Kingsport, TN – With Kingsport Speedway celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, several drivers that raced at the tradition-steeped facility in the Model City through the years gathered Friday for Racers Reunion Night at the Races.
Kres VanDyke of Abingdon, Va., captured a hard-earned seventh NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “First Kingsport Credit Union” Late Model Stock Car victory.
Ronnie McCarty of Kingsport, current Late Model Stock Car point leader, paced the 14-car field in qualifying with a fast-lap at 15.085 seconds, with Wayne Hale second quickest at 15.158. But the roll of the dice produced an invert of the top four cars from time trials, which put Lee Tissot on the pole and VanDyke on the outside of the front row for the 60-lap main event.
VanDyke jumped out to the lead at the start over Tissot and McCarty, but the event’s first caution waved just five laps in when Derek Lane spun in turn two.
Back under green off the double-file restart, VanDyke and Tissot raced side-by-side for six laps before Tissot moved into the lead. And behind them McCarty and Hale were battling for real estate, with Hale finally taking the third spot on lap 12 racing off the fourth turn.
McCarty and teenager Justin Fontaine were involved in an incident on lap 13. Fontaine made contact with McCarty between turns one and two while making a pass for the fourth position, and racing down the backstretch into the third turn McCarty decided to show Fontaine he didn’t approve of how he had been “roughed up” on the pass. McCarty spun Fontaine to bring out the caution. Both drivers were placed to the rear of the field for the restart, Fontaine for bringing out the caution and McCarty for spinning Fontaine.
Once again off a double-file restart, Tissot and VanDyke entertained the large crowd in attendance with a full moon brightly illuminating “The Concrete Jungle” as they battled door-to-door for seven laps before Tissot moved ahead on lap 20. Behind them Zeke Shell was making a move in getting past Hale for third place on lap 23.
With Tissot showing the way out front, VanDyke was on his rear bumper followed closely by Shell and Hale. VanDyke kept looking under Tissot racing off the corners, and finally on lap 34 was able to pull alongside Tissot to challenge for the lead. After battling for five circuits, VanDyke passed Tissot on lap 39 racing off the fourth turn to move ahead. It also opened the door for Shell to get under Tissot and take away second place.
A caution for debris on the backstretch on lap 45 set up yet another double-file restart and sprint to the finish.
VanDyke powered ahead of Shell back under green and went on to capture his division-leading seventh Late Model Stock Car victory over Shell, Tissot, Fontaine and Hale.
Completing the top 10 finishers were McCarty, Austin Peters, Taylor Coffman, Rick Pannell and Jamie Harrison.
Bloomingdale Car Care in Kingsport placed a $100 bounty on John Harrell, who sits atop the Street Stock point standings on strength of eight feature wins this season. For another competitor to collect the bounty, they would have to beat Harrell while he was still running on the lead lap at the finish.
Jared Broadbent grabbed the lead at the start of the 30-lap feature over Harrell and Paul Shull. Harrell began applying pressure on Broadbent and passed him to take the lead just four circuits in as they raced off the second corner.
Quickly on the move was Royce Peters, as he got around Shull for third and then worked his way past Broadbent to move into second on lap 7. The race’s only caution waved on lap 17, when Terry Stone spun in turn two.
Harrell and Peters started from the front row on the double-file restart, and the duo battled over the next five laps before Harrell moved ahead. Even though he was showing the way out front, Harrell had Peters riding in his rearview mirror. But Harrell, from Surgoinsville, would not be denied yet another visit to victory lane as he held Peters off for his ninth win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Broadbent, Greg Grindstaff and Mark Christian.
The Pure 4 division competed in twin features, with Kingsport drivers Keith Helton and Billy Ketron each recording victories. In the first race Helton outran Tim Abelseth, Billy Ketron, John Ketron and Jason Ketron. In the second event Billy Ketron was chased to the checkered flag by Helton, Dylan Bates, John Ketron and Billy Byington.
Marty Tunnell of Wise, Va., held off a hard-charging Brandon Sutherland for his third Pure Street win of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Hershell Robinette, Nasty Jones and Dennis Deese.
Trey Lane of Kingsport recorded his third Legend victory over John Bays, Hannah Ottinger, Les Ottinger and Alexcia Ray.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2015 – RACERS REUNION NIGHT AT THE RACES
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “FIRST KINGSPORT CREDIT UNION” LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
1. Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
2. Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN
3. Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC
4. Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC
5. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
6. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
7. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
8. Taylor Coffman #30-Bean Station, TN
9. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
10. Jamie Harrison #76-Church Hill, TN
11. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
12. Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
13. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
14. Jared Broadbent #8-Bakersville, NC
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
1. John Harrell #19
2. Royce Peters #48
3. Jared Broadbent #74
4. Greg Grindstaff #3
5. Mark Christian #43
6. Terry Stone #34
7. Dennis Deese #24
8. Robbie Allison #12
9. Paul Shull #48
10. Danny Casteel #41
PURE 4 (#1 – 15 laps)
1. Keith Helton #74
2. Tim Abelseth #66
3. Billy Ketron #26
4. John Ketron #27
5. Jason Ketron #28
6. Billy Byington #01
7. Kenny Absher #11
8. Dylan Bates #6
9. Kevin Darnell #4
10. Bruce Crumbley #33
11. Jay Swecker #77
12. Tim Jennings #16
13. David Trent #57
14. Richard Quillen #15
15. Todd Cross #41
PURE 4 (#2 – 15 laps)
1. Billy Ketron #26
2. Keith Helton #74
3. Dylan Bates #6
4. John Ketron #27
5. Billy Byington #01
6. Jason Ketron #28
7. Tim Abelseth #66
8. Kenny Absher #11
9. Bruce Crumbley #33
10. Kevin Darnell #4
11. Tim Jennings #16
12. David Trent #57
13. Jay Swecker #77
14. Todd Cross #41
15. Richard Quillen #15
PURE STREET (20 laps)
1. Marty Tunnell #99
2. Brandon Sutherland #52
3. Hershell Robinette #9
4. Nasty Jones #13
5. Dennis Deese #60
6. Cody Dutton #1
7. Gary Crumbley #59
8. Travis Stoots #0
LEGEND (12 laps)
1. Trey Lane #9
2. John Bays #19
3. Hannah Ottinger #28
4. Les Ottinger #97
5. Alexcia Ray #99
Story: Robert Walden PR
Photo Credit: Randall Perry