KNOXVILLE, Iowa — It was a historic night in more ways than one Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway.
The championship night came down to three drivers duking it out for a title in the 410 class and Bronson Maeschen came out on top.
In the feature, the man who has more track titles (nine) than any driver won for the 100th time at the historic oval.
In the 360 class, Clint Garner became the first driver to win five championships in a row, while Jon Agan won the main event. All-time 305 feature winner, Larry Ball Jr., won the championship in that class, while defending champion, Matthew Stelzer took the non-stop feature.
Lasoski’s win was hard-earned. Josh Schneiderman led early as he and Mark Dobmeier swapped the lead the first couple of laps. Dobmeier jumped to the point by lap five, and the first caution came out with ten laps in the books for a stopped RJ Johnson.
Dobmeier led Schneiderman, Davey Heskin, Bronson Maeschen and Danny Lasoski back to green flag racing. Heskin moved into second on the restart, and Lasoski followed him into third by the time a pair of cautions came out for Wayne Johnson and Mike Moore.
On lap 15, Lasoski worked under Heskin for second before fifth running Dusty Zomer suffered a flat left rear tire, bringing the yellow flag again. Lasoski made his winning move on lap 18 and survived an open red-flag period on lap 23. Bob Weuve and Rager Phillips were upside down on the backstretch, while Garrett Dollansky was also involved. All drivers were OK. Terry McCarl, who entered the feature second in points, was noticeably short on power the length of the feature, but his hopes faded when his fuel cap came off before the restart, and he had to restart at the tail.
Lasoski pulled away for his 100th 410 win at Knoxville, tops all-time, and worth $3,500. Heskin passed Dobmeier in the last corner for second, followed by Dobmeier, track champion Maeschen and Kevin Swindell.
Hard-charger Brian Brown, who flipped in his heat, Ian Madsen, Don Droud Jr., Schneiderman and Lynton Jeffrey rounded out the top 10.
Lasoski was visibly emotional in victory lane.
“I’m not a driver that gets choked up, but I’m telling you, this is pretty special to me. A hundred wins. Wow! Brian Brown was here for most of them, my father was here for most of them…I wish my wife was here. We’re going to have a party here tonight, I can guarantee that,” Lasoski said. “When you start eighth with this competition it’s tough, but when you have Mark Burch working on the car and Kistler power, the odds are in my favor.”
“The whole night was a roller coaster,” said Maeschen on winning the Knoxville Championship Cup. “I don’t feel like it’s over. I feel like puking now more than I did earlier! There are a lot of people who have helped us, and it’s great to have them here. We’re going to wait until the sun come up here, and we might just go straight to church.”
Jon Agan led from the start in the 20-lap 360 feature. Champion Clint Garner got off to a rough start and came to a stop after a lap was completed. He restarted at the tail. Early on, Justyn Cox and Randy Martin tailed Agan, trading the runner-up spot twice.
At the halfway mark, it was Agan leading Martin, Cox, Joe Beaver and Scott Winters. Winters moved into fourth on lap 12, and into 3rd after a caution for Josh Higday with sixteen laps in the books. Higday came to a stop, and the leader narrowly avoided rear-ending him.
Agan pulled away for his ninth career 360 win ahead of Martin, Winters, Cox and Beaver. Jamie Ball, hard-charger Ryan Roberts, Matt Moro, Nate Van Haaften and Garner rounded out the top ten.
“We got a little tight in traffic,” said Agan. “It’s the little things too. I put my steering wheel in the wrong spot, and I had a brace right in my way. If you are in clean air and you’re tight, it’s fine. You get rolled up behind traffic though. I got up behind Higday there, and I was just trying to turn, turn, turn the car.”
Garner talked about his championship. “We had a really great year, and that’s what I’d like to look back at tonight. The race I had tonight was definitely nothing to brag about. Honestly, I think we’re planning to build a 410 deal. We want Knoxville Raceway to be successful. We want the 360 class to be here forever. I’ll be here for sure. If our 410 deal doesn’t work out, I’ll come with a 360. The plan is to come in a 410 and keep up with Bronson!”
The 15-lap 305 feature went non-stop, and polesitter Matthew Stelzer led every lap for his second career win. J Kinder tracked him throughout the event and closed in the late stages, but the Omaha driver was able to hold on for the $600 victory.