ARDEN, N.C. — Veteran racer Lee (Randall) Tissot of Arden, N.C., believes he stands a good chance of visiting victory lane at Kingsport Speedway on Friday, May 8. After all, he's got plenty of experience racing weekly at "The Concrete Jungle" competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
The Pro All Stars Series and Southern Modified Race Tour will make their first-ever visit to the Model City for running of the Daniel Boone Classic. The PASS South Super Late Models and the Koma Unwind Modified Madness Series will each compete in 125-lap events, and the 45-year-old Tissot believes he's got a good shot at capturing his first-ever victory with the Pro All Star Series.
"You always hear people talk about race car drivers having experience, well, I guess you could say I've got plenty of seat-time at Kingsport Speedway," said Tissot while taking a break from working in the race shop getting his Chevrolet SS prepared. "I've competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Kingsport Speedway from 2011 now through the first six races of the 2015 racing season. I just believe the laps I've got around the track will factor into how we'll run in the PASS South race this Friday. With the concrete racing surface, it's got 'characteristics' you don't have compared to racing on asphalt."
Tissot has put together four consecutive winning seasons at the .375-mile banked concrete oval, and finished top-five in points each year. In 2011, Tissot finished runner-up in points and was in contention to win the championship heading into the final event. He captured five Late Model Stock Car feature wins and recorded 18 top-five finishes in 21 starts. He also earned seven pole awards along the way. Beginning the 2012 campaign behind the wheel of his own car before stepping into the J&J Racing ride midway through the season, Tissot won one feature and recorded 12 top-five runs and finished fifth in points.
In 2013 Tissot and J&J Racing captured two victories, 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, along with earning three pole awards including setting a new track record and finishing fifth in points.
Tissot finished fourth in Kingsport Speedway Late Model Stock Car points in 2014, recording one feature win, 11 top-five, and 14 top-10 finishes in 19 starts. Tissot concluded last season ranked 60th in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Top 500 rankings from among over 1,000 drivers across the United States and Canada.
Since the track reopened (2011) for full-time weekly NASCAR racing, Tissot has recorded a total of 11 victories (9 Late Model Stock Car), one United Auto Racing Association-Southern Touring Asphalt Racing Series win back during the '11 racing season, and a Southeast Super Truck Series win in '14.
"We've had a good bit of success racing at Kingsport Speedway," said Tissot. "It's a fun track to run around, but it's close quarters racing action. Sometimes as a driver you get a little impatient with your fellow competitors' and you have to kind of use the front bumper to beat-and-bang around. I don't necessarily like having to race that way. But, hey, what is it they say - rubbin's racin' and I guess that's what the fans love to see - just good hard racing."
To begin the 2015 racing season at Kingsport Speedway, Tissot has recorded one runner-up finish, one third-place run, two fourth-place, and two fifth-place efforts to currently sit second in the Late Model Stock Car point standings, only three points out of the lead.
It was a given Lee would drive a race car, because he grew up watching his father, Randy Tissot, compete with NASCAR's biggest names such as Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker and others during the 1970s and 1980s.
Lee got his start in racing competing at New Asheville Speedway, where he recorded back-to-back NASCAR Late Model Stock Car championships in 1998 and '99. Besides in his hometown racing along "The River," Tissot has also visited victory lane at NASCAR sanctioned tracks in North Carolina such as Hickory Motor Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, plus in the Palmetto State at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
With Tissot enjoying much success on the local level, he branched out and began competing with the NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series, United Speed Alliance Racing Hooters Pro Cup Series, and UARA-STARS. He won not only feature events with each series, but in 2003 he captured the UARA-STARS championship on the strength of four victories and only finished outside of the top-10 once during the season.
For the Kingsport Speedway PASS South event, Tissot will be chauffeuring his own Super Late Model. While many teams will show up at the track on Friday, May 8 with big toter-home haulers and two cars inside, Tissot will be bringing "old faithful" to the track, his almost 20-year-old Port City Race Car.
"Hey, she (race car) might have a little age on her, but don't let that fool you because she's still quite racey," said a smiling Tissot. "I'm also getting a little age on me and closing in on that 50 mark in a few more years, but I feel like I'm a better racer now than I ever was. I've got many years of racing experience, dating back to when I began racing at News Asheville Speedway in 1988. You've got to have confidence not only in yourself and your abilities to drive a race car, but also have confidence in your racing equipment.
"While I might not have a new race car, there's one thing I can guarantee you and that is, I put the hours in at the race shop working on the car. And if you want to run strong and have opportunities to win races, that's where it all begins - back in the race shop with preparation of your equipment. You want to be ready to race when you show up to the track and not have to scramble around working on the car when you arrive. Because if you do that, immediately your back is up against the wall. I really believe we'll have a good race car and hopefully be in contention to get the victory. We'll definitely give it our best effort."
Tissot is looking forward to once again having his old racing buddies onboard helping for this PASS South event: Mitch West, Jeff Caldwell, David Ball, Mark Williams, Jeff Herron, Jason Herron, "Big" Ed Morgan and Kevin Morgan
Supporters of Lee Tissot Racing on the No. 27 Chevrolet SS: A-1 Plumbing & Utilities of Marshall (828-253-5559), David Ball Construction, and Jeff's Auto Sales of Leicester (828-683-JEFF ... jeffsautosalesllc.com).
Grandstand and tier-parking gates at Kingsport Speedway will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8, with qualifying scheduled for 6 p.m. and green flag racing beginning at 7:45 p.m.
Adult grandstand admission $20, youth (ages 12-17) $15, with kids 11-and-under admitted free. Adult tier-parking admission $20 per person (plus a $10 vehicle parking spot fee). Kingsport Speedway is located at 2961 N. John B. Dennis Hwy.
-Lee Tissot Racing Press Release & Photo