Knowland Battles In Alphabet Soup At Kansas National

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Taegan Knowland raced his way through a hefty amount of alphabet soup during last weekend’s NASCAR Youth Series Nationals on the grounds of Kansas Speedway, before ending his home race in the D-Main of three different classes.

Knowland, who lives just 45 minutes west of Kansas City in Topeka, participated in the Senior Honda, Senior Animal, and Light 160 divisions. He utilized multiple different chassis during the weekend due to the various rules and regulations for each class.

The main portion of the program was shifted from Sunday to Saturday evening, due to the predicted rain that eventually hit the speedway property and delayed Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race by three hours.

In competitive national-caliber fields, Knowland battled his way through both the heat races that set the feature lineups, as well as in the alphabet mains themselves.

He finished sixth (Senior Honda), sixth (Senior Animal) and fifth (Light 160) in the trio of qualifying heat races, which put him deep in the soup for all three classes after struggling with gearing early in the weekend.

Knowland raced his way from the E-Main to the D-Main in both Senior Honda and Light 160, starting third and holding onto fourth at the finish in Senior Honda, then lining up on the pole and dominating the Light 160 E-Main.

From there, Knowland found his way from 10th to fifth (Senior Honda) and seventh to fifth (Light 160) in those respective D-Mains, just missing the transfer cutoff in both events.

The Senior Animal class was the same, as Knowland lined up third in the D-Main before ultimately finishing, again, in fifth place and being just outside the window to move on to the C-Main.

It was a weekend of “extreme learning” for the 10-year-old, with the cancellation of practice meaning he was adapting on the fly – all while running successive races in all three of the classes he entered.

The way the schedule lined up, all five of his alphabet soup mains were back-to-back, meaning he had almost no time to breathe after one checkered flag before having to switch cars and go out for the next event on the docket.

“We started out behind on our setup and gearing from the very beginning of the weekend. That’s never an excuse, but man … having to race five straight races and not be able to really tune on the car made it difficult to adjust to what we needed,” Knowland reflected. “We gave it our best shot for what we were up against and just came up short. I’m proud of our effort, though, and we will come back stronger next time around. We definitely learned a few things from this experience.

“Getting to experience alphabet soup for the first time was something in itself,” Knowland added. “Racing for nearly two hours straight in five consecutive races gave me a new perspective on how important it is [as an athlete] to make sure you hydrate and are in shape. I’m not sure exactly how many laps we ended up running over the day, when you include the caution laps, but it felt like 300!”

Knowland would like to thank ATP Restoration, the Friends of Jacklyn Foundation, Qdoba of Topeka, Manhattan and Junction City, Royal Signs, Thrivent Financial, and DC Lawn Care for their partnership and support of his racing efforts.

Knowland’s next race is May 18 with the Topeka Quarter Midget Association.


About Taegan Knowland

Taegan Knowland is a 10-year-old Kansan whose dreams of racing were strong from his earliest years. A first-generation racer, Knowland began racing quarter midgets in 2021 and has since compiled a record of more than 30 victories, including a highlight win in 2022 at historic Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway.

Knowland currently races quarter midgets nationally in the NASCAR Youth Series (formerly the USAC.25 Series) and has also branched out into Bandolero car racing, with plans to compete for Race Driven Performance in the prestigious Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and other major INEX-sanctioned events.

Fans can also follow Knowland on Facebook and Instagram at Taegan Knowland Racing.

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