The Granddaddy of ‘Em All is here. The time has come for the 62nd NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store.
All eyes of the Sprint Car world will be fixed on Iowa’s Marion County Fairgrounds as the top talents from all of Sprint Car racing converge on the iconic half mile that is Knoxville Raceway. World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car teams. PA Posse. Cali Clique. Gassers from coast to coast. The best drivers from every region are bound for the “Hawkeye State” with dreams of Sprint Car immortality.
This year’s edition has grown even more with the total purse for the four-day event exceeding a million dollars. The winner’s share for Saturday has been upped to $185,000, and making the main event is worth $15,000 – up $5,000 from only a year ago.
The pursuit of Knoxville Nationals glory begins Wednesday, Aug. 9, with the first of two split-field prelims. The second will follow on Thursday and help decide the first 16 starters for Saturday via accumulating points. Friday serves as #HardKnox night which will add four more to the main event. And then Saturday’s alphabet soup will complete the lineup before 24 of the nation’s best lay it all on the line for 50 laps.
Let’s look at the weekend’s top storylines:
A CHANCE AT HISTORY: Back in 2002, Steve Kinser scored his 12th Knoxville Nationals victory – a record that many thought couldn’t be touched. At the time, nobody else owned more than five. But thanks to his 11th title last season, Donny Schatz has a chance to equal “The King” this year.
All 11 of Schatz’ triumphs have occurred in the last 16 years. In the five years Schatz didn’t win over that span, he finished second on four occasions. Before he won his first in 2006, Schatz ran runner-up four more times. In 24 career starts in the Knoxville Nationals finale, Schatz has missed the top two only five times and owns a 3.5 average finish.
With such a mind-boggling résumé, it will come as no surprise if Schatz parks the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15 in Victory Lane when all is said and done to equal one of the sport’s most astonishing records.
AN EXCLUSIVE CLUB: While five former Knoxville Nationals champions are entered for the 2023 edition, only Schatz belongs in the exclusive club of multi-time winners. That leaves four others vying to become the eighth driver in event history to top the Crown Jewel multiple times.
Kraig Kinser triumphed 18 years ago for his one and only Nationals win. The Bloomington, IN native has teamed with Premier Motorsports for a run this year. Kinser also owns three more Knoxville Feature victories including a 2016 Nationals prelim.
Brad Sweet broke through in 2018 at “The Sprint Car Capital of the World.” Sweet and his Kasey Kahne Racing crew carry the point lead into the week, but the Knoxville Nationals is all about the glory of winning as championship points aren’t a factor. In addition to his Nationals title, Sweet has collected three more World of Outlaws wins at Knoxville, most recently in 2019.
A year after Sweet’s win, it was David Gravel’s turn to taste Nationals Victory Lane as he wheeled the Jason Johnson Racing #41 to an emotional victory in 2019. The Watertown, CT native has been incredibly successful at the historic half-mile with 11 total wins including the most recent Knoxville World of Outlaws race in June.
Kyle Larson was the most recent driver to add their name to the list of champions. Two years ago, “Yung Money” parked the Silva Motorsports #57 in Victory Lane for his first title in The Granddaddy of ‘Em All. Larson is fresh off a thrilling Ironman 55 score and looking to become a multi-time Knoxville Nationals champion.
A NEW NAME?: While a handful of drivers have proven they’re capable of winning the Nationals, a few drivers stand out as favorites to claim the Crown Jewel for the first time.
Carson Macedo may not have an eye-popping Knoxville résumé, but his 2023 performance suggests he can’t be counted out. He’s already racked up five wins this season. Jason Johnson Racing is a two-time Nationals winning team (2016 with Jason Johnson and 2019 with David Gravel). Macedo has won a trio of Knoxville Features with JJR including a pair of 2021 World of Outlaws events.
