Austin McCarl Tops Knoxville with Emotional Win! Josh Higday Wins for First Time Since 2010 in 360’s; Matthew Stelzer Back Atop All-Time Win List in Pro Sprints

Story by Bill Wright

Pictures by Dave Hill

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (April 24, 2021) – Austin McCarl registered his fifth career 410 win at Knoxville Saturday night, but it was his first as a car owner. That made it emotional for the Altoona driver, who cashed in $4,000 aboard his #17A. Des Moines, Iowa’s Josh Higday was no less excited, as he registered his first win since May 15, 2010 in the 360 class. It was the 18th of his career, tying him with Dean Chadd for fifth on the all-time win list. Matthew Stelzer won in the Pace Performance Pro Sprints class, putting him in a tie with Devin Kline for most all-time in that class (13).

When an invert of zero was drawn for the 20-lap 410 feature, most concluded that defending track champion, Brian Brown, would be tough to beat. They were right. He set quick time and won his heat going away. At the start of the main event, he took off, opening a lead over Austin McCarlLynton JeffreyIan Madsen and Justin Henderson.

Hunter Schuerenberg entered the top five on lap three, but up front, Brown was roaring through lapped traffic by lap five. On lap six, disaster struck for Brown when his power plant gave way.

McCarl, who charged from the rear of the field to third in last week’s opener, was equally fast and up to the task after inheriting the lead. Behind him, Madsen took second from Jeffrey, and Brooke Tatnell surged from sixth to fourth.

McCarl opened up a big lead, while Madsen nailed down second, followed by Jeffrey. Schuerenberg worked his way up to fourth with eight to go, and Tatnell finished fifth. Terry McCarl was the hard-charger, driving from 16th to sixth. Davey Heskin, Henderson, Cole Duncan and Sawyer Phillips rounded out the top ten. Jeffrey and Moeller joined Brown as heat winners.

“This is a brand new car,” said McCarl in Victory Lane. “I scaled it yesterday. I was actually a little happier with the numbers than the other car. I was confident coming in if thing was close, and it was. I’ve wanted to do this in my own car so bad…nothing against what I’ve done before in winning races…but I did it by myself with great people behind me. I’m so happy! I’m here to win races, and not for points. I knew Ian was coming. That team’s really been clicking.”

Scott Bogucki led the 18-lap 360 feature early ahead of Josh HigdayLee GroszRyan Giles and Ricky Montgomery. Young Chase Randall entered the top five early before Dylan Westbrook tangled with the turn three wall to bring caution three laps in.

Bogucki led Higday, Grosz, Giles and Randall back to green flag racing. Higday gained momentum on the cushion and shot into the lead on lap six. Grosz followed him into second two laps later. A battle was waging for fourth between Giles and Randall, with the latter securing the spot with eight to go.

Bogucki regained his momentum, and by lap 11 was by Grosz for second. He appeared to be gaining on Higday when something broke on the car and he pulled off on lap 12.

It was clear sailing for Higday in the Hetrick Motorsports #35 as they celebrated an emotional win ahead of Grosz, Randall, Jamie Ball and Giles. Carson McCarlClint GarnerJJ HickleMatt Moro and Montgomery completed the top ten. Bogucki set quick time over the 37-car field, while Hickle, Rob Kubli, Westbrook and Ball won heat races. Matt Covington claimed the B main.

“I tell you what, it seems like an eternity,” said Higday of his eleven-year drought in Victory Lane. “This was awesome. For a 45-year old man to come out here and do this…I feel great. I was a little tight there at the beginning. I knew we’d probably be good once the fuel burned off. It was a hell of a race. Scott’s a hell of a racer. We’re really happy to get the win tonight.”

The 15-lap Pace Performance Pro Sprints feature got off to a tough start. Ryan Navratil got into the turn one wall bringing caution. Meanwhile, Kade Higday flipped hard in turn three. He exited the car under his own power.

