Story By Bill Wright
Photos By Dave Hill
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (May 22, 2021) – Vermeer Night at Knoxville Raceway belonged to Brian Brown Saturday night! The Grain Valley, Missouri native started the evening by besting a fifteen-year-old one-lap track record, and ended it winning not only the scheduled main event, but also the make-up feature from a week ago. Ryan Giles made a late restart pass to claim his tenth career main event win in the 360 class, while Tyler Groenendyk won his second Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance feature of the year.
Week and day long showers did not deter the track crew or fans from getting the races in on Saturday. A delay of over one hour did not slow anyone down either. What it did do was make for a lightning-fast half-mile.
It was a unique night in 2006 when Brooke Tatnell set the one-lap track record at 14.407 seconds. Though many have flirted with the mark, none eclipsed it until Saturday, when Brown posted the new mark at 14.351 seconds, an average speed of around 125 miles per hour.
Brown entered lapped traffic on the seventh lap, and had built a 2.8 second lead by the halfway point. Henderson worked on Phillips and passed him on the high side with four laps to go to take the second spot.
Brown’s 5.5 second lead was eliminated after he took the white flag when Austin Miller came to a stop in turn two. Brown led Henderson, Phillips, Moeller and Matt Juhl back to green. Phillips used the low side to fly by Henderson for second, but that was negated when his brother Tasker went up in smoke in turn two.
The restart saw Brown take off, Sawyer take second for good, and Carson McCarl charge from seventh to round out the podium in the last two laps. Henderson, Juhl, Moeller, Parker Price-Miller, Lynton Jeffrey, Terry McCarl and Ayrton Gennetten rounded out the top ten. Chris Martin, Juhl and Terry McCarl won the heats.
“I was just trying to keep up the pace,” said Brown in Victory Lane. “Those Outlaw guys run hard. If you’re going to beat them here in a couple of weeks (June 11 and 12), you’ve got to run hard in traffic. It’s something I need to keep working at as a driver. We’ll keep working on that.”
In the make-up feature, Gennetten got the jump from outside of the front row and set a good pace ahead of Carson McCarl, Price-Miller, Brown and Moeller. Price-Miller drove the Forbrook #5x into second on lap two, while Davey Heskin entered the top five.
Brown passed McCarl for third on lap three, while up front, Gennetten was maneuvering lapped traffic by the fifth circuit. At that point, Austin Miller stopped to bring a caution. Gennetten led Price-Miller, Brown, McCarl and Heskin back to green. Heskin used the low side to gain fourth, while Brown and Price-Miller battled hard for the runner-up spot. Brown took that on lap nine.
Gennetten was smooth on the cushion, however and he was back in lapped traffic with four to go. Brown stalked him slowly and then performed a slide job to lead lap nineteen. Gennetten’s impressive run ended in second, ahead of Price-Miller, Heskin and McCarl. Sawyer Phillips, Henderson, Jeffrey, Juhl and hard-charger Terry McCarl completed the top ten. Brown’s wins were number 52 and 53 here.
“Hats off to Ayrton,” said Brown. “He did a really good job there and I didn’t think I was going to get him. I found the bottom in one and two, and I figured I’d have one chance if I didn’t mess it up. I felt like when he got to that lapped car he hesitated just for a second and I got a good run. I was able to cross there. Hat’s off to the Dunkin’s and the track crew for getting it in. Overall, this was just an awesome night.”
Rob Kubli led early in the 18-lap 360 feature ahead of Scott Bogucki and Nate Mills. Mechanical issues plagued Kaleb Johnson, who stopped and then exited one lap in. Stu Snyder slowed and exited on that restart.
Kubli kept a good pace up front, but Bogucki tracked him down when Kubli moved to the low side of turns one and two on lap seven. Shortly after that, Chase Porter came to a stop inside turn four. With 11 laps to go, Bogucki led Kubli, Giles, Mills and Jamie Ball.
Giles quickly shot by Kubli for second, while Mills followed him into third on lap nine. Bogucki was negotiating lapped traffic by lap 13, but two laps later, fifth running Ricky Montgomery spun.
Giles pounced on the restart, sliding in front of Bogucki and holding on to win his tenth career feature here. Bogucki held on for second ahead of Ball, who gained third on the last lap, Mills and Matt Moro. Clint Garner, hard-charger Josh Higday, Kubli, Calvin Landis and Kelby Watt rounded out the top ten. Giles also set quick time about one-tenth off the track record, while Tony Rost, Porter and Collin Moyle won heats.
