The Capital! Knoxville’s Corn Belt Clash Hosts USAC Sprints May 31-June 1

Winning a USAC National Sprint Car race at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway is reserved for greatness.

Gary Bettenhausen, Dick Tobias, Sammy Sessions, Tom Bigelow, Sheldon Kinser and Sammy Swindell have all won here and are now enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame which overlooks turn two of the famed half-mile.

In recent years, Justin Grant, Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney have added wins of their own, and someday, their names will most definitely be called upon as an inductee to the hall of fame.

Drivers make their name at this place. Always have and always will. After all, a place christened as The Sprint Car Capital of the World has that type of presence.

An opportunity awaits this weekend’s crop of USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship talents who’ll face two full programs on Friday-Saturday, May 31-June 1, at Knoxville during the Avanti Windows & Doors Corn Belt Clash.

One year ago, Jake Swanson made the most of his opportunity by adding a monumental piece to his resume as a last lap USAC winner at Knoxville. Now, we’ll find out who’s next to make their mark at one of the most legendary dirt tracks in the world.

Without further ado, let’s check out six storylines to keep tabs on this weekend.


Jake Swanson’s most recent Knoxville appearance resulted in a last lap victory during the June 2023 Corn Belt Clash. Earlier that same night, Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) set quick time during qualifying as well.

Thus far in 2024, Swanson remains on the hunt for both his first feature win and his first fast time of the USAC National Sprint Car season.

However, Swanson’s latest performance on the similar dirt half-mile at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track one week ago gives some credence that Knoxville could provide that long-awaited season breakthrough.

Swanson finished second at Terre Haute last Tuesday night, leading a race-high 20 of the 30 laps before developing a hole in his right rear tire and being passed for the lead just two laps from the finish line.


Only one driver has won more than two USAC National Sprint Car features at Knoxville Raceway. In fact, that driver has won four throughout his illustrious career. That’s Brady Bacon.

The Broken Arrow, Okla. native scored at Knoxville in 2011, then swept both nights of the Corn Belt Clash in 2019 and capped the weekend with a triumph in 2020. In 2023, he led until the final lap before developing a tire issue and being passed for the lead and the win by Jake Swanson. Bacon still managed to finish second.

In nine career Knoxville USAC Sprint Car starts, Bacon has only finished outside the top-three once. It’s a profile that features four wins, three seconds and a third, and no finish worse than 10th.

After a rough go to start the USAC Sprint Car season, Bacon has finished each of his three past starts on the podium with a 3rd at Terre Haute, followed by his first victory of the season at Circle City and a runner-up finish a night later at Circle City, which has propelled the four-time series champion into the top-five of the standings.


Since winning his first USAC National Sprint Car event at Knoxville in 2017, Grant has reeled off finishes of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th at the Sprint Car Capital of the World, marking a rare distinction of finishing in each of the top-six spots at one point or another in his career.

This weekend, a finish of that caliber for Grant (Ione, Calif.) would be a welcome sight for the two-time and defending USAC National Sprint Car champion. Entering Knoxville, he’s finished 13th or worse in seven of his last nine outings, which has dropped him to eighth in the series standings despite already notching four feature wins to this point.

It is wise to note that, around this same point last year, Grant struggled mightily before putting it all back together to capture his second straight crown. Two opportunities this weekend at Knoxville provide that chance to kickstart his season and get back into the groove in pursuit of a third consecutive title.


The last USAC visit to Knoxville saw a jubilant and triumphant Team AZ Racing crew celebrating in victory lane after a last lap pass for the win by Jake Swanson.

This year, Daison Pursley is at the wheel of number 21AZ, and the signs are beginning to point to a breakthrough coming soon for the Locust Grove, Okla. native who captured USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year honors one year ago.

In his six most recent USAC National Sprint Car starts during the month of May, Pursley has recorded results of 6th, 2nd, 6th, 6th, 3rd and 3rd for an average finishing spot of 4.33. In his last five feature starts, Pursley has passed an astonishing 44 cars in feature events alone!

Over the past few weeks, he won a USAC National Midget race, finished fifth in his USAC Silver Crown debut after starting at the tail, finished on the podium thrice with the USAC National Sprint Cars, and most recently, last Sunday, he was victorious in a winged sprint car at South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway.

Pursley already owns a USAC Sprint Car non-points special event victory at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park in February 2023. Now, he’s primed to notch USAC National Sprint Car points-paying victory number one at Knoxville.


Logan Seavey has already become the earliest to win his fifth USAC National Sprint Car feature of the year (May 23, 2024) since Larry Dickson on May 10, 1970. Furthermore, Seavey became the first driver since Bryan Clauson in 2016 to win five races within the first 14 events of the season.

