KINGSPORT, Tenn. (May 30) — The place to be on Friday nights in the Model City and surrounding Tri-Cities and Southwest Virginia region is Kingsport Speedway for exciting NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing at “The Concrete Jungle.”

Chad Finchum in victory lane at Kingsport Speedway.  (Randall Perry Photo)

Chad Finchum in victory lane at Kingsport Speedway. (Randall Perry Photo)

Chad Finchum of Knoxville, defending Kingsport Speedway Late Model Stock and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, powered into the lead on the seventh lap and once out front never looked back en route to capturing his second win of the season.

Kres VanDyke, winner of three features this season and currently sitting atop the divisional point leaderboard, set fast-time at 15.346 over Zeke Shell who stopped the clock second quickest at 15.348.

With an invert of just the top-two qualifiers following the roll of the dice, VanDyke and Shell remained on the front row for start of the 60-lap feature. VanDyke pulled ahead of Shell on the opening lap racing off turn two to take the lead, with Finchum, Ryan Stiltner and 16-year-old rookie Justin Fontaine the top five in the running order.

At end of the backstretch working the second circuit, Finchum got around Shell for second and set his sights ahead on leader VanDyke. Lee Tissot, the most recent winner, was quickly on the move from his eighth-place starting spot as he passed Fontaine for the fifth position on lap 5.

The event’s only caution flag waved on the sixth lap for a three-car wreck in the fourth turn which involved Brian Blevins, Wayne Hale and Austin Peters. Following a red flag for track cleanup, off the double-file restart Finchum took the lead over VanDyke, Shell, Stiltner and Tissot.

Stiltner had a rearview mirror full of the hard-charging Tissot, and on lap 10 racing off the fourth turn Tissot got around Stiltner to move into fourth, right on Shell’s back bumper.

Meanwhile out front, Finchum was beginning to put some real estate between his mount and those in pursuit. By lap 20, Finchum had stretched his lead to a half-straightaway over VanDyke, Shell, Tissot and Stiltner.

Racing off the fourth corner on lap 25, Tissot got inside of Shell and at end of the front straightaway racing into the first turn he moved into the third spot. With the 19-year-old Finchum setting a blistering pace out front, all attention was focused behind him on the quartet of VanDyke, Tissot, Shell and Stiltner as they ran nose-to-tail around the .375-mile banked concrete oval.

On several occasions racing up off the corners, Tissot would try to get past VanDyke but each time VanDyke would slam the door shut and maintain his position. Tissot managed to get alongside VanDyke on lap 40, and over the next six circuits they raced side-by-side before Tissot finally moved into the runner-up position.

But there would be no catching Finchum out front, as he cruised to a full-straightaway margin of victory over Tissot, VanDyke, Shell and Stiltner.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Fontaine, Tyler Goodwin, Hale, Sam Steffey and Phil Harris.

Nick Cole paced Street Stock qualifying with a fast-lap at 15.847 seconds. But in all reality, the race was won at the drop of the green flag. Fellow front-row starter John Harrell of Surgoinsville grabbed the lead on the opening lap over Cole and remained out front to the finish to capture his third feature win of the season.

Cole mounted several challenges during the 30-lap event, sticking his nose underneath Harrell racing off the corners to try and take the lead. Racing off the fourth turn coming to the white flag, Cole got to the inside of Harrell and they touched, with both almost spinning. But each reeled their mount in and Harrell went on to victory over Cole, Rob Austin, Royce Peters and Chris Tunnell.

Keith Helton of Kingsport jumped into the lead at start of the 25-lap Pure 4 feature and with the race running caution-free, led flag-to-flag to record his second victory. Helton was chased to the checkered flag by Kenny Absher, John Ketron, Jason Ketron and Tim Abelseth.

Once Kirby Gobble of Abingdon, Va., moved into the lead in the 25-lap Mod 4 feature, the race was for second on back. Gobble rolled to his division-leading third victory over Billy Duty, Rocky Yates, Dennis Arnold and Hershell Robinette.

James Deese of Elizabethton captured his second Rookie Pure 4 feature win of the season over Michael “Mook” Jeter, Chris Wilhelm, Brandon Crumbley and William Hale.



Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses

1. (4) Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN (60)
2. (8) Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC (60)
3. (2) Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA (60)
4. (1) Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN (60)
5. (3) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA (60)
6. (6) Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC (60)
7. (10) Tyler Goodwin #64-Kingsport, TN (60)
8. (11) Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN (59)
9. (12) Sam Steffey #35-Abingdon, VA (59)
10. (14) Phil Harris #55-Johnson City, TN (59)
11. (15) Greg Bohanon Jr. #17-Leicester, NC (59)
12. (9) Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN (58)
13. (18) Luke Fox #94-Weaverville, NC (56)
14. (16) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN (49)
15. (7) Kyle Barnes #15-Draper, VA (44)
16. (5) Zack Walton #1-Blountville, TN (33)
17. (13) Brian Blevins #40-Clintwood, VA (6)
18. (17) Austin Peters #48-Kingsport, TN (6)

STREET STOCK (30 laps)

1) John Harrell #19; 2) Nick Cole #63; 3) Royce Peters #48; 4) Rob Austin #25; 5) Chris Tunnell #6; 6) Steve Sims #10; 7) Sam P. Hurd #11

PURE 4 (25 laps)

1) Keith Helton #74; 2) Kenny Absher #74; 3) John Ketron #26; 4) Jason Ketron #28; 5) Tim Abelseth #66; 6) Jon Pittman #00; 7) David Trent #57; 8) Nick Jennings #16; 9) Billy Byington #01; 10) B.C. Penley #44; 11) Matthew Ford #97; 12) Bruce Crumbley #7; 13) Gary Crumbley #59; 14) Todd Cross #41; 15) Kenneth Street #2; 16) Darrell Whitehead #04; 17) Richard Quillen #14; 18) Brandon Sutherland #22

MOD 4 (25 laps)

1) Kirby Gobble #88; 2) Billy Duty #45; 3) Rocky Yates #7; 4) Dennis Arnold #7; 5) Hershell Robinette #9; 6) Luke Fox #94; 7) Chris Amburgey #7; 8) Duke Bare #2

ROOKIE PURE 4 (20 laps)

1) James Deese #25; 2) Michael Jeter #53; 3) Chris Wilhelm #33; 4) Brandon Crumbley #7; 5) William Hale #47; 6) Andrew Hill #97; 7) Tim Jennings #16; 8) Derrick Gilliam #34; 9) Craig Phelps #00; 10) Tammy Cross #41; 11) Larry Bowens #18; 12) Dennis Stanley #19; 13) Seth Clements #02

Finchum Takes 2nd Win at The Concrete Jungle