Monteith Brings the Heat to Capture Seventh Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Late Model Stock Victory
While the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region continues to swelter under hot summertime conditions with temperatures in the mid-90s, Nate Monteith of Blountville exploded to his seventh Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Dalton Direct Carpets” Late Model Stock victory of the season.
Monteith’s 64th career feature win came in dominating fashion as the track held its Fourth of July holiday week racing program, which concluded with fireworks illuminating the skies on Celebrity’s Hot Dogs Night at the Races before the largest crowd to attend weekly racing at “The Concrete Jungle” since reopening in 2011.
Paul Nogradi Jr. set fast-time in qualifying at 15.314, and following an invert-five he started the 60-lap Late Model Stock feature from inside of row three. Leading the 20-car field to green from the front row were two teenagers, 19-year-old Ryan Stiltner from the pole and on the outside 15-year-old Blake Jones.
With the green flag waving to start the race, Stiltner and Jones raced door-to-door down the front straightaway into the first turn. But racing up off the second corner Jones powered into the lead over Stiltner, Monteith, Lee Tissot and Zeke Shell. Riding in the outside groove, Monteith got alongside Stiltner racing into turn one on the second circuit, and as they raced down the backstretch Monteith moved into second behind leader Jones.
Stiltner had his hands full, with veteran Tissot overtaking him to move into third in the running order on lap 3 racing off the fourth turn. Just ahead of Tissot, Monteith got to inside of Jones challenging for the lead racing off turn four on the fourth circuit. The young hotshoe Jones tried his best to fend off Monteith, but the defending track and also Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion powered into a lead he would never relinquish on lap 6 racing off turn two.
After Monteith’s pass for the lead, with Jones stuck in the outside line Tissot began to attack wanting the second spot. Jones and Tissot dueled for two laps before Tissot got the best of Jones on lap 8 to take away the position. Caution waved on lap 19, when Mark Christian spun in turn four.
On the restart Monteith led Tissot, Jones, Shell and Nogradi. Back under green and running in sixth, Stiltner lost the position to Justin Sorrow on lap 20 and two circuits later he was dropped back to eighth in the running order when Mike Looney worked around him for the seventh spot.
With the race reaching the halfway mark on lap 30, the top-nine cars in the running order were all on the same straightaway as Monteith held just a three car-length advantage over Tissot. Monteith and Tissot began to put some real estate between themselves and Jones, Shell, Nogradi, Sorrow and Looney. Kres VanDyke passed Stiltner on lap 38 racing off the second corner to settle into the eighth spot.
With the signal given from the flag stand showing 10 laps remaining, Monteith, chauffeuring the True Line Construction Co./KBM Commercial Properties/Pizza Plus/BSA Security Co./Performancenter Racing Warehouse/Upchurch Racing Engines/Griffin Radiators/Circle Racing Wheels/Pro Fabrication Racing Exhaust Systems/Hayworth Racing Brakes/Amsoil/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions/Five Star Race Car Bodies/ProParts Engineering Performance/The Joie of Seating/Sherwin-Williams/Primetime Designs Race Decals/WD Performance/Monteith Racing/No 44 Chevrolet Impala, was in command out front leading Tissot. Tissot knew the only way he had anything for Monteith was if the leader got trapped behind lapped cars the front-running duo worked down the stretch. But Monteith never faltered and actually worked his way past the lapped cars better than Tissot, to pull away to win by three-quarters of a straightaway.
Monteith was chased to the checkers by Tissot, Jones, Shell and Nogradi.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Looney, Sorrow, VanDyke, Stiltner and current NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national rookie points leader Austin Peters.
“Hey, it’s just another great night for this Monteith Racing operation,” said a smiling Monteith following the race in the pits as fireworks explored overhead. “There on the start the outside line really got going better than the cars to the inside. I was able to close right in on the rear bumper of the 80-car of Blake Jones quickly and we raced each other hard there for a couple of laps before we were able to make the pass for the lead. Our car was good, very good. Once we got out front we were able to set our own pace more or less, because most definitely on a hot night like tonight both tire and brake management is crucial. After we got the lead, I knew (Lee) Tissot was behind me and I just tried to keep a few car lengths between us. Everything just worked out to perfection for us tonight.
“I really want to thank everybody who helps make all this possible, the strong runs and wins we’re getting. I’m just the fortunate one who gets to drive such awesome race cars. Winning races never gets old, because that’s what we strive for at Monteith Racing. We’ve got great sponsors backing us, and I really appreciate each of them for all of their support. All the guys who help out at the shop during the week and on race night here at the track, they’re led by my crew chief Wade Day, car chief Duke Bare, along with Roby Orr, Tim Robinson, Russell Scott, Jeremy Hughes, John Estes, Danny Bland, Sammy Phipps and Hunter Phipps. We’ve got great motors from Jeremy Upchurch at Upchurch Racing Engines, and Lee Caruthers at Performancenter Racing Warehouse in Statesville, N.C. has really assisted us. I also want to thank my girlfriend Jessica Melton who puts up with me racing, and our son Brayden Monteith. And last but not least, I want to thank my father and mother, Don and Brenda Monteith, along with my grandparents’ Wayne and Gladys Snow, for all of their love and support over the years. Monteith Racing is a family-run operation.”
Chris Tunnell jumped out into the lead ahead of Greg Grindstaff and Rob Austin at start of the “Absolute Plumbing” Street Stock feature. Austin and divisional point leader Roger Neece battled for the third spot in the early going, with Neece getting inside of Austin racing into the first turn on lap 3 to take the position.
