KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 5, 2017) – One of the greatest 360 sprint pilots ever at the Knoxville Raceway, and indeed, one of the best sprint car drivers at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World”, finally broke through and won the 27th Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals presented by Great Southern Bank. Clint Garner, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota held off the field to win the 25-lap $15,000 event at Knoxville Saturday night.
Before a lap could be completed, Friday’s preliminary winner, Greg Hodnett spun in turn one to bring out the caution flag. He would restart at the tail, while up front, Garner took the point ahead of two-time event winner Wayne Johnson and Aaron Reutzel. Jamie Ball maneuvered by Reutzel for third on lap two.
Garner used the low side, as he and Johnson separated themselves from the field and entered lapped traffic on the tenth circuit. A lap later, Brian Brown, who started twelfth, was into the top five. The last caution came with thirteen laps in the books. Calvin Landis slowed to a stop without brakes.
Garner led Johnson, Ball, Reutzel and Brown back to green flag racing. Johnson got a run under Garner at the cone, but was shut down into turn one. That sent him up the track, and Ball got by him for second. Meanwhile, Brown jumped by Reutzel into fourth. Johnson would use the low side to shoot back by Ball.
Brown would slide in front of Ball on lap sixteen to take third. Garner continued his mastery up front on the cushion. Johnson would bobble in the marbles on lap 19, and Brown would reel him in. While Garner sailed away up front, Brown took second with four laps to go.
The win was Garner’s 33rd career triumph here in the 360 class, second on the all-time list only to David Hesmer. Brown came home second as the hard-charger, ahead of Johnson, Reutzel and Ball. Christopher Bell, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jeff Swindell, Tim Shaffer and Hodnett, who recovered from the tail, rounded out the top ten.
Dusty Zomer led the way in the non-stop 15-lap B main, while Joey Saldana had an impressive drive to win the C. Lee Grosz won the D main. The C main saw the most incidents. Scott Bogucki came to a stop in turn one, and collected Matt Egel, who got upside down. Cody Ledger, who had a minor fire after the D main, was also a flip victim in the C. No one was injured.
“It did get to the point where it was the ‘win it or wear it’ moment,” said an emotional Garner in Victory Lane. “I ran the heck out of it. It’s just a guessing game out front. You have no clue where everyone else is going and what’s happening. I wish I could say it’s easy, but it’s so hard to do. This is definitely the biggest win of my career. I’m so happy, and there are so many people here. A lot of these guys race for a living, and they know how hard I try to keep up with them. They know when I can beat them, it is special. I’m proud to be a working man that races on the weekend. I’m more proud that I just beat a bunch of professionals. I think we were 12th quick in hot laps and there were a lot of questions flying. There was a gear change that we had to make. I’m so proud of my guys.”
“Clint has been coming here a lot of years,” said Brown. “He has a true sprint car family. His brother, his Dad…I’m envious of him. That’s what racing’s all about. If I can’t win it, I’m glad he was able to. He should have won it three times by now. It was a great effort by our team. I was hoping for one more yellow. Twelfth to second is nothing to hang our head about.”
“I suckered (Garner) on the first start. I knew I wouldn’t get another chance at it. Then he got the lead. He started running the top, and I felt like I was better than him on the bottom. The caution came out with twelve to go and took the lapped traffic away. I wasn’t catching him late in the race, so I went to the top. I just opened the door for Brown there to slide me. We’ve struggled quite a bit at times in the last seven or eight months. So we can’t hang our head about finishing third behind the two guys that probably have more laps here than anyone. Congratulations to Clint. Those guys work hard, and they’re good friends of mine.”
Eric Bridger led early in the 15-lap 305 feature. The current point leader set sail, ahead of Matthew Stelzer and Ryan Leavitt. The only caution of the event came on lap nine, when the fourth place car of Joe Simbro slowed.
Bridger would lead the field back to green, dogged by Stelzer. Kade Higday quickly moved into third. Stelzer would use the cushion to work around Bridger and take the lead with two laps to go. When he missed his mark in the middle of the track on the next lap, however, Bridger would retake the point and the rookie would go on to win his second feature of the year here. Stelzer, Higday, Tyler Glass and Leavitt followed. Kelby Watt, Mike Mayberry, Evan Epperson, Chris Walraven and Rob Kubli completed out the top ten. Bridger set quick time, while Glass and Watt were heat winners.
