Drag racing’s long national nightmare is over. Today, Evan Knoll was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison that will be followed by a five year period of supervised probation. Knoll was also instructed to pay the IRS back some $80-million dollars. This is the closing chapter in the Knoll story which began a couple of years back when his myriad of drag racing sponsorships stopped and federal authorities raided his Michigan business headquarters. From that point, Knoll’s assets were liquidated, he was remanded into federal custody for psychological evaluation, deemed fit for trial, later pleading guilty before the actual trial began. That guilty plea ended in the 14 year sentence today.
While 14 years is certainly a long time to spend in prison, the rhetoric that hit the news earlier this week from both federal prosecutors and Knoll’s own defense attorney led us to believe that the sentence was going to be far worse. We are certainly not saying he got off easy as the 52-year old Knoll will be in his 70s before he is out from under the watchful eye of law enforcement. We’re guessing that many people who were involved with Knoll, sponsored by him, or simply were on the payroll during the era when his tax scheme was working breathed a heavy sigh of relief that the dragnet won’t be lurking to snarl them.