It’s finally time. The Granddaddy of ‘Em All has arrived.
The 61st NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s officially begins on Wednesday night with the first of two split-field preliminary nights for the 100+ car field. The million-dollar purse continues to pay out on Thursday and into Friday’s #HardKnox program, and then the big dance awaits on Saturday with a $175,000-to-win, $10,000-to-start main event on everyone’s minds.
A sell-out crowd of more than 20,000+ diedhard fans is expected to pour into The Sprint Car Capital of the World, but those who can’t make it to Knoxville, Iowa can still enjoy DIRTVision’s full coverage of the event from home.
BUY TICKETS (Wed-Sat)
Here’s what to watch for this weekend in Knoxville:
SIX-FOR-SIX: For the first time since 1968-72, the Knoxville Nationals has offered five different champions through five consecutive runnings. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) started the stretch with his unforgettable 2016 triumph, Donny Schatz (Fargo, ND) followed him with a 10th title in 2017, Brad Sweet (Grass Valley, CA) broke through for his maiden crown in 2018, David Gravel drove the Axalta #41 to glory in 2019, and then Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, CA) finally took his place at the mountaintop in 2021.
A victory for Sweet, Gravel, or Larson would make them the eighth driver to win multiple Knoxville Nationals through 61 years – joining Steve Kinser (12), Donny Schatz (10), Doug Wolfgang (5), Danny Lasoski (4), Kenny Weld (4), Mark Kinser (3), and Eddie Leavitt (2).
CHASING STEVE: Competing in Wednesday’s preliminary night – which happens to be his 45th birthday – Donny Schatz begins his next quest at chasing an 11th title in the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s. The birthday boy proved he’s as strong as ever in Knoxville, Iowa on Sunday, when he drove forward to finish a close second in the Capitani Classic.
Schatz was a mere one lap away from potentially stealing the title from Kyle Larson last year, and has brought a special retro look for his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Carquest Auto Parts, Ford Performance #15. Another win this week would bring the 10-time World of Outlaws champion only one title away from tying Steve Kinser’s all-time record of 12 titles in Knoxville.
SUNDAY SHARKS: Sunday’s Capitani Classic can be an excellent measuring board for the succeeding NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s. In 2018 and 2019, Brad Sweet and David Gravel used a Sunday score to propel themselves into a perfect week as each driver eventually won their preliminary night and then their first-career title later in the week.
This year, “The Cappy” belonged to Logan Schuchart and Shark Racing, who survived a fierce battle with Donny Schatz to win the $9,000 unsanctioned precursor atop the black zook clay. The Hanover, PA native has shined in The Sprint Car Capital of the World before, most notably hauling from 22nd-to-2nd at the 2019 Knoxville Nationals.
BUILDING BLOCKS: Five of last year’s top-10 finishers at the Knoxville Nationals are back for more and hoping their 2021 success can catapult them to career-best performances in 2022.
Giovanni Scelzi (Fresno, CA), who has qualified for all three Nationals he’s attempted, led 10 laps last yearn and ultimately finished fourth in the KCP Racing #18. The 20-year-old sensation has already beat the Outlaws twice this year, and won at Knoxville last month.
James McFadden (Alice Springs, NT) and Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA) both earned career-best runs of seventh and eighth last year at Knoxville, and now they’re swapping rides for the 2022 edition. McFadden is now in the Roth Motorsports #83, fresh off back-to-back podiums at I-55, and Kahne is in his own equipment aboard the FuelMe, Karavan Trailers #9 aiming for his first-career World of Outlaws win.
Carson Macedo (Lemoore, CA) and Sheldon Haudenschild (Wooster, OH) are tied as the winningest World of Outlaws drivers in 2022 with each claiming eight wins apiece. Both have found success at Knoxville in the past and they both earned their second Nationals top-10 finish last year.
JUNE GIANTS: When the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series last raced at The Sprint Car Capital of the World in June, it was a pair of non-full-timers shutting out the travelers from Victory Lane. Brent Marks, of Myerstown, PA, who later went on to win the Historical Big One and Kings Royal, completely swept the opening night in June at Knoxville and returns this week hoping to top his Nationals career-best of sixth from 2021.
Claiming the final night in June was Brian Brown, of Higginsville, MO, who is currently tied for third on the Knoxville Raceway All-Time Win List at 59 wins. The Casey’s General Stores, FVP Parts #21 once finished runner-up in three consecutive Knoxville Nationals (2012-14) and won a preliminary night as recent as last year. With four-time champion Danny Lasoski on the wrenches, Brownie is hungry to finally tame the big one.
