KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Gio Scelzi impressed by winning his second feature of the year at the Knoxville Raceway Saturday night.
The Xtream Powered by Mediacom Season Championship saw four different winners. Scelzi’s win in the 410 feature was worth $5,000 aboard the Indy Race Parts No. 71.
Brian Brown, who garnered five season wins won his third 410 championship (he also won in 2007 and 2010).
Carson McCarl finished the season strong, winning the regularly scheduled 360 main event, finishing third in the June 22 make-up feature, and claiming his first career 360 Knoxville Championship Cup. Jamie Ball won the make-up event, the fifth in his career here.
Russ Hall claimed his second Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance win, while Matthew Stelzer garnered his second championship with the series (his first came in 2012).
Wayne Johnson paced the field early in a race that was shortened to 20 laps with rain in the area. Scelzi jumped into second and then took the point on lap three. He was in lapped traffic and pulling away by the eighth circuit. Behind him, Kerry Madsen was moving forward, grabbing fourth from Terry McCarl on lap 13, and taking third from Brooke Tatnell on lap 15.
R.J. Johnson brought out the yellow flag when he stopped in turn three with two to go. The two lap Dash saw Scelzi leading Johnson, Madsen, Tatnell and McCarl back to green. Scelzi pulled away for his win, ahead of Johnson, Madsen, McCarl and a late closing Parker Price-Miller. Tatnell, Brown, Matt Juhl, Trey Starks and Austin McCarl rounded out the top ten. Starks cinched Rookie of the Year honors.
“We were pretty good,” said Scelzi. “This is so cool to win Doug Clark’s last race. I’m having so much fun racing this car right now with Bernie (Stuebgen) and Betsy. We’re just kind of taking it week by week. Racing has become a lot of fun again, and I’m just enjoying doing it.”
It was a busy night for the 360s, and much was undecided heading in. Carson McCarl’s lead over Ryan Giles was tenuous, and Giles closed the gap after setting quick time and running third in his heat, with McCarl behind him.
In the regular feature, disaster struck a few competitors before a lap was completed. Giles had issues in turn four in an incident that saw Jon Agan get upside down, and Ryan Leavitt, Matt Moro and Austin McCarl collected. In the end, only Agan and Moro would retire, but Giles and McCarl had to restart at the tail. No one was injured.
The next start saw Terry McCarl contact Clint Garner heading into turn one, while Carson McCarl took the early lead over McKenna Haase, Lee Grosz, Calvin Landis and Wayne Johnson. Haase would power by McCarl on the fourth lap, while a limping Garner went pitside.
Seventh running Terry McCarl’s right rear would go down on lap six as B main transfer Kelby Watt spun on the top of three while running ninth. Haase led Carson McCarl, Grosz, Landis and Johnson back to green. Johnson’s night ended on lap 13 in a puff of smoke, while Austin McCarl had climbed the ladder from the tail to fifth. He would grab fourth from Landis with two to go.
Up front, Haase was under pressure from Carson McCarl. On the last lap, she missed the bottom a bit and was behind the lapped car of Terry McCarl in turn two. Carson McCarl pounced on the opportunity and shot into the lead on the backstretch.
“Our car was good all night,” said Carson McCarl in Victory Lane. “I just didn’t know where to be. I felt like I was catching (Haase) on the bottom and the top. She changed her lines on the straightaway and messed me up quite a bit, but that’s racing. She did a really nice job. The bottom started going away getting into one there a little. She was leading and probably didn’t know that. I was able to rip the top and get a run on that last lap. I saw her miss it, and I never lifted and off we went.”
McCarl’s lead over Giles was 70 points heading into the make-up event. Jamie Ball shot from outside row one to lead early over Garner, Landis, Carson McCarl and Haase. McCarl and Haase both worked their way by Landis into third and fourth, respectively. Ball entered lapped traffic on the seventh circuit.
On lap 10, Ryan Leavitt flipped in turn two. He walked away. Ball led Garner and McCarl back to green. Giles worked his way into the top five late before Nate Mills was a flip victim with three to go. He walked away, and as the rains came, the event was checkered.
Ball got the win, ahead of Garner, Carson McCarl, Haase and Giles. Moro, Landis, Josh Higday, Tasker Phillips and Agan rounded out the top ten. McCarl’s finish nailed down his title.
“On that restart, Garner was behind us, and he’s tough to beat,” said Ball. “We were able to cover him up, and I found what I call the ‘Shane Stewart line’ down in three and four where I felt good. It’s been a year since we won, and it feels good. I’m just happy we got this one in. We’ve been waiting since June 22.”
A crash marred the beginning of the Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance 18-lap feature. Chase Young was flipping and struck by the car of Tanner Barrick. Young was transported for observation, but was visiting with the emergency crew upon departure.
The feature was all Russ Hall early, as he led Jeff Wilke and Evan Epperson. Epperson quickly used the cushion to gain second, while Brandon Worthington shot from seventh to third by lap four. Matt Johnston followed him into fourth on lap seven.
Epperson appeared to be running down Hall when the caution flew with two to go for a spun Worthington, who was running third at the time. Hall used the low side to pull away and win ahead of Epperson, Johnston, Mike Mayberry and Chris Walraven.
“This race was longer than we usually go!” said Hall. “I was having a good time. The track crew did a great job. I’m a sewer rat, and they had the bottom juiced up good tonight. I’m having a blast and I’m glad to be back up here.”