Kingsport, TN – Mother Nature threatened to wash out the Memorial Day holiday weekend racing program Friday at Kingsport Speedway when a thunderstorm brought a halt to activities prior to start of qualifying. Weather radar showed that once the system moved out of Model City the rest of the night would be rain-free, and once track drying began management made the decision to start each division of racing based on the point standings.
With Memorial Day a time we all pause to remember and honor the men and women who lost their lives or are missing in action from defending the United States during wartime, either in the past or present, Kingsport Speedway recognized those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in military service to our country by offering veterans and active-duty military free admission.
Kres VanDyke of Abingdon, Va., withstood pressure from Zeke Shell lap-after-lap during the second half of the race to capture his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car feature win.
VanDyke and Shell, who entered the night of racing first and second in points, led the 16-car field to green from the front row. Shell powered into the lead quickly over VanDyke, Ronnie McCarty, Wayne Hale and Austin Peters.
Shell and VanDyke began to distance themselves from their competition, as they pulled out to a half-straightaway advantage by lap 15 over McCarty and Hale. The action behind the top four cars was heated involving Peters, Joey Trent, Derek Lane, Jeff Maupin, Allen Hawkins and Robbie Ferguson.
The 55-year-old longtime racing veteran Ferguson, who won the 2002 track championship over VanDyke, is only competing part-time nowadays and therefore with the starting lineup determined by the point standings, since he had only ran in the season opener he was relegated to starting back deep in the field. But he was on the move from drop of the green flag and worked his way around Peters to grab fifth in the running order on lap 25 as they raced off the fourth corner.
The event’s first caution waved on lap 30, when seventh-running Maupin and the lapped car of Rick Pannell spun between turns three and four.
The double-file restart had Shell and VanDyke on the front row, with McCarty and Hale alongside behind them in row two. Where Shell had led since the opening lap, off the restart he was locked in a battle for the lead with VanDyke, while both McCarty and Hale were right in the mix.
VanDyke took the lead on lap 33 over Shell, with McCarty and Hale waging their own war for the third spot. Contact exiting the fourth turn between McCarty and Hale on lap 35 resulted in McCarty spinning to bring the caution out. With McCarty being credited for the caution, Hale was also deemed part of the incident by track officials and therefore both drivers had to restart from rear of the field.
Following yet another double-file restart, the race’s final caution waved before a lap could be completed. With several cars battling for real estate, contact was made racing off the fourth turn between Hawkins and Maupin. Just past the flag stand, suddenly the right-front tire on Hawkins’ ride cut-down and amidst a shower of sparks at end of the straightaway both Hawkins and Maupin tangled, with also Greg Bohanon Jr. getting involved and spinning. The red flag was displayed to allow emergency personnel and track officials to check on Hawkins, whose car had come to a stop up high against the outside wall around turns one and two. Both Maupin and Bohanon were able to continue, while Hawkins’ race was over on the hook of the wrecker back into the pits.
Finally back under green for a 25-lap run to the finish, VanDyke was showing the way out front over Shell, Ferguson, Peters and Trent. The front trio began to put some distance between themselves and others in pursuit, with Shell up-on-the-wheel doing his best to get around VanDyke. Lap-after-lap racing up off the corners, Shell would stick his nose underneath leader VanDyke, but racing down the straightaway VanDyke would maintain his advantage.
Ferguson was lurking just a couple of car lengths behind VanDyke and Shell, hoping they would get together and open the door for him to sneak by and steal a victory. With the five-to-go signal given from chief starter on the flag stand, and with Shell glued to VanDyke’s rear bumper, many in attendance wondered if Shell would use the bump-and-run maneuver on the final lap to overtake VanDyke. It didn’t happen, Shell raced VanDyke clean.
VanDyke held his ground to record the win over Shell, Ferguson, McCarty and Peters. Completing the top 10 finishers were Hale, Trent, Maupin, Bohanon and Pannell. The top nine cars finished on the lead lap.
Royce Peters of Kingsport jumped out to the lead over Chris Tunnell at the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap Street Stock feature and remained out front until the checkered flag waved to capture his first victory of the season. Peters was closely followed across the stripe by Tunnell, with Mark Christian, Paul Shull and Greg Grindstaff trailing.
Billy Byington of Kingsport moved to the early lead in the Pure 4 feature over Jason Ketron and Kenny Absher, but really you could’ve thrown a blanket over the top 12 cars in the running order as battles for position were taking place all around “The Concrete Jungle” with two- and three-wide racing.
Week-in and week-out racing action in the Pure 4 division is worth the price of admission, with over 20 cars in the starting lineup for each event run this season. Byington is having a remarkable start through the first five races this season, as he’s been a frequent visitor to victory lane. He added another trophy to his collection as he recorded his fourth win over John Ketron, Tim Abelseth, Jason Ketron and Chris Neeley.
Kevin Canter of Abingdon grabbed the lead over Jason Yates at start of the Mod 4 feature and led all 25 laps in recording his third straight victory. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Jerry Miller, Chris Amburgey and Larry Bowens.
Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., made his first start of the season one for the record books as he outran Marty Tunnell, Jamie Meadows, Dennis Arnold and Jeremy Draughn to get the Pure Streetwin.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
- Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
- Zeke Shell #50-Johnson City, TN
- Robbie Ferguson #32-Jonesborough, TN
4. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
- AustinPeters #7-Kingsport, TN
- Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
- Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
- Jeff Maupin #51-Greeneville, TN
- Greg Bohanon Jr. #17-Leicester, NC
- Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
- Derek Lane#28-Kingsport, TN
- Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
- Jamie Harrison #8-Church Hill, TN
- Danny Casteel #41-Johnson City, TN
- Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN
- Jerry Lane#8-Kingsport, TN
Did Not Start: Mardy Roberts #55-Kingsport, TN
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
- Royce Peters #40
- Chris Tunnell #6
- Mark Christian #43
- Greg Grindstaff #3
- Paul Shull #48
- Dennis Deese #24
- GaryCrumbley #59
PURE 4 (25 laps)
- Billy Byington #11
- John Ketron #27
- Tim Abelseth #66
- Jason Ketron #28
- Chris Neeley #94
- Kenny Absher #11
- Brent Curran #32
- Kevin Darnell #4
- William Hale #47
- Larry Stapleton #15
- Craig Phelps #00
- Richard Quillen #13
- Robert Smith #1
- Tim Austin #2
- Daniel McMurray #0
- Alexcia Ray #99
- Keith Helton #9
- Bucky Smith #99
- Bruce Crumbley #33
- Jonathan Feagins #14
- Rusty Clendenin #88
- Jimmy Thomas #14
MOD 4 (25 laps)
- Kevin Canter #2
- Jason Yates #8
- Jerry Miller #01
- Chris Amburgey #17
- Larry Bowens #18
- Hershell Robinette #9
- Dennis Arnold #7
- Jessie Amburgey #7
PURE STREET (25 laps)
- Rob Austin #18
- Marty Tunnell #99
- Jamie Meadows #11
- Dennis Arnold #59
- Jeremy Draughn #7
Story By: Kingsport PR
Photo Credit: Randall Perry