MILLION-DOLLARS: It’s the single-most lucrative week of the year for Sprint Car racers. A million-dollar purse pays out hefty chunks from Wednesday and Thursday’s prelims ($12,000/Win, $1,000/Start) all the way to the $175,000/Win, $10,000/Start main event on Saturday night. There’s a handful of side hustles available as well including the Best Appearing Car Award, Best Appearing Crew, Best Appearing Helmet, Mr. Sprint Car Award, Rookie of the Yeard Award, Hard Charger Award, and Pole Award.
TREND-BREAKERS: The trends say that winning the 360 Nationals and Ironman 55 the week before the Knoxville Nationals can often be a deterrent. Never before in 30 years of the 360 Nationals and 15 years of the Ironman 55, has any driver topped either race the week before and later capped their trip to Knoxville by winning the big one with a 410 under the hood.
Aaron Reutzel and Brad Sweet are the two men who get to put that trend to the test this week. Reutzel topped the 360 Nationals aboard the RSR, Mobil 1 #8 and now looks to add a 410 Nationals victory to his resume, where his career-best is fourth from 2018. For Sweet, who won the Ironman 55 for the first time in his career, he’ll be trying to tame his second Knoxville Nationals crown this week in the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49.
THE ROOKIES: A race within the race each year is the hotly contested battle for JETCO Rookie of the Year honors. This week, 11 newbies will tackle the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s for the first time in their careers. These fresh faces will try to join Erin Evernham (22nd in 2003), Tony Bruce Jr. (22nd in 2007), Kyle Larson (16th in 2012), and Giovanni Scelzi (14th in 2018) as the only rookies since 2000 to qualify for the A-Main.
Contenders for the award include Buddy Kofoid, Tyler Drueke, Corey Day, Cole Macedo, Carson Short, Chris Windom, Justin Sanders, Dylan Westbrook, Blake Hahn, Alan Gilbertson, and Lachlan McHugh.
MR. SPRINT CAR: Each August, the Beaver Drill & Tool Jesse Hockett Mr. Sprint Car Award recognizes the most consistent and most successful drivers throughout Sourthern Iowa Speedweek. The grueling 10-day stretch – which includes 360 Nationals, Capitani Classic, Front Row Challenge, and Knoxville Nationals – puts cars on track for at least six race nights if you commit to it all.
Entering the Knoxville Nationals, Aaron Reutzel leads the way with 182 points accrued thanks to runs of third and first at 360 Nationals, third at the Capitani Classic, and 15th at the Front Row Challenge. Trailing him is Giovanni Scelzi (-4 points), Brian Brown (-13 points), Parker Price-Miller (-16 points), and Anthony Macri (-42 points).
THE INVERT: Arguably the most exciting racing of the week comes in the form of Heat Races during Wednesday and Thursday’s preliminary nights. Following Qualifying, the field is lined up in five, 10-lap Heat Races with an eight-car inversion. Meaning you go fastest and you start eighth in the first Heat. It gets tougher from there because only the top-four finishers in the Heat Races will transfer directly to the preliminary Feature.
ALL ABOUT POINTS: The best route to a Knoxville Nationals crown is through the front row, and the only way you make it there is with a phenomenal preliminary performance. The more points, the closer to the front. On prelims on Wednesday and Thursday, Qualifying rewards 200-198-196-etc. with Heat Races paying 100-97-94-etc. and the Feature again offering 200-198-196-etc. A perfect night would tally 500 points, something only done once in the last 25 years.
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE
Wednesday-Saturday, August 10-13 at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, IA
ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
Twitter – @WorldofOutlaws
Instagram – @WoOSprint
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsSprintCarSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (47/77 Races):
1. 49-Brad Sweet (6,380 PTS); 2. 2-David Gravel (-68 PTS); 3. 41-Carson Macedo (-114 PTS); 4. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild (-150 PTS); 5. 15-Donny Schatz (-184 PTS); 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart (-224 PTS); 7. 83-James McFadden (-356 PTS); 8. 5-Spencer Bayston (-372 PTS); 9. 1A-Jacob Allen (-616 PTS); 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss (-688 PTS).
