BULLS GAP, Tenn. — Volunteer Speedway honored one of the track’s and also East Tennessee’s finest racers with running of the fifth annual Walter Ball Memorial on “Fast Friday @ The Gap.” Walter, who was from Johnson City, and his son Dale are the only father-and-son to win Late Model championships at the track.

 

With this being the 43rd season of racing at Volunteer Speedway, Ryan King of Seymour captured his first-ever victory at the legendary track in impressive fashion as he led the 30-lap Steel Head Late Model feature flag-to-flag for the $1,200 win.

 

King was fastest in qualifying with a lap at 12.950 seconds, with Cory Hedgecock timing-in second quickest at 12.967.

 

King chose to start from the outside of the front row, thus putting Hedgecock on the point. With the duo racing hard down the front straightaway into the first turn, Hedgecock got into the corner with a lot of momentum and slid high up the banking to allow both King and Greg Estes to power past him racing off turn two down the backstretch.

 

With the race running clean-and-green, King had pulled out to a full-straightaway lead over Estes, Hedgecock, Jason Cardwell and Trevor Sise as caution waved on lap 15 when John Tweed spun between turns one and two.

 

King brought the field back up to speed and he quickly put eight car-lengths between his closest pursuers Estes and Hedgecock.
King was riding with the cruise control set out front, while behind him the battle for second between Estes and Hedgecock was intense. Hedgecock finally got around Estes for the runner-up position on lap 22 with a pass between turns three and four.

 

But with only eight circuits remaining it appeared there would be no hope in catching King. However, Jason Manley spun in turn two on lap 26 to bring the caution out and that meant the race for the win would come down to a four-lap shootout.

 
With the green flag waving on the restart, King had Hedgeock glued to his rear bumper. But hitting his marks each lap, King would not be denied his first-ever visit to victory lane as he won over Hedgecock, Estes, Cardwell and Sise.

 

The Sportsman Late Model feature got off to a rough start for the second consecutive week for 22-year-old Adam Tolliver. After getting collected in a wreck last week on the first lap and destroying his race car, it was heartbreak again tonight when he tangled with Gary Crittenden on the backstretch and got turned into the outside wall, once again badly tearing-up a new car he was debuting.

 

Tim Byrd of Jonesborough jumped out to the lead over John Tweed, Andy Ogle, Zach Sise and Jody Horton. With Byrd in command out front, behind him Ogle got around Tweed for the second spot on lap 4 racing off the fourth turn.
Tweed began slowing on lap 9 racing off turn two, and that bottlenecked the cars running behind him down the backstretch which allowed Josh Henry to overtake both Jody Horton and Sise and advance into third in the running order. Also making a charge up through the field after qualifying 13th, Pierce McCarter got around Crittenden and Bryson Dennis to settle into the sixth spot on lap 16.
But out front Byrd would go on to record his second win of the season over Ogle, Henry, and 16-year-old Sise who was making his first-ever start at Volunteer Speedway, and Horton.

 

Veteran racer Skimp Henry is on such a roll right now you can just call him “Mr. Perfect.” Henry, from Newport, battled in the early going of the Modified Street feature with Chris Rickett as they traded a little paint. But the 51-year-old Henry held strong en route to recording his second straight victory at Volunteer Speedway over Rickett, Shannon Emery, Tony Horton and Bill Curl. The two wins for Henry at “The Gap,” along with four other victories at 411 Motor Speedway have Henry a perfect six-for-six this season.

 

John Stevens grabbed the lead at start of the Classic car feature over Joe Keck and Justin Overton. But just past halfway in the race it was Overton, from Middlesboro, Ky., who found the high groove around the banking to his liking. Overton rolled around both Keck and Stevens to capture the victory. Overton was chased to the checkered flag by Keck, Stevens, Lee Merritt and Chris Evans.

 

The next race at Volunteer Speedway will be on Saturday, May 21 for the Southern All Stars Racing Series fourth annual Scott Sexton Memorial.

 

-Volunteer Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Randall Perry/Volunteer Speedway

STEEL HEAD LATE MODEL (30 laps)

  1. Ryan King #30
  2. Cory Hedgecock #23
  3. Greg Estes #31
  4. Jason Cardwell #07
  5. Trevor Sise #73
  6. Jesse Lowe #5
  7. Barrett Lowe #72
  8. Layne Clifton #23
  9. Josh Henry #B00
  10. Bobby Mays #25
  11. John Tweed #5
  12. Jason Manley #32
  13. Stanley Donahoo #00
  14. Matthew Holt #22
  15. Craig Gregg #12

 

SPORTSMAN LATE MODEL (25 laps)

 

  1. Tim Byrd #24
  2. Andy Ogle #68
  3. Josh Henry #B00
  4. Zach Sise #9
  5. Jody Horton #56
  6. Pierce McCarter #71
  7. Gary Crittenden #18
  8. Bryson Dennis #15
  9. Tyler Arrington #002
  10. Tyler Smith #32
  11. Warren McMahan #33
  12. Terry Poore #2
  13. Kip Pearson #00
  14. James Cole #5
  15. Taran Hurst #22
  16. Ray Jarnigan #73
  17. Joshua Sneed #79
  18. Richard Adkins #73
  19. Nick Barnard #169
  20. Kyle Cole #18
  21. John Tweed #5
  22. Jesse Helton #57
  23. Brandon Taylor #55
  24. Adam Tolliver #28

 

MODIFIED STREET (20 laps)

 

  1. Skimp Henry #25
  2. Chris Rickett #36
  3. Shannon Emery #m2
  4. Tony Horton #56
  5. Bill Curl #57
  6. Dale Reed #52
  7. Jon Cook #0z
  8. Cody Thompson #83
  9. Bill Banks #3
  10. Michael Williams #119
  11. David Bullington #20
  12. Nathan Cobb #c4
  13. Tracy Wolfe #11
  14. Tim Kilby #11
  15. Jeff Ferguson #24CLASSIC (15 laps)

    1. Justin Overton #98

  16. Joe Keck #78
  17. John Stevens #7
    4. Lee Merritt #96
  18. Chris Evans #2
  19. Eli Keck #8
  20. Rusty Welch #18
  21. Tim Stevens #11
  22. Michael Branham #00
  23. Rick Overholser #9
  24. Richie Overholser #88
  25. Michael Maiden #65
  26. Hayston Collett #5
  27. Chris Nix #0

King Wears the Late Model Crown at Volunteer Speedway