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AKA Leadfoot
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By Bill Wright (Knoxville, IA) -- For the third time in his career at Knoxville Raceway, Justin Henderson swept both the 410 and 360 features in a single night. The stakes were high Saturday on Van Wall Equipment/Marion County Fair Night as the Tea, South Dakota native not only took home a total of $7,000 for his feat, but also claimed a half beef for winning the 410 feature, and a half a hog for winning the 360 main event. Tyler Groenendyk stormed from the back of the Pace Performance Pro Sprints field to win his third feature of the year in that class, while Todd Cooney swept the two features with the Karl Chevrolet Dirt Truck Racing Association Series.

PHOTO: Justin Henderson (410 and 360) and Tyler Groenendyk (Pro) celebrate their wins at Knoxville Saturday--CREDIT: Ken's Racing Pix

Ayrton Gennetten stormed out to an early lead in the 20-lap 410 feature, ahead of Carson McCarl and Lynton Jeffrey. Henderson was fourth by the fourth lap. Up front, Gennetten was putting a large margin between himself and the field as he entered lapped traffic on the fifth circuit.

When Riley Goodno contacted the turn one wall at the halfway point, Gennetten and McCarl had put over four seconds between themselves and the third place car of Jeffrey.

The restart saw new life for Henderson, who surged from fourth to second. Another stoppage for a tangle involving Austin Miller and Ben Brown two laps later, set up the restart Henderson really needed.

The driver of the Sandvig Motorsports #7 put a slider on Gennetten in turns three and four after the green fell. Gennetten stayed close, but a Presley Truedson flip with six to go assured Henderson clean air.

Henderson would pull away for his thirteenth 410 win here, followed by Gennetten, a late charging Austin McCarl, Carson McCarl and Davey Heskin. Jeffrey, Matt Juhl, AJ Moeller, Terry McCarl and Sawyer Phillips rounded out the top ten. Jeffrey set quick time, and Phillips, Henderson and Heskin won heats.

“Before we ever went out for the 360 feature, I had a great big smile on my face,” said Henderson in Victory Lane. “I knew we were going to be taking the right after the scales. I could already picture my boy coming up. I just had a big smile on my face. I knew it was a done deal. We did it twice. We’re going to go buy another freezer tomorrow! Ayrton is getting so good here. I was tickled pink to pass him and to beat him. He’s very, very good here. He’s got a lot of wins coming in his future. There’s a lot of good competition here. We’re very happy and proud of this team.”

Ricky Montgomery came to a stop at the beginning of the 20-lap 360 main event. Once underway, Jamie Ball led Christian Bowman and Henderson early. Bowman passed Ball on the high side of turn four to lead lap three, but Ball surged back by on the next circuit. Kaleb Johnson had a fast mount as well, gaining fourth from Ryan Giles on lap four.

Henderson used the low side to pass Bowman for second before Scott Bogucki came to a stop in turn two seven laps in. The caution came just as the leaders were approaching traffic.

Ball led Henderson, Bowman and Johnson back to green. Henderson used the high side of turn four to make his winning move, while Johnson took third after narrowly avoiding disaster and contact with Bowman.

The leaders were back in lapped traffic with five to go, but Johnson, who was challenging Ball for second, got over the turn one cushion and into the wall, ending his night.

Henderson led the group back to green, ahead of Ball, Juhl, Giles and Bowman. Giles took third, but Juhl roared back by a lap later. He would cruise on the low side to pass Ball for second, but had nothing for Henderson at the line.

Following Henderson and Juhl, were Ball, Giles and Clint Garner. Brooke Tatnell, Roger Crockett, Dylan Westbrook, Bowman and Ryan Leavitt completed the top ten. Henderson set quick time over the field, while Leavitt, Giles, Tatnell and Garret Williamson were heat winners. JJ Hickle claimed the B. Alan Zoutte spun in the second heat, collecting Alex Hill. Both were uninjured, but done for the night.C

“I just love this car,” said Henderson of the family #83 in Victory Lane. “It feels so good. We switched out cars at the end of last year, and I was a little worried this car wouldn’t act the same, but I love it. I didn’t get a good restart with five to go there. It jumped to the right and I spun and got back to the left. I thought Jamie…he’s so good at the bottom here, and I didn’t want to leave the bottom open for him. The top just felt better, we never same him and we never looked back.”

Brandon Worthington led the Pro Sprints feature early over Chase Young and Jeff Wilke. Meanwhile, Tyler Groenendyk got a tremendous start from outside row six and was fifth by the end of the first lap.

Young snuck by Worthington to lead lap two. Groenendyk shot from fifth to third on lap three before Scotty Johnson slowed with a flat left rear tire. Groenendyk disposed of Worthington to take second on the restart, while Mike Mayberry climbed to third in a battle with Worthington.

Up front, Young was cruising on the bottom, until he missed his marks with three to go. Groenendyk gained on him for a pair of laps before snatching the lead on the high side coming for the white flag.

Groenendyk’s third win of the year came ahead of Young, Worthington, Mayberry and Devin Wignall. Wilke, Matt Allen, Alex Vande Voort, Eric Bridger and Joel Thorpe rounded out the top ten. Young and Allen won heat races.

“The track was good on the bottom of three and four, and you just had to be there,” said Groenendyk in Victory Lane. “Thankfully, Chase started slowing down a little bit, and that opened the opportunity to start searching around. I think the bottom of one and two was getting narrower, and the top was starting to come in. We only made a half a lap in the heat race, and we had to go fix this thing. It wouldn’t have happened if not for a lot of work behind the scenes.”

Two 12-lap DTRA features were run. In the first, Shawn Cooney took the early advantage before a restart on lap two, saw former Knoxville Harris Clash modified winner, Bill Davis Jr., take over the lead. Former sprint car regular Jeff Johnson entered the top three on lap three, and worked by Todd Cooney for second on lap four.

It would turn into a three-way battle between Davis, Johnson and Todd Cooney for the win. Johnson led lap seven, before Cooney took over for good on lap eight.

Cooney’s win came ahead of Johnson, Davis, Rick Clark and Shonn Mapes.

The former late model ace was even better in the second feature. Bryan Spangler led early, but Cooney had gone from tenth to third by the second lap. Johnson took the lead from Spangler, but it was short-lived. Cooney was in control by lap four.

Cooney’s second victory came in front of Johnson, Davis, Dennis Plain and Spangler.

“We had a lot of fun tonight,” said Cooney of his first two career wins at Knoxville. “We just decided to do this yesterday afternoon. I never thought I’d be making the left turn (into Victory Lane at Knoxville). This is pretty cool.”

 
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