TWICE AS NICE: Kyle Larson Leads All 50 Laps for Second Knoxville Nationals Title

Larson fends off multiple challengers for a $185,000 Knoxville Nationals victory

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 12, 2023) - Kyle Larson continues to amaze.

With the lights their brightest. With the stage its biggest. With all eyes on him starting on the pole of the 62nd NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals. Larson put together a flawless 50 laps.

The Elk Grove, CA native led flag to flag in The Granddaddy of ‘Em All. The man who doesn’t even race a Sprint Car full-time looked as if he never takes a day off from driving one on Saturday at Knoxville Raceway. Lining up against the absolute best drivers the sport has to offer, Larson went effectively unchallenged on his way to Knoxville Nationals glory and $185,000. The win was his 32nd with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars in only his 136th career start.

The triumph was a special one for Larson who was racing with a heavy heart. A close friend of Larson’s – Lowell Moural – passed away two days before the finale. Moural, who owned Cycleland Speedway and worked at Silver Dollar Speedway, helped the Californian not only in racing, but in life.

“Lowell meant so much to my life not only my career but my life,” an emotional Larson said. “I’ve always compared Cycleland to a mini-Knoxville. I had years and years of experience there racing in the outlaw karts. Lowell and Becky (wife) have done so much for me as well as everybody in this pit area. I’m sure there’s a lot of kids in the stands and adults in the stands that have grown up racing at Cycleland. Lowell meant so much to us.”

The victory put Larson in an elite group. “Yung Money” became only the eighth driver to claim multiple Knoxville Nationals titles after also topping the 60th running in 2021. He also joined Donny Schatz from 2015 as the only drivers to lead every lap since the Feature’s total was upped to 50. An especially meaningful pair of accomplishments for a competitor who puts the event at the top of his list.

“I’m so excited to win another Crown Jewel, another Knoxville Nationals feels amazing,” Larson said. “This is my favorite week of the year. I look forward to this event all year long. It’s all I think about all week.”

When the green flag flew, Larson took advantage of his pole position and quickly jumped out to an early lead. In his pursuit of a record-tying 12th Knoxville Nationals win, Donny Schatz moved into second after starting third on the first lap.

The early laps clicked away, and Larson extended his advantage aboard the Silva Motorsports #57 each time around the track. With 36 laps remaining, Abreu regained control of the second spot from Schatz right before the race’s first yellow flew as Chase Randall lost a left rear tire. Then, under caution, heartbreak hit Abreu as his right rear went down, sending him to the Federated Car Care Work Zone.

The restart saw Larson promptly pull away again and maintain control before the yellow flew for the mandatory stop at the halfway mark. Teams were allowed to tinker with the cars, allowing Larson’s renowned car owner and crew chief – Paul Silva – to work his magic before the final half of the race. Silva has played an integral part of Larson’s Sprint Car career – a fact he made sure to acknowledge after the race.

“I’m glad we could get this black and blue #57 in Victory Lane for him (Paul),” Larson said. “He’s worked so hard. It’s amazing to see his hard work pay off. From 20 years old owning a Sprint Car to the success he’s had throughout the years. I love him. He’s the greatest at what he does.”

In the second half of the race, the battles raged on behind Larson. Logan Schuchart surged into second and appeared as if he may present a challenge. But mechanical issues brought his run to a stop late in the going.

The biggest story outside of Larson came in the form of David Gravel. After racing his way into the main event through Friday’s Hard Knox night, Gravel lined up 22nd for the finale in the Big Game Motorsports #2. Inside the last 20 laps, he surged into the top five and kept pecking away. 

On the race’s final restart with 10 laps to go, Gravel battled with Schatz for multiple laps before finally securing the runner-up spot and setting his sights on Larson. But it was too little, too late as Larson was too far ahead. The checkered flag flew for Larson as he claimed the 62nd running of Sprint Car racing’s biggest race.

“He (Gravel) had me really nervous coming from 22nd there,” Larson admitted. “You can never count any of those guys out no matter where they start. 50 long laps here is a lot of time. I’m just glad I was able to do my homework this week and execute a flawless 50 laps.”

Gravel’s valiant charge led him to back-to-back Knoxville Nationals runner-ups and three top twos in the last four factoring in his 2019 victory. The second place effort was worth $85,000. The Watertown, CT native was undoubtedly proud of he and his team’s effort to rebound after an unfortunate prelim, but coming so close two years straight left Gravel feeling hungry.

