Brian Brown, From the Hospital to Victory Lane at Knoxville!

Knoxville Raceway

Ian Madsen Strikes in 360’s, Hetrick Returns to Take Win in 305’s

by Bill Wright

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (April 22, 2017) – Brian Brown didn’t feel well when he climbed out of his Casey’s General Stores/FVP #21 Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway, but when his feet hit the ground, they were in Victory Lane! The Grain Valley, Missouri driver had digestive issues which hospitalized him most of the week, but he was ready when it counted, leading all 20 laps to take the $4,000 410 feature here on Kraig Ford/Pella Motors Opening Night at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World”.

Brown led early in the main event, ahead of Kerry Madsen and Aaron Reutzel. When the tenth place car of Tim Kaeding came to rest at the bottom of turn four, eight laps were in the books. Brown led on the restart ahead of Madsen, Reutzel, Austin McCarl and Ian Madsen.

Ian shot by McCarl on the restart, as did Austin’s father, Terry, who entered the top five. Meanwhile, Reutzel took a daring slide job attempt at Kerry Madsen for the runner-up spot in turn two. The ASCS regular narrowly avoided contact with the veteran and held on to third.

A rarity at Knoxville, rubber started developing in turns one and two. The leader would eventually find it, but not before Kerry Madsen closed in. Madsen would take a couple of shots at the leader, but fell just short at the line. The win was Brown’s 34th at Knoxville, tying him with Hall of Famer, Jerry Blundy, on the all-time win list here. Madsen was second, ahead of Reutzel, Terry McCarl and Ian Madsen. Austin McCarl, Paul McMahan, Lynton Jeffrey, Joey Saldana and Brooke Tatnell rounded out the top ten.

Kerry Madsen set quick time over the field, while Reutzel, Brown and Kaeding won heat races.

“I don’t feel the best in the world, but Knoxville Raceway will grab you out of the hospital,” said Brown in Victory Lane. “I don’t want to be in there when they’re racing here. My hat’s off to my team. They gave me a Cadillac that even I can drive. In three and four, we were good in both spots and I didn’t know where I should be. Then the rubber came, and it was a little too tight to get down in there. I saw Kerry in the corner of my eye on the last lap, and I knew if I split the lapped cars, I may have a shot there. I think we’ve only won one of these Season Openers and Danny’s (Lasoski) won the rest of them. So it’s nice to get one for us. I never thought I’d win one race here, let alone 34. It’s an honor to see Doug Clark’s checkered flag coming off turn four.”

In the 18-lap 360 main event, Jon Agan roared out to the early advantage over Calvin Landis and Ian Madsen. Madsen shot by Landis on the second lap to take second, but Clint Garner was on the move as well, jumping from fifth to third on lap three. ASCS visitor, Seth Bergman, cracked the top five on lap four.

Madsen gained on Agan and passed him coming out of turn four on the seventh lap. In turns one and two, the leader got over the cushion and bobbled a bit sideways. Agan’s momentum carried him into Madsen, and resulted in a flip into turn two. He was uninjured, but his shot at a win was nullified.

Madsen emerged unscathed, and led Garner, Bergman, Jamie Ball and Landis back to green flag racing. The last caution came with five laps to go, when Tom Lenz slowed to a stop in turn three. Ball used the new start to briefly get by Bergman for third, while Matt Moro moved into the top five. Up front, Madsen would hold on for his second 360 win here. Garner was second, while Bergman grabbed third back from Ball on the white flag lap. Moro was fifth, and Ryan Giles, Landis, Chris Martin, Matt Covington and Joe Beaver completed the top ten.

Bergman set quick time over the 28-car field and also claimed his heat race. Sawyer Phillips and Garner also won heats, while feature hard-charger, Stacey Alexander won the B main.

“We had an awesome car in both classes,” said Madsen in Victory Lane. “It was really good to get a win in the 360 and get a top five in the 410. I can’t thank my guys enough. They do an amazing job.”

While everyone was worried about ten true rookies in the 15-lap 305 feature, it was a trio of veterans who had issues before a lap could be completed. Chris Walraven, who also had bad luck in Friday’s Practice Night, spun in turn four. Corey Kautz could not avoid the spun sprinter, clipped a tire and flipped hard. Cliff Jones also ended up being collected and upside down. No one was hurt.

Rookie, Eric Bridger, led early in the going over Kade Higday and Kevin Hetrick. Things remained that way until Dan Henning spun with seven laps in the books. Bridger lead the field back to green, ahead of Higday, Hetrick, Joe Simbro and Matt Stephenson, who had started 17th.

Two laps later, Hetrick worked under Higday to gain second. On lap 11, Bridger’s dream of winning the first feature he has competed at in Knoxville went up in smoke. As he exited, Higday took what was then the lead back from Hetrick. In a great race, Hetrick would take the spot back with three laps to go and hold on for his second career 305 win here.

Following Hetrick across the stripe were Higday, Simbro, Ryan Leavitt and Rob Kubli. Stephenson, Kelby Watt, Brad Comegys, Brandon Worthington and Mike Mayberry rounded out the top ten. Walraven set quick time, while Matthew Stelzer, Simbro and Mayberry won the heat races.

“It was fun,” said Hetrick in Victory Lane. “There were a lot of rookies out there and the track was slick. We ran 410 last year and wanted to go back to the 305. It’s good to be back in Victory Lane. It’s been since 2015. I started running a little bit harder and tried to let off the brake a little to keep the momentum going. I could run a little harder in three and four. It was really slick in one and two. I tried to pick a different line and it worked the best on the 15th lap.”

Join us next Saturday night, April 29, for Town Crier Night featuring the 410, 360 and 305 sprint car classes! For more information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com!

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Posted by on Apr 23 2017. Filed under Local Sports, Professional Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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