Chuck Stowe Photo
PETERSEN MEDIA: An extended off season for Kearney, MO’s Austin O’Neal finally came to an end on Saturday night as O’Neal kicked his 2023 season off at Knoxville Raceway.
“After 238 days it was great to finally get back in a car,” Austin O’Neal said. “Unfortunately, our night didn’t go had we had hoped, and it was a tough night, but we will work through our issues and try again.”
Taking part in weekly 360ci action at Knoxville Raceway, O’Neal kicked the night off by timing in 16th quickest in his qualifying flight aboard the Marmon Keystone/Weld Racing/River Valley Ag backed No. 11.
Missing the inversion, O’Neal lined up in the fourth row of his heat race, and needed to finish inside of the Top-Five to transfer directly into the feature event.
On a very slick surface in the seven-lap shootout, the bottom would prove to be the preferred line for much of the field. Able to make a couple of nice moves, O’Neal worked his way into sixth, but it was not enough as he would be relegated into one of the twin ‘B’ mains that were on tap later in the evening.
Lining up fifth in ‘B’ No. 2, O’Neal needed to nail his start with only two drivers keeping their night alive. When the race went green, O’Neal was hard on the throttle and the slick surface led to him spinning his tires and losing early valuable track position.
Getting up to speed, O’Neal went to work on the bottom of the famed ½ mile until his left rear inboard brake rotor exploded. Once this happened, O’Neal’s night was over as he returned to the pit area.
“Having the rotor explode like it did is a little odd as it was relatively new, but it is something that we have to deal with in this sport,” O’Neal said. “Thanks to everyone for the help and who makes this possible.”
Austin O’Neal Racing would like to thank Marmon/Keystone, Weld Racing, River Valley Ag, Kaw Valley Companies, Allen’s Automotive, Champion Oil, Taff’s Carpets, Speedway Motors Racing Engines, Rod End Supply, AdvanTec Dyno Services, Clemons Home Team, Carstar Metcalf, Buddy’s Automotive, Schoenfeld Headers, V&L Properties, Toby’s Coatings, NGK Spark Plugs, Maxim Racing, Capital Sign Co., and Schure Built Suspensions
BY THE NUMBERS: Races-1, Wins-0, Top 5’s-0, Top 10’s-0
ON TAP: O’Neal is tentatively slated to return to racing action on June 16th at Humboldt Speedway.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay updated with Austin O’Neal by following him on Twitter @austinonealrcgn, or by ‘Liking’ him on facebook at www.facebook.com/austinonealracing.
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