Knowland Earns Top Five During Shootout’s Opening Week

CONCORD, N.C. – Taegan Knowland rode a roller-coaster opening week of the Cookout Summer Shootout Series to a top-five finish Tuesday in Bandolero Bandits action at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Knowland, a two-time Summer Shootout winner last year in Beginner Bandolero action, stepped up to the Bandits class for his return go-round with a mission to race near the front of the field as often as possible.

That quest got off to a rocky start in Monday’s opening round, after a broken clutch and subsequent flat right-rear tire on the grid for practice set the Race Driven Performance team back behind the 8-ball, but they rallied to repair the No. 17 in time for Knowland to rank fifth-fastest in the final practice round.

Knowland then qualified and started seventh for Monday’s 20-lap feature, racing up as high as fourth place before smoke in the cockpit from a melted oil-line seal led him to pull off the track after seven laps.

After determining there was no damage to the engine, Knowland’s Tuesday evening went substantially better, qualifying sixth and finishing fifth in a far more uneventful race day.

With a goal of running inside the top seven during the early rounds of the Summer Shootout, Knowland left CMS pleased with his week-one efforts, despite the wild path it took to get through it.

“Man, Monday was a struggle, there’s no question about that,” Knowland admitted. “Our car was good, and we had top-five speed I think, but the mechanical issues made it tough on us. We knew that as long as nothing big was hurt, we could rebound and repair and that’s what we were able to do.

“We knew stepping up [to Bandits] was going to be tough, so the plan for the first few races was to treat this as a learning experience and get better steadily,” he added. “We ran pretty well; the struggles with the car just didn’t give us the result we wanted in the beginning. Tuesday was solid, though. Our goal was to have clean laps and try to finish [in the] top seven, and we had a good race.

“It was a really good Tuesday, and really a good week overall. I was able to make a few passes and felt comfortable; the traffic wasn’t too bad in race two and just really let me get comfortable racing around other cars in a competitive field.”

Knowland would like to thank ATP Restoration, Race Face Brand Development, 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.

In addition, new partner Jeremiah Bullfrogs Bar & Grille of Topeka held a local watch party for Monday and Tuesday’s Summer Shootout rounds in support of Knowland. The popular establishment will continue to do so each week throughout the 10-race series.

Topeka-area fans looking to get in on the fun can do so by visiting the restaurant at 2827 Southwest Wanamaker Road, with the broadcast kicking off at 4 p.m. Central.

Of additional note, Knowland picked up finishes of second (Senior Honda) and seventh (Light 160) in 40-lap Topeka Quarter Midget Association features on Saturday, June 8 leading into the Summer Shootout.

Knowland will return to action Tuesday night, June 18 for round three of the Cookout Summer Shootout Series 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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