It’s impossible to not mention Brian Brown among the favorites to notch their first Nationals. “Blackjack” is fresh off topping his second 360 Nationals in a photo finish. Brown has nearly done it all at “The Sprint Car Capital of the World.” He’s a multi-time track champion, second on the all-time track win list, and he’s been a Nationals runner-up on three occasions. This week he looks to seal the deal on Knoxville’s ultimate accomplishment.
Rico Abreu has been as strong as any car in the country this year with Ricky Warner on the wrenches. Competing on a part-time basis, Abreu has already racked up four World of Outlaws wins this year. Less than two weeks ago the St. Helena, CA native topped an All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) race at Knoxville. The last two years Abreu has won the Hard Knox night, but his 2023 speed suggests he may lock in from his prelim and have the privilege of sitting out Friday.
Any Knoxville race is a home race for KCP Racing. The Des Moines, IA based team has Giovanni Scelzi behind the wheel as he continues his rookie World of Outlaws season in the Knoxville Nationals. The combination won the 2021 360 Nationals and sat on the pole of the 410 Nationals the next week before finishing fourth. With their strong track record, “Hot Sauce” could be in the running for the win on Saturday.
SHARK SWEEP: Last year’s preliminary action was dominated by Shark Racing, and the duo of Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen will look to replicate that performance in 2023 and punctuate the week with a Knoxville Nationals crown.
A year ago, Schuchart got the week started by claiming the Capitani Classic. He then backed that up with a Wednesday prelim triumph. His teammate – Allen – won his first Knoxville Feature the next night to complete a Shark sweep of the prelims.
The duo finished off the week with impressive charges (Schuchart: 17th to 3rd, Allen 11th to 5th) to put both of 1990 Knoxville Nationals champion – Bobby Allen’s – cars in the top five on the sport’s biggest stage.
ROOKIE RUNS: It’s going to be tough to top Buddy Kofoid’s strong Knoxville Nationals JETCO Rookie of the Year run from last year when he finished 11th, but this year’s rookie crop features 18 names and boasts some notable talent.
With as long as he’s been making waves in a Sprint Car, it’s hard to believe this year will be Ryan Timms’ first Knoxville Nationals attempt. The Oklahoma phenom doesn’t have a ton of Knoxville experience, but he did finish 12th in a local race last month.
Chase Randall has impressed many this year as he continues his rise through the Sprint Car ranks. The Waco, TX driver owns six overall wins this year – three of which have been behind the wheel of a 360 Sprint Car at Knoxville.
Another Texan turning heads this year is Lubbock’s Brenham Crouch. He’s currently leading the Interstate Racing Association (IRA) point standings and will be making his way to Iowa for a rookie run at the Nationals.
HANDIN’ OUT HARDWARE: On top of competing for the glory of a Knoxville Nationals title, teams can also receive a number of awards this week.
Teams and drivers will be recognized for the following accomplishments: Best Appearing Car Award, Best Appearing Crew, Best Appearing Helmet, Mr. Sprint Car Award, Rookie of the Year Award, Hard Charger Award, and Pole Award.