“We had one rough night this year to get going,” said Giles in Victory Lane. “I can’t thank this team enough for getting us going. Right now, we’re having a lot of fun. That bottom…I was able to hold it down and float it…it was kind of brown coming off. I was just trying to hold it there and make sure (Bogucki) couldn’t get back underneath me. Luckily, we were able to hang on and here we are.”
The Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance saw a familiar leader early in the 15-lap main event. Matthew Stelzer, who had won two in a row was out front, ahead of Alex Vande Voort and Mike Mayberry, who had already charged from outside row four.
Tyler Groenendyk slid Mayberry on lap two. Mayberry shot over the cushion and lost several spots. Devin Wignall worked from fifth to third by lap five, when Ryan Navrital spun and backed into the turn one wall. He was uninjured.
Stelzer led Groenendyk, Wignall, Vande Voort and Mayberry back to green. Mayberry hit the cushion to take fourth in his battle back. On lap seven, Groenendyk, stuck the low side of one and two to pass Stelzer for the point. Wignall and Mayberry battled with Stelzer for the second spot most of the way, while Groenendyk pulled away for his second win this season and in his career.
Wignall passed Stelzer for second with three to go, and Mayberry got him late for third. Chase Young was fifth. Devin Kline, Evan Epperson, Eric Bridger, Brandon Worthington and Vande Voort completed the top ten. Bridger and Scotty Johnson were the heat winners.
“I just had to go where they weren’t,” said Groenendyk of his pass of Stelzer. “There was tons of grip in the racetrack tonight. We’ve been off the last couple weeks, but I have a lot of smart people behind the scenes helping me. They got me going when I needed it.”
Next Saturday, May 29, is Knoxville Hospital and Clinics/Slideways 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.
Time Trials, 1. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (4), 14.351; 2. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell City, IA (8), 14.678; 3. 7, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD (7), 14.781; 4. 83, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (17), 14.817; 5. 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (12), 14.857; 6. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (2), 14.933; 7. 3, Ayrton Gennetten, Gravois Mills, MO (10), 14.941; 8. 5X, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN (18), 14.970; 9. 5, Presley Truedson, Kennedy, MN (14), 15.008; 10. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (11), 15.043; 11. 22, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (5), 15.051; 12. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (13), 15.122; 13. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (16), 15.129; 14. 2KS, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD (19), 15.136; 15. 83A, Austin Miller, Lacona, IA (1), 15.187; 16. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (9), 15.251; 17. 19, Bob Weuve, Newton, IA (6), 15.384; 18. 56, Joe Simbro, Pleasantville, IA (3), 15.505; 19. 15, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA (15), 15.819; 20. 14K, Tori Knutson, Monticello, MN (20), NT
A main (started), 21 Laps, NT: 1. Brian Brown (3); 2. Sawyer Phillips (1); 3. Carson McCarl (5); 4. Justin Henderson (4); 5. Matt Juhl (10); 6. AJ Moeller (2); 7. Parker Price-Miller (6); 8. Lynton Jeffrey (8); 9. Terry McCarl (9); 10. Ayrton Gennetten (7); 11. Riley Goodno (11); 12. Davey Heskin (12); 13. Chris Martin (13); 14. Presley Truedson (14); 15. Tasker Phillips (15); 16. Austin Miller (17); 17. Bobby Mincer (19); 18. Bob Weuve (18); 19. Joe Simbro (16) DNS – Tori Knutson. Lap Leader: Brown 1-21. Hard-charger: Juhl.
A main (makeup from 5/15) (started), 20 Laps, NT: 1. Brian Brown (6); 2. Ayrton Gennetten (2); 3. Parker Price-Miller (1); 4. Davey Heskin (8); 5. Carson McCarl (4); 6. Sawyer Phillips (10); 7. Justin Henderson (5); 8. Lynton Jeffrey (7); 9. Matt Juhl (12); 10. Terry McCarl (18); 11. Riley Goodno (13); 12. Chris Martin (15); 13. Bobby Mincer (17); 14. AJ Moeller (3); 15. Presley Truedson (11); 16. Joe Simbro (16); 17. Tasker Phillips (9); 18. Austin Miller (14) DNS – 49, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA. Lap Leaders: Gennetten 1-18, Brown 19-20. Hard-charger: T. McCarl.
