Auto Racing: Knoxville 360 ​​Nationals | Sports


KNOXVILLE — Aaron Reutzel was closing in on going wire-to-wire on Saturday night at the 32nd annual 360 Knoxville Nationals.

Reutzel had a feeling, however, it wouldn’t be that easy. With just three laps left, those feelings were confirmed with a glance at the video board.

“They had me in the camera shot. It was zoomed way out and I could see another car in the frame,” Reutzel said. “I knew the 15 had moved into second place. I kind of figured it was him.”

That No. 15 belongs to another Texan, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. The Sunnyvale native and A-Main winner on the opening night of the 360 ​​Nationals was making up ground cutting a 2.5-second deficit down to a matter of car lengths setting up a potential Lone Star state showdown in the heart of south central Iowa.

“At that point, I’m not going to change my line,” Reutzel said. “I just figured if I stayed there, maybe if he was coming at the bottom, I’d have one chance at a chop or something. I tried to stay in the easiest line to run and kept glancing to my left.”

Hafertepe got as close as the inside of Reutzel’s rear wheel in the closing laps, but could not push past what proved to be a record-setting run for the Clute, Texas native. Reutzel would win in track-record time of 9:03.9 over a cleanly-raced 30 laps in the championship race, beating Hafertepe by less than three-quarters of a second doubling the $15,000-prize money earning a $15,000 bonus for leading all 30 laps of Saturday’s A-Main.

“It means I’m $30,000 richer,” Reutzel said with a smile on Saturday night.

Reutzel, third in the same A-Main that Hafertepe won on Thursday, entered Saturday outside the front row of the 30-lap A-Main after securing 487 points over the two days of qualifying, just three shy of pole sitter Lynton Jeffrey. While Reutzel moved ahead of Jeffrey before the opening lap had concluded, Hafertepe moved from his seventh starting spot into the top five by the fifth lap.

Reutzel and Hafertepe both found their stride as the race rolled along. Reutzel built his lead over Jeffrey as the laps ticked on while Hafertepe continued to move up in the field, narrowly getting by Knoxville Raceway regular Clint Garner as the two made wheel-to-wheel contact on the 14th lap of the A-Main with Hafertepe taking over third from Garner.

“This race is pretty hard to pass anyway,” Hafertepe said. “For us to come from seventh up into the top five and pass the quality of cars that we did is impressive for us.”

Reutzel was into lapped traffic at the halfway point, and Hafertepe worked by Jeffrey to move into second. The last ten laps saw furious racing between Jeffrey and Garner for the last podium spot. They traded the position five times in the last ten laps with Garner ultimately coming out on top in a total time of 9:12.177, beating pole-sitter Jeffrey by 1.156 seconds.

“To race with this caliber of drivers is comfortable. These guys are so good and they know where their boundaries are,” Garner said. “I definitely felt like the underdog coming into this race. I’m feeling pretty fortunate to be sitting up here.”

Tyler Courtney won the 18-lap B main and Kaleb Johnson claimed the C main. The D main saw much attrition and carnage as two separate crashes took out nine cars before one lap could even be completed.

Seth Brahmer and Ryan Bowers were involved in a scary accident on the front stretch that required fence repair as the original 24-car field took the opening green flag. On the restart, six cars would get together against the railing in the first turn with Rusty Hickman, Randy Miller, Tony Rost, Ben Brown, Clayton Christensen and Sam Henderson all being taken out in the accident.

Justin Sanders emerged victorious in the D-Main while Jett Carney won the E-Main. Randall secured $500 from Jetco as Rookie of the Year, while Cody Hansen took $500 from DGRD for “Best Appearing Car.”

Defending Knoxville 360 ​​Nationals champion Gio Scelzi never challenged in Saturday’s A-Main final, ultimately winding up 10th overall in his bid for consecutive titles. Kyle Larson, the defending 410 Nationals and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, finished 11th on Saturday in 9:16.746 before heading off to Michigan International Speedway to score a seventh-place finish at the FireKeepers Casino 400.

Larson was back in the Hawkeye State on Monday, competing in Oskaloosa at the Southern Iowa Speedway in the Front Row Challenge. Larson begins the defense of the 410 Knoxville Nationals title when the first of two qualifying nights begins on Wednesday.

AUTO RACING

32nd Annual 360 Knoxville Nationals Presented by Great Southern Bank

E main (started), 8 Laps, No Time: 1. 6J, Jett Carney, El Paso, TX (2); 2. 1cc, Clayton Christensen, Spencer, IA (1); 3. 42, Sye Lynch, Apollo, PA (4); 4. 5T, Ryan Timms, Oklahoma City, OK (6); 5/19, Wes Wofford, Alamogordo, NM (5); 6. 83JR, Sam Henderson, Sioux Falls, SD (10); 7. 6c, Logan Calderwood, Goodyear, AZ (3); 8. 199, Ryan Bowers, Nowthen, MN (8); 9. 1A, John Anderson, Des Moines, IA (7) / 10. 4D, Charles Davis Jr., Buckeye, AZ (9); 11. 3M, Michael Pinnel, Rapid City, SD (13); 12. 4s, Adam Speckman, Sioux Falls, SD (12); 13. 4H Cody Hansen, Nunda, SD (11) DNS – 8H, Jacob Hughes, Hartford, SD; 17B, ​​Ryan Bickett, Ramona, SD; 24N, Nate Mills, Bondurant, IA; 15, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA; 2, Alex Pettas, Tempe, AZ; 17, Matt Allen, Adel, IA; 9m, Ricky Montgomery, Denver, CO; 10, Landon Britt, Memphis, TN; 41, Chase Moran, Fultonville, NY.