NOS ENERGY DRINK FEATURE WINNERS (15 Drivers):
8 wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing #17
8 wins – Carson Macedo, Jason Johnson Racing #41
5 wins – David Gravel, Big Game Motorsports #2
5 wins – Brent Marks, Murray-Marks Motorsports #19
4 wins – Kyle Larson, Kevin Kozlowski/Paul Silva #57
3 wins – Brad Sweet, Kasey Kahne Racing #49
3 wins – Jacob Allen, Shark Racing #1A
2 wins – Donny Schatz, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15
2 wins – Spencer Bayston, CJB Motorsports #5
2 wins – Giovanni Scelzi, KCP Racing #18
1 win – Logan Schuchart, Shark Racing #1S,
1 win – Brock Zearfoss, Zearfoss Racing #3Z
1 win – Brian Brown, Brian Brown Racing #21
1 win – Buddy Kofoid, Crouch Motorsports #11
1 win – Lance Dewease, Don Kreitz Jr. Racing #69K
FEATURE LAPS LED (29 Drivers):
207 laps – Brad Sweet
185 laps – Carson Macedo
165 laps – Sheldon Haudenschild
132 laps – David Gravel
119 laps – Kyle Larson
109 laps – Brent Marks
94 laps – Donny Schatz
78 laps – Jacob Allen
66 laps – Spencer Bayston
61 laps – Giovanni Scelzi
52 laps – Brian Brown
41 laps – Logan Schuchart
31 laps – Buddy Kofoid
26 laps – Sam Hafertepe Jr.
23 laps – Kasey Kahne
22 laps – Brock Zearfoss
21 laps – Tyler Courtney
15 laps – Justin Peck
14 laps – James McFadden
13 laps – Cory Eliason
13 laps – Rico Abreu
9 laps – Dominic Scelzi, Brady Bacon
8 laps – Anthony Macri, Riley Goodno
7 laps – Kerry Madsen
5 laps – Lance Dewease
1 lap – Corey Day, Aaron Reutzel
QUICKTIME AWARDS (20 Drivers):
8 QuickTimes – Carson Macedo
6 QuickTimes – David Gravel
4 QuickTimes – Brad Sweet
3 QuickTimes – Sheldon Haudenschild*, Giovanni Scelzi*
2 QuickTimes – Donny Schatz, Logan Schuchart, Spencer Bayston, James McFadden, Jacob Allen, Rico Abreu, Justin Peck
1 QuickTime – Aaron Reutzel, Cory Eliason, Sam Hafertepe Jr, Buddy Kofoid, Brent Marks, Kerry Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Anthony Macri
* Denotes New Track Record
HEAT RACE WINNERS (46 Drivers):
19 Heat Wins – David Gravel
16 Heat Wins – Carson Macedo
13 Heat Wins – Brad Sweet
12 Heat Wins – Donny Schatz
11 Heat Wins – Jacob Allen
10 Heat Wins – Logan Schuchart
9 Heat Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, James McFadden
5 Heat Wins – Rico Abreu, Giovanni Scelzi, Kerry Madsen
4 Heat Wins – Spencer Bayston, Brock Zearfoss, Kraig Kinser, Aaron Reutzel, Brian Brown
3 Heat Wins – Kasey Kahne, Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Kyle Larson, Hunter Schuerenberg
2 Heat Wins – Austin McCarl, Justin Peck, Brent Marks, Marcus Dumesny
1 Heat Win – Sam Hafertepe Jr, Dominic Scelzi, Corey Day, Anthony Macri, Justin Whittall, Ian Madsen, Parker Price-Miller, Buddy Kofoid, Mark Dobmeier, Mitchel Moles, Brooke Tatnell, Riley Goodno, Matt Juhl, Jack Croaker, Paige Polyak, Carson McCarl, Sye Lynch, Daryn Pittman, Danny Dietrich, Devon Borden, Larry Wight
DIRTVISION FAST PASS DASH APPEARANCES (51 Drivers):
29 Dashes – David Gravel
27 Dashes – Brad Sweet
26 Dashes – Carson Macedo
20 Dashes – Donny Schatz, Spencer Bayston
19 Dashes – Sheldon Haudenschild, Logan Schuchart
18 Dashes – Jacob Allen
16 Dashes – James McFadden
10 Dashes – Rico Abreu
9 Dashes – Giovanni Scelzi
8 Dashes – Kraig Kinser
7 Dashes – Brock Zearfoss, Kyle Larson
6 Dashes – Cory Eliason
5 Dashes – Kasey Kahne, Aaron Reutzel, Brent Marks
4 Dashes – Kerry Madsen, Brian Brown, Tyler Courtney, Anthony Macri
3 Dashes – Danny Dietrich, Justin Peck
2 Dashes – Dominic Scelzi, Corey Day, Hunter Schuerenberg
