KINGSPORT, TN — The calendar shows it’s the first of August and around Northeast Tennessee that means schools are scheduled to start back next week. Friday night at Kingsport Speedway felt like a fall night for high school football as temperatures dropped into the 60s in the Model City.
Adam Long won the second race of the twin bill at Kingsport. (Randall Perry photo)
But the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action at the “Concrete Jungle” proved to be heated, with Chad Finchum of Knoxville and Adam Long of Pounding Mill, Va., each capturing Wallace Kia Late Model Stock victories.
With a strong, 22-car field present for time trials, Finchum was quickest at 15.132 seconds to barely edge out Kres VanDyke’s 15.150 to earn the pole starting position for the first twin 35-lap feature.
Finchum jumped out to the lead at the start over VanDyke, but the event’s first caution waved just five laps in when Lee Tissot spun in turn two.
Just two laps back under green, Ronnie McCarty and Zeke Shell were racing side-by-side for third and as they raced off into the third turn contact was made, which resulted in McCarty spinning between turns three and four to bring the caution out for a second time.
Off the double-file restart, Finchum once again moved back out in front over VanDyke and Shell, while behind them Adam Long was running a strong fourth in his first appearance at the track this season, followed by leading rookie contender Zack Walton.
By lap 15, the front-four of Finchum, VanDyke, Shell and Long had pulled out ahead of their closest challengers by about a half-straightaway. But caution waved on lap 18 to erase their comfortable advantage, when Bruce Blessing spun between turns one and two.
VanDyke looked to try and grab the lead over Finchum on the double-file restart. But the defending track and state NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Finchum would have none of it, as he moved back out front over VanDyke, Shell, Long and Walton.
With five laps remaining, the top five were all together around the .375-mile banked concrete oval. Between turns three and four coming to take the white flag, VanDyke attempted to stick the nose of his car underneath Finchum racing off the corner. But there would be no denying Finchum his fourth win of the season as he held off VanDyke, Shell, Long and Walton.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Tissot, McCarty, Austin Peters, Ryan Stiltner and Tyler Goodwin.
The top four finishers from the first race were inverted for the second twin 35-lap feature, putting Long on the pole position and Shell outside of the front row. At drop of the green, Long jumped out ahead of Shell, VanDyke, Finchum and McCarty.
On lap 4 racing off turn two, VanDyke passed Shell to take over second and with the door open, Finchum walked right in to move into third in the running order. The slide backward for Shell continued over the next few laps as McCarty, Tissot, Peters and Stiltner all got around him to drop Shell back to the eighth spot.
With the race running clean-and-green, Long began to separate himself from his closest challengers quickly. As the event reached the halfway point, Long held a 10 car-length advantage over VanDyke and Finchum.
Long went on to capture his first victory of the season over VanDyke, Finchum, McCarty and Tissot.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Peters, Shell, Stiltner, Goodwin and rookie Justin Fontaine.
Nick Cole and Rob Austin raced side-by-side for the first three laps of the Street Stock feature before Cole grabbed the lead. Royce Peters of Kingsport began working on Austin for the second spot and racing off turn two on lap 6 he dropped Austin back to third in the running order. Caution waved on lap 13 for Sam Hurd.
Cole and Peters were alongside each other for the double-file restart. With the green flag waving, Peters powered ahead of Cole to take the lead. Once out front and a clear track ahead, Peters clicked off perfect laps the remaining distance to capture his second Street Stock victory of the season over Cole, Austin, Jared Broadbent and Chris Tunnell.
You didn’t have to win the Pure 4 feature to hit the jackpot, as Century 21 Pro Service Realtors agent Teresa Isaac of Johnson City was offering a $500 bonus to one lucky driver that finished in the top five of the 25-lap feature event.
John Ketron and Keith Helton put on a driving clinic in the early laps of the race as they swapped the lead back and forth, before Ketron moved ahead on lap 7. Behind the front-running duo, Kenny Absher, Jason Ketron, 2011 Pure 4 champion Mark McCrary making first start since his title season, and Billy Ketron were having a spirited battle for position.
Racing off the second corner on lap 10, Jason Ketron got around Absher for third. And just two laps later, Billy Ketron passed McCrary to move into fifth place. On lap 14 racing off the fourth turn, Jason Ketron passed Helton to move into second. Just behind Jason, his brother Billy began applying pressure to Helton to take away the third spot and quickly grabbed the position.
