KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2014) — The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 2014 racing season kicked off at Kingsport Speedway on a sunny Saturday afternoon the first weekend in April, with Kres VanDyke of Claypool Hill, Va., parking in victory lane after winning the Wallace Kia Late Model Stock feature.
With the first day of fall arriving next week, there was a chill in the air Friday at “The Concrete Jungle” for Unifirst Night at the Races.
VanDyke grabbed the lead from Zeke Shell off a double-file restart following a caution period on lap 57, and remained out front until the checkered flag waved to win the Tennessee State Championship 100. With VanDyke’s victory, he wrapped up both the Kingsport Speedway and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships.
The evening began with Shell setting fast-time at 15.021 seconds. But following roll of the dice, the top-six from qualifying were inverted for the 100-lap main event, putting Wayne Hale and Justin Fontaine on the front row.
The 16-year-old rookie Fontaine, in his rookie season, jumped out to the lead over Chad Finchum, Shell, Ronnie McCarty and VanDyke, to pace the field for the first time ever in his young racing career. Behind Fontaine, Finchum was fighting a loose (handling) race car and Shell quickly moved around him into second in the running order.
Finchum dropped back two more spots when McCarty and VanDyke got around him before settling into fifth place. While Fontaine had a good run out front, Shell passed him for the lead on lap 13 racing up off (turn) two. The event’s first caution waved on lap 16 for an incident between turns three and four involving Austin Peters and Zack Walton.
On a cool night and while under caution tire temperatures will drop. Going back green until heat builds back up into the tires, drivers are looking for traction.
Shell and Fontaine were on the front row for the double-file restart. Immediately back under green, between turns one and two Fontaine got loose and turned sideways blocking the track. With nowhere to go, both VanDyke and Joey Trent made the quick reaction to dive onto the backstretch pit road to avoid making contact with Fontaine’s car.
The next attempt at green saw Shell move ahead over McCarty and VanDyke. But VanDyke got around McCarty in just a couple of laps for second place.
The race would run green for the next 40 circuits, with Shell running strong and holding a 10 car-length lead over VanDyke, McCarty, Finchum and Tyler Goodwin. Luke Fox spun between turns one and two on lap 57 to bring the caution out.
VanDyke powered into the lead over Shell off the ensuing double-file restart, but Finchum got around Shell for the second spot, leaving Shell to try and hold back McCarty.
The race remained under green until a scary moment for veteran driver Lee Tissot occurred on lap 67 at end of the backstretch entering turn three, when fire erupted from underneath his race car. Briefly engulfed in a fireball, Tissot spun the car to a stop between turns three and four, and with first the caution and then quickly the red flag being displayed, emergency and track safety officials arrived on the scene to assist Tissot who would climb from the car to cheers from the crowd.
Off the double-field restart, VanDyke and Finchum raced side-by-side for a couple of laps before VanDyke moved back to the lead. With VanDyke in command out front, with just under 10 laps remaining Shell moved around Finchum.
But there would be no catching the 34-year-old VanDyke as he captured the victory over Shell, Finchum, McCarty and Goodwin.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Walton, Peters, Fontaine, Fox and Tissot. The top eight cars finished on the lead lap and on the same straightaway when the checkered flag waved.
VanDyke’s outstanding championship season saw him visit victory lane six times, while impressively recording 18 overall top-five finishes in 19 starts. Besides the six wins, VanDyke had eight runner-up finishes.
In the Late Model Stock Non-Winners Dash for drivers who hadn’t ever won a race, Tyler Goodwin of Kingsport moved into the lead of the 30-lap event at the start and held off a hard-charging Austin Peters at the checkered flag for the win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Justin Fontaine, Royce Peters and Joey Trent.
Jared Broadbent of Bakersville, N.C., had finished in the runner-up position this season in the Street Stock division, but hadn’t made it to victory lane. Chris Tunnell grabbed the lead over Royce Peters and Rob Austin on the start of the 30-lap feature.
Peters passed Tunnell for the lead on the second lap as they raced off (turn) two. However, it proved to be short-lived as both Kirby Gobble and Broadbent got around Tunnell, and then passed Peters to take over the first two positions.
With the race running clean-and-green, Broadbent was riding on Gobble’s back bumper waiting to make a move. Broadbent got to the inside of Gobble on lap 26 racing off the second corner down the backstretch. The duo raced a couple of laps side-by-side before Broadbent moved ahead and went on to record his first win on the season over Gobble, Peters, Tunnell and Nick Cole.
For Cole, from Bristol, he captured the Street Stock championship by 34 points over Austin. Cole visited victory lane on four occasions, while posting 14 top-five finishes en route to winning the title.
