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.
View from the Stands (9/5/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
The 2013 season started off with a rain out unfortunately for the fourth time in six years. Those damn April showers. May wasn’t much better with two rain outs, but we dodged the rain a few nights to get the shows in. My faith in the swirling vortex of winged sprint cars thwarting off rain was restored this season. Many nights I looked at the radar thinking it looked bad for Knoxville, only to see storms break up as they approached and miss us.
View from the Stands (8/27/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
Danny Lasoski got his 100th career win at Knoxville. Unbelievable. I was ten years old in 1984 when he won his first race in the Derry 22 car, and I think I’ve seen all but one or two of his 100 wins in person. I used to hate it in the middle 90’s when he would win four, five, and six weeks in a row on a couple of occasions. But I look back now and have to respect and appreciate The Dude as one the best that I have seen drive a sprint car. He is a WoO champion, won the 2006 NST title, and four Knoxville Nationals. 100 wins is the cherry on top, and a record that will never be touched.
View from the Stands (8/22/2013) by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator
I thought it would be appropriate to do an interview with the top two contenders leading up to the Knoxville Championship Cup Series Finals this Saturday night, Bronson Maeschen and Ian Madsen. These two men are ironically both 29 years old, but have taken two different roads to get to where they are today, and both are seeking history to etch their name in stone as a Knoxville Raceway Track Champion and the $20,000 check that comes with it.