Matthew Stelzer led early over Tyler GroenendykBrandon WorthingtonMike Mayberry and Devin Kline. Another yellow flew one lap in for Devin Wignall, who came to a rest in turn four. Evan Epperson found something on the cushion to charge up to third behind Stelzer and Groenendyk before JJ Beaver spun three laps in.

It was Kline’s turn to move up, as he took over fourth when the green flew, and overtook Epperson for third on lap seven. Up front, Stelzer was cruising with Groenendyk trying to stay close enough for a late shot. His opportunity came with another Beaver spin with two to go.

Stelzer would not be headed, however, crossing the finish line ahead of Groenendyk, Epperson (by .023 of a second over Kline) and Worthington. Chase YoungJeff WilkeMatt AllenAlex Vande Voort and Tyler Barrick rounded out the top ten. Higday and Kline were heat race winners.

“Those cautions and red flags kept coming out,” said Stelzer in Victory Lane. “Last week, we ran out of fuel on the last lap and I was just nervous about if we had enough fuel in the car. Tyler G…I love having him in this class, because he’s going to make me better as a driver. I was a little nervous with him starting outside of us. I threw a couple of these away last year with Russ (Hall) and Devin next me, but tonight we were able to capitalize.”

Next Saturday, May 1, is Jersey Freeze/Dennison Racing Tees Night! All three sprint car divisions will be in action again! For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com or check Knoxville Raceway’s Facebook and Twitter.

410 Results

Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (7), 15.385; 2. 17A, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (8), 15.755; 3. 11, Ian Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (3), 15.825; 4. 27T, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Paola, KS (4), 15.842; 5. 7, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD (6), 15.852; 6. 55, Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO (19), 15.889; 7. 22C, Cole Duncan, Circleville, OH (2), 15.889; 8. 16, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (1), 15.964; 9. 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (20), 16.003; 10. 2KS, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD (24), 16.009; 11. 83, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (22), 16.046; 12. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (23), 16.048; 13. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (14), 16.120; 14. 21BP, Brinton Marvel, Pittsboro, IN (15), 16.127; 15. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell City, IA (16), 16.146; 16. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (12), 16.224; 17. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (17), 16.263; 18. 15, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA (21), 16.646; 19. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (13), 16.652; 20. 22, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (11), 16.765; 21. 23X, Presley Truedson, Kennedy, MN (5), 17.151; 22. 83A, Austin Miller, Lacona, IA (18), 17.256; 23. 56, Joe Simbro, Pleasantville, IA (10), 17.389; 24. 7B, Ben Brown, Marshall, MO (9), 17.933.

Heat one (started), 8 Laps, NT: 1. Brian Brown (6); 2. Chris Martin (1); 3. Matt Juhl (3); 4. Davey Heskin (2); 5. Sawyer Phillips (7); 6. Cole Duncan (4); 7. Austin Miller (8); 8. Tucker Klaasmeyer (5)

Heat two (started), 8 Laps, 2:18.3: 1. Lynton Jeffrey (3); 2. Tasker Phillips (1); 3. Austin McCarl (6); 4. Justin Henderson (5); 5. Brooke Tatnell (4); 6. Brinton Marvel (2); 7. Riley Goodno (7); 8. Joe Simbro (8)

Heat three (started), 8 Laps, 2:19.6: 1. AJ Moeller (2); 2. Ian Madsen (6); 3. Carson McCarl (4); 4. Hunter Schuerenberg (5); 5. Bobby Mincer (1); 6. Terry McCarl (3); 7. Presley Truedson (7); 8. Ben Brown (8)

