KNOXVILLE, Iowa – ‘The Greatest Show on Dirt’ heads to ‘The Sprint Car Capital of the World’ this weekend.
Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway will host a doubleheader on Friday and Saturday, June 10-11 as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series comes to town for the annual Brownells Big Guns Bash. It’s two exciting nights at the Marion County Fairgrounds with the local legends pitted against the best of the best as they invade the Black Zook Clay.
Black Zoo Experience
When it comes to the World of Outlaws in Knoxville, three full-time stars stand out above the rest: Donny Schatz, David Gravel and Brad Sweet.
Donny Schatz is eighth on the all-time win list, with 17 of his 27 Knoxville wins with the World of Outlaws, and 10 of those being the Knoxville Nationals. The 10-time Series Champion finished 3rd, 3rd and 2nd on the track last August and will go into a second win of the year this weekend in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 15.
David Gravel has been particularly popular at Knoxville Raceway in recent years, winning half (7 out of 14) starting since August 2019. This weekend, Gravel is going for this third World of Outlaws win of the season and his third Knoxville Raceway win in the Big Game Motorsports No. 2.
Brad Sweet has not won at Knoxville since June 2019, but he has been consistent with 10 top-10 finishes and an average result of 7.7 in 14 starts since then. The Big Cat is going for its second World of Outlaws win of the season and the eighth of its career at Knoxville Raceway this weekend in the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49.
There’s the PA Posse to the east and the Golden State Gang to the west, but at the heart of the country is Team Knoxville – a group of loyal locals committed to weekly action in The Sprint Car Capital of the World. Captaining that contingent against the World of Outlaws is Brian Brown, who is going for his 59th Knoxville Raceway 410 win this weekend in hopes of tying Terry McCarl for third on the track record of all time wins.
Austin McCarl currently tops Knoxville’s season standings in the Country Builders No. 88. He is a six-time 410-winner on the track, including once this year, and looks set to top his career with the best of runner-up in the Series. Austin and younger brother Carson McCarl both try to join their father “T-Mac” as the winner of World of Outlaws.
Other names to look out for this weekend include Justin Henderson (23 Knoxville wins in all), Davey Reskin (reigning circuit champion), Lynton Jeffrey (last week’s winner), Matt Juhl (Outlaw career best of 3rd), Ayrton Gennetten (led World of Outlaws racing last year). Also keep an eye out for Sawyer & Tasker Phillips, Riley Gordon, JJ Hickle, Josh Higday and Chris Martin, among others.
Shoot for six
The two most recent winners in the World of Outlaws competition are also the two winning drivers with the series in 2022. Both Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild have each racked up five wins to date and will head to “The Sprint Car Capital of the World” this weekend. World’ with a chance to win for the sixth time.
Carson Macedo, who topped River Cities on Friday, has already won once at Knoxville in a weekly competition earlier this season. Macedo also brings momentum from last year’s doubleheader in June with the World of Outlaws, a weekend he spent aboard the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 dragged along. Later this year, he will have the chance to become JJR’s third different Knoxville Nationals champion in six runs.
Sheldon Haudenschild has been on a hot streak of late, winning three of four features before finishing his streak with a 13th-place finish in River Cities. Haudenschild has yet to beat the World of Outlaws in Knoxville, but he did take his first track win at a local show last year. His sire, Jac Haudenschild, was a nine-time series winner at the Marion County Fairgrounds, and Sheldon gets his next shot at NOS Energy Drink No. 17.
Aaron Reutzel and Ridge & Sons Racing made history at Knoxville Raceway last week by winning the first-ever 410 Winged Sprint Car race with a Toyota Development Racing engine under the hood of their Mobil 1 No. 8. Reutzel already claimed Toyota’s best finish with the World of Outlaws earlier this year when he took the TRD machine to third place in Volusia, Fla., in the season opener.
A six-time winner in both World of Outlaws competition and Knoxville Raceway action (4 with 410, 2 with 360), Reutzel will be eyeing his seventh score with the series and on the track this weekend.
on the gas
In his 25th feature start with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series last Friday, 18-year-old Noah Gass achieved his first career top-10 finish. The moment of cheer for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender was heightened as he also earned his first KSE Hard Charger Award thanks to the 17th to 10th bid at River Cities.
It’s been a huge learning curve for the youngster and his crew of Cody Cordell & Robby McQuinn, but they handle the punches well. The teen is determined to give it all and begins to prove that he will be someone to watch closely as he moves forward in the months and years to come.
On the hunt for the first
Several full-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series stars will be chasing their first 410 wins this weekend at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway during Brownell’s Big Guns Bash.
Spencer Bayston has finished second with the All Star Circuit of Champions and also finished fifth with the World of Outlaws at the track in 2020. Bayston is looking for his second win of the season in the CJB Motorsports No. 5.
James McFadden is a two-time ASCS National Tour winner at Knoxville with a 360 under the hood, but he has yet to tame the black book clay with a 410. The Roth Motorsports No. 83 pilot has a chance to change that this weekend and score the 99th World of Outlaws win for car owner Dennis Roth in the Hall of Fame.
Jacob Allen once started on the pole of a Hard Knox night at the Knoxville Nationals, but hasn’t streamlined quite as well in the results department with a career-best 12th through 16th half-mile start. Already a two-time World of Outlaws winner in 2022, he hopes to make that first Knoxville top-10 this weekend.
In his most recent appearance, Brock Zearfoss had his best career in Knoxville, finishing fourth on last year’s Hard Knox program. The driver of the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill No. 3Z is fresh off its fifth top-10 of the season in River Cities last week.
Every round is important
In preparation for the 61st NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores, a driver and team can never get enough laps at Knoxville Raceway. Local teams have been dialing in their setups all season as the invaders take every chance they get to hit the Black Zook Clay and find the speed they need.
With the exception of last year’s champion Kyle Larson (who didn’t race in June), the last three Knoxville Nationals winners before him (Gravel ’19, Sweet ’18, Schatz ’17) won early contenders in the World of Outlaws . summer tune-up and finished in the top five.