Kyle Larson won his second Knoxville Nationals Saturday (Paul Arch Photo) (Video Highlights from DirtVision.com)
Larson Second to Lead All 50 Laps
by Bill Wright
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 12, 2023) – Kyle Larson reigned supreme on Saturday night as he captured his second NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals Presented by Casey’s in three years. The Elk Grove, California native joined Donny Schatz (2015) as the only two drivers to lead wire to wire since the “Granddaddy of Them All” went to 50 laps in distance. Larson earned $185,000 for his win aboard the Paul Silva #57. It was his tenth career win at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World.”
Larson, who earned the pole on his Thursday qualifying night, shot out to a big lead over Schatz, Rico Abreu, Carson Macedo and Kerry Madsen. Larson built a 3.7 second lead by the fifth lap, and was already in traffic on lap seven. Abreu moved by Schatz for second on lap 14, as Logan Schuchart entered the top five.
Chase Randall had a top ten run stopped with a flat right rear tire on lap 15. At the same time, Abreu’s right rear was going flat, as he had to surrender the runner-up spot. Larson shot back out to a lead, as Madsen jumped from sixth to fourth on the restart, as he and Schuchart battled back and forth. Gio Scelzi and David Gravel waged their own duel for the sixth spot as Larson re-entered traffic on lap 22, before a mandatory red flag at the halfway point. Larson led Schatz, Macedo, Schuchart and Madsen to begin the second half.
Schuchart quickly moved into third, while Scelzi entered the top five. Schuchart put a slider on Schatz in turn four for second on lap 27. That’s the point, Gravel continued his charge from row eleven, dueling and winning a battle with Macedo for the fourth spot. With ten laps to go, Schuchart’s runner-up bid ended in a puff of smoke, bringing out the last caution.
The ten lap dash saw Larson ahead of Schatz, Gravel, Scelzi and Macedo. Gravel’s slider in turn four on Schatz earned him second with eight to go, and Scelzi performed the same type of move on Schatz for third. Schatz rebounded late in a three-wide battle for third, and Scelzi finished fourth. Macedo was fifth, followed by Brad Sweet, Abreu, Buddy Kofoid, Madsen and Sheldon Haudenschild.
Justin Peck won the 22-lap B main, Lynton Jeffrey claimed the 15-lap C main, Lachlan McHugh won the D main and Brooke Tatnell took the E main. A series of scary crashes plagued the night. Cody Ihlen crashed hard down the frontstretch. He was taken in for observation. Matt Covington did the same in the D main and was also taken in to be examined. James McFadden led the B main when his left rear tire blew, sending him into the wall and upside down. He was uninjured, as was Tasker Phillips, who also had a left rear go down while running tenth and flipped.
Chase Randall was the JETCO Rookie of the Nationals ($1,000), and Anthony Macri was the Beaver Drill & Tool “Jesse Hockett Mr. Sprint Car,” earning him $6,000.
In preliminary festivities, Sheldon Haudenschild and the Marshall-Stenhouse #17 team earned the DGRD Best Appearing Car of the Nationals ($1500). Brandon Wimmer and the DGRD #7TW Team was second ($750) and Cory Eliason was third ($400). Brandon Wimmer and the Dennis Gainey #7TW team won the Avanti Windows and Doors Best Dressed Crew Award ($500). The Jason Johnson Racing #41 team was second ($250), followed by the DGRD #6B team ($150). The Knapp Family Best Appearing Helmet went to Carson McCarl ($500). Anthony Macri was second ($300) and Sheldon Haudenschild third ($200). Kyle Larson received $2000 as the SprintCarUnlimited.com Pole Award Winner.
“To win another Knoxville Nationals feels amazing,” said Larson in Victory Lane. “When you have guys like Donny, Rico and Gravel coming from the back breathing down your neck, it’s definitely nerve-wracking. I feel like I ran about as good a race as I could. I kept my eyes open for crumbs in the middle. It started latching a little rubber there with 15 or 17 to go. It was helping me on entry. It all just worked out. This is my favorite week of the year. I look forward to this event all year long. It’s all I think about all week. I’m glad we could get this black and blue car to victory lane for (Paul Silva). He’s the greatest at what he does.”
“I want to be a two-time winner of the Knoxville Nationals so bad,” said Gravel. “Last year I gave one away, tonight I just needed a couple more laps. We just had a really good car. The track has been really consistent. They till the top, and it’s really fast around the top. I was able to get going early, and then I had a couple of bad laps about ten laps in. I lost a couple spots, then I got to the top and knew that’s where I needed to be the rest of the race. I finally got by Gio, and was able to slide Carson, then I got a run on Donny. If I could have cleared them earlier and got going, we would have been good.”
“We were kind of hanging there before (the break),” said Schatz. “We could get to the bottom pretty good, and I thought we’d have a chance on one of the restarts on the top and kept pace with him. I was running it for all it was worth, but it wasn’t enough. The racetrack was definitely different than the other night. We just didn’t have enough changes with it. All we did was change tires on the red, and try to make a few adjustments to get better. We just got worse. I couldn’t hold the left rear up the rest of the race. I was kind of hanging on. We raced as hard as we could.”
Join us Saturday, August 26 for McKay Insurance Season Championship Night! The 410, 360 and Pro Classes are in action. The DTRA Dirt Trucks will also be on the card. For more information on the Knoxville Raceway, visit us online at www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com!
