July 12, 2003
50th Anniversary Gold Rush Challenge and 360 Twin Features
Kerry Madsen came out 6th and set quicktime with a lap of 15.457. He was followed by Shane
Stewart (9th), Eddie Leavitt Jr. (2nd), Sammy Swindell (15th) , Jamie Moyle (3rd) , Randy
Hannagan (16th) , Eric Vanderploeg (12th) , Don Droud Jr. (7th) , Ricky Logan (1st) , and
Brian Brown (14th).
Swindell set 4th quick, but would not participate in the heat race action. John Sernett
pulled in after getting only one lap in, and scratched for the night. Scott Young had a
rear axel break, sending him spinning towards the outside rail in turn 4. He did a great
job of gathering it in and avoiding further damage.
Heat 1) 1. Skip Jackson (1) 2. Mark Kinser (2) 3. Kerry Madsen (6) 4. Brian Brown (4) 5.
Colin Northway (3) / 6. Ricky Logan (5) 7. Mike Moore (8) 8. Derek Beckman (7) 9. Tim
Newman (9) 10. Tyler Houseman (10)
Jackson led the distance in this one, as Madsen made a good charge to get by Brown for the
Heat 2) 1. Clint Garner (1) 2. Shane Stewart (6) 3. Jon Agan (2) 4. Brent Antill (3) 5.
Don Droud Jr. (5) / 6. Scottie Neitzel (7) 7. John Schultz (9) 8. Jeff Mitrisin (4) , DNS
- Adam West
Mitrisin broke a spindle, and retired to the pits at the outset. Garner torched the field
running the cushion, while Stewart raced his brand new MCI chassis into the runner-up
Heat 3) 1. Travis Cram (2) 2. Terry McCarl (3) 3. Chris Walraven (1) 4. Eric Vanderploeg
(5) 5. Eddie Leavitt Jr. (6) / 6. Jeff Johnson (7) 7. Greg Jones (9) , DNS - John Sernett,
Cram jumped to the point and never looked back. McCarl, the current points leader, had an
uncharacteristically slow lap in qualifications, and started near the front as the result.
He surged to 2nd, but couldn't catch Cram.
Heat 4) 1. Calvin Landis (3) 2. Wayne Johnson (4) 3. Randy Hannagan (6) 4. Jamie Moyle (5)
5. Justin Henderson (7) / 6. Scott Young (8) 7. Kurt Davis (1) 8. Robert Bell (9) 9.
Lynton Jeffrey (2)
Davis got really squirrely at the start, and a number of guys slipped by. Jeffrey exited
on lap 2. Johnson and Hannagan were on the move, but couldn't catch Landis.
B-Main) 1. Logan (1) 2. Neitzel (7) 3. Jeffrey (4) 4. Moore (9) / 5. Schultz (14) 6. Jones
(15) 7. Bell (16) 8. Mitrisin (2) 9. J. Johnson (8) 10. Beckman (6) 11. Houseman (17) 12.
Davis (5) 13. Young (12), DNS - Sernett, West, Little, Newman
Young blew his motor sky high on lap 1, while a big puff of smoke billowed from Mitrisin's
mount. His powerplant would be alright for the restart though, as he and Neitzel battled
tooth and nail for 2nd. Neitzel would pull ahead in 3 & 4 running the bottom, only to
have the "Magician" power around him in 1 & 2. Davis slowed in turn 3 on lap
7 to bring out the caution. Lap 10 spelled disaster for Mitrisin and Johnson, as they both
blew their motors. Logan led every lap, and cruised to victory. Moore did a nice job of
running a clean race (and keeping his car running!) to nail down the final transfer.
A-Main) 1. W. Johnson (2) 2. Kinser (14) 3. McCarl (11) 4. Stewart (9) 5. Brown (3) 6.