But out front there would be no denying John Ketron his division-leading sixth Pure 4 victory over sons Jason and Billy, making it a Ketron family sweep of the top three positions for the second occasion this season, followed by Helton and Absher. The top five finishing drivers parked on the front straightaway around victory lane for roll of the dice to see who would be lucky and win the $500 bonus. The dice stopped showing the number four, and with Helton finishing in fourth place he hit the jackpot and took home five one-hundred dollar bills.
Rusty Clendenin of Church Hill and Derek Lane battled door-to-door for several laps during the Rookie Pure 4 feature, before Clendenin finally moved ahead to stay with just five laps remaining on his way to recording his division-leading fifth victory. Finishing behind Clendenin and Lane were Andrew Hill, Brandon Crumbley and James Deese.
Kirby Gobble of Abingdon, Va., keeps rolling along in Mod 4 action as he captured his six straight feature win over Rocky Yates, Billy Duty, Dennis Arnold and Luke Fox.
Kingsport’s Trey Lane recorded his third Legends victory over Derek Lane, Jerry Lane, Hannah Ottinger and Hayden Ottinger.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “WALLACE KIA” LATE MODEL STOCK (Twin Feature No. 1 – 35 laps)
1. Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN
2. Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA
3. Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN
4. Adam Long #3-Pounding Mill, VA
5. Zack Walton #38-Blountville, TN
6. Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC
7. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
8. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
9. Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA
10. Tyler Goodwin #64-Kingsport, TN
11. Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC
12. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
13. Justin Wright #76-Kingsport, TN
14. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
15. Allen Hawkins #77-Kingsport, TN
16. Bruce Blessing #55-Gate City, VA
17. Ed Surrett #17-Asheville, NC
18. Luke Fox #94-Weaverville, NC
19. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
20. Phil Harris #55-Johnson City, TN
21. Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN
22. Sam Steffey #35-Abingdon, VA
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “WALLACE KIA” LATE MODEL STOCK (Twin Feature No. 2 – 35 laps)
1. Adam Long #3-Pounding Mill, VA
2. Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA
3. Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN
4. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
5. Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC
6. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
7. Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN
8. Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA
9. Tyler Goodwin #64-Kingsport, TN
10. Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC
11. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
12. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
13. Justin Wright #76-Kingsport, TN
14. Allen Hawkins #77-Kingsport, TN
15. Phil Harris #55-Johnson City, TN
16. Luke Fox #94-Weaverville, NC
17. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
18. Ed Surrett #17-Asheville, NC
19. Bruce Blessing #55-Gate City, VA
20. Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN
Did Not Start: Zack Walton #38-Blountville, TN … Sam Steffey #35-Abingdon, VA
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
1. Royce Peters #48
2. Nick Cole #63
3. Rob Austin #25
4. Jared Broadbent #74
5. Chris Tunnell #6
6. Greg Grindstaff #3
7. Jeff Williams #21
8. Danny Casteel #41
9. Todd Duff #16
10. David Schmidt #20
11. Sam P. Hurd #11
12. Dennis Deese #24
PURE 4 (25 laps)
1. John Ketron #27
2. Jason Ketron #28
3. Billy Ketron #26
4. Keith Helton #74
5. Kenny Absher #11
6. Mark McCrary #99
7. Tim Abelseth #66
8. Billy Byington #01
9. Chris Neeley #94
10. Lloyd Baker #7
11. David Trent #57
12. Dylan Bates #6
13. B.C. Penley #44
14. Matthew Ford #97
15. Todd Cross #41
16. Richard Quillen #14
17. Jon Pittman #00
ROOKIE PURE 4 (20 laps)
1. Rusty Clendenin #11
2. Derek Lane #7
3. Andrew Hill #97
4. Brandon Crumbley #7
5. James Deese #25
6. Dennis Stanley #57
7. Craig Phelps #00
8. Derrick Gilliam #34
9. William Hale #47
10. Seth Clements #02
11. Tammy Cross #41
12. Larry Stapleton #14
13. Scott Palmer #1
14. Larry Bowens #18
MOD 4 (20 laps)
1. Kirby Gobble #88
2. Rocky Yates #3
3. Billy Duty #45
4. Dennis Arnold #7
5. Luke Fox #94
6. Jessie Amburgey #17
7. Chris Amburgey #7
LEGENDS (12 laps)
1. Trey Lane #28
2. Derek Lane #19
3. Jerry Lane #9
4. Hannah Ottinger #97
5. Hayden Ottinger #94
Kingsport Speedway PR – Photo Credit: Randall Perry