Justin Peck qualified second on Wednesday, but was involved in a brutal crash during the main event. (Frank Smith photo)

Knoxville Notes: Peck OK After Wild Wreck

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Justin Peck suffered a brutal crash during Wednesday night’s feature. He tangled with Sheldon Haudenschild while battling for fifth and his Buch Motorsports No. 13 launched into the turn-four wall and flipped.

Peck climbed from the wreckage and remains in position to make Saturday’s feature after qualifying second and finishing second in his heat. Peck was tied for seventh in points after night one, with 449 markers.

“I feel fine. I am just disappointed with the outcome,” Peck told DIRTVision. “I had a bad-ass car all night. I’m just frustrated. The whole Pella 13 team busted their tails to put us where we were tonight and it just sucks that it ended like that.”

Peck plans to be ready for Saturday night.

“That car is pretty junked, but we I think we have a pretty good spare care up there,” Peck said. “We just have to grind it out at this point. Luckily, we qualified pretty good and finished second in the heat race. Hopefully, that’s enough to lock us into Saturday and we can shake this thing down in our practice session on Saturday.”

Schuchart Still Basking In Eldora Glory

• Logan Schuchart is among the favorites to win the Knoxville Nationals, but he’s still basking in the glory of winning last month’s Eldora Million at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

“It’s wild to think we won a million bucks in a sprint car race,” Schuchart said. “I’m very thankful for the event that Tony (Stewart) and his team put on. We’ve been pretty busy since then, so we haven’t been able to sit down with our team and celebrate that. We need to do that. But it’s been wide open, racing since then and getting ready for Knoxville.

“I am very thankful to win one of the biggest races of the year.

“We are here at Knoxville trying to get another one,” Schuchart added. “I want to put my name on that list. We have it in the family with my grandfather (Bobby Allen, 1990), but to win it with my team — I want to be with the best of the best, that’s why we are racing with the outlaws to race with the best of the best.

“To put our name in the history books of winning some of the biggest crown jewels, that’s where I want to be as a driver. We work hard every year to put ourselves in the best spot that we can.”

Knoxville’s Rookie Class

• Eighteen drivers are competing for rookie-of-the-year honors during the Knoxville Nationals. They are Brenham Crouch, Chase Randall, Landon Hansen, Cole Mincer, Kade Higday, Christopher Thram, Ayden Gatewood, Cody Marokse, Ryan Timms, Gage Pulkrabek, Frank Rodgers, Tanner Holmes, Trent Pigdon, Kaleb Johnson, Henry Edwards, Austin Bishop, Bill Wagner and Cody Ihlen.

The Race ‘Everybody Wants To Win’

• The Knoxville Nationals is still the race drivers want to win. “Historically, the Knoxville Nationals is the No. 1 race everybody wants to win,” said Rico Abreu, who has won races with the All Stars, High Limit Racing Series and World of Outlaws this season.

• Donny Schatz raised the championship-winning flag recognizing his victory in last year’s Knoxville Nationals during pre-race ceremonies. It was his 11th Nationals triumph.

Gravel, Reutzel To Face A Fight On Hard Knox Night

• David Gravel was the fast qualifier on Wednesday night, turning a fast lap of 15.468 seconds on the half-mile track aboard the Big Game Motorsports No. 2. But Gravel’s hot start ran into an obstacle in the first heat race.

Gravel was attempting to get into one of the four transfer positions from eighth starting spot and got loose in turn four on the opening lap and made contact with Justin Sanders, which caused his car to spin nose first into the wall.

He continued his night on the pole of the C main, which he won. He then finished 11th in the B main and ranked 21st in points after one night. He will run the Hard Knox program on Friday for a crack at one of four A-main starting spots.

• Aaron Reutzel, one of the favorites to win the Nationals, crashed on the opening lap of his heat race and will compete in Friday’s Hard Knox qualifying program after scratching for the balance of Wednesday’s program.

• Justin Peck and Donny Schatz were the only two drivers who qualified in the top eight spots to transfer directly into the feature. Meanwhile, every driver who qualified between 28th and 40th made the feature.

Knoxville Newbie Battles Nerves

• Cole Macedo, the younger brother of World of Outlaws regular Carson Macedo competed in his second Knoxville Nationals, driving for Tarlton Motorsports. Macedo, who won track championships at Attica Raceway Park and Fremont Speedway last year, admitted to having some nerves.

“It’s definitely a lot of nerves rolling through me,” Macedo said. “I don’t have a lot of laps here. Just the Nationals last year and one All Star race. It is my third time being here.”

Other Notables

• Blake Hahn started on the pole Wednesday night and led 18 laps before fading to fifth in the closing laps. The two-time ASCS champion had four-time Nationals winner Danny Lasoski and former Kings Royal winner Johnny Herrera working on his No. 52.

• Abbey Jackson was named the 2023 Knoxville Nationals queen.

• One hundred and five cars are entered in this year’s Knoxville Nationals, with 52 running Wednesday and 53 on Thursday.

• Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a presidential candidate in 2024, is scheduled to make an appearance during pre-race ceremonies for Saturday night’s Knoxville Nationals finale.

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