KNOWLES LEADS MODIFIEDS OF MAYHEM AS OPEN WHEEL ACTION SHIFTS TO PENSACOLA FRIDAY
Fresh Start, Fresh Results: With Podium Finishes, Knowles Enjoying Mayhem of Modifieds Racing
By Chuck Corder
Zach Knowles couldn’t have asked for a better introduction on the Modifieds of Mayhem tour.
The 28-year-old Texan is in his first season running the series’ full schedule of races, making stops at some of the south’s most iconic speedways.
Knowles, who has raced both Modifieds and Late Models at Five Flags Speedway, began his year with a third-place finish at the venerable Montgomery (AL) Motor Speedway in early March. But it was last month’s dominant win at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga., that injected some confidence into the Houston native and his No. 51 team.
“We actually struggled in practice the day of (the race) and the day before,” said Knowles, who first began racing at age 12. “We did our homework, made sure everything was good and changed the car accordingly. We led from Lap 1 to Lap 50. So, it shows that you can never give up on making changes.”
Knowles has no plans letting off the throttle when he brings his family’s REDCO Tool & Fastener Supply machine to Five Flags Speedway this week.
Pensacola’s high banks will host the first of two Modifieds of Mayhem 50-lap features Friday night. The Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks, The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen and Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks share the night’s marquee with the Mods of Mayhem when the gates open at 5 p.m. Friday.
Admission is as follows: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, Veterans, and students; $5 for children ages 6 to 11; and free for kids 5 and under.
While Knowles is no stranger to Five Flags, he is enjoying getting well-acquainted with some of the southeast’s other legendary short tracks.
“I love this series not only for the variety of tracks we go to, but the variety of banks at each track,” Knowles said. “None are the same. Having to adapt at each track, for both me and my team is a challenge we all welcome. Plus, it works well with my schedule here at the family business.”
Knowles serves as the purchasing manager and oversees inventory controls for REDCO Tool & Fastener Supply, which his father John “Red” Knowles established in 2012. The company sells construction jobsite tools and supplies for contractors in and around the Houston area.
Zach Knowles began racing Banoleros and Legends car just before he hit adolescence, becoming a Texas state champion in both series before he made the leap to Pro Trucks, Late Models and Modifieds.
His best finish at the famed half-mile asphalt oval came at last year’s 75-lap Modifieds Snowball Derby race. Knowles finished fifth as Augie Grill recorded another Derby week victory. Despite not getting the win, Knowles’ love for Five Flags only grew.
“Each groove is different in Pensacola,” he said. “You run high, your tires are gonna act differently. It’s probably the most challenging track I’ve competed at, which is why Pensacola is one of my favorites.”
The Mods have become Knowles’ favorite series, as well. From the fields filled with veteran drivers, to the boost in horsepower, to the smaller tires creating no margin for error, Knowles feeds off challenges.
“It’s a lotta fun going up against these guys that have plenty of experience,” he said. “To even come home with the car in one piece is a win for us. Every week is competitive. You have to work for it with these guys.”