“I about gave that one away,” said Bridger in Victory Lane. “I must have gotten slower. I just got looser and looser. Luckily, we started on the front row and got the job done. That was pretty close. We were able to come out on top. He may have made a mistake in turn three and let me get back to the low side. I just have to thank my crew. I didn’t do that last time.”
The “Capitani Classic” on Sunday night, August 6, gives the 410’s one last tune-up for next week’s 57th Annual 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals! For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com!
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D main (started), 10 Laps, 2:53.0: 1. 4J, Lee Grosz, Harwood, ND (1); 2. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK (3); 3. 71C, Stacey Alexander, Lacona, IA (2); 4. 1J, Danny Jennings, Norman, OK (5); 5. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND (4); 6. 35L, Cody Ledger, Omaha, NE (10); 7. 52, Blake Hahn, Glenpool, OK (8); 8. 25, Dylan Peterson, Hartford, SD (12); 9. 12, James Mosher, Albuquerque, NM (6); 10. 9M, Ricky Montgomery, Lakewood, CO (14); 11. 8M, Kade Morton, Coweta, OK (16); 12. 40H, Howard Moore, Memphis, TN (9); 13. 63, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (18); 14. 93, Dustin Morgan, Owasso, OK (19); 15. 1B, Ryan Leavitt, Knoxville, IA (7); 16. 27B, Patrick Bourke, Gypsum, CO (17); 17. 22S, Sean McClelland, Owasso, OK (13); 18. X1, Mason Moore, Chico, CA (21); 19. 7M, Chance Morton, Coweta, OK (23); 20. 33, Alan Zoutte, Knoxville, IA (22); 21. 07, Michael Bookout, Tulsa, OK (11); 22. 98, Chris Masters, Napa, CA (24); 23. 9N, Jared Goerges, Brainerd, MN (25); DNS – 10C, Jeremy Campbell, Wichita, KS; 1A, John Anderson, Des Moines, IA; 45, Chuck Hebing, Ontario, NY; 16, Justin Clark, Agency, IA; 9L, Hunter Lane, Milo, IA; 38, Mike Dapra, Gillette, WY; 26X, Josh Higday, Runnells, IA; 53D, Jack Dover, Springfield, NE;
C main (started), 12 Laps, NT: 1. 71, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN (3); 2. 3S, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (2); 3. 17, Tyler Groenendyk, Oskaloosa, IA (5); 4. 10H, Chad Kemenah, Alvada, OH (7); 5. 21AU, Jordyn Brazier, Maroochydore, QLD, Aust. (1); 6. 55, McKenna Haase, Des Moines, IA (6); 7. 14, Tony Stewart, Columbus, IN (4) / 8. 17H, Jared Horstman, Cloverdale, OH (10); 9. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (14); 10. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK (17); 11. 99, Skylar Gee, Leduc, ALB, Can. (15); 12. 4J, Lee Grosz, Harwood, ND (16); 13. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND (20); 14. 25, Dylan Peterson, Sioux Falls, SD (23); 15. 1J, Danny Jennings, Norman, OK (19); 16. 17W, Harli White, Lindsay, OK (8); 17. 52, Blake Hahn, Glenpool, OK (22); 18. 77X, Alex Hill, Six Nations, ONT, Can. (12); 19. 35L, Cody Ledger, Omaha, NE (21); 20. 12N, Cole Duncan, Lockbourne, OH (9); 21. 12, James Mosher, Albuquerque, NM (24); 22. 84, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (11); 23. 75AUS, Matt Egel, Adelaide, SA, Aust. (13); 24. 71C, Stacey Alexander, Lacona, IA (18); DNS – 67X, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN; 53, Joe Beaver, Knoxville, IA; 5M, Troy Manteufel, St. Peter, MN; 09, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD;
B main (started), 15 Laps, 4:27.9: 1. 82, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD (2); 2. 36, Jason Martin, Lincoln, NE (6); 3. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (5); 4. 2M, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA (1); 5. 26, Tayler Malsam, Seattle, WA (8) / 6. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (13); 7. 71, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN (19); 8. 22, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (4); 9. 5H, Cory Eliason, Kingsburg, CA (10); 10. 6, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (3); 11. 3S, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (20); 12. 9, Ryan Giles, Grimes, IA (17); 13. 35, Skylar Prochaska, Lakefield, MN (9); 14. 41, Dominic Scelzi, Fresno, CA (18); 15. 10H, Chad Kemenah, Alvada, OH (22); 16. 3K, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA (11); 17. 14, Tony Stewart, Columbus, IN (25); 18. 17, Tyler Groenendyk, Oskaloosa, IA (21); 19. 23S, Stu Snyder, Waverly, NE (15); 20. 45X, Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, NM (12); 21. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (7); 22. 23D, Devon Dobie, Wapakoneta, OH (16); 23. 55, McKenna Haase, Des Moines, IA (24); 24. 21AU, Jordyn Brazier, Maroochydore, QLD, Aust. (23); DNS – 18, Ryan Roberts, Aurora, NE, 28, Jonathan Cornell, Sedalia, MO; 35V, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust.