If you can’t make it to Knoxville, catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
THIS WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
WHEN AND WHERE
Wednesday-Saturday, August 9-12 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 (46/78 Races):
1. 49 – Brad Sweet (6202PTS) 2. 2 – David Gravel (-14PTS) 3. 41 – Carson Macedo (-60PTS) 4. 1S – Logan Schuchart (-248PTS) 5. 18 – Gio Scelzi (-326PTS) 6. 15 – Donny Schatz (-350PTS) 7. 17 – Sheldon Haudenschild (-362PTS) 8. 5 – Spencer Bayston (-462PTS) 9. 3Z – Brock Zearfoss (-856PTS) 10. 1A – Jacob Allen (-933PTS)
NOS ENERGY DRINK FEATURE WINNERS (13 Drivers):
10 wins – David Gravel (Big Game Motorsports #2)
6 wins – Brad Sweet (Kasey Kahne Racing #49)
5 wins – Carson Macedo (Jason Johnson Racing #41)
4 wins – James McFadden (Roth Motorsports #83), Rico Abreu (Rico Abreu Racing #24)
3 wins – Donny Schatz (Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15), Logan Schuchart (Shark Racing #1S), Kyle Larson (Silva Motorsports #57)
2 wins –Sheldon Haudenschild (Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing #17)
1 win – Buddy Kofoid (CMS Racing #11), Brady Bacon (TKH Motorsports #21), Anthony Macri (Macri Motorsports #39), Brian Brown (Brian Brown Racing #21), Gio Scelzi (KCP Racing #18), Spencer Bayston (CJB Motorsports #5)
FEATURE LAPS LED (20 Drivers):
219 laps – Brad Sweet
193 laps – David Gravel
187 laps – Carson Macedo
174 laps – Rico Abreu
133 laps – James McFadden
96 laps – Donny Schatz
93 laps – Buddy Kofoid
81 laps – Logan Schuchart
70 laps – Sheldon Haudenschild
47 laps – Kyle Larson
43 laps – Brent Marks
40 laps – Spencer Bayston
39 laps – Gio Scelzi
24 laps – Brian Brown
11 laps – Anthony Macri
10 laps – Cory Eliason
4 laps – Cole Macedo
3 laps – Brady Bacon, Danny Varin
1 lap – Austin McCarl
SIMPSON PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS QUICKTIME AWARDS (16 Drivers):
13 QuickTimes – Carson Macedo
8 QuickTimes – David Gravel
5 QuickTimes – Logan Schuchart
3 QuickTimes – Sheldon Haudenschild
2 QuickTimes – Anthony Macri, Rico Abreu, Bill Balog, Justin Peck
1 QuickTime – Brian Brown, Donny Schatz, Buddy Kofoid, Gio Scelzi, James McFadden, Jacob Allen, Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet
HEAT RACE WINNERS (37 Drivers):
25 Heat Wins – Carson Macedo
21 Heat Wins – David Gravel
13 Heat Wins – Brad Sweet
11 Heat Wins – Donny Schatz
10 Heat Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, Gio Scelzi
9 Heat Wins – Buddy Kofoid, Logan Schuchart
8 Heat Wins – James McFadden
6 Heat Wins – Rico Abreu
5 Heat Wins – Jacob Allen, Spencer Bayston
4 Heat Wins – Brent Marks, Justin Peck
3 Heat Wins – Anthony Macri, Brian Brown, Bill Balog, Parker Price-Miller
2 Heat Wins – Brock Zearfoss, Noah Gass, Kerry Madsen, Cory Eliason
1 Heat Win – Danny Dietrich, Freddie Rahmer, Tim Kaeding, Mark Dobmeier, Kasey Kahne, Austin McCarl, Lachlan McHugh, Ryan Timms, Tim Estenson, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Kyle Larson, Shane Stewart, Lance Dewease, Cole Macedo, Robbie Price
TOYOTA DASH APPEARANCES (38 Drivers):
33 Dashes – Carson Macedo, David Gravel
29 Dashes – Brad Sweet
22 Dashes – Logan Schuchart
20 Dashes – Gio Scelzi
18 Dashes – Sheldon Haudenschild
16 Dashes – Donny Schatz
15 Dashes – Rico Abreu
14 Dashes – James McFadden
13 Dashes – Spencer Bayston
9 Dashes – Buddy Kofoid
8 Dashes – Jacob Allen, Brent Marks
7 Dashes – Brock Zearfoss, Cory Eliason
5 Dashes – Anthony Macri, Justin Peck
