KINGSPORT, Tenn. (May 24, 2019) — It’s been a rainy and unseasonably cool spring in Northeast Tennessee, and the arrival of first day of summer isn’t until later in June. But try telling everyone gathered Friday at Kingsport Speedway that it isn’t already summer, because the temperature reached 90 degrees and was downright sweltering hot. Nonetheless a great Memorial Day holiday weekend crowd came out for racing at “The Concrete Jungle.”
It was Ford Night at the Races and a long-running Ford Motor Company commercial asks “Have you driven a Ford lately?” Defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Highlands Sign Shop” Late Model Stock Car champion Zeke Shell of Johnson City wheeled a Ford Mustang to his first win of the season.
Joey Trent earned the Late Model Stock Car pole qualifying award with a fast-time of 15.140 seconds, but with the roll of the dice the top four qualifiers were inverted for the 60-lap feature.
Shell and Bryson Dennis started from the front row, with Shell jumping out to the lead over Dennis, Nik Williams, Trent, Wayne Hale and Derek Lane. Williams was pressuring Dennis trying move up to second and all the while out front leader Shell was putting several car lengths between himself and closest challengers. Racing into the first turn on lap 5, Williams made his move to the inside of Dennis to take away the second spot.
With Shell riding on the point with Williams in pursuit, a good four-car battle for position was taking place between Dennis, Trent, Hale and Lane. Williams closed the distance between himself and Shell on lap 22 as he pulled to the leader’s back bumper. At the halfway point in the race, Shell and Williams had pulled away to a full straightaway advantage over Dennis, Trent, Hale and Lane.
Williams, already a three-time winner this season and not wanting to just ride behind Shell, on several occasions stuck his nose to the inside of the leader as they raced off the corners. But each time Shell managed to close the door and maintain his position. The last thing Shell wanted to see was a late race caution, but that’s what happened when Trent and Hale got together between turns three and four on lap 51 with both cars spinning.
The stage was set for a classic shootout for the win between Shell and Williams, and those two starting alongside one another you just knew it was going to be a battle. Like oil and water doesn’t mix, well, Shell and Williams have a history – they’ve had on-track skirmishes.
Shell chose the inside line for the double-file restart and back under green he and Williams raced into the first turn, with Shell getting the advantage to retake the lead. But you knew Williams wasn’t going to be defeated without giving up a fight, that much was a given.
With each attempt Williams tried in getting around Shell, the race-long leader thwarted. Behind Shell and Williams the action was intense, just good ol’ short-track racing. Racing is a contact sport, and contact was definitely occurring involving the quartet of Dennis, Hale, Trent and Lane.
Shell received the white flag with Williams glued to his back bumper. A little contact between turns one and two allowed Williams to get a good run on Shell racing up off (turn) two down the backstretch. Would Williams use the bump-and-run maneuver on Shell between turns three and four to move the leader up the track, and then drive by on the inside to take the win?
Shell held his line going into the corner and quickly picked the throttle (gas) back up to power off the fourth turn headed to the checkered flag to record the hard-earned victory over Williams. They were followed by Dennis, Hale, Trent and Lane.
The “Super Transmission” Modified Street race was worth the price of admission in itself, with a strong field of 15 competitors taking the green flag for the 30-lap feature. Father-and-son, Royce and Austin Peters, started alongside one another on the front row and it was a hold-your-breath battle into the first turn to see who would emerge with family bragging rights.
Royce, a two-time track champion, showed Austin that “ol’ dad still ruled” as he took the lead on the opening lap. Behind Royce and Austin, Trey Lane, Rusty Clendenin, Kevin Wolfe, Alex Miller, Paul Shull, Kevin Canter and Colby Higgins were jockeying for real estate two- and three-wide. Lane worked his way around Austin for second on lap 10 and set his sights ahead on Royce.
Lane closed to Royce’s back bumper and was waiting for the moment to make his move to try grab the lead. A late race caution for oil on the track meant Royce and Lane would start side-by-side on the front row to battle for the win.
With the green flag waving Royce and Lane raced into the first turn, with Lane getting out of shape up in the high groove he lost several positions before falling back into place sixth in the running order. Out front Royce liked what he was seeing in his rearview mirror as son Austin and Clendenin were battling for the runner-up spot. … Royce, from Kingsport, captured his first win of the season and Austin barely edged Clendenin for second. Finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, were Wolfe and Miller.
Keith Helton reeled off five straight Pure 4 victories to start the season, and defending division champion Bruce Crumbley is now on a winning streak of his own. Crumbley, from Kingsport, captured his second straight win over Josh Detwiler, Kenny Absher, Bucky Smith and Helton.
With three straight Mod 4 track championships to his credit, just go ahead and call Kevin Canter “Mr. Mod 4.” Canter, from Abingdon, Va., started the 30-lap feature from the tenth spot and quickly worked his way to the front, passing Dennis Arnold to take the lead on lap 8. Once out front Canter never looked back en route to his eighth win of the season over Arnold, Billy Duty, Chris Amburgey and Hershell Robinette.
With Doug Austin having won six races and standing atop the Pure Street points leader-board, the bull’s-eye was planted squarely on his back. Tony Dockery, from Dungannon, Va., came out guns-a-blazing and fired the winning shot in capturing his first win of the season over Austin, Jay Swecker, and husband and wife Ricky Payne and Jessica Payne.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019 – NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – RACE RESULTS
“HIGHLANDS SIGN SHOP” LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
- Zeke Shell #1-Johnson City, TN
- Nik Williams #32-Chuckey, TN
- Bryson Dennis #15-Greeneville, TN
- Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
- Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
- Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
- Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
- Jimmy Acito #57-Kingsport, TN
- Alice Barnette #57-Bristol, TN
- Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
“SUPER TRANSMISSION” MODIFIED STREET (30 laps)
- Royce Peters #42
- Austin Peters #40
- Rusty Clendenin #27
- Kevin Wolfe #17
- Alex Miller #37
- Trey Lane #9
- Paul Shull #48
- Kevin Canter #47
- Colby Higgins #07
- Bryan Young #13
- Jack Osborne #33
- Luke Fox #94
- Tim Richter #13
- Daniel McMurray #0?
- Virgil Young #31
PURE 4 (30 laps)
- Bruce Crumbley #33
- Josh Detwiler #38D
- Kenny Absher #11
- Bucky Smith #X99
- Keith Helton #9
- William Hale #47
- Chad Jeffers #38
- Paul Stanley #40
- Justin Hartsock #6
- Larry Stapleton #15
- Greg McCoy #4
- Brian Eggers #20
- Frank Peters #0
- Billy Walters #4
- Josh Trinkle #68
- Bobby Waye #14
- Josh Collins #77
- David Trent #57
MOD 4 (30 laps)
- Kevin Canter #3
- Dennis Arnold #71
- Billy Duty #1
- Chris Amburgey #17
- Hershell Robinette #9
- James Deese #14
- Chris Coleman #20
- Jessie Amburgey #7
- Randall Artrip #2
- Zach Fritz #33
- Dalton Thomas #22
PURE STREET (25 laps)
- Tony Dockery #05
- Doug Austin #18
- Jay Swecker #77
- Ricky Payne #1
- Jessica Payne #12
- Jessica Spangler #07
- Timothy Hensley #37
- Kevin Darnell #4
Did Not Start: Penny Hurd #11
-Kingsport Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Randall Perry / Kingsport Speedway