Category Archives: View from the Stands

Knoxville Knights: Chapter 2

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 arniebhg@yahoo.com.  I appreciate the Knoxville Raceway for giving me this platform to experiment a bit.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Knoxville KnightsKnoxville Knights
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.

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Get to know Russ Hall

View from the Stands (12/09/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Track Historian, Blogger, & Twitter Commentator

An interview with Russ Hall

Russ-Hall-of-Pleasant-Hill-was-very-happy-to-win-the-second-Sprint-Invader-20-lap-feature-at-the-34-RacewayLike 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.

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Interview with Keoni Texeira

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.

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.

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WoO Season in Review

View from the Stands (11/11/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

Daryn Pittman

Daryn Pittman

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.

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WoO Point System

BLOG-View from the Stands (10/10/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

WoO_2013The 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.

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Late Model Knoxville Nationals

Late Model FinalView 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.

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360 & 305 Season Review & Stats

View from the Stands (9/11/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

2013-05-11 079The 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.

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410 Season Review & Stats

View from the Stands (9/5/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

2013-08-09_FridayThe 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.  

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Maeschen Champion & 100 for Lasoski

View from the Stands (8/27/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

IMG_2010Danny 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.

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Interviews with Maeschen and Madsen

View from the Stands (8/22/2013)
by Eric Arnold, Knoxville Raceway Blogger & Twitter Commentator

Champion Cup Series 2013I 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.

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