1 Dash – Sam Hafertepe Jr, Colby Copeland, Tanner Carrick, DJ Netto, Brady Bacon, Matt Campbell, Justin Whittall, Ian Madsen, Cole Duncan, Parker Price-Miller, Austin McCarl, Matt Juhl, Buddy Kofoid, Scotty Thiel, Robbie Price, Zeb Wise, Ayrton Gennetten, Darin Pittman, Jeff Halligan, Lance Dewease, Devon Borden, Larry Wight, Danny Varin, Marcus Dumensy
MICROLITE LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN WINS (30 Drivers):
4 LCS Wins – James McFadden
3 LCS Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Ayrton Gennetten
2 LCS Wins – Logan Schuchart, Spencer Bayston, Brock Zearfoss, Noah Gass, Kerry Madsen, Rico Abreu, Anthony Macri
1 LCS Win – Donny Schatz, Mitchell Faccinto, Sam Hafertepe Jr, Brent Marks, DJ Foos, Christopher Bell, Austin Pierce, Jake Blackhurst, Robbie Price, Giovanni Scelzi, Scotty Thiel, Josh Schneiderman, Brian Brown, Lachlan McHugh, Justin Whittall, Chase Dietz, Brandon Rahmer, Jordan Thomas, Joe B. Miller, Hunter Schuerenberg
KSE HARD CHARGER AWARDS (25 Drivers):
8 Hard Chargers – Sheldon Haudenschild
5 Hard Chargers – Logan Schuchart
3 Hard Chargers – David Gravel, Carson Macedo, Donny Schatz, Noah Gass
2 Hard Chargers – James McFadden, Brock Zearfoss, Anthony Macri
1 Hard Charger – Spencer Bayston, Kraig Kinser, Jason Sides, Rico Abreu, Sam Hafertepe Jr, Tanner Thorson, Alan Krimes, Devon Borden, Greg Wilson, Travis Philo, Kyle Larson, Russell Borland, Aaron Reutzel, Scotty Thiel, Freddie Rahmer, Larry Wight
PODIUM FINISHES (30 Drivers):
17 Podiums – Brad Sweet
16 Podiums – Carson Macedo
13 Podiums – Sheldon Haudenschild
12 Podiums – David Gravel
11 Podiums – Donny Schatz
9 Podiums – Kyle Larson
8 Podiums – Logan Schuchart, James McFadden
7 Podiums – Brent Marks
5 Podiums – Brian Brown
4 Podiums – Spencer Bayston, Jacob Allen
3 Podiums – Giovanni Scelzi, Rico Abreu
2 Podiums – Aaron Reutzel, Corey Day, Buddy Kofoid, Anthony Macri
1 Podium – Brock Zearfoss, Kraig Kinser, Kasey Kahne, Cory Eliason, Sam Hafertepe Jr, Justin Peck, Parker Price-Miller, Riley Goodno, Tyler Courtney, Danny Dietrich, Lance Dewease, Paulie Colagiovanni
TOP 10 FINISHES (53 Drivers):
40 Top 10s – Brad Sweet, David Gravel
36 Top 10s – Carson Macedo, Donny Schatz
34 Top 10s – Sheldon Haudenschild
32 Top 10s – Logan Schuchart
27 Top 10s – James McFadden, Spencer Bayston
21 Top 10s – Giovanni Scelzi
20 Top 10s – Jacob Allen
16 Top 10s – Rico Abreu
14 Top 10s – Brock Zearfoss
13 Top 10s – Kyle Larson
10 Top 10s – Brent Marks
9 Top 10s – Anthony Macri
8 Top 10s – Cory Eliason
7 Top 10s – Aaron Reutzel, Brian Brown
6 Top 10s – Tyler Courtney, Justin Peck
5 Top 10s – Kasey Kahne, Kerry Madsen
4 Top 10s – Hunter Schuerenberg, Danny Dietrich
3 Top 10s – Kraig Kinser, Buddy Kofoid, Scotty Thiel, Lance Dewease
2 Top 10s – Noah Gass, Dominic Scelzi, Corey Day, Sam Hafertepe Jr, Larry Wight, Danny Varin
1 Top 10 – Shane Golobic, DJ Netto, Carson Short, Tanner Thorson, Greg Wilson, Cole Duncan, Cale Thomas, Cole Macedo, Mark Dobmeier, Parker Price-Miller, Riley Goodno, Ayrton Gennetten, Zeb Wise, Jeff Halligan, Devon Borden, Freddie Rahmer, Paulie Colagiovanni
2022 WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CAR SCHEDULE & WINNERS:
No. / Day, Date / Track / Location / Winner (Total Wins)
1. Thur, Feb. 10 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Donny Schatz (1)
2. Fri, Feb. 11 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Sheldon Haudenschild (1)
3. Sat, Feb. 12 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (1)
4. Fri, March 4 / Cotton Bowl Speedway / Paige, TX / Sheldon Haudenschild (2)
