Michael House enters Saturday’s Volunteer 300 as the inaugural Pro-8 Late Model Series points leader at Highland Rim Speedway (TN). He’s done so in dominant fashion, winning four of the first seven races. But his points lead is by no means secure as he is solely three points ahead of Mark Day, who has a propensity for winning big races.
House though isn’t going to sweat it out. He won the pole for Saturday’s race in convincing fashion. Despite being the first car out, he won the pole by nearly two-tenths of a second on Ohio stalwart Jack Smith. Calm, cool and collected, House told Speed51.com he’s just planning on running his own race on Saturday and thinks the points will work themselves out if he can stay at the front.
“I was brought up the hard way,” House said to explain his calm demeanor. “I didn’t always like it. It was the hard way, but it was the right way. I’m not one of those guys who has daddy’s money helping him build a racecar. We’ve put a lot of work into this and me and my guys thrashed all week. I know we’ve put our hearts into it. This is a real fast piece and we’re going to be tough to beat.”
In addition to Mark Day looking to win the Volunteer 300 and take the track title, Wade Day (no relation) is looking to make his first Pro Late Model start of the year a big one. The former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series regional champion has been a dominant force at pretty much every Tennessee short track he’s competed at – Nashville, Kingsport, Newport, even Bristol. But Wade is missing a signature trophy from Highland Rim. He’s off to a good start with a 5th place qualifying effort.
A New Track For An Old Vet
It’s not every day that an accomplished veteran like two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin goes to a new track. But it’s hard to believe that Highland Rim Speedway, located just 25 minutes up the road from his hometown of Nashville, is one of the tracks Marlin has yet to turn in even a single competitive lap.
That will change Saturday as Marlin, piloting a crisp white ARBodies Camaro, will line up for 300 laps of racing. He’s had
Young Guns To Keep Tabs On
Highland Rim is proving to be a hot ground for some rising talent in the Pro Late Model ranks and these young guns will get an excellent chance to show their stuff against veterans like Day, House, Augie Grill, and Smith on Saturday.
Dylan Fetcho turned heads with a sixth place qualifying effort. He has yet to crack Victory Lane this season, but comes into the finale a consistent and solid 4th place in points. He is just fifteen years of age. A few points behind Fetcho is Billy Sisco. The son of Nashville great Jerry Sisco, Billy has set fast time already this season at Highland Rim and timed in 8th for Saturday’s marathon.
Even younger is William Hale. He jumped straight from Quarter Midgets to the Pro Late Model ranks this season and has kept his nose clean while learning to run competitively. And then there is Hunter Byrd, who will be running just his second career Pro Late Model race in the 300.
Former Southern All Star champion Johnny Brazier was one of the notable names on the initial entry list released by the track earlier this week, but he never made the trip up to Highland Rim. He told officials that the team broke the motor during car preparation and they did not have a chance to procure another.
Stacey Crain is another driver who intended to attend, but a dismal practice session and tough luck lately at Nashville meant the team elected to stay at home.
Rain A Concern For Saturday
Track officials are monitoring a storm system that has crept into the forecast after a sunny Saturday seemed promised by weathermen all week. But as Friday went on, the more likely rain chances are with the forecast now stating a 60% chance of rain. With Sunday looking no better, track officials tell Speed51 they will make every effort to get the show in tomorrow.
The inaugural Volunteer 300 at Highland Rim Speedway will roll off tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM CT. Speed51.com will have live Trackside Now coverage beginning at 2 PM.
— Story and Photos by Tim Quievryn // Speed51.com Southeast Editor // @thethirdturn