Droud (4) 7. Vanderploeg (5) 8. Logan (21) 9. Cram (16) 10. Madsen (10) 11. Jackson (19)
12. Moyle 13. Jeffrey (23) 14. Northway (13) 15. Antill (12) 16. Walraven (17) 17.
Henderson (20) 18. Neitzel (22) 19. Garner (18) 20. Moore (24) 21. Agan (15) 22. Leavitt
Jr. (8) 23. Hannagan (7) 24. Swindell (25) 25. Landis (1)
Landis took the lead of the 25-lapper, with Johnson and Vanderploeg in tow. In the opening
laps, Johnson would get by Landis, only to have Vanderploeg use the low line in 3 & 4
to snatch the lead away. With the leaders catching traffic, Jackson spun in turn 1 on lap
8, with Northway nearly clipping him. Brown, Landis, Droud, Hannagan, and McCarl were
waging a torrid battle for the 3rd-7th spots at the time. On the restart, Johnson sailed
around Vanderploeg for the lead. Brown would grab 2nd away from Vanderploeg a few laps
later. Landis and Swindell went pitside on lap 18, with Swindell's machine suffering from
overheating problems. Sammy was mired midpack when he called it quits. Mark Kinser had
used the low line to cruise into the runner-up spot, and got a needed break when the
yellow came out on lap 19 for an Eddie Leavitt spin. Kinser, Brown, Hannagan, and McCarl
trailed Johnson. On the restart, Hannagan went below the cone, and stopped in turns 1
& 2. I guess not wanting to deal with the penalty he'd be facing, he retired to the
pits. Kinser had showed Johnson the lower line in turns 3 & 4 before the yellow for
Hannagan's vilolation, and Johnson wouldn't make the mistake of slipping off it for the
remaining laps. McCarl edged out Brown on lap 21 to complete a fine run to a podium
finish. Stewart also had a late surge using the bottom of turns 3 & 4 to nail down
4th. Johnson held off Kinser and picked up his first 410 win at Knoxville. Logan was the
hard-charger coming from 21st to a top-ten.
Heat 1) 1. Ed Ergenbright * (1) 2. Doug Wilson * (2) 3. Mike Houseman * (6) 4. Michael
Jones * (5) 5. Brett Mather (3) 6. Dave Middleswart (7) 7. Jerry Crabb (9) 8. Nate Mosier
(4) 9. Mitchell Alexander (8) 10. Eric Mason (10)
Mason slapped the wall in turns 1 & 2 at the start, and would slow in turn 4. He went
pitside. Crabb spun in turn 2 on lap 4. Ergenbright and Wilson were gone, while Houseman
had a battle with Jones.
Heat 2) 1. Billy Alley * (2) 2. Josh Higday * (1) 3. Larry Ball Jr. * (6) 4. John
VandenBerg * (5) 5. Joey Beaver (4) 6. Bobby Mincer (9) 7. Rodney Turner (10) 8. Stacy
Alexander (8) 9. Matt Moro (3) 10. Allan Zoute (7)
Alley slashed to the low side at the start in 1 & 2 and grabbed the lead in this
STACKED heat race. Zoute exited on lap 1. Moro had 4th locked down when he blew his motor
on the final lap. VandenBerg benefited greatly as he got around Beaver. Alley dominated.
Heat 3) 1. Johnny Anderson * (6) 2. Frankie Heimbaugh * (4) 3. Dave Hall * (2) 4. Curtis
Thorson * (7) 5. Ryan York * (10) 6. Bruce Williams (5) 7. Rob Edwards (9) 8. Rod Foster
(8) 9. Danny Hutchins (3) 10. Terry Alexander (1)
Alexander slowed at the completion of lap 1, and the yellow waved on lap 2 as he wasn't
off the track enough. Anderson worked the bottom well and cruised to victory. York's
charge from the tail netted him enough passing points to get in the big show.
Heat 4) 1. Steve Breazeale (2) * 2. Jesse Giannetto * (6) 3. David Hesmer * (8) 4. Chris
Martinez (1) 5. Brett Golik (3) 6. Loren Langarud (10) 7. Tom Lenz (7) 8. Brandon Hainline
(4) 9. DJ Heskin (9) , DNS - Steve Wares
Brezeale led the distance, while Giannetto and Hesmer, 1st and 3rd respectively in the
points, charged to the front.
B-Main) 1. Mincer (2) 2. Langarud (3) 3. Beaver (5) 4. Mather (4) / 5. Golik (6) 6. S.
Alexander (14) 7. Mason (21) 8. Edwards (11) 9. Hainline (16) 10. Heskin (20) 11.
Middleswart (7) 12. M. Alexander (17) 13. Foster (15) 14. Mosier (13) 15. Martinez (1) 16.
Crabb (9) 17. Lenz (12) 18. Hutchins (19)
DNS - Turner, Williams, Moro, Zoute, T. Alexander
Middleswart spun in turn 2 at the start. Mincer jumped to the lead, with Langarud in tow.