A main (started), 25 Laps, NT: 1. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (1); 2. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (12); 3. 2C, Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, OK (2); 4. 87, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX (5); 5. 5J, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (4); 6. 14B, Christopher Bell, Norman, OK (11); 7. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX (15); 8. 94, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN (14); 9. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA (6); 10. 27, Greg Hodnett, Spring Grove, PA (7); 11. 17B, Josh Baughman, Odessa, TX (8); 12. 23, Seth Bergman, Snohomish, WA (10); 13. 1M, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO (18); 14. 1, Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg, MB, Can. (9); 15. 55S, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA (16); 16. 82, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD (20); 17. 4, Jon Agan, Knoxville, IA (13); 18. 3, Nate Van Haaften, Otley, IA (3); 19. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (22); 20. 2M, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA (23); 21. 36, Jason Martin, Lincoln, NE (21); 22. 26, Tayler Malsam, Seattle, WA (24); 23. 13V, Seth Brahmer, Norfolk NE (17); 24. 70, Calvin Landis, Knoxville, IA (19) DNS – 18M, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. Lap Leaders: Garner 1-25; Hard Charger: Brown.
Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 3 laps: 1. 81E, Eric Bridger, Winterset, IA (3), 16.923; 2. 56W, Chris Walraven, Knoxville, IA (13), 17.074; 3. 71, Brandon Worthington, Indianola, IA (1), 17.135; 4. 0, Mike Mayberry, Fremont, IA (5), 17.177; 5. 67, Jon Hughes, Knoxville, IA (2), 17.222; 6. 1B, Ryan Leavitt, Knoxville, IA (11), 17.265; 7. 99, Matthew Stelzer, Papillion, NE (4), 17.301; 8. 21, Evan Epperson, Muscatine, IA (7), 17.313; 9. 56, Joe Simbro, Pleasantville, IA (8), 17.355; 10. 24, Kade Higday, Pleasant Hill, IA (12), 17.471; 11. 12T, Tyler Glass, Cedar Rapids, IA (9), 17.511; 12. 1K, Kelby Watt, Adel, IA (10), 17.557; 13. 64, Casey Greubel, Lacona, IA (6), 17.737; 14. 23K, Rob Kubli, Milo, IA (14), 17.741.
Heat one (started), 6 Laps, 1:47.8: 1. Tyler Glass (1); 2. Joe Simbro (2); 3. Matthew Stelzer (3); 4. Eric Bridger (6); 5. Jon Hughes (4); 6. Brandon Worthington (5) DNS – Casey Greubel
Heat two (started), 6 Laps, 1:48.2: 1. Kelby Watt (1); 2. Kade Higday (2); 3. Ryan Leavitt (4); 4. Rob Kubli (7); 5. Mike Mayberry (5); 6. Evan Epperson (3); 7. Chris Walraven (6)
A main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. Eric Bridger (1); 2. Matthew Stelzer (3); 3. Kade Higday (7); 4. Tyler Glass (5); 5. Ryan Leavitt (2); 6. Kelby Watt (8); 7. Mike Mayberry (6); 8. Evan Epperson (12); 9. Chris Walraven (11); 10. Rob Kubli (13); 11. Joe Simbro (4); 12. Brandon Worthington (9); 13. Jon Hughes (10) DNS – Casey Greubel. Lap Leaders: Bridger 1-12, Stelzer 13, Bridger 14-15. Hard-charger: Higday.