Knowland Bests Busch For Shootout Runner-Up

CONCORD, N.C. – In just his third Bandolero Bandits division start, Taegan Knowland earned a strong runner-up finish during round three of the Cookout Summer Shootout Series Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Driving the familiar No. 17 for Race Driven Performance, Knowland struggled with a tight-handling car in qualifying, only able to muster the ninth-best lap in time trials. However, a handful of pre-race adjustments allowed the 10-year-old Kansas young gun to advance quickly during the 20-lap feature.

Knowland carved his way through traffic to fourth by lap two, quickly becoming embroiled in a fierce battle for position with Brexton Busch, the son of two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.

Though Knowland lost out on that battle just before halfway, he was able to utilize the choose rule to make up track position during a caution-laden second half. With power moves from the outside lane on several restarts, Knowland picked his way back up to third for a one-lap shootout on the final restart.

Race control elected to put the lineup single-file for the quarter-mile dash, allowing Knowland to duck inside the young Busch in turns one and two during the last lap and make the pass for second place.

Knowland held the position back around to the checkered flag, earning his career-best Bandolero Bandits finish to date in just his third race in the class and 11th Bandolero race overall.

The effort left the young racer all smiles, not just for the finish itself but due to the level of competition he bested to earn it. Seven of the 12 drivers in Tuesday night’s field are currently ranked inside the top 10 of the INEX Bandolero Bandit national point standings.

“What a night and race! We knew making this jump from the beginner level up to the competitive Bandit class was going to be tough,” said Knowland. “We honestly were not expecting a podium finish this early on in the Shootout season. Our main goal coming into round three was to finish [inside the] top five. So to get a second-place finish in only my third time racing in this class is truly special and I look forward to continuing to learn and seeing how many more of these podium finishes we can get.

“Being able to battle up front with the likes of Brexton Busch and Cam Truett taught me a lot; I learned a few things battling with them that I look forward to putting to use in the upcoming rounds. Having the choose cone is [also] really cool; being able to do exactly what the guys on the weekends in NASCAR do adds extra excitement for me. I’m learning the ins and outs of the choose cone and I really enjoy the strategy it brings into the races.”

Knowland would like to thank ATP Restoration, Race Face Brand Development, the Friends of Jacklyn Foundation, Qdoba of Topeka, Jeremiah Bullfrogs Bar & Grille of Topeka, Manhattan and Junction City, Royal Signs, Thrivent Financial, and DC Lawn Care for their partnership and support of his racing efforts.

Jeremiah Bullfrogs is continuing to hold local watch parties for each round of the Summer Shootout in support of Knowland. Topeka-area fans looking to get in on the fun can do so by visiting the restaurant at 2827 Southwest Wanamaker Road, with the FloRacing broadcast kicking off at 4 p.m. Central.

Knowland will return to action Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23 with the Topeka Quarter Midget Association for a doubleheader weekend in front of his local supporters.

Round four of the Cookout Summer Shootout Series takes place Tuesday night, June 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For those unable to attend at the track, FloRacing will stream the event live.


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.

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