Mark McCrary and Jason Ketron raced side-by-side for the lead during opening couple of laps of the Pure 4 feature before Keith Helton got in the mix. With Helton moving to the lead on the third circuit, behind him John Ketron, McCrary and Jason Ketron battled three-wide for real estate.
But with John (father) on the inside and McCrary in the middle, Jason (youngest Ketron son) was stuck on the outside in “no man’s land” racing off the fourth turn and got crowded up into the outside concrete wall making significant contact and badly damaging his car to end his race early and bring the caution out.
Helton moved back out to the lead off the double-file restart over McCrary and John Ketron. John got around McCrary for the second spot on lap 7 racing off the second corner and set his sights ahead on leader Helton. After closing in on Helton and sizing him up for several laps, racing into the first turn on lap 22, John Ketron passed Helton and went on to record his eighth Pure 4 victory this season.
The elder Ketron was chased to the checkered flag by Helton, Billy Ketron (oldest Ketron son), Kenny Absher and Bruce Crumbley. John Ketron, from Kingsport, dominated the Pure 4 division in 2014 with his eight wins and 17 top-five finishes overall in 18 starts, to easily win the championship by 112 points over his son, Jason. Since the track reopened for weekly racing in 2011, John owns two titles and Jason one, with McCrary winning one championship.
Rusty Clendenin of Church Hill competed in 12 of 17 Rookie Pure 4 races this season, but he recorded a division-leading nine feature wins along the way. En route to his ninth visit to victory lane, Clendenin rocketed his way to the front after starting from the 15 spot to win over Brandon Crumbley, James Deese, Craig Phelps and Michael “Mook” Jeter. Deese, from Elizabethon, captured the Rookie Pure 4 championship by just two points over Crumbley.
Trey Lane of Kingsport got around race-long leader Greg Turner with just a couple of laps remaining to win his fourth Legend race of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Chuck Addision, Trey Lane and Hannah Ottinger. With Trey Lane’s victory and older brother Derek finishing fourth, Trey captured the divisional championship by a four-point margin over Derek.
-Kingsport Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Randall Perry.
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “WALLACE KIA” LATE MODEL STOCK (100 laps)
1. Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA
2. Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN
3. Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN
4. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
5. Tyler Goodwin #64-Kingsport, TN
6. Zack Walton #38-Blountville, TN
7. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
8. Justin Fontaine #60-Fletcher, NC
9. Luke Fox #94-Weaverville, NC
10. Lee Tissot #76-Asheville, NC
11. Joey Trent #26-JohnsoN City, TN
12. Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
13. Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN
14. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
15. Chris Tunnell #77-Wise, VA
16. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
Did Not Start: Nate Monteith #44-Blountville, TN
LATE MODEL STOCK – NON-WINNERS DASH (30 laps)
1. Tyler Goodwin #64
2. Austin Peters #66
3. Justin Fontaine #60
4. Royce Peters #38
5. Joey Trent #26
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
1. Jared Broadbent #74
2. Kirby Gobble #3
3. Royce Peters #48
4. Chris Tunnell #6
5. Nick Cole #63
6. Greg Grindstaff #3
7. Rob Austin #18
8. Todd Duff #16
9. Doug Austin #21
10. Sam P. Hurd #11
11. Danny Casteel #41
12. Dennis Deese #24
PURE 4 (25 laps)
1. John Ketron #27
2. Keith Helton #9
3. Billy Ketron #26
4. Kenny Absher #11
5. Bruce Crumbley #00
6. Chris Neeley #94
7. Billy Byington #01
8. Tim Abelseth #66
9. David Trent #57
10. Dylan Bates #6
11. Billy Taylor #14
12. Matthew Ford #97
13. Todd Cross #41
14. Mark McCrary #99
15. Darrell Whitehead #44
16. Richard Quillen #14
17. Jason Ketron #28
ROOKIE PURE 4 (20 laps)
1. Rusty Clendenin #11
2. Brandon Crumbley #7
3. James Deese #66
4. Craig Phelps #00
5. Michael Jeter #53
6. Kelly Witherspoon #14
7. William Hale #47
8. Jonathan Faris #14
9. Dennis Stanley #19
10. Scott Palmer #1
11. Tammy Cross #41
12. Larry Bowens #18
13. Larry Stapleton #14
14. Chris Hill #01
15. Todd Fleenor #66
16. Chris Wilhelm #99
17. Dalton Lady #15
LEGEND (12 laps)
1. Trey Lane #9
2. Greg Turner #64
3. Chuck Addison #28
4. Derek Lane #19
5. Hannah Ottinger #97
6. Les Ottinger #94