Justin Henderson is hotter than hot at the Knoxville Raceway. Last Saturday night when McKenna Haase grabbed the headlines, and rightfully so after being the first woman to win a feature race at the famous speedway, Henderson was having a pretty notable night himself by winning the 410 feature and running second in the 360 main event. Last night the driver from Tea, South Dakota, did it one better as he swept both divisions against stellar fields in an impressive fashion.
The car counts were phenomenal once again with 33 each in the 410's and 360's plus 25 cars signed in for competition in the 305 division, and with rain approaching from the south and west track officials were forced into "hurry up mode" from the first drop of the green.
The 305's were first up for features and the red flag waved on the opening lap when Mitchell Alexander got sideways in turn two, hopped the berm and went for a tumble collecting Don Dawson III in the process. Once under green pole-sitter Devin Kline threatened to make this a runaway only to have the caution wave on lap four when Dawson spun in turn three leaving Rob Weuve with no place to go. On the restart Stacey Alexander and Mike Mayberry swapped the second spot back and forth as Kline again pulled away and on lap eight the caution waved again when Corey Kautz spun in turn four with Rob Weuve again having to spin to avoid heavy contact.
At this point the crowd was starting to get a bit nervous as the wind cooled and picked up from the south indicating that the rain was getting closer and after one more lap under green Weuve spun on his own for another caution. On the next restart Trevor Smith went for a tumble under the scoreboard in turns three and four and after a quick cleanup the field was set for a green-white-checkers restart. But the caution waved again when Cody Ambers and Christian Bowman got locked together in turn two. The race would finally make it to the checkers following the next restart as Kline would take his second win in three weeks ahead of Stacey Alexander, Mike Mayberry, Ben Woods and Kevin Hetrick who muscled his way past McKenna Haase in the final set of turns.
The 15-lap 360 feature was quickly brought to the track and as soon as the green flag waved the third starting Henderson drove under the front row of Nate VanHaaften and Matt Moro to hold the lead at the flagstand. Unlike the caution plagued race before it, this one was clean until the white flag waved for Henderson and as he went to the cushion in turn one the lapped car of Sawyer Phillips running right behind the leader slapped the guardrail to bring out the only caution of the race. On the restart Henderson drove away once again to take the win while Clint Garner slipped by VanHaaften to finish second. Tony Shilling picked up a couple of spots in the final laps to finish fourth while Jon Agan chalked up a fifth place run.
The 410 feature was already pushing off as Henderson scaled his 360 ride and once making weight he quickly strapped into his 410 car that was slated to start on the pole position for the twenty lap finale. Bill Balog would join Henderson on the front row and when Balog swung high coming to the start the fourth starting Brian Brown said "thank you very much" and powered to he lead at the drop of the green. Brown had things well in hand until lap eleven when he slowed suddenly heading down the back stretch and he pulled to the infield as Henderson picked up the lead. The battle for second was the one to watch as Danny Lasoski, Tim Kaeding and Kerry Madsen were going at it well behind the leader. That trio was closing a bit on Henderson as the laps clicked away and when Matt Covington got upside down in turn two with four laps remaining it looked like we would have a wild finish in this one.
Lasoski made a run at Henderson on the restart only to have Justin brush it off and when Kaeding challenged to the inside and Madsen to the outside, Henderson pulled away as Lasoski threw the blocks that he needed to try to hold on to second. Henderson would go on to take his second win in the last ten minutes while Madsen, who flew back to Knoxville on a rare Saturday night off for the World of Outlaws, found a new shock package to his liking taking second from Lasoski at the checkers. "The Dude" finished in the third sport while Kaeding held off a late charge from Terry McCarl to finish in the fourth position.
As the crowd shuffled out, a check of the radar showed the rain less than ten miles from the track and you have to give credit to Race Director John McCoy, his crew and all the drivers for speeding through the show. Hot laps started shortly after 6:45 and the final checkers waved at 10:40 showing that it just takes some time to group qualify ninety-one sprint cars, run eleven heat races, two B-Mains and three feature races. There was absolutely no wasted time here this evening.
Tonight's (Sunday) Shottenkirk.com Sprint Invaders show at 34 Raceway in Burlington has been rained out and with that we will be taking about a two week break here on the Back Stretch. In the meantime please poke around in some of the archives that you can find over on the right of this page and definitely stay in touch with our other writers here at Positively Racing.
See you again soon here on the Back Stretch!
Sunday, May 24, 2015
The following report has been written by Chris Uren, a young man who I am hoping will agree to join the Positively Racing team and become our first writer from the western half of Iowa.