4 Dashes – Brian Brown, Robbie Price
3 Dashes – Danny Dietrich, Parker Price-Miller, Tyler Courtney, Kyle Larson
2 Dashes – Garet Williamson, Austin McCarl, Kasey Kahne, Bill Balog, Cole Macedo
1 Dash – Freddie Rahmer, Devon Borden, Aaron Reutzel, Brady Bacon, Chad Trout, Dylan Norris, Cap Henry, Stuart Brubaker, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Shane Stewart, Danny Varin
MICROLITE LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN WINS (30 Drivers):
4 LCS Wins – Sheldon Haudenschild
3 LCS Wins – Spencer Bayston
2 LCS Wins – Robbie Price, Parker Price-Miller, Noah Gass, Logan Schuchart, Carson Macedo, Brock Zearfoss
1 LCS Win – Gio Scelzi, Hunter Schuerenberg, James McFadden, Wayne Johnson, Ryan Timms, Ayrton Gennetten, Kraig Kinser, Freddie Rahmer, Henry Malcuit, Cole Macedo, Tim Estenson, Aaron Reutzel, Kerry Madsen, Sye Lynch, Cory Eliason, Donny Schatz, Tyler Courtney, Rico Abreu, Jacob Allen, Daryn Pittman, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jamie Veal
KSE HARD CHARGER AWARDS (32 Drivers):
4 Hard Chargers – Sheldon Haudenschild
3 Hard Chargers – Tyler Courtney, Brad Sweet, James McFadden, Logan Schuchart
2 Hard Chargers – Brock Zearfoss, Donny Schatz, Danny Dietrich
1 Hard Charger – Gio Scelzi, Robbie Price, David Gravel, Justin Peck, Blake Hahn, Buddy Kofoid, Joe B. Miller, Kyle Larson, Hunter Schuerenberg, Kyle Moody, Freddie Rahmer, Skylar Gee, Cole Duncan, Austin Pierce, Brenham Crouch, Tim Kaeding, Spencer Bayston, Jacob Allen, Caden Englehart, Zeb Wise, Rico Abreu, Carson Macedo, Dale Blaney, Corey Day
PODIUM FINISHES (23 Drivers):
24 Podiums – David Gravel
21 Podiums – Brad Sweet
14 Podiums – Carson Macedo
11 Podiums – Rico Abreu
10 Podiums – Logan Schuchart
8 Podiums – Donny Schatz
7 Podiums – Sheldon Haudenschild
6 Podiums – Buddy Kofoid
5 Podiums – James McFadden, Brent Marks, Kyle Larson
4 Podiums – Spencer Bayston
3 Podiums – Brian Brown, Jacob Allen, Gio Scelzi
1 Podium – Danny Dietrich, Kasey Kahne, Devon Borden, Parker Price-Miller, Brady Bacon, Anthony Macri, Garet Williamson, Dave Blaney
TOP 10 FINISHES (53 Drivers):
41 Top 10s – David Gravel
40 Top 10s – Carson Macedo, Brad Sweet
34 Top 10s – Logan Schuchart
31 Top 10s – Gio Scelzi
30 Top 10s – Sheldon Haudenschild
29 Top 10s – Spencer Bayston
26 Top 10s – James McFadden
25 Top 10s – Donny Schatz
20 Top 10s – Rico Abreu
17 Top 10s – Buddy Kofoid
14 Top 10s – Jacob Allen
11 Top 10s – Justin Peck, Brent Marks
9 Top 10s – Cory Eliason
7 Top 10s – Tyler Courtney, Kyle Larson
6 Top 10s – Brian Brown, Kasey Kahne, Danny Dietrich
5 Top 10s – Brock Zearfoss
3 Top 10s – Anthony Macri, Bill Balog
2 Top 10s – Aaron Reutzel, Blake Hahn, Brady Bacon, Parker Price-Miller, Robbie Price, Zeb Wise, Freddie Rahmer, Cole Macedo
1 Top 10 – Devon Borden, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Joe B. Miller, Hunter Schuerenberg, Brandon Rahmer, Chad Trout, Lance Dewease, Cap Henry, Stuart Brubaker, Skylar Gee, Cole Duncan, Austin McCarl, Garet Williamson, Tim Kaeding, Chase Randall, Shane Stewart, Dave Blaney, Larry Wight, Dale Blaney, Noah Gass, Rusty Hickman, Corey Day
2023 WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CAR SCHEDULE & WINNERS:
No. / Day, Date / Track / Location / Winner (Total Wins)
1. Fri, Feb 10 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (1)
2. Fri, Feb 10 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (2)
3. Sat, Feb 11* / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / James McFadden (1)
