Williamson Rallies From Losing Ride to Locking Into Saturday Night’s B-Main at Knoxville

Garret Williamson. (Serena Dalhamer photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 11, 2023) — Garet Williamson had one of the wildest adventures to lock himself into Saturday’s Knoxville Nationals B-Main in recent memory.

Williamson, age 22 from Columbia, MO, has been competing this season at Knoxville in the 360 sprint car class and is currently second in the standings along with some standout performances in the 410 sprint car class including a podium finish with the World of Outlaws in June.

Just before the Knoxville Nationals was scheduled to begin, Williamson found out that his ride with Bryant Paver Motorsports was going away effective immediately. At first Williamson thought a deal was solid to run the equipment from BPM in the Nationals, but on Tuesday that fell apart as well.

That is when another Knoxville Raceway car owner, Dennis Gainey, stepped in to put him in a race car for Nationals with Williamson bringing some equipment to the team to be able to compete.

“Dennis Gainey did something he had no business doing or feeling like he had any obligation to do it,” Williamson said about his ride for Nationals. “He stepped up big and he’s been there and made sure we’ve had whatever we needed, so that’s really cool for us. And just guys like him, there’s not enough guys like him in our sport that made this make things like this happen, so it’s pretty neat.”

Williamson and his crew ended up pulling some all night work on Wednesday to be prepared for Thursday’s preliminary event.

“I don’t even know what time we started yesterday. It was most of the day yesterday, but there’s obviously lots of phone calls throughout the day. We didn’t get to start working on (the car) until probably the races started and the shop cleared out. I think last time I looked at my phone, it was 4:00 AM and took a nap and we were back at it at 8:30. I had some stuff to go do this morning at the Hall of Fame, the boys went nonstop, and I got back to the shop and back at it. We got here less than 30 minutes ago and that was that was when I got finished. So, it’s been nonstop grind to get this thing here.”

Any hesitation to step in a new car was minimized when Gainey let Williamson’s crew due whatever they needed to get him comfortable in the car.

“Dennis (Gainey) has been great to work with. He told me to have my crew chief, Dennis Moore, Jr, and my crew ‘make it yours’ so I felt at home in it. Anyone that does that is pretty good person to try to get me as comfortable as I can and make sure I feel good for those first few laps.”

Williamson’s debut in the Gainey entry started out with being 18th fastest qualifier, third place in his heat race, and was contending up front in the feature event before making a tremendous save after space ran out between the track and the wall while racing with Carson Macedo for position, eventually dropping him to 12th place in the feature event. That finish was enough to lock Williamson in the B-Main for Saturday night.

As for what might be next for Williamson, that will likely be unknown until the Nationals are complete.

“A little bit. I’ve tried not to,” Williamson said of his prospects for after Nationals. “I’ve talked to some people, but obviously this week has been what I’ve had circled on the calendar all year. I tried to just stop worrying about the rest of the year and make sure I still have everything locked in for this week.”