A four-wide salute at Knoxville. (Trent Gower Photo)

World Of Outlaws Set For Vital Weekend At Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Iowa – ‘The Greatest Show on Dirt’ heads for ‘The Sprint Car Capital of the World’ this weekend.

Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway will host a doubleheader this Friday and Saturday, June 10-11 as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series comes to town for the annual Brownells Big Guns Bash. It’s a thrilling two nights at the Marion County Fairgrounds with the local legends facing the best of the best as they invade the Black Zook Clay.

Black Zook Experience

When it comes to the World of Outlaws at Knoxville, three full-time stars stand out above the rest – Donny Schatz, David Gravel, and Brad Sweet.

Donny Schatz is ranked eighth on the track’s all-time wins list with 17 of his 27 Knoxville wins coming with the World of Outlaws, and 10 of those being the Knoxville Nationals. The 10-time Series champion finished 3rd, 3rd & 2nd at the track last August, and heads into this weekend eyeing a second win of the year in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 15.

David Gravel has been especially hot at Knoxville Raceway in the past few years, winning half (7 of 14) starts since August 2019. This weekend, Gravel will be going for this third World of Outlaws win of the season and his third Knoxville Raceway win in the Big Game Motorsports No. 2.

Brad Sweet hasn’t won at Knoxville since June 2019, but he’s been consistent with 10 top-10 finishes and an average result of 7.7 in 14 starts since then. The Big Cat will be going for his second World of Outlaws win of the season and the eighth of his career at Knoxville Raceway this weekend in the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49.

Team Knoxville

There’s the PA Posse out east and the Golden State Gang out west, but in the heart of the country lies Team Knoxville – a group of loyal locals committed to weekly action at The Sprint Car Capital of the World. Leading that contingent against the World of Outlaws is Brian Brown, who goes for his 59th Knoxville Raceway 410 win this weekend in hopes of tying Terry McCarl for third on the all-time win list at the track.

Currently on top of the Knoxville season standings is Austin McCarl in the Country Builders No. 88. He’s a six-time 410 victor at the track, including once this year, and looks to top his career-best of second with the Series. Austin and younger brother Carson McCarl are both trying to join their father “T-Mac” as a World of Outlaws winner.

Other names to look for this weekend include Justin Henderson (23 total Knoxville wins), Davey Reskin (reigning track champ), Lynton Jeffrey (last week’s winner), Matt Juhl (Outlaw career-best of 3rd), Ayrton Gennetten (led World of Outlaws race last year). Also keep your eye on the likes of Sawyer & Tasker Phillips, Riley Gordon, J.J. Hickle, Josh Higday, and Chris Martin, among others.

Shooting For Six

The two most recent winners in World of Outlaws competition are also the two winningest drivers with the series in 2022. Both Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild own five wins apiece thus far, and head for ‘The Sprint Car Capital of the World’ this weekend with a chance at winning for the sixth time.

Carson Macedo, who topped Friday’s feature at River Cities, has already won once at Knoxville earlier this season in weekly competition. Macedo also brings in momentum from last year’s June doubleheader with the World of Outlaws, a weekend he swept aboard the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41. Later this year, he’ll have a chance to become JJR’s third different Knoxville Nationals champion in six runnings.

Sheldon Haudenschild has been on a hot streak of late, winning three of four features before his streak ended with a 13th-place result at River Cities. Haudenschild has yet to beat the World of Outlaws at Knoxville, but he did score his first win at the track last year during a local show. His father, Jac Haudenschild, was a nine-time winner with the series at the Marion County Fairgrounds, and Sheldon gets his next chance this weekend in the NOS Energy Drink No. 17.

Toyota History

Aaron Reutzel and Ridge & Sons Racing made history last week at Knoxville Raceway by winning the first-ever 410 Winged Sprint Car race with a Toyota Development Racing engine under the hood of their Mobil 1 No. 8. Reutzel already claimed Toyota’s best finish with the World of Outlaws earlier this year when he took the TRD machine to third-place at Volusia (Fla.) during the season opener.

A six-time winner in both World of Outlaws competition and Knoxville Raceway action (4 with 410, 2 with 360), Reutzel will eye his seventh score with the series and at the track this weekend.

On The Gass

In his 25th feature start with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series last Friday, 18-year-old Noah Gass recorded his first-career top-10 finish. The moment of jubilation for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender was amplified as he also earned his first KSE Hard Charger Award thanks to the 17th-to-10th bid at River Cities.

It’s been a massive learning curve for the youngster and his crew of Cody Cordell & Robby McQuinn, but they’re rolling with the punches quite well. The teenager is committed to giving this his all and is beginning to prove he’ll be one to closely watch as he progresses over the coming months and years.

Chasing The First

Several full-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series stars will be chasing their first 410 victory at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway this weekend at the Brownell’s Big Guns Bash.

Spencer Bayston has finished as high as second with the All Star Circuit of Champions and also ran fifth with the World of Outlaws at the track in 2020. Bayston is looking for his second win of the season in the CJB Motorsports No. 5.

James McFadden is a two-time ASCS National Tour winner at Knoxville with a 360 under the hood, but he’s yet to tame the black book clay with a 410. The Roth Motorsports No. 83 pilot has an opportunity to change that this weekend and score the 99th World of Outlaws win for Hall of Fame car owner Dennis Roth.

Jacob Allen once started on the pole of a Hard Knox night at the Knoxville Nationals but hasn’t faired as well in the results department with a career-best of 12th through 16 starts at the half-mile. He’s already a two-time World of Outlaws winner in 2022 and hopes to nail down that first Knoxville top-10 this weekend.

In his most recent appearance, Brock Zearfoss recorded his Knoxville career-best, a fourth-place during last year’s Hard Knox program. The driver of the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill No. 3Z is fresh off his fifth top-10 of the season at River Cities last week.

Every Lap Matters

In preparation for the 61st NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores, a driver and team can never have enough laps at Knoxville Raceway. Local teams spend all season dialing in their setups, while the invaders take every single chance they get to hit the Black Zook Clay and find the speed they need.

With the exception of last year’s champion Kyle Larson (who didn’t race in June), the last three Knoxville Nationals winners before him (Gravel ’19, Sweet ’18, Schatz ’17) were winning contenders in the World of Outlaws early-summer tune-up and finished within the top-five.