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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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.
View From the Stands (9/23/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
Late Model Knoxville Nationals Celebrates 10 Years When I was a kid what I knew about racing revolved around sprint cars, NASCAR, and the Indy 500. That changed in 1982 when the movie Six Pack with Kenny Rogers came out in theatres and that introduced me to dirt late models. Not only was that a good family movie that taught us right from wrong and good values (minus a few swear words and kids stripping cars for parts), it was a movie about racing, ON DIRT! In 1985 my father brought me to see my first late model race at Knoxville and Billy Moyer won. I liked the cars because they were so big and beastly looking, and FAST! We didn’t see another late model race at Knoxville until 1994 when Steve Kosiski won a race in September that year. When I became a teenager I started to learn more about the late model type cars and who some of the big name drivers were thanks National Speed Sport News. Then I started hearing stories from friends who went to the World 100 every year and they always talked about how great it was and the large crowds.
View from the Stands (9/11/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The 360 class always displays some good racing. Clint Garner won the championship for the fifth consecutive year. His stats are impressive with 5 wins, 4 second place finishes, 12 top five’s, 13 top ten’s (out of 14 features), 2 heat wins, and 1 quick time. Most of the season Joe Beaver and Nate Van Haaften were there challenging but the breaks didn’t go their way to overcome one of the most successful 360 drivers in Knoxville Raceway history.