A main (started), 20 Laps, NT: 1. Austin McCarl (3); 2. Ian Madsen (2); 3. Lynton Jeffrey (6); 4. Hunter Schuerenberg (5); 5. Brooke Tatnell (9); 6. Terry McCarl (16); 7. Davey Heskin (15); 8. Justin Henderson (4); 9. Cole Duncan (12); 10. Sawyer Phillips (19); 11. Matt Juhl (8); 12. Tasker Phillips (14); 13. Carson McCarl (7); 14. Riley Goodno (20); 15. AJ Moeller (10); 16. Chris Martin (13); 17. Bobby Mincer (18); 18. Brinton Marvel (17); 19. Presley Truedson (21); 20. Austin Miller (22); 21. Ben Brown (24); 22. Joe Simbro (23); 23. Tucker Klaasmeyer (11); 24. Brian Brown (1). Lap Leaders: Br. Brown 1-6, A. McCarl 7-20. Hard-charger: T. McCarl.

360 Results

Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 28, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (33), 16.303; 2. 35, Josh Higday, Des Moines, IA (1), 16.472; 3. 9M, Ricky Montgomery, Denver, CO (6), 16.487; 4. 4J, Lee Grosz, Harwood, ND (29), 16.513; 5. 22, Ryan Leavitt, Knoxville, IA (5), 16.517; 6. 70, Calvin Landis, Knoxville, IA (18), 16.538; 7. 24T, Christopher Thram, Sanburn, MN (10), 16.578; 8. 2M, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA (21), 16.649; 9. 9R, Chase Randall, Waco, TX (2), 16.685; 10. 9, Ryan Giles, Grimes, IA (36), 16.690; 11. 77X, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (22), 16.693; 12. 4W, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (15), 16.697; 13. 24N, Nathan Mills, Bondurant, IA (11), 16.723; 14. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (27), 16.790; 15. 22K, Kaleb Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD (37), 16.798; 16. 82, Jason Martin, Liberal, KS (4), 16.922; 17. 53, Joe Beaver, Knoxville, IA (30), 16.945; 18. 23K, Rob Kubli, Milo, IA (24), 16.954; 19. 24, Garet Williamson, Columbia, MO (14), 16.956; 20. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK (23), 16.969; 21. 63, JJ Hickle, Quilcene, WA (8), 16.970; 22. 15, Christian Bowman, Altoona, IA (35), 16.980; 23. 47X, Dylan Westbrook, Scotland, ONT, Can. (25), 16.990; 24. 1K, Kelby Watt, Adel, IA (9), 17.033; 25. 53D, Jack Dover, Springfield, NE (31), 17.051; 26. 5M, Collin Moyle, Knoxville, IA (16), 17.126; 27. 99, Tony Rost, Utica, NE (17), 17.223; 28. 22X, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (34), 17.307; 29. 23S, Stu Snyder, Waverly, NE (32), 17.338; 30. 36, Jason Tostenson, Glencoe, MN (13), 17.672; 31. 2, Jason Billups, Holt, MO (26), 17.714; 32. 13, Brayden Gaylord, Wever, IA (20), 17.748; 33. 88, Rowdy Reber, Rapid City, SD (28), 17.763; 34. 57B, Boyd Peterson, Ithaca, NE (3), 18.020; 35. 1A, John Anderson, Des Moines, IA (12), 18.073; 36. 11B, Ben Woods, Newton, IA (7), 18.214; 37. 14J, Mike Johnston, Des Moines, IA (19), 20.816.

Heat one (started), 7 Laps, 2:03.1: 1. JJ Hickle (1); 2. Scott Bogucki (6); 3. Chase Randall (4); 4. Joe Beaver (2); 5. Nathan Mills (3); 6. Jack Dover (7); 7. Stu Snyder (8); 8. Ryan Leavitt (5); 9. Rowdy Reber (9); 10. Mike Johnston (10)

Heat two (started), 7 Laps, 2:02.6: 1. Rob Kubli (2); 2. Ryan Giles (4); 3. Clint Garner (3); 4. Josh Higday (6); 5. Calvin Landis (5); 6. Christian Bowman (1); 7. Collin Moyle (7); 8. Boyd Peterson (9); 9. Jason Tostenson (8)

