Canton, IL (September 17, 2022) – J.J. Hickle earned his first Morrow Brothers Ford MOWA Sprint Car Series event in Saturday’s 35th Annual Tom Knowles Memorial at Spoon River Speedway.
Hickle, driving the NineSix Motorsports entry for Nathan Charron and Levi Curry started 8th and led the final 10 laps after becoming comfortable with the high-banked surface of Spoon River Speedway.
“Man, I’ve just gotta thank Nate and Levi and everyone involved with this NineSix Motorsports car. I expected the track to slick off a bit for the feature, but these guys made all the right adjustments and I’m glad to have gotten a win for them”, said Hickle in Victory Lane.
Korey Weyant, taking over the seat of the Samonds Racing #47 in the second part of the season after the untimely passing of Terry Babb, started from the pole of the field and showed dominance early in the feature. Plagued by two yellow flags before reaching lap five, the biggest mover was J.J. HIckle, who moved from eighth to third in just five laps. With Weyant leading, Andy Bishop had to switch to defense mode as Hickle continued to move forward. Hickle passed Bishop with ease on lap 7 and had moved into second and caught Weyant on the backstretch attempting to make a pass for the lead before Luke Verardi slowed to bring out a caution flag.
Weyant led the field back to green and knew Hickle was quickly closing in. Working lap 10, Hickle slid past Weyant in turn four to take the lead. Weyant dropped to second, as the battle for third through fifth picked up with Cory Bruns, Paul Nienhiser and Corbin Gurley swapping back and forth.
Hickle was out to a two second lead over Korey Weyant, who was fighting back challenges from Paul Nienhiser as the field worked into lapped traffic. Nienhiser moved past Weyant just as a yellow flag bunched the field for a slowing Chase Richards atop turn two.
With eight laps remaining, J.J. Hickle continued to lead with a hard-charging Paul Nienhiser in second. Nienhiser put his #9X on the top side of the speedway, in hopes of tracking down Hickle. Nienhiser unfortunately slowed atop turn four after losing a right-rear wheel, which ended his bid for another Tom Knowles Memorial victory. Korey Weyant inherited second after the caution, with Corbin Gurey, Josh Schneiderman and Logan Faucon rounding out the top five.
With three laps remaining, Korey Weyant slowed running second to draw caution again before retiring with terminal issues to his #47 Samonds Racing entry. Hickle continued to lead with Corbin Gurley moving into second, with Tyler Duff, Josh Schneiderman and Chris Urish moving into the trop five.
Duff’s #9 machine slowed on the ensuing restart as he slid back through the field, collecting Cole Mincer who then got upside down as the field approached two laps to go, slowing the field once more.
A two lap shootout set the field for the finish of the A-Main. Hickle executed a great restart and never looked back as he went on to win the Tom Knowles Memorial over Corbin Gurley, Josh Schniderman, Chris Urish, who earned the BMRS Hard Charger Award after advancing 14 spots, and Caden Englehart who rounded out the top five.
Feature Finish: 1. J.J. Hickle, 2. Corbin Gurley, 3. Josh Schneiderman, 4. Chris Urish, 5. Caden Englehart, 6. Bret Triplett, 7. Austin Archdale, 8. Tyler Duff, 9. Jeremy Standridge, 10. Korey Weyant, 11. Andy Bishop, 12. Cole Mincer, 13. Paul Nienhiser, 14. Logan Faucon, 15. Chase Richards, 16. Cory Bruns, 17. Brayton Lynch, 18. Shelby Bosie, 19. Luke Verardi, 20. Reece Saldana, 21. Trevin Littleton, 22. Ryan Bunton (DNS), 23. Eric Shelton (DNS)