Mosier spun at the completion of lap 1 in turn 2, with Hutchins climbing his wheel and
taking a wild ride. Hutchins would go pitside. On lap 5, Martinez and Crabb tangled, with
Crabb going straight into the fence in 1 & 2, totally destroying his mount. Lenz would
flip trying to avoid the incident. All three were unhurt, but done. Mason had a great run
from the tail to 7th, but it wasn't quite enough. Mincer cruised to victory.
First A-Main) 1. Alley (3) 2. Giannetto (2) 3. Higday (11) 4. Anderson (1) 5. Houseman (8)
6. Langarud (18) 7. York (13) 8. Ball Jr. (9) 9. Mincer (17) 10. Thorson (12) 11.
Ergenbright (6) 12. Jones (15) 13. Mather (20) 14. VandenBerg (16) 15. Heimbaugh (7) 16.
Breazeale (4) 17. Hesmer (5) 18. Beaver (19) 19. Hall (14) 20. Wilson (10)
The first of two twin 15 lappers was started straight up from the points gained in the
heat races. It took a while to complete, but was a classic. Anderson assumed command at
the start, but a yellow came out on lap 2 for Ergenbright, who slapped the frontchute rail
after getting passed by Hesmer. His crew did a great job, and got him back going.
Giannetto got around Anderson, and Alley disposed of Anderson soon after as well. Wilson
was running 6th on lap 10 when his driveline shelled out bringing out the yellow. Alley
worked the bottom to perfection, and reeled in the cushion-riding Giannetto, bringing the
huge crowd to their feet. Hall slowed on lap 12 with a broken jacobs bringing out another
yellow. On the restart, Beaver slowed to a stop as he was out of fuel. On yet another
restart, Brezeale, who was running 4th, slid high and spun in turn 2. Giannetto had
nothing for Alley as he cruised to his 2nd victory of the season. Hesmer coasted to the
checkereds on the last lap on fumes, as he too ran out of fuel. His misfortune would put
him on the pole for the 2nd inverted feature. North Dakota's Langarud was an absolute
rocket getting by 12 cars to grab the hard-charger award. Alley stated in victory lane,
"We ain't done yet."
Second A-Main) 1. Alley (17) 2. Hesmer (1) 3. VandenBerg (4) 4. Giannetto (16) 5.
Ergenbright (7) 6. Breazeale (2) 7. Anderson (14) 8. Mather (5) 9. Langarud (12) 10. Ball
Jr. (10) 11. Higday (15) 12. Mason (21) 13. Golik (19) 14. S. Alexander (20) 15. Heimbaugh
(3) 16. Mincer (9) 17. Thorson (8) 18. York (11) 19. Houseman (13) 20. Beaver (18) , DNS -
Another truly amazing show put on by Knoxville's 360s. It's a freakin' shame that more
fans don't support them, 'cause these guys have a lot of talent and drive their hearts
Jones didn't start due to throttle problems. Mason entered as an alternate. Hesmer took
the lead and pulled away. On lap 4, York, Thorson, and Houseman got together with Thorson
and Houseman flipping. All three were unhurt, but done. Hesmer led Breazeale, VandenBerg,
Mather, and Ball Jr. Giannetto had charged to 7th from 16th, while Alley was biding his
time -- for now. On the restart, Alley took off like a rocket and set his sights on the
leaders. He needed a yellow, and unfortunately it came at the expense of Mincer as he
grenaded his powerplant on lap 11. Mincer's motor was the 5th motor of the night (410 and
360) that the track had chewed up and spit out. Hesmer led VandenBerg, Breazeale,
Ergenbright, and Alley to the restart. It didn't take long for Alley to fly around 2nd-4th
positions, and he was soon reeling in Hesmer. He once again worked the bottom, and drove
under Hesmer with 2 to go ... once again much to the delight of the overflow crowd. The
Nebraska kid picked up his 3rd win of the season at Knoxville, and his second of the
night. He became the 4th driver ever in the 360 class (joining the elite company of
Hesmer, Dwight Snodgrass, and Dean Chadd) to do the doube dip on twin features night. This
kid is for real, and is one of the MAJOR bright spots on the sport of sprint car racing
right now. In the shadows of Alley's awesome performance, Giannetto merely came from 16th
Next week will feature twin features for the 410s, with a single feature for the 360s.