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Knoxville Raceway feature winners Gio Scelzi (center), Terry McCarl (right) and Mike Mayberry. (Ken Berry photo)

Gio Scelzi Rules Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Gio Scelzi stood atop the podium on a night that saw hard luck, hard crashes and plenty of action Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway.  

The Fresno, Calif., driver earned $5,000 for his 410 win on Farm Bureau Financial Night aboard the KCP Racing No. 18.  

Terry McCarl held off Aaron Reutzel to win the 360 main event for the second consecutive week and Mike Mayberry topped a thriller in the Pro Sprints. 

Scelzi shot out from his starting spot outside row one to lead early in the 20-lap 410 feature over Ian Madsen, a charging Reutzel, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Sawyer Phillips.  Reutzel quickly took second on lap two, before a seventh running Justin Henderson got into the turn-four wall, breaking his front end. 

On the restart, Reutzel slid in front of Scelzi in turn one, taking the lead. Scelzi kept the pressure on, however, and when Reutzel got against the wall in turn four, he retook the point on lap four. The contact with the wall may have plagued Reutzel, who blew his right-rear tire eighth laps in. 

That set up a restart that saw Scelzi leading Hafertepe, Brian Brown, Ayrton Gennetten and Sawyer Phillips back to green.  Brown quickly moved into second before Tasker Phillips spun with 11 laps to go. That restart saw Reutzel, who had restarted at the tail, get upside down in turn one.  

Brown made a bid on the restart, but Scelzi held off the challenge and went away to his fourth career win here.  Brown held onto second, and Gennetten grabbed third with four laps to go, followed by Hafertepe and Austin McCarl.  

“I was really good early,” said Scelzi. “The car kind of got away from me at the end, and I just had to drive it harder and harder.  The harder I drove it, the more it seemed to like it.  I had to work for that one.  I know it was only 20 laps, but it felt like a hundred. Caution after caution, I couldn’t take off from the bottom, so I tried the top and it was a little bit better.  Brownie and Reutzel and really good and will race you hard.  The car’s getting better.  We have some balance back in this thing.” 

Joe Beaver shot out from the pole in the 18-lap 360 main event, ahead of Terry McCarl, Reutzel, Kaleb Johnson and Garet Williamson.  Clint Garner, who entered the night as the point leader, was unable to get a qualifying time in, so had to come through the B.  By the time lap one was over, he had driver from 21st to 13th. 

While Beaver was fast on the bottom, McCarl picked a line in the middle of track and carried his momentum to the lead in turn two on lap five. Nate Mills spun a lap later, bringing the only caution of the event.  McCarl led Beaver, Reutzel, Johnson and Williamson back to green. 

Williamson grabbed fourth on the restart, but McCarl pulled away up front.  By lap ten, Garner was into the top ten himself.  McCarl entered lapped traffic on the 13th circuit, while Reutzel was gaining speed, and snagged the second spot from Beaver with four to go. 

The closing laps saw Reutzel edge closer to the leader.  McCarl struggled with the lapped car of Mills in the late stages, but held off Reutzel for his twelfth career 360 win here.  

Beaver was third, followed by Williamson and Johnson.  

Before the 15-lap Pro Sprints feature could get a lap in, Brandon Worthington got upside down in turn three.  He was unhurt.  Mike Johnston got off to a fast start from the pole once the race turned green, followed by Scotty Johnson and Ryan Navritil.   

On lap two, Mike Mayberry shot from fourth to second, but Johnson suck back by him a lap later.  By the halfway point, Johnson was reeling in Johnston, and with four to go got below him and just above the turn four berm to lead.  

Johnston slammed low into turn one and took the point back.  Mayberry pulled to the high side, as the top three drivers were three-wide entering turn three on lap 13.  

Mayberry emerged with the lead and went on to his fifth career win here, ahead of Johnston, Johnson, Chase Young and Tyler Groenendyk. 

The finish:

Feature ( 20 Laps): 1. Gio Scelzi (2); 2. Brian Brown (7); 3. Ayrton Gennetten (6); 4. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (4); 5. Austin McCarl (12); 6. Sawyer Phillips (3); 7. JJ Hickle (9); 8. Davey Heskin (13); 9. Lynton Jeffrey (18); 10. Kerry Madsen (15); 11. Dustin Selvage (17); 12. Carson McCarl (23); 13. Tasker Phillips (10); 14. Scott Bogucki (21); 15. Brandon Wimmer (14); 16. Tim Estenson (20); 17. AJ Moeller (16); 18. Jordan Goldesberry (22); 19. Ian Madsen (1); 20. Roger Crockett (11); 21. Aaron Reutzel (8); 22. Brady Forbrook (19); 23. Justin Henderson (5) DNS – Zach Hampton, Riley Goodno.