Dickson is the only driver to win six USAC National Sprint Car features by the end of May. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) can equal that record on Friday at Knoxville. However, no driver has ever won seven USAC National Sprint Car features by the end of June 1. Seavey can set a new record with a two-night Knoxville sweep this weekend.

If Seavey was to win this Friday at Knoxville, he’d be the first to win six of the first 15 races in a season since Robert Ballou in 2015. Similarly, if Seavey was to sweep the weekend, he’d be the first to win seven of the first 16 races to start a season since Ballou during the same 2015 campaign.

Additionally, Seavey carries a 28-point lead into round four of the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Series presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment. He’s won two of the first three rounds of the 10-race miniseries at Volusia and Terre Haute. Justin Grant won the only other round held thus far at Eldora. At the end of the year, the “Bubby Jones” driver champion will earn $10,000 for himself and $2,500 for his crew chief.


This weekend’s event is special in more ways than one. It’s National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend as eight individuals will be honored for their contributions to the sport during a ceremony on Saturday, June 1, at the Dyer-Hudson Hall on the Marion County Fairgrounds behind Knoxville Raceway’s grandstands. The doors will open at 11am Central with dinner catered by the Rib Shack at Noon. The induction festivities will follow thereafter.

This year’s 34th class of inductees includes Tracy Hines, Paul McMahan, Jon Stanbrough, Gary “Deuce” Turrill, Ricky Warner, Mark “Bones” Bourcier, Roy Robbins and Bill Holder.

Serving as the backdrop of this weekend’s Corn Belt Clash on-track activities, the modern day USAC National Sprint Car stars of today will be passing by the Hall of Fame each time they rip around the half-mile, but someday hope to stop by and have their name etched in as a Hall of Fame inductee, some of which already possess Hall of Fame credentials.


Half-miles have made up the majority of the venues throughout USAC National Sprint Car history with just a little more than half of all events held on tracks that size or larger, 15 of which have taken place at Knoxville since 1968.

At least nine drivers in this weekend’s field have won USAC National Sprint Car features on half-mile tracks, led by Brady Bacon with 19. Robert Ballou has won 16 on the “halves” while Justin Grant has notched 15, Kevin Thomas Jr. six, Logan Seavey six, Chase Stockon four, C.J. Leary four, Jake Swanson two and Matt Westfall one apiece.

Already this season, Seavey (Volusia twice & Terre Haute once), Ballou (Eldora) and Grant (Eldora) have bagged USAC Sprint Car wins on half-mile tracks.

Tom Bigelow owns the most with 50 career USAC Sprint Car wins on half-mile or larger tracks but did the bulk of his work when the entire schedule was made up of said tracks before tracks less than a half-mile were introduced to the schedule in 1981.


The Avanti Windows & Doors Corn Belt Clash will take place on Friday-Saturday, May 31-June 1. Friday’s feature will be 25 laps in length and pay $8,000-to-win. Saturday’s feature will be 30 laps in length and pay $12,000-to-win.

The fourth edition of the Corn Belt Clash features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, in conjunction with the USAC Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association & the Western Iowa Non-Wing Sprints). Knoxville Championship 360 Sprint Cars will be on the card for Friday while the Knoxville Championship 410 Sprint Cars will be on hand Saturday.

Each night, the front gates open at 6pm Central and hot laps at 6:45pm followed immediately by qualifying and racing.

On Friday, general admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 13-19, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 & under. Reserved tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for ages 13-19, $10 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 & under. Pit passes are $40.

On Saturday, general admission tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for ages 13-19, $10 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 & under. Reserved tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for ages 13-19, $15 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 & under. Pit passes are $40.

Advance tickets are on sale at

The entire weekend of events can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-996, 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-910, 3-C.J. Leary-900, 4-Daison Pursley-836, 5-Brady Bacon-815, 6-Robert Ballou-756, 7-Kyle Cummins-755, 8-Justin Grant-740, 9-Mitchel Moles-733, 10-Chase Stockon-727.

BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOIN’ FASTER PRESENTED BY SPIRE SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-233, 2-C.J. Leary-205, 3-Kevin Thomas Jr.-203, 4-Brady Bacon-178, 5-Daison Pursley-178, 6-Justin Grant-172, 7-Mitchel Moles-171, 8-Kyle Cummins-165, 9-Jake Swanson-152, 10-Carson Garrett-150.

USAC WHOLESALE BATTERIES MIDWEST WINGLESS RACING ASSOCIATION SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Wyatt Burks-1095, 2-Luke Howard-985, 3-Kobe Simpson-955, 4-Zach Clark-920, 5-Chad Winfrey-910, 6-Dakota Earls-885, 7-Junior Parkinson-875, 8-Wesley Smith-865, 9-Michael Moore-855, 10-Kory Schudy-835.