Heat three (started), 7 Laps, NT: 1. Dylan Westbrook (1); 2. Garet Williamson (2); 3. Carson McCarl (4); 4. Ricky Montgomery (6); 5. Kaleb Johnson (3); 6. Christopher Thram (5); 7. John Anderson (7); 8. Jason Billups (8); DNS – Tony Rost

Heat four (started), 7 Laps, 2:05.1: 1. Jamie Ball (4); 2. Jason Martin (1); 3. Matt Covington (2); 4. Lee Grosz (6); 5. Matt Moro (3); 6. Riley Goodno (5); 7. Brayden Gaylord (8); 8. Ben Woods (7) DNS – Kelby Watt

B main (started), 10 Laps, NT: 1. Matt Covington (2); 2. Kaleb Johnson (1); 3. Jack Dover (5); 4. Stu Snyder (7) / 5. Christian Bowman (3); 6. Jason Billups (9); 7. Collin Moyle (4); 8. Brayden Gaylord (8); 9. Mike Johnston (14); 10. Ben Woods (12); 11. John Anderson (13); 12. Boyd Peterson (10); 13. Riley Goodno (6); 14. Rowdy Reber (11) DNS – Kelby WattTony RostJason Tostenson

A main (started), 18 Laps, NT: 1. Josh Higday (2); 2. Lee Grosz (4); 3. Chase Randall (7); 4. Jamie Ball (8); 5. Ryan Giles (5); 6. Carson McCarl (10); 7. Clint Garner (15); 8. JJ Hickle (16); 9. Matt Moro (9); 10. Ricky Montgomery (3); 11. Matt Covington (21); 12. Joe Beaver (20); 13. Jack Dover (23); 14. Christopher Thram (11); 15. Garet Williamson (17); 16. Jason Martin (14); 17. Kaleb Johnson (22); 18. Rob Kubli (13); 19. Calvin Landis (6); 20. Nathan Mills (19); 21. Ryan Leavitt (12); 22. Stu Snyder (24); 23. Scott Bogucki (1); 24. Dylan Westbrook (18). Lap Leaders: Bogucki 1-5, Higday 6-18. Hard-charger: Dover.

Pro Series Results

Heat one (started), 6 Laps, 1:49.8: 1. 24, Kade Higday, Pleasant Hill, IA (2); 2. 20, Brandon Worthington, Indianola, IA (4); 3. 44, Scotty Johnson, Melcher-Dallas, IA (1); 4. 99, Matthew Stelzer, Papillion, NE (8); 5. 26, Chase Young, Des Moines, IA (6); 6. B29, JJ Beaver, Knoxville, IA (3); 7. 12P, Ryan Navratil, Des Moines, IA (5); 8. 5A, Alex Vande Voort, Knoxville, IA (7) DNS – 3TJ, Joel Thorpe, Urbandale, IA

Heat two (started), 6 Laps, NT: 1. Devin Kline (2); 2. Tyler Groenendyk (4); 3. Evan Epperson (1); 4. Mike Mayberry (9); 5. Jeff Wilke (8); 6. Matt Allen (5); 7. Tyler Barrick (7); 8. Jaslyn Jones (6); 9. Devin Wignall (3)

A main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. Matthew Stelzer (1); 2. Tyler Groenendyk (2); 3. Evan Epperson (9); 4. Devin Kline (5); 5. Brandon Worthington (3); 6. Chase Young (10); 7. Jeff Wilke (7); 8. Matt Allen (11); 9. Alex Vande Voort (16); 10. Tyler Barrick (13); 11. Jaslyn Jones (15); 12. Scotty Johnson (8); 13. JJ Beaver (12); 14. Mike Mayberry (4); 15. Devin Wignall (17); 16. Kade Higday (6); 17. Ryan Navratil (14) DNS – Joel Thorpe. Lap Leader: Stelzer 1-15. Hard-charger: Vande Voort.

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