“Did you guys like that show from the back?” Gravel asked an energetic crowd. “Man, I want to be a two-time winner of the Knoxville Nationals so bad. Two seconds in a row now. I gave one away last year, and tonight I needed a couple more laps. I had a really good car. The track has been really consistent this Nationals. They till the top and it’s really fast around the top. I was able to get going early and kind of had a couple bad laps about 10 laps in but then got to the top and knew that’s where I needed to be the rest of the race.”

Rounding out the top three was Donny Schatz to bank $45,000. The Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing pilot fell slightly short of tying Steve Kinser’s record total of 12 Knoxville Nationals, but he did still manage to reach an impressive mark. The third place run was Schatz’s 20th podium in the Knoxville Nationals finale, all coming in his last 24 attempts. Simply put, Schatz felt they were missing just a little something to compete for the win.

“We were kind of hanging there before when the race started,” Schatz said. “We could get to the bottom pretty good. I thought we had a chance when we had one of those restarts and went to the top and could kind of keep pace with him. I was running it for everything it was worth. It just wasn’t enough. The racetrack was definitely different than the other night. I guess we just didn’t have enough changes with it.”

Completing the top five was Giovanni Scelzi and Carson Macedo.

Gravel’s run to the front gave him the KSE Racing Hard Charger.

The Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown was claimed by Justin Peck.

After an early flat tire, Chase Randall rebounded to run 13th and claim the Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year Award.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are bound for Minnesota where Jackson Motorplex will host the 45th Annual AGCO Jackson Nationals on August 17-19 with $25,000 going to the winner of the finale. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.


A Main (50 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[1]; 2. 2-David Gravel[22]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz[3]; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[9]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo[5]; 6. 49-Brad Sweet[16]; 7. 24-Rico Abreu[2]; 8. 83JR-Michael Kofoid[8]; 9. 55-Kerry Madsen[7]; 10. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[20]; 11. 5-Spencer Bayston[13]; 12. 14-Corey Day[10]; 13. 2KS-Chase Randall[14]; 14. 21-Brian Brown[19]; 15. 4-Ian Madsen[11]; 16. 8-Aaron Reutzel[21]; 17. 3J-Dusty Zomer[12]; 18. 9P-Parker Price Miller[18]; 19. 13-Justin Peck[17]; 20. 7BC-Anthony Macri[15]; 21. 2M-Davey Heskin[24]; 22. 10-Scott Bogucki[23]; 23. 1S-Logan Schuchart[4]; 24. 39-Hunter Schuerenberg[6]

HARD KNOX DELIVERS: Aaron Reutzel Holds Off Gravel for Hard Knox Victory, Three More Clinch Knoxville Nationals Finale Birth

After bad luck struck in the prelim, both Reutzel and Gravel rebound for top two spots with Bogucki and Heskin joining them

KNOXVILLE, IA (August 11, 2023) - Misfortune is bound to strike a contender or two during their prelim at the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store. There are too many variables in racing to allow all of them to get through smoothly. And FVP Parts Hard Knox Night is about allowing those World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car heavyweights a chance to regroup and potentially lock in to the Knoxville Nationals finale.

And that’s exactly what happened Friday night at Knoxville Raceway.

Bad luck bit a pair of favorites in Aaron Reutzel and David Gravel on Wednesday night, leaving them forced to compete on Hard Knox Night. And the two did exactly what they’re supposed to do. Reutzel wheeled the Ridge & Sons Racing #8 to the victory while Gravel finished a close second. Their finishes secured them spots 21st and 22nd in the lineup for the $185,000-to-win, $15,000-to-start finale.

It was a comfortable drive for Reutzel as he led the field to green and never looked back. The result looked slightly in doubt coming to the checkered as Gravel got a run off the final corner but Reutzel held on. The Clute, TX native entered the night confident that if he did his job, they should have no issue locking in.

“It’s fourth or nothing here,” Reutzel said. “I don’t know where fifth lines you up here, but I know it ain’t good. I had tough luck. Same with David, tough luck… I just kind of put myself in a bad spot (on Wednesday) and got caught up in a wreck, but my guys did a great job getting the car back together. We had a fast race car. We knew we just needed to come into tonight and get a good (Qualifying) time, get through our heat where it started us up front and do what we did.”

