KNOXVILLE, Iowa — A large crowd saw Sheldon Haudenschild join his father Jac as a Knoxville Raceway feature winner during Saturday night’s Pella Motors/Kraig Ford Season Opener at Knoxville Raceway.
Haudenschild’s victory aboard the Stenhouse/Marshall Racing No. 17 came with a last-lap pass after starting 14th and was worth $5,000.
Austin McCarl lost a row one starting spot in the 20-lap 410 feature before the green flag waved, after a loose fitting detected a fuel leak. He would come back to provide plenty of heroics. On the start, Brian Brown got over the infield berm in turn one and tipped over.
Once the event got underway, Gio Scelzi took command. Aaron Reutzel was an early mover as well, coming from the fourth row to second by the second lap. Meanwhile, Scelzi took off, entering lapped traffic by the fifth circuit and putting 4.6 seconds between himself and Reutzel.
In the middle stages, Carson Macedo and Reutzel battled for second, trading that spot twice. On lap 12, disaster struck for both. Macedo suffered a flat right rear, while Reutzel tangled with Josh Schneiderman just after the ensuing caution was thrown.
The restart with eight to go, saw Scelzi leading Sam Hafertepe Jr., Haudenschild (from 14th), Spencer Bayston and Terry McCarl back to green. Meanwhile, Austin McCarl had worked his way from the tail back into the top 10.
In two laps, he shot from night to fourth, while Haudenschild jumped into second in pursuit of the leader. McCarl passed Hafertepe for the third spot with five to go.
While Scelzi searched low on the dry track for rubber that never came, Haudenschild rode the cushion, tracking him down. In turn two on the final circuit, Haudenschild shot to the point and recorded his first ever win at the historic oval.
Scelzi came home second, ahead of Austin McCarl, Hafertepe and Davey Heskin.
“We were a little free at the beginning,” said Haudenschild. “We just kind of had to manage that race a little bit and let it play out. I knew it was a short race, and I was just trying to be there at the end. That caution saved us. I can’t give it up to my guys enough. We trucked it up from down south to do this, and that was our goal…to win a race at Knoxville. We’re just thankful to be up here.”
Jamie Ball led wire to wire to record his seventh career 360 feature win at Knoxville, while Tyler Groenendyk capped a two-year absence from Knoxville Raceway by recording his first career win in the Pace Performance Pro Sprints. Eighty-two cars signed in for opening night.
Feature (20 laps): 1. Sheldon Haudenschild (14); 2. Gio Scelzi (4); 3. Austin McCarl (2); 4. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (6); 5. Davey Heskin (1); 6. Brooke Tatnell (17); 7. Spencer Bayston (3); 8. Terry McCarl (10); 9. Lynton Jeffrey (13); 10. Sawyer Phillips (12); 11. Ayrton Gennetten (11); 12. Carson Macedo (8); 13. Carson McCarl (15); 14. Brian Brown (5); 15. Justin Henderson (18); 16. Parker Price-Miller (9); 17. Matt Juhl (21); 18. Tasker Phillips (19); 19. Scotty Thiel (16); 20. Riley Goodno (24); 21. Tucker Klaasmeyer (20); 22. Jordan Goldesberry (22); 23. Aaron Reutzel (7); 24. Josh Schneiderman (23). Lap Leaders: Scelzi 1-19, Haudenschild 20. Hard-charger: Haudenschild.