Thank you to everyone who has given me feedback so far on this story. I hope you enjoy the third installment. Feel free to e-mail your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_EricArnold. I appreciate the Knoxville Raceway for giving me this platform to experiment a bit. If you want to read more, please let me know.
If you haven’t read Chapters 1 and 2, here is the direct links to those.
Car owner and mechanic Steve Bennett was ready for the 360 Nationals. The team had struggled in the beginning of the season, but had performed well in recent weeks. His black and white #42 with young driver Andy Zook in the seat had won three consecutive weeks in the Knoxville 410 class leading up to the 360 Nationals. It had been a couple of months since the team had raced with their 360 engine which had 19 nights of racing on it, but Steve thought the engine had enough left in it to make it a couple of more nights.
View from the Stands (1/06/2014)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Track Historian – Blogger – Twitter Commentator
The winter racing blues are in full swing now that we are past the holidays and we have below zero temperatures hitting the Midwest states this week. But to get your fix you can always follow the racing “Down Under” this time of year. The presence of sprint car racing has been growing internationally for some time now, especially in Australia, but this year it seems that more of the main stream racing media is following along and giving it more attention. This is primarily thanks to social media today. Facebook, Twitter, and phone apps have made it very easy for even the casual sprint car fan to follow along with their favorite driver and how their winter months are going. Donny Schatz has won in both New Zealand and Australia this winter. Ian Madsen, Brad Sweet, Steve Kinser, and Kraig Kinser have all won races as well.
Thank you to everyone who has given me feedback on chapter one of this story. I hope you enjoy the second installment as well. Feel free to e-mail your comments to me at email@example.com. I appreciate the Knoxville Raceway for giving me this platform to experiment a bit. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
by Eric Arnold
Chapter 2: Winning Streak
After winning two races in a row at Knoxville car owner Steve Bennett and driver Andy Zook were riding high. Since Bennett’s old friend Marion Graham came along with some sponsorship money, Steve had been able to get some new equipment. He was also taking advantage of the opportunity to tinker around with some things at Marion’s steel fabrication factory to make some specialized parts, specifically new shocks he designed. Steve’s sons Tony and Todd had picked up a new chassis the day before, and a new engine had arrived a few days prior to that.
View from the Stands (12/09/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Track Historian, Blogger, & Twitter Commentator
An interview with Russ Hall
Like most racers, Russ Hall comes from a racing family. His grandfather was Bert Sonner, brother of Knoxville Raceway Hall of Famer Gil Sonner. Bert was killed in a racing accident at Knoxville in 1974. Russ is 33 years old, a husband, and a father of three children. He has been racing a sprint car for seven seasons now, but growing up he raced go-karts and was the kid listening in the corner while the old guys talked in the race shop. He has won two 360 features at Knoxville and has three career wins with the Sprint Invaders, and this year they won the Sprint Invaders series championship. It was time to catch up with this guy after a successful 2013 season.
EA: When did you first start racing?
RH: I began racing in go-karts when I was 8 years old in Des Moines at the fairgrounds in the dome. I raced go-karts all the way through high school.
For about 3 years now I’ve been tinkering with a fictional story about sprint car racing. I thought I would throw out a sampling of the story and see what kind of reaction I get. Feel free to e-mail your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you like it, if you think it needs work, or if you want to read more. I appreciate the Knoxville Raceway for giving me this platform to experiment a bit.
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Knoxville Knights by Eric Arnold Chapter 1: The County Fair
It was a hot and humid summer day in the middle of July. There is no wind, the grass is brown, so hot that you still sweat trying to cool off sitting under a shade tree. But it was race day and Steve Bennett and his crew made up of his two sons Tony and Todd were at Knoxville on the fairgrounds lot behind turn three, working on their number 42 sprint car in preparation for tonight’s race.
The book “Knoxville Nationals: The First 50 Years” covers the first 50 years of the Knoxville Nationals from 1961-2010. There is one chapter for each year, the finish of each years championship feature, and statistics. It is a hard-bound book with 303 pages and over 200 photographs, including sections with color photos. The book sells for $40 and can be found at www.knoxvillenationalsbook.com to order.
View from the Stands (11/18/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
Keoni Texeira at Knoxville Raceway with his 305 sprint car.
On July 20th this past season Knoxville Raceway had its first driver entrant from the state of Hawaii, 30 year-old Keoni Texeira. A native of Honolulu, he ended up moving to Moulton, Iowa this past year for work but he had a dream of racing himself. Iowa is known as the “Field of Dreams” after all. A chance meeting and making contacts with the right person one night and a deal fell into place for him to race a 305 sprint car a few times this season. He raced three nights in 2013 where he qualified well each night, never worse than fourth, and finished eighth and 11th in his two features. Night three on August 3rd he crashed in his heat race and was done for the season. After a successful dirt racing career with over 20 wins back home in Hawaii, his local track closed, but he was determined to stay in racing somehow.
View from the Stands (11/11/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The World of Outlaws season has come to an end. It was good to see some of our Knoxville Regulars make the trip to Charlotte for the World Finals. Brian Brown had a good showing with a couple of top ten’s, Ian Madsen, Mark Dobmeier, Justin Henderson, and Wayne Johnson also made the trip. The World Finals has turned into a big three day event where the dirt track racing world comes together in the center of the racing business industry. I would even consider it the fifth “major” in sprint car racing with the four majors being the Knoxville Nationals, Eldora Kings Royal, Williams Grove National Open, and the Chico Gold Cup. I ponied up to watch the DirtVision broadcast which I hadn’t done before and I was impressed with their live PPV coverage.
BLOG-View from the Stands (10/10/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The World of Outlaws season is coming to a close now with only 3 nights of racing left. Daryn Pittman has essentially wrapped up the title. Mathematically Donny Schatz is still alive, but unless he wins the last 3 races and Pittman has a couple of 20th place finishes, it’s over. Schatz has won 21 features and Pittman has won 8. This has stirred up some controversy about the WoO point system, but I feel the point system is fine as is. The season long battle is just that. It should reward consistency over the long haul of 70 plus nights of racing. Pittman has not won a feature event since July 23 at Rolling Wheels. That is nearly 3 months and 22 races ago. Ironically the WoO goes back to Rolling Wheels this Saturday night before the season ends at Charlotte.
View from the Stands (9/29/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The Late Model Knoxville Nationals (LMKN) was once again a successful event for us here at Knoxville Raceway. We celebrated our tenth anniversary of the event and it seems to grow in popularity and prestige each year within the Late Model community. To hear how grateful and honored all these teams and drivers are to get the opportunity to race at Knoxville Raceway is very humbling. The Late Model crowd loves Knoxville.
The format for the qualifying nights was interesting with the field being split into two groups for qualifying and heat races (Group A and Group B). 72 cars entered and the first 36 cars in the pill draw were put into group A, and the second 36 cars slated for group B. This made it more fair for time trials with the car drawing 50 or 60 not having to compete for points with the cars drawing 10 or less. The same amount of points were awarded for each set (winner received 200 points, 198, 196, etc.) The teams in Group A were put into their own set of heats, Group B in their own set of heats. Group A was then set for the inside row of the features, and Group B given the outside row. I thought this format worked well and was fair for everyone.