D main (started), 10 Laps, NT: 1. 16A, Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA (1); 2. 26H, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (8); 3. 5m, Collin Moyle, Knoxville, IA (4); 4. 21G, Gunner Ramey, Sedalia, MO (2); 5. 53, Joe Beaver, Knoxville, IA (14); 6. 50z, Zach Chappell, Talala, OK (12); 7. 55B, Brandon Anderson, Glenpool, OK (10); 8. Sye Lynch (18); 9. 28, Luke Verardi, Taylorville, IL (13) / 10. Ryan Timms (19); 11. John Anderson (24); 12. Logan Calderwood (22); 13. 22w, Aaron Werner, Colman, SD (15); 14. Jett Carney (16); 15. Wes Wofford (20); 16. 45, Rusty Hickman, Bendigo, VIC, Aust. (3); 17. 2JR, Kelly Miller, Coaldale, ALB, Can. (5); 18. 99, Tony Rost, Omaha, NE (6); 19. 7B, Ben Brown, Marshall, MO (9); 20. Clayton Christensen (17); 21. Sam Henderson (21); 22. 22, Ryan Leavitt, Knoxville, IA (11); 23. 13v, Seth Brahmer, Wisner, NE (7); 24. Ryan Bowers (23) DNS – 1x, Tim Crawley, Benton, AR; 9G, Ryan Giles, Grimes, IA; 70, Calvin Landis, Knoxville, IA; 27H, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK; 9MB, JJ Beaver, Knoxville, IA.

C main (started), 12 Laps, 3:33.3: 1. 22K, Kaleb Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD (1); 2. 4, Cam Martin, Ankeny, IA (2); 3. 91, Kyle Reinhardt, Neptune City, NJ (4); 4. 55T, McKenna Haase, Des Moines, IA (3) / 5. 27B, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO (8); 6. 14T, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (10); 7. 35, Skylar Prochaska, Lakefield, MN (15); 8. Colby Copeland (16); 9. 7M, Chance Morton, Coweta, OK (13); 10. Scott Bogucki (17); 11. 94, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN (6); 12. Joe Beaver (20); 13. 45x, Kyler Johnson, Quinter, KS (9); 14. Zach Chappell (21); 15. 10P, Dylan Postier, Stillwater, OK (14); 16. Sye Lynch (23); 17. Brandon Anderson (22); 18. 23, Devon Dobie, Wapakoneta, OH (12); 19. Gunner Ramey (19); 20. Luke Verardi (24); 21. Collin Moyle (18); 22. 5A, Alex Vande Voort, Knoxville, IA (7); 23. 83, Austin Miller, Lacona, IA (5); 24. 8M, Kade Morton, Coweta, OK (11) DNS – 53D, Jack Dover, Springfield, NE; 7c, Devin Kline, Knoxville, IA; 4w, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA; 17w, Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA; 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA.

B main (started), 18 Laps, 5:22.8: 1. 7BC, Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, IN (1); 2. 11M, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN (8); 3. 5, Brady Forbrook, Morgan, MN (2); 4. 49x, Cale Thomas, Fairland, IN (5) / 5. 18R, Ryan Roberts, Aurora, NE (3); 6/20, Anthony Macri, Dillsburg, PA (13); 7. 27, Carson McCarl, Altoona, IA (4); 8. 88, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (6); 9/14, Corey Day, Clovis, CA (10); 10.95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK (7); 11. 39, Justin Sanders, Aromas, CA (9); 12. 64, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (16); 13. 26, Zeb Wise, Angola, IN (14); 14. 21H, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (15); 15. 2m, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (19); 16. 36, Jason Martin, Lincoln, NE (11); 17. Caleb Johnson (21); 18.44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (20); 19. 11N, Harli White, Lindsay, OK (17); 20. Cam Martin (22); 21. Kyle Reinhardt (23); 22. 75AU, Tyler Blank, California, MO (18); 23. 22x, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (12); 24. McKenna Haase (24).

A main, 30 Laps, 9:03.9 (NTR): 1. 8, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX (2); 2. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX (7); 3. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (3); 4. 2K, Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City, IA (1); 5. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (4); 6. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (5); 7. 71, Cory Eliason, Visalia, CA (12); 8. 3, Ayrton Gennetten, Gravois Mills, MO (6); 9. 9, Chase Randall, Waco, TX (18); 10/18, Gio Scelzi, Fresno, CA (8); 11.57, Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA (16); 12. 83H, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD (14); 13. Parker Price-Miller (22); 14. 24w, Garet Williamson, Kingdom City, MO (13); 15/09, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD (19); 16. 21K, Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg, MB, Can. (11); 17. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (15); 18. Cale Thomas (24); 19. Brady Forbrook (23); 20. 52, Blake Hahn, Sapulpa, OK (17); 21. 24T, Christopher Thram, Sanborn, MN (9); 22. 6, Kelby Watt, Adel, IA (20); 23. 2c, Wayne Johnson, Tuttle, OK (10); 24. Tyler Courtney (21).

Lap Leader: Reutzel 1-30.

Hard charger: Randall.

$500 Jetco Rookie of the Year: Randall.

$500 DGRD Best Appearing Car: Hansen.

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