Time Trials (Qualifying Order), 2 laps: 1. 9, Ryan Giles, Grimes, IA (18), 15.604; 2. 9M, Ricky Montgomery, Denver, CO (10), 15.651; 3. 24N, Nathan Mills, Bondurant, IA (3), 15.687; 4. 70, Calvin Landis, Knoxville, IA (4), 15.744; 5. 22K, Kaleb Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD (12), 15.750; 6. 23K, Rob Kubli, Milo, IA (22), 15.804; 7. 28, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Au (7), 15.829; 8. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (11), 15.834; 9. 24T, Christopher Thram, Sanburn, MN (17), 15.854; 10. 4W, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (15), 15.877; 11. 22, Ryan Leavitt, Knoxville, IA (8), 15.942; 12. 2M, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA (9), 15.959; 13. 1K, Kelby Watt, Adel, IA (19), 15.965; 14. 2, Chase Porter, St. Joseph, MO (16), 15.983; 15. 5M, Collin Moyle, Knoxville, IA (14), 16.021; 16. 99, Tony Rost, Utica, NE (1), 16.048; 17. 23S, Stu Snyder, Waverly, NE (13), 16.054; 18. 41, Colton Hardy, Phoenix, AZ (6), 16.058; 19. 35, Josh Higday, Des Moines, IA (2), 16.081; 20. 22X, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (21), 16.099; 21. 1A, John Anderson, Des Moines, IA (20), 16.252; 22. 14J, Mike Johnston, Des Moines, IA (5), 16.407
A main (started), 18 Laps, NT: 1. Ryan Giles (3); 2. Scott Bogucki (6); 3. Jamie Ball (12); 4. Nathan Mills (2); 5. Matt Moro (8); 6. Clint Garner (5); 7. Josh Higday (20); 8. Rob Kubli (1); 9. Calvin Landis (7); 10. Kelby Watt (13); 11. Ryan Leavitt (16); 12. Riley Goodno (19); 13. Christopher Thram (15); 14. Colton Hardy (18); 15. Tony Rost (14); 16. Mike Johnston (22); 17. John Anderson (21); 18. Ricky Montgomery (4); 19. Collin Moyle (11); 20. Chase Porter (9); 21. Stu Snyder (17); 22. Kaleb Johnson (10). Lap Leaders: Kubli 1-6, Bogucki 7-15, Giles 16-18. Hard-charger: Higday.
Pro Series Results
Heat one (started), 6 Laps, 1:43.4: 1. 81E, Eric Bridger, Winterset, IA (2); 2. 26, Chase Young, Des Moines, IA (1); 3. 17x, Tyler Groenendyk, Oskaloosa, IA (4); 4. 7c, Devin Kline, Knoxville, IA (3); 5. 17, Matt Allen, Adel, IA (5); 6. 21, Evan Epperson, Muscatine, IA (8); 7. 12P, Ryan Navratil, Des Moines, IA (9); 8. B29, JJ Beaver, Knoxville, IA (6); 9. 11, Tyler Barrick, Slater, IA (7); 10. 41, Jeff Wilke, Knoxville, IA (10)
Heat two (started), 6 Laps, 1:43.6: 1. 44, Scotty Johnson, Melcher-Dallas, IA (2); 2. 0, Mike Mayberry, Fremont, IA (5); 3. 99, Matthew Stelzer, Omaha, NE (1); 4. 5A, Alex Vande Voort, Knoxville, IA (4); 5. 21x, Devin Wignall, Altoona, IA (9); 6. 3TJ, Joel Thorpe, Urbandale, IA (3); 7. 20, Brandon Worthington, Indianola, IA (7); 8. 4, Cam Martin, Ankeny, IA (6); 9. 43J, Jaslyn Jones, Monroe, IA (8)
A main (started), 15 Laps, NT: 1. Tyler Groenendyk (3); 2. Devin Wignall (5); 3. Mike Mayberry (8); 4. Matthew Stelzer (2); 5. Chase Young (4); 6. Devin Kline (9); 7. Evan Epperson (10); 8. Eric Bridger (7); 9. Brandon Worthington (14); 10. Alex Vande Voort (1); 11. Scotty Johnson (6); 12. Jeff Wilke (19); 13. Matt Allen (11); 14. Cam Martin (16); 15. JJ Beaver (15); 16. Jaslyn Jones (17); 17. Joel Thorpe (13); 18. Ryan Navratil (12); 19. Tyler Barrick (18). Lap Leaders: Stelzer 1-6, Groenendyk 7-15. Hard-charger: Wilke.