62nd NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals Presented by Casey’s Results
E main (started), 10 Laps, NT: 1. 16, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (1); 2. 44P, Skylar Prochaska, Lakefield, MN (3); 3. 4J, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL (8); 4. Austin Bishop, Elverson, PA (2); 5. 45, Rusty Hickman, Bendigo, VIC, Aust. (9); 6. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell City, IA (6); 7. 1a, Chase Dietz, York, PA (5); 8. 2KK, Kevin Ingle, Huron, SD (7); 9. 65, Jordan Goldesberry, Springfield, IL (15) / 10. 15JR, Cole Mincer, Burlington, IA (12); 11. 121, RJ Johnson, Tampa, FL (10); 12. 9H, Landon Hansen, Newton, IA (11); 13. 4K2W, Matt Wasmund, Jackson, MN (14); 14. 6, Bill Rose, Plainfield, IN (16); 15. 78, Bill Wagner, Reeder, ND (18); 16. 6x, Frank Rodgers III, Lucas, IA (13); 17. G5, Gage Pulkrabek, East Grand Forks, MN (17); 18. 105, Cody Ihlen, Pipestone, MN (4) DNS – w19, Trent Pigdon, Cardup, WA, Aust.; 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA; 17AU, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust.; 37, Ayden Gatewood, Caruthersville, MO; 56, Joe Simbro, Pleasantville, IA; 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX; 5x, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK; 18R, Ryan Roberts, Aurora, NE.
D main (started), 13 Laps, NT: 1. 25, Lachlan McHugh, Gold Coast, QLD, Aust. (2); 2. 35, Zach Hampton, Plainfield, IN (7); 3. 24H, Kade Higday, Pleasant Hill, IA (4); 4. 13JT, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, ND (6); 5. 70, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN (9) / 6. 10V, Cap Henry, Bellevue, OH (8); 7. 21T, Cole Macedo, Lemoore, CA (11); 8. 101, Kalib Henry, Sacramento, CA (10); 9. Brooke Tatnell (16); 10. 1m, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE (12); 11. Rusty Hickman (20); 12. 17x, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (15); 13. Kevin Thomas Jr. (18); 14. Skylar Prochaska (17); 15. 55T, McKenna Haase, Des Moines, IA (13); 16. Kevin Ingle (23); 17. Chase Dietz (22); 18. 17N, Harli White, Lindsay, OK (1); 19. Austin Bishop (19); 20. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK (14); 21. AJ Moeller (21); 22. 50YR, JJ Hickle, Quilcene, WA (5); 23. Jordan Goldesberry (24); DQ (Muffler) - 20G, Noah Gass, Mounds, OK (3) DNS – 22, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA; 91, Kyle Reinhardt, Neptune City, NJ; 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA; 83T, Tanner Carrick, Lincoln, CA; 16A, Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA
C main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. 2K, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (3); 2. 39M, Justin Sanders, Aromas, CA (2); 3. 3, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA (1); 4. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI (8) / 5. 17w, Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA (7); 6. 7s, Robbie Price, Cobble Hill, BC, Can. (6); 7. 18T, Tanner Holmes, Jacksonville, OR (11); 8. 4CW, Chris Windom, Canton, IL (4); 9. 1K, Kelby Watt, Adel, IA (15); 10. 52, Blake Hahn, Sapulpa, OK (12); 11. 1x, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO (17); 12. 12x, Ayrton Gennetten, Gravois Mills, MO (10); 13. 5C, Dylan Cisney, Port Royal, PA (5); 14. 3z, Brock Zearfoss, Jonestown, PA (19); 15. Lachlan McHugh (20); 16. 6B, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (13); 17. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (18) 18. Zach Hampton (21); 19. Kade Higday (22); 20. Kraig Kinser (24); 21. 1C, Brenham Crouch, Lubbock, TX (16); 22. 42, Sye Lynch, Apollo, PA (9); 23. 24T, Christopher Thram, Sanborn, MN (14); 24. Mark Dobmeier (23) DNS – 49x, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA
B main, 22 Laps, NT: 1. 13, Justin Peck, Monrovia, IN (1); 2. 9P, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN (11); 3. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (5); 4. 17, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH (10) / 5. 19, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA (12); 6. 6G, Garet Williamson, Columbia, MO (7); 7. 9, Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, WA (3); 8. 71, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK (6); 9. 26, Zeb Wise, Angola, IN (17); 10. 7w, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA (9); 11. 5T, Ryan Timms, Oklahoma City, OK (14); 12. 11, Cory Eliason, Visalia, CA (16); 13. Tim Kaeding (23); 14. Bill Balog (24); 15. 21H, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (19); 16. 88, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (4); 17. Justin Sanders (22); 18. Lynton Jeffrey (21); 19. 22K, Kaleb Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD (18); 20. 4w, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (20); 21. 7TW, Brandon Wimmer, Fairmount, IN (13); 22. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (8); 23. 83, James McFadden, Alice Springs, NT, Aust. (2); 24. 1, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD (15)
A main (started), 50 Laps, NT: 1. 57, Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA (1); 2. 2, David Gravel, Watertown, CT (22); 3. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND (3); 4. 18, Gio Scelzi, Fresno, CA (9); 5. 41, Carson Macedo, Lemoore, CA (5); 6. 49, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA (16); 7. 24, Rico Abreu, St. Helena, CA (2); 8. 83JR, Buddy Kofoid, Penngrove, CA (8); 9. 55, Kerry Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (7); 10. Sheldon Haudenschild (20); 11. 5, Spencer Bayston, Lebanon, IN (13); 12. 14, Corey Day, Clovis, CA (10); 13. 2KS, Chase Randall, Waco, TX (14); 14. Brian Brown (19); 15. 4, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (11); 16. 8, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX (21); 17. 3J, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD (12); 18. Parker Price-Miller (18); 19. Justin Peck (17); 20. 7BC, Anthony Macri, Dillsburg, PA (15); 21. 2m, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (24); 22. 10, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (23); 23. 1s, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA (4); 24. 39, Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO (6). Lap Leader: Larson 1-50. Hard-charger: Gravel.