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– KNOXVILLE, Iowa (May 2) – His smile was evident before he pulled his helmet off.
His eyes bloodshot and his teeth stained with dirt, Justyn Cox emerged from the cockpit and exhaled. The 16-year-old from Clarksburg, Calif., earned his best finish in nearly two years with a runner-up performance in the 360 class Saturday at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.
“We’ve had a fast car this year, we’ve just been unable to put it together for a full night,” he said. “It’s great to show what we can do without any mishaps.”
Cox, who qualified 12th quickest of the 27 drivers, seemed to get better as the night wore on. He started and finished third in his seven-lap heat race, and then started third in the feature based on an invert.
With the track dry, Cox had a simple game plan.
“Just to take it easy the first few laps and save your tires,” he said. “And wait for someone to make a mistake because that was the only way you could pass.”
Most of the drivers lined out in the order they started after the green flag, with Cox sticking in third place until a caution on lap six. A lap after the restart, runner-up Josh Higday narrowly missed the bottom in turn one, which was enough of an opening for Cox to slide by as the duo exited turn two.
He then worked on catching leader Russ Hall, who got into lapped traffic on the final two laps. However, Hall stayed on the bottom and Cox settled for second place, which is 10 positions better than his previous best at the ½-mile oval.
“It just helps build momentum into the next race and gives me confidence that I can run up front against the top drivers at Knoxville,” he said.
QUICK RESULTS –
April 30 – Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa – Qualifying: 12; Heat race: 3 (3); Feature: 2 (3).
SEASON STATS –
4 races, 3 features, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10, 2 top 15s, 2 top 20s
UP NEXT –
May 26 at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., with the ASCS Midwest Region
FAVORITE NUMBER –
2: His position Saturday at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, which is 10 spots better than his previous top finish at the famed dirt oval.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Oakley
Oakley, which manufactures and distributes sunglasses, footwear and apparel, is one of the most identifiable brands in any market. Founded in 1975, Oakley has also become a leader in prescription eyewear, goggles, electronics and watches. For more information, visit www.oakley.com.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Oakley since I started racing,” Cox said. “They are a great sponsor and true friends of my family. Additionally, I feel like it’s a badge of honor to represent such a top-notch brand that is recognizable around the world.”
Cox would like to thank all of his sponsors, including Sacramento Theatrical Lighting, College Cyclery and Seven Industries for their continued support.