While Tunnell was enjoying his run out front following a season of disappointing runs, behind him Neece was pressuring Grindstaff for second. With the race reaching the halfway distance on lap 15, racing off the second corner Neece passed Grindstaff to move into the second spot. Just two circuits later on lap 17, as Tunnell and Neece raced down the front straightaway into the first turn, Neece got into the left-rear of Tunnell entering the corner and Tunnell spun, while Neece, Austin and others were forced into evasive action to avoid a major pileup. With the caution being displayed, both Tunnell and Neece were sent to the tail of the field for causing the yellow.
Grindstaff, from Bakersville, N.C. and driving the Greg’s Speedliner - Maximum Strength Spray Liners/WTOE 1470 AM/Spruce Pine Tree Service/Woody Tire/Mitchell Glass/Parts City Auto Parts/B&J Auto Supply/Carolina Pushrodz/Carolina Sign Source/No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, led Jared Broadbent and Austin on the restart. Back under green, Grindstaff loved what he saw in his rearview mirror as Broadbent and Austin battled for the runner-up position. Austin got around Broadbent for second with six laps remaining, but Grindstaff would not be denied his first-ever Kingsport Speedway Street Stock feature win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Broadbent, Paul Shull and Neece, who worked his way back for a top-five run following the earlier incident with Tunnell.
Jonathan Reed grabbed lead over Keith Helton and Jeremy Hughes at start of the 20-lap Pure 4 feature, but his run out front was short-lived as Helton moved into the lead on lap 2. Jason Ketron and his father John Ketron were smashing the loud pedal and on the move quickly, getting around both Hughes and Reed on the third circuit to settle into second and third in the running order. John got around Jason for second on lap 5, racing off the second corner and set his sights ahead on leader Helton. After looking to the inside of Helton racing off the turns for a few laps, finally on lap 9 racing off turn two John moved into the lead. Once out front, John Ketron of Kingsport, driving the ServPro of Kingsport Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration/K&K Auto/No. 26 Honda, never looked back en route to recording his sixth victory over Helton, Jason Ketron, Chris Neeley and Billy Ketron.
Coming off a great showing in the Big Money 100, held earlier in the week at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he brought home a strong 11th-place finish in a race where it was quite an accomplishment just to make the show as competitors’ from all across the country and Canada were present, Tyler Goodwin of Kingsport, driving the Bank of Tennessee/Bancsec Inc./Rockstar Graphix/No. 64 McAulay Motorsports ride, rolled to his 14th Legends feature win in 16 starts on the season. Chasing Goodwin to the finish were Greg Turner, Adam Gray, Hubert Whitehead and T.R. Ward.
Jimmy Hillard of Knoxville, driving the 4 Way Mini Storage/Hillbilly Auto Parts/Performance Auto Works/No. 74 Honda, captured his third Rookie Pure 4 victory over Dylan Bates, Robin Hughes, Danny Pless and Tim Abelseth.
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “DALTON DIRECT CARPETS” LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)
Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses
1. (4) Nate Monteith #44-Blountville, TN (60)
2. (3) Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC (60)
3. (2) Blake Jones #80-Sevierville, TN (60)
4. (6) Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN (60)
5. (5) Paul Nogradi Jr. #02-Clinton, TN (60)
6. (9) Mike Looney #47-New Castle, VA (60)
7. (7) Justin Sorrow #9-Belton, SC (60)
8. (11) Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA (60)
9. (1) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA (60)
10. (12) Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN (60)
11. (8) Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN (59)
12. (15) Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN (59)
13. (16) Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN (59)
14. (14) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN (59)
15. (17) Mark Christian #43-Blountville, TN (58)
16. (13) Hayden Woods #87-Piney Flats, TN (39)
17. (10) Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN (19)
18. (18) Dean Barrett #82-Abingdon, VA (9)
19. (20) Don Monteith #4-Blountville, TN (2)
20. (19) Amber Abrams #8-Johnson City, TN (1)
“ABSOLUTE PLUMBING” STREET STOCK (30 laps): 1) Greg Grindstaff #3; 2) Rob Austin #25; 3) Jared Broadbent #74; 4) Paul Shull #48; 5) Roger Neece #22; 6) Dillon Crouch #0; 7) Tony Ward #7; 8) Mark Hawkins #44; 9) Rick Smith #33; 10) Chris Tunnell #6; 11) Marshall Sutton #64; 12) Matt Smith #33
PURE 4 (20 laps): 1) John Ketron #26; 2) Keith Helton #9; 3) Jason Ketron #28; 4) Chris Neeley #94; 5) Billy Ketron #27; 6) Jonathan Reed #51; 7) Jeremy Hughes #57; 8) Steve Skeen #17; 9) Darby Fleenor #66; 10) Darrell Whitehead #44; 11) Todd Cross #41; 12) Brandon McClure #0; 13) Roger Light #44
LEGENDS (12 laps): 1) Tyler Goodwin #64; 2) Greg Turner #64g; 3) Adam Gray #37; 4) Hubert Whitehead #3; 5) T.R. Ward #09
ROOKIE PURE 4 (10 laps): 1) Jimmy Hillard #74; 2) Dylan Bates #6; 3) Robin Hughes #75; 4) Danny Pless #5; 5) Tim Abelseth #66; 6) Brandon McClure #0; 7) Tammy Cross #41; 8) Austin Gray #71