Written by: Tommy Smith (8/5/20)
Russell Knutsen from Williamsville, NY
After a 6-year racing career near Buffalo, Russell put his driver suit in the closet in 2007 and attended to other concerns. Then in 2019, his girlfriend Lynn initiated the discussion that he should get back into it. She didn’t have to ask twice. Russell was quickly on his way to Ohio to purchase a 1986 Malibu stock car. His dad Norm, who owns BNR COLLISION and sponsors the car, helped Russell get it rolling and painted the brilliant bright orange we see on it today. CUSTOM LASER rapidly provided the glowing graphics.
Russell entered only a few races at the tail end of the 2019 season and says there was still much work to do be done on the 97 before he could enjoy being competitive. But the car was safe, it was running better each week and he wanted to make an appearance through the development process.
“The racers and officials at WCIS are the greatest people anyone could ever hope to meet, anywhere”, says Russell. “The owners of the speedway are helpful, knowledgeable and everyone is so willing to share thoughts to make the car run and handle at it’s best… there is a friendly culture at Wyoming County… unlike anything I have ever seen”.
Russell has fond memories of attending stock car races at local speedways around Western New York as a child.
“I would sit on the grass in front on the grandstands where my family could watch me play with my matchbox cars. Sometimes there would be 3 or 4 of us kids and we would build a mini track in the dirt, stones and grass for our cars to race around. The roar of the cars screaming past the grandstands made for the perfect atmosphere as our own toy cars competed in the race of their lifetime in the stones. It is amazing to see the kids doing the very same thing in front of the grandstands at WCIS today… some things will never change!”
“Our family loves the food at Wyoming County, the clean facility, the playground and the safe environment for the drivers and spectators”
Russell is thankful for the diligence the track offers the community by adhering to government advisories for health and safety during these challenging times. Being on the track is important to Russell as he has participated in every practice to date in 2020. He believes time in seat is a great teacher and the time networking with other drivers serves him well.
Russell has become a bit of a celebrity among his friends and family as they support his efforts by attending all his races. Although we have not met his mom, Donna or his sister, Carrie , his niece, Jackie or Zane, we are confident we will get to once we get back to racing again soon.
Look for Russell driving the orange 97 Super Stock in the future at ‘The Bullring’.