My 18th race of the year brought me to one of my weekly tracks as the cars and stars from the USMTS series were on hand as well as the USRA Stock Cars and B-Mods. 31 USMTS 26 USRA B-Mods and 22 USRA Stock Cars checked into the pit area. First on the night were 3 B-Mod heats. Local racer Logan Scott dominated heat 1 and his brother Keegan dominated heat 3 after coming the back. Chippewa Falls, WI driver Cory Crapser took checkers in heat race 2 also. 3 USRA Stock Car heats were next and fans were treated to 3 and 4 wide racing. Heat 1 saw the veteran Tom Schmitt cruise to victory over Mitch Hovden. Lynn Panos came from inside row 2 to take the checkers over Kevin Faulk and Jake Masters in what was a very entertaining and good race. Local hot shoe Chris Ullrich dominated heat 3 after passing Steve Jackson early on. The final 4 heat races of the night belonged to the USMTS modifieds. The first heat saw Kelly Shryock and Casey Arneson make contact in turn 1 on the first lap collecting Brian Green as well, all were able to continue. It was no surprise though as Rodney Sanders would cruise to victory in Heat 1. Cade Dillard took advantage of his pole starting spot in heat 2 and dominated. It was Stormy Scott who owned heat 3 and making his return to the Crawford County Speedway it was Jesse Sobbing as he wasted no time picking up where he left as weekly competitor as he picked up the heat race 4 win but not after a hard fought battle with fellow local racer Chris Ableson and USMTS regular Daniel Hilsabeck.
The first feature of the night was the USRA B-Mods. 25 cars took the green flag as Dan Hovden broke right before the start and pulled in right away. Cory Crapser who started outside row 2 wasted no time and was a rocket ship as he took the lead right away and Logan Scott quickly found himself in 2nd. Scott however caught the wall in turn 1 on lap 6 while chasing down Crapser and was able to continue. This brought out a yellow. On the restart Chris Ableson and Brett Bumgartner would make contact resulting in Bumgartner leaving on the hook. A bad restart for 3rd place runner Jake McBirnie bunched up the field and Matt Jones and Josh Most were the victims of it. On the in suing restart Crapser got a great jump on the field and was up to a straightaway lead however a caution on lap 12 would again re-rack and re-stack the field. Chris Ableson who started 25th had just worked his way into 2nd and was on a mission. A good restart for Ableson gave Crapser a run but Cory would prevail. With 2 to go another yellow would slow the field down. On the restart Ableson got a good restart and pulled a slider on Crapser in turns 1 and 2 but couldnt make it stick and it was Cory Crapser who took the first feature of the night. Chris Ableson(5x) Jake McBirnie(82) Jonathan Logue(69) and Dan Wheeler(RED1) rounded out the top 5.
Next on the card was the USRA Stock Car feature. 22 Cars started the feature and it was Tom Schmitt who took advantage of his front row starting spot and jumped out to a commanding lead. A mid race yellow would not be what Schmitt wanted to see as he had distanced himself from the field. I am not one who likes yellow flags in races but this yellow was beneficial for the fan point of view as the 2nd half of the race was very entertaining. For most of the 2nd half you could have thrown a blanket over the top 7 cars. As they continued to race hard side by side it was Chris Ullrich who was the car to watch. Ullrich a weekly competitor at the speedway would show why he calls the Crawford County Speedway his home track. Schmitt and Ullrich raced side by side for final 2 laps. Heading into turn 3 it was Ullrich, Schmitt and Hovden. Hovden would bobble in 4 and coming to the checkers they were 3 wide with Chris Ullrich grabbing the win Hovden would finish 2nd, Nathan Wood edged Tom Schmitt who got shuffled from 1st to 4th in half a lap, while Lynn Panos rounded out the top 5.
The final event was the USMTS feature event. Jesse Sobbing would jump out to the early lead and would dominate the first 7 laps but a yellow on lap 7 would slow the field down. On the restart the B-Mod feature winner Cory Crapser and Brian Green would make contact coming out of 4 with Crapser penciled in as a DNF on the stat sheet. The field was again slowed by a yellow on lap 13 but it was for race leader Jesse Sobbing as he blew a RR tire. Casey Arneson would inherit the lead with Cade Dillard in 2nd. On the restart Arneson would prevail but after a few laps Dillard would make the pass and take over the top spot. Anybody that knows the USMTS tour knows that you cannot count out Stormy Scott or Rodney Sanders as they were charging to the front. Another RR tire would slow the field down on lap 20 this time for Josh Most. On the restart Dillard would get a good jump on the field. Stormy Scott who was charging hard on the top side caught the wall coming outta 4 and this opened the door up for Rodney Sanders. Sanders was in hot pursuit of Dillard. A yellow for debris on lap 30 was not what Cade Dillard wanted to see with Sanders right behind him but was able to hold him off for last 10 laps and record the victory. Rodney Sanders, Jason Hughes, Stormy Scott, Kelly Shryock, Jesse Sobbing (who came back from tail) Casey Arneson, Zack Vanderbeek, Grant Junghans and Daniel Hilsabeck completed the top 10.