5. Sat, March 5 / Cotton Bowl Speedway / Paige, TX / Carson Macedo (1)
6. Fri, March 11 / Thunderbowl Raceway / Tulare, CA / Giovanni Scelzi (1)
7. Sat, March 12 / Thunderbowl Raceway / Tulare, CA / Kyle Larson (1)
8. Fri, March 18 / Merced Speedway / Merced, CA / Carson Macedo (2)
9. Fri, March 25 / Bakersfield Speedway / Bakersfield, CA / Giovanni Scelzi (2)
10. Sat, March 26 / Perris Auto Speedway / Perris, CA / David Gravel (2)
11. Tues, March 29 / Vado Speedway Park / Vado, NM / Brad Sweet (1)
12. Sat, April 2 / Devil’s Bowl Speedway / Mesquite, TX / Brent Marks (1)
13. Sat, April 9 / Lake Ozark Speedway / Eldon, MO / Jacob Allen (1)
14. Fri, April 15 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Carson Macedo (3)
15. Sat, April 23 / Tri-State Speedway / Haubstadt, IN / Carson Macedo (4)
16. Fri, April 29 / Bristol Motor Speedway / Bristol, TN / Logan Schuchart (1)
17. Sat, April 30 / Bristol Motor Speedway / Bristol, TN / Spencer Bayston (1)
18. Wed, May 11 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Jacob Allen (2)
19. Sat, May 14 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Brent Marks (2)
20. Tues, May 17 / Bridgeport Motorsports Park / Swedesboro, NJ / Sheldon Haudenschild (3)
21. Fri, May 20 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Kyle Larson (2)
22. Sat, May 28 / Atomic Speedway / Waverly, OH / Sheldon Haudenschild (4)
23. Mon, May 30 / Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, IN / Sheldon Haudenschild (5)
24. Fri, June 3 / River Cities Speedway / Grand Forks, ND / Carson Macedo (5)
25. Fri, June 10 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / Brent Marks (3)
26. Sat, June 11 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / Brian Brown (1)
27. Fri, June 17 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Sheldon Haudenschild (6)
28. Sat, June 18 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Sheldon Haudenschild (7)
29. Wed, June 22 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Spencer Bayston (2)
30. Thur, June 23 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Buddy Kofoid (1)
31. Fri, June 24 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Carson Macedo (6)
32. Sat, June 25 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Sheldon Haudenschild (8)
33. Fri, July 1 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / Jacob Allen (3)
34. Sat, July 2 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / Brock Zearfoss (1)
35. Sat, July 9 / Wilmot Raceway / Wilmot, WI / Carson Macedo (7)
36. Tues, July 12 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Kyle Larson (3)
37. Wed, July 13 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / David Gravel (3)
38. Thur, July 14 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Brent Marks (4)
39. Sat, July 16 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / David Gravel (4)
40. Sat, July 16 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Brent Marks (5)
41. Wed, July 20 / Port Royal Speedway / Port Royal, PA / Kyle Larson (4)
42. Fri, July 22 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Lance Dewease (1)
43. Sat, July 23 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Brad Sweet (2)
44. Sat, July 30 / Weedsport Speedway / Weedsport, NY / David Gravel (5)
45. Sun, July 31 / Weedsport Speedway / Weedsport, NY / Donny Schatz (2)
46. Fri, Aug. 5 / I-55 Raceway / Pevely, MO / Carson Macedo (8)
47. Sat, Aug. 6 / I-55 Raceway / Pevely, MO / Brad Sweet (3)