Austin McCarl Conquers Knoxville

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2003
Austin McCarl (Richard Bales photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Austin McCarl is two-for-two in 360 features at Knoxville Raceway this season.

Thursday’s win was definitely his biggest, as it came on night one of the MyPlace Hotels Knoxville 360 Nationals presented by Great Southern Bank.

Kerry Madsen emerged as the high point driver, followed by Shane Golobic, Tim Shaffer and McCarl.

Calvin Landis led from the pole in the 20-lap main event, ahead of Dominic Scelzi, McCarl, Shaffer and Aaron Reutzel.  McCarl found his way by Scelzi for second, and Reutzel cruised into fourth on lap five.

McCarl shot by Landis on lap six, but that move was negated when Ryan Leavitt slowed in turn two, bringing the only caution of the event.  Landis led McCarl, Scelzi, Reutzel and Shaffer back to green, while Tim Kaeding had climbed from 23rd to 13th.

McCarl followed Landis for a lap before surging to the point on lap eight.  Meanwhile, Kerry Madsen worked his way into the top five. At the halfway point, Scelzi and Reutzel moved into second and third. Madsen was quickly into the fourth spot, and Shane Golobic entered the top five on lap 12.

A rosy point total was dashed for Reutzel when he slowed and went pitside on lap 13. Up front, McCarl entered lapped traffic by himself, while Madsen shot by Scelzi for the runner-up spot.

McCarl pulled away to the win by a straightaway ahead of Madsen, Scelzi, Golobic and Shaffer.

“I just had to stay solid and keep doing what I was doing,” said McCarl. “Calvin was kind of moving around there. I just had to stay patient. He was setting a good pace. The bottom was really good and threw up a bunch of juice through the middle. When I got to those first lap cars, they were running the top. I didn’t know what to do, so I blew it through the middle and it stuck. I didn’t know how close those guys were behind him. Aaron and Kerry…those guys are World of Outlaws winners, and the best in the world. I guess in the end, I was lucky there wasn’t a yellow.”

“This deal is all about points,” said Madsen. “It was pretty hectic back there. They did a good job with the racetrack tonight. It was fun. They gave me a great car, and we had to battle to get to second. By that time, Austin was long gone. It was a solid day for good points. I’m not a very experienced 360 driver so these guys gave me that good a car.”

“It’s a good thing to be upset with third,” said Scelzi. “We’ve had a lot of speed over the last month. We’ve been knocking on the door of a win. I felt really good the first six or seven laps. I felt like we had something for first and second, then we faded a bit. We’ve got to some work, but all in all, we’re really fast. We’re in the show for Saturday, but we want to be on top of the podium, not the bottom.”

The finish:

Feature (20 laps): 1. Austin McCarl (2); 2. Kerry Madsen (8); 3. Dominic Scelzi (3); 4. Shane Golobic (7); 5. Tim Shaffer (5); 6. Joe Beaver (13); 7. Roger Crockett (10); 8. Cory Eliason (21); 9. Calvin Landis (1); 10. Tim Kaeding (23); 11. Justin Henderson (22); 12. JJ Hickle (9); 13. Garret Williamson (19); 14. Ayrton Gennetten (4); 15. Harli White (17); 16. Kaleb Johnson (14); 17. Ricky Montgomery (12); 18. Colton Heath (20); 19. Kyle Offill (24); 20. Matt Moro (16); 21. Nathan Mills (18); 22. Devon Dobie (15); 23. Aaron Reutzel (6); 24. Ryan Leavitt (11). Lap Leaders: Landis 1-7, A. McCarl 8-20. Hard-charger: Eliason.