bacon picked up the $20,000 USAC win by leading all 30 laps.
Brady Bacon also won the preliminary night feature for the Corn Belt Nationals.
• At No. 6 are the Late Model Nationals. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Farm & Home.
Jimmy Owens repeated his 2018 performance at the Knoxville Late Model Nationals to win for the second year in a row.
The win was worth $40,000 for the 100-lap event. Brandon Sheppard ran second and Hudson O’Neal was third in the feature.
• At No. 7 NOS Energy Drink signed on to be the title sponsor of the 4-day Knoxville Nationals.. This highlight is brought to you by Bertrand Funeral Homes & Monuments.
“NOS Energy continues to recognize that dirt track racing is a dynamic marketing platform and its fans are key consumers who appreciate the brand,” said Kendra Jacobs, Director of Marketing for Knoxville Raceway.
• At No. 8 is 410 Sprint Champion Brian Brown. This highlight is brought to you by Marion County Auto Body.
Brown wasn’t a full-time competitor at the track, but some timely rainouts kept him in contention for the point title.
Brown won the 410-point championship by close to 250 points over runner-up Terry McCarl.
He had five wins during the year. It was his third 410 championship at Knoxville.
• At No. 9 is 360 Sprint Champion Carson McCarl. This highlight is brought to you by Ulrich Meat and Pella Motors.
The 2019 season was the year Carson McCarl picked up his first Knoxville 360 feature win at the track.
McCarl went on to win the 360 season track championshikp with Ryan Giles running second in points and Clint Garner third.
• At No. 10 is Pro Series Champion Matthew Stelzer. This highlight is brought to you by the Coffee Connection.
The Pro Series class was previously known as the 305 sprint class. The name change took place in 2019.
It was Stelzer’s second track championship.
• At No. 11 is a new title sponsor for the 360 Nationals. This highlight is brought to you by Winfield Funeral Home.
My Place Hotels signed on to be the title sponsor for the 360 Knoxville Nationals, which leads into the 410 Nationals.
• At No. 12 is the “Salute to AJ Foyt.” exhibit at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. This highlight is brought to you by Ramaeker Screen Printing.
A total of nine cars were on display at the museum to honor AJ Foyt, Jr., who was a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
• At No. 13 is Mr. Sprint Car. This highlight is brought to you by Homestead Assisted Living.
Not only did James McFadden win the 360 My Place Hotels title, he also claimed the Mr. Sprint Car Award for earning the most points in a week filled with racing in Knoxville and Oskaloosa.
Aaron Reutzel was second in points.
• At No. 14 is “Salute to Champion,” Greg Hodnett. This highlight is brought to you by Marion County Bank.
It was announced that in 2020 Greg Hodnett’s cars will be on display for the 10th and final “Salute to Champions,” at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
Hodnett collected over 250 feature wins in his illustrious racing career.
• At No. 15 Opening Night. This highlight is brought to you by Summit Realty.
The 66th season of weekly racing opened at the Knoxville Raceway back in April.
Opening night win in the 410 Class was Brian Brown.
• At No. 16 World of Outlaw June show. This highlight is brought to you by State Farm, Jay Olson Insurance.
Brad Sweet was the “Big Gun” at the Big Gun shootout in Knoxville.
Sweet aboard his No. 49 Kasey Kahne owned sprinter, picked up $10,000 for the win. The event was delayed two hours by weather.
• At No. 17 the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductions. This highlight is brought to you by Hy-Vee.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame announced the names of its eight inductees for 2019. Those that were inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 2, include drivers Richard Griffin, Jason Johnson and Stevie Smith.
Owners-Mechanics-Builders-Manufacturers-Car Builders includes Mose Andy “M.A.” Brown and C.K. Spurlock Jr.
Promoters-Officials-Media Members-Event/Series Sponsors includes Thomas J. Schmeh and Greg Stephens.
Pre-1945 includes Wild” Bill Endicott.
• At No. 18 the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame Inductions. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Hospital & Clinics.
The 2019 inductees were Perry Bell, Doug Brown, Jake Peters and Gary “Wally” Price.
It was the 41st induction class at the track and brought membership into the hall of fame to 202.
• At No. 19 is Terry McCarl. This highlight is brought to you by PPI.
In June Terry McCarl picked up his 59th career 410 win at the track.
That brought McCarl to within one of Doug Wolfang, who is number two on the all-time list with 60 410 wins.
• At No. 20 is Heritage Award Winner Perry Bell. This highlight is brought to you by Medicap.
The prestigious Heritage Award is named after former Knoxville Raceway Director Ralph Capitani.
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director Bob Baker presented the award to Perry Bell, for his work in covering the races at the track for the past 39 years.
Bell is the sports editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express and Pella Chronicle newspapers.
• At No. 21 is Capitani Classic Winner David Gravel. This highlight is brought to you by Gibson Jewelry.
Gravel picked up $7,500 for winning the Capitani Classic leading into the 410 Nationals.
The event was 25 laps and there were 77 cars entered. Brian Brown ran second in the Classic with Gio Scelzi in third.
• At No. 22 is Alan DeHaai. This highlight is brought to you by Ulrich Motors.
DeHaai was recognized as the Knoxville Raceway Fan of the Year in 2019 for his work with the 360 Booster Club.
• At No. 23 the Knoxville Raceway Banquet. This highlight is brought to you by Iowa Realty.
A total of 650 people attended the 2019 Knoxville Raceway Banquet in Altoona.
In addition to the many awards and honors passed out a total of over $250,000 in awards and contingencies were distributed.
• At No. 24 the Knoxville Nationals Queen. This highlight is brought to you by Knoxville Raceway.
Sydney Nivens was crowned the 2019 NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals Queen in a ceremony held at the Marion County Fairgrounds Tuesday, August 6.
Nivens, is from Jefferson City, Mo.
A total of 12 contestants were in the competition in hopes of becoming the queen.
• At No. 25 Matthew Stelzer. This highlight is brought to you by Two Rivers Coop.
In July Stelzer became the all-time leading feature winner in the Pro Series Class at Knoxville when he claimed his 13th win of his career.
• At No. 26 Lance Dewease. This highlight is brought to you by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum.
A flurry of activity on the final day made the race for the Priority Aviation $20,000 Sponsorship come down to the wire.
In the end, Lance Dewease of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania brought in the most donations towards the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and the construction of the Bryan Clauson Suite Tower. For his efforts he was awarded with a check for $20,000 from Richard and Jennifer Marshall and Priority Aviation.
The contest brought in over $60,000.
• At No. 27 the torch red Corvette. This highlight is brought to you by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum.
Josh Roberts of Union City, Indiana was the lucky grand prize winner of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum’s 2019 Torch Red ZO6 Corvette sweepstakes.
• At No. 28 Season Championship Night. This highlight is brought to you by Dairy Queen.
On the final night in 2019, Gio Scelzi picked up win number two of his young career in the 410 ranks while Carson McCarl and Jamie Ball won the twin 360 main events.