4. Sun, March 5 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / Carson Macedo (1)
5. Mon, March 6 / Volusia Speedway Park / Barberville, FL / David Gravel (3)
6. Sat, March 18 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Rico Abreu (1)
7. Fri, March 24 / Talladega Short Track / Eastaboga, AL / Buddy Kofoid (1)
8. Sat, March 25 / Magnolia Motor Speedway / Columbus, MS / Brad Sweet (1)
9. Fri, March 31 / Devil’s Bowl Speedway / Mesquite, TX / Brad Sweet (2)
10. Sat, April 1 / Devil’s Bowl Speedway / Mesquite, TX / James McFadden (2)
11. Fri, April 7 / U.S. 36 Raceway / Osborn, MO / Sheldon Haudenschild (1)
12. Sat, April 8 / 81 Speedway / Wichita, KS / Rico Abreu (2)
13. Fri, April 14 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Brad Sweet (3)
14. Fri, April 28 / Tri-City Speedway / Granite City, IL / David Gravel (4)
15. Sat, April 29 / Tri-State Speedway / Haubstadt, IN / Brady Bacon (1)
16. Fri, May 5 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Logan Schuchart (1)
17. Sat, May 6 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Rico Abreu (3)
18. Wed, May 10 / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA / Anthony Macri (1)
19. Fri, May 12 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Brad Sweet (4)
20. Fri, May 19 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Donny Schatz (1)
21. Sat, May 20 / Sharon Speedway / Hartford, OH / Donny Schatz (2)
22. Fri, May 26 / Atomic Speedway / Chillicothe, OH / Brad Sweet (5)
23. Sat, May 27 / Atomic Speedway / Chillicothe, OH / Carson Macedo (2)
24. Mon, May 29 / Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, IN / James McFadden (3)
25. Fri, June 2 / River Cities Speedway / Grand Forks, ND / David Gravel (5)
26. Sat, June 3 / Ogilvie Raceway / Ogilvie, MN / Carson Macedo (3)
27. Fri, June 9 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / Brian Brown (1)
28. Sat, June 10 / Knoxville Raceway / Knoxville, IA / David Gravel (6)
29. Fri, June 16 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Gio Scelzi (1)
30. Sat, June 17 / Beaver Dam Raceway / Beaver Dam, WI / Sheldon Haudenschild (2)
31. Wed, June 21 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Kyle Larson (1)
32. Thurs, June 22 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / James McFadden (4)
33. Fri, June 23 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / Logan Schuchart (2)
34. Sat, June 24 / Huset’s Speedway / Brandon, SD / David Gravel (7)
35. Fri, June 30 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / Brad Sweet (6)
36. Sat, July 1 / Cedar Lake Speedway / New Richmond, WI / David Gravel (8)
37. Sat, July 8 / Wilmot Raceway / Wilmot, WI / Carson Macedo (4)
38. Tues, July 11 / Attica Raceway Park / Attica, OH / Kyle Larson (2)
39. Fri, July 14 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Carson Macedo (5)
40. Sat, July 15 / Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, OH / Donny Schatz (3)
41. Thurs, July 20 / BAPS Motor Speedway / York Haven, PA / David Gravel (9)
42. Fri, July 21 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Logan Schuchart (3)
43. Sat, July 22 / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA / Rico Abreu (4)
44. Sun, July 30 / Weedsport Speedway / Weedsport, NY / David Gravel (10)
45. Fri, Aug 4 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Spencer Bayston (1)
46. Sat, Aug 5 / Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 / Pevely, MO / Kyle Larson (3)