KNOXVILLE– Greg Hodnett won a three-way battle for the lead and cruised to his first career 360 win at the Knoxville Raceway on night two of the Knoxville 360 Nationals presented by Great Southern Bank Friday, Aug. 4.
The win, aboard the Heffner Racing No. 27, was worth $3,000 for the Thomasville, Pennsylvania native.
Clint Garner and Wayne Johnson emerged as the two high-point drivers heading into Saturday night’s $15,000 to win finale. They’ll sit on the front row, with Nate Van Haaften and Jamie Ball in row two, and Aaron Reutzel and Tim Shaffer making up the third row.
Trey Starks led Brian Brown and Jeff Swindell to start the 20-lap feature event. Brown would shoot under Starks to lead lap two. Hodnett was up to third by lap four, and shortly after, Sawyer Phillips spun in turn three.
Brown led Starks, Hodnett, Swindell and Wayne Johnson back to green flag racing. Starks shot by Brown back into the lead when the green fell, while Johnson moved into fourth. Hodnett stuck his car to the low side, taking second on lap six. Two laps later, he was by Starks into the lead and checking out.
One final caution for a stopped Parker Price-Miller car at the halfway point set up a ten lap dash. At the time, Hodnett led Starks, Brown, Johnson and Garner.
Brown moved into second, while Garner took fourth and Swindell got back into fifth.
No one had anything for Hodnett, who took off from the field like a galloping horse. Brown was second, followed by Starks, Garner and Swindell.
Dusty Zomer, Van Haaften, Wayne Johnson, hard-charger Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Christopher Bell completed the top ten. Garner set quick time over the field, while Johnny Herrera, Ryan Giles, Zomer, Scott Bogucki and Tim Kaeding won heats. Ryan Leavitt won the C main in his first ever 360 start, while Hafertepe captured the B.
“Mr. Aliquippa himself (Tim Shaffer), the ‘Steel City Outlaw’ got ’er done last night,” said Hodnett in Victory Lane. “We were fortunate enough to take advantage of a pretty decent starting spot. We had a good race car and we came out on top in this one. It’s been a long time since we’ve been up here. I didn’t even know how to get here. I’m just very fortunate and very blessed to have this car, car owner and the guys who work on it. I’m very thankful. This is really important. We come out here one time a year, and get minimal laps here. We don’t get as many as we used to with the Outlaws. This is hard to do. These guys are tough, and it’s hard to do. We’re going to keep working as a team to get better.”
“I’m just a little disappointed in the driver,” said Brown. “You get guys like Greg and Trey Starks, and you give them opportunities…they’re going to make it count. For Greg to come back from Pennsylvania and put it on us says something about how strong his team is. Greg is a true ambassador to our sport. To run second to him isn’t the end of the world. I just feel I didn’t run 20 good laps. I need to make better laps and better decisions as a driver. We’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully, I can do my job.”
“I wish I had more laps around here and knew how to run the bottom,” said Starks. “The bottom was hooked up, and good and fast. I just tried to run the top as hard as I possibly could. That was a fun one with Greg and Brian there. I can’t really complain very much. Hopefully, we’re set up good for tomorrow.”
Odds and Ends
Action at the Knoxville Raceway will continue Saturday evening as the 3-day 360 Knoxville Nationals wll come to a close.
A total of 48 cars were in the pits to take time trial runs, 45 of them posted a time.
It wasn’t as windy as the opening night of the 360 Nationals. It was simply a very nice and comfortable evening to watch the top 360 drivers in the nation compete.
Perry Bell contributed to this story.
A main, 20 Laps, NT: 1. Greg Hodnett (5); 2. Brian Brown (2); 3. Trey Starks (1); 4. Clint Garner (8); 5. Jeff Swindell (4); 6. Dusty Zomer (12); 7. Nate Van Haaften (6); 8. Wayne Johnson (7); 9. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (21); 10. Christopher Bell (22); 11. Jason Martin (11); 12. Tayler Malsam (9); 13. Tim Kaeding (14); 14. Johnny Herrera (15); 15. Chris Martin (3); 16. Terry McCarl (23); 17. Ryan Giles (16); 18. Cole Duncan (19); 19. Jamie Veal (10); 20. Jared Horstman (17); 21. Sawyer Phillips (20); 22. Scott Bogucki (18); 23. Parker Price-Miller (13); 24. Chad Kemenah (24); Lap Leaders: Starks 1, Brown 2, Starks 3-7, Hodnett 8-20. Hard Charger: Hafertepe, Jr.