For Gravel, Wednesday’s troubles left him a little weary entering the Feature, especially with having to start seventh. But the Big Game Motorsports driver did what he needed to do to lock into his 11th Knoxville Nationals finale.

“I’m just happy to get in the show,” Gravel said. “We’ve been fast. We had a plenty fast enough car to lock in on a prelim night, but that’s racing sometimes. Happy to bounce back with a different car, different engine. We just threw these body panels on there and were fast. I was bummed to start seventh in that Feature. I knew we’d be good enough to get up there, but again you just never know. It’s racing.”

There’s another element to Hard Knox Night. It’s not only about giving the titans of Sprint Car racing a second chance. It’s also an opportunity for some speedy underdogs to potentially sneak in. And Friday at “The Sprint Car Capital of the World” delivered on that storyline as well. After battling some recent adversity, Scott Bogucki drove an excellent 25 laps aboard the Liebig #10 to finish third, earning a spot in The Granddaddy of “Em All for the first time in his career in his seventh attempt.

“I really don’t have the words,” Bogucki said of his emotion. “It’s pretty emotional. I came over here 10 years ago as a crew guy, and this was always the dream. We missed it by one car two or three times now. Same thing Wednesday night. We qualified good and missed the Heat transfer by one. After last week and all of the disasters that have gone on, it’s so nice to rebound. I can’t thank Shane enough and all of the guys with the #10 for believing in me.”

Behind Bogucki came another feel-good story. Davey Heskin started 10th and spent the race moving forward and took over the final transfer in the closing laps. The St. Michael, MN driver locked into the sport’s biggest race for the first time in 11 years. The moment left Heskin full of emotion.

“Honestly, it’s just unreal,” Heskin said. “It’s a blessing to have everything we have. On Wednesday I was pretty down but we came back. I think tonight was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been for a Heat Race. I think that kind of showed the last few laps. It’s just unreal to lock in. Everybody here knows how much time and effort is put into these things. Just to do it with your family and friends is something unreal.”

The spots are secured for the four individuals who emerged from Hard Knox Night. Now, they can rest easy and focus on all that remains for them – the 62nd Knoxville Nationals finale on Saturday.

Parker Price-Miller owned the misfortune of finishing fifth to complete the top five. While it was a strong outing, it left the Kokomo, IN native without a guaranteed position in the Knoxville Nationals finale. The difference between finishing fourth and fifth in the Hard Knox Feature is starting 24th in the Saturday finale or 11th in Saturday’s Last Chance Showdown.

On top of winning the NOS Energy Drink Feature, Reutzel also claimed the Simpson Performance Products QuickTime Award for the first time this year and the eighth time of his career.

Brent Marks was the KSE Racing Hard Charger by virtue of his run from 19th to 6th in the main event.

CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to David Gravel (231st Heat Race win of career). Your Life Iowa Heats Two through Six were claimed by Parker Price-Miller (22nd of career), Cory Eliason (20th of career), Chris Windom (first of career), and Tim Kaeding (77th of career).

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars take on the $185,000-to-win, $15,000-to-start finale of the 62nd NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals on Saturday, August 12. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to Knoxville, catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.


A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 8-Aaron Reutzel[1]; 2. 2-David Gravel[7]; 3. 10-Scott Bogucki[2]; 4. 2M-Davey Heskin[10]; 5. 9P-Parker Price Miller[9]; 6. 19-Brent Marks[19]; 7. 7TW-Brandon Wimmer[3]; 8. 5T-Ryan Timms[5]; 9. 1-Justin Henderson[8]; 10. 11-Cory Eliason[17]; 11. 26-Zeb Wise[22]; 12. 22K-Kaleb Johnson[15]; 13. 21H-Brady Bacon[21]; 14. 4W-Jamie Ball[4]; 15. 3-Tim Kaeding[14]; 16. 39M-Justin Sanders[16]; 17. 49X-Tim Shaffer[11]; 18. 2K-Lynton Jeffrey[18]; 19. 4CW-Chris Windom[12]; 20. 5C-Dylan Cisney[13]; 21. 7S-Robbie Price[24]; 22. 17W-Shane Golobic[23]; 23. 17B-Bill Balog[6]; 24. 42-Sye Lynch[20]