Brown Earns 22nd Knoxville Sprint Victory
KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Brian Brown passed two-time Knoxville Nationals champion Eddie Leavitt on the all-time Knoxville win list Saturday night by recording his 22nd victory in the 410 sprint car class.
The win moved Brown into sole possession of 10th place on the list, and came aboard the Casey’s General Stores/FVP No. 21.
Jon Agan recorded his eighth career win in the 360 class, and Larry Ball Jr. recorded his fourth career win in the 305 class on a night with plenty of intrigue.
Ian Madsen jumped to the early lead from the pole in the 20-lap 410 main event. By lap three, Brown had moved by Dustin Selvage into second. A good race for the lead was developing in lapped traffic at the halfway point, when Rager Phillips blew a left rear tire slowing things.
Madsen led Brown, Selvage, Dusty Zomer and Terry McCarl back to green flag racing. On the restart, Brown shot into the lead. A lap later, Austin Johnson and another car made contact, sending Johnson into a wicked series of flips down the front straight. Fortunately, he walked back to his pit.
After the lengthy red, Zomer shot into third, and Dobmeier was toying with the top five after starting 15th. On lap fourteen, McCarl was dicing with Bronson Maeschen when he lost a stop in the front end and his handling went away. On the 15th lap, he came to a stop. The restart saw Brown ahead of Madsen, Zomer, Selvage, Maeschen and Dobmeier.
Selvage shot by Zomer on the restart to take third, while Brown held his lead out front with a collapsed nose wing. McCarl’s ill-handling car spun in turn four on the white flag lap, setting up a green, white, checker finish. Brown maintained his lead to earn the $3,000 top prize, ahead of Madsen, hard-charger Dobmeier, Maeschen and Selvage. Lucas Wolfe, Brooke Tatnell, Jason Johnson, Don Droud Jr. and Ryan Bunton rounded out the top 10.
“That’s pretty awesome,” said Brown of passing Leavitt on the all-time win list. “That’s something as a kid I never thought of. I never thought I’d win one race, let alone twenty-two. That’s a pretty cool accomplishment. I don’t think I’ll ever catch Danny (Lasoski) but we’re sure going to give it our best. I’d like to thank Pella Corp. for putting on a great night.”
A wacky 360 main event started with Ricky Montgomery getting into the frontstretch wall and retiring. The next try at green resulted in Russ Hall getting contacted in turn four and flipping. Laney Feight, Alan Ambers and Casey Friedrichsen were also involved.
When the green finally flew, Randy Martin led lap one. He appeared to slow entering turn three, and was contacted and spun by the second place car of Agan. Agan led Tyler Groenendyk, Nate Van Haaften, Joe Beaver and Larry Ball Jr. back to green flag racing. Van Haaften quickly took third, but the race was stopped for another red flag with three laps in the books when Feight climbed the left rear of Matt Moro in turn three, sending the two upside down. Like Hall, neither was injured.
While Agan continued to lead, Beaver went from fourth to third, and Jack Dover climbed from seventh to fourth on the restart. Another left rear expired on lap nine. This one belonged to Jay Russell and was the last slowdown of the event. Agan led Van Haaften, Beaver, Dover and Groenendyk back to the green.
Beaver worked by Van Haaften for second, but had nothing for Agan, who picked up his first win of the year at Knoxville. Beaver and Van Haaften were followed by Dover and Clint Garner, who drove from tenth to fifth after the last restart.
“None of us want what happened on the second lap,” said Agan. “I was up above Randy on the backstretch and hit my brakes. I ran out of room. Randy is a great racer and I wouldn’t do anything purposely there at all. It took us a few more weeks than we wanted to get here. We’ve been racing pretty well.”
Before a lap could be completed in the 12-lap 305 A main, Mitchell Alexander tumbled in turn three. He was uninjured. Matt Stephenson took an early lead ahead of fellow front row starter, Michael Philben. Chris Walraven, making his first start in several years, moved into third before a second lap caution for J Kinder, who stopped.
By lap four, Larry Ball Jr. had moved from fourth to third, and then took second on the next go-around. He made his winning move by Stephenson to complete lap seven. Stephenson trailed him to the checkers ahead of Philben, Walraven and Stacey Alexander.