Nate Monteith Captures Ninth Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Late Model Stock Victory
Everyone in attendance Friday at Kingsport Speedway for Whelen Engineering Night at the Races was looking up to see if a full-moon was shining over the track, because wild things tend to occur when the moon is full – and to say the least, it was a “wild night” of racing in the Model City.
There was good, hard racing and there was also a spectacular flipping crash on the front straightaway. Plus, other on-track controversy led to tension among competitors and crews in the pits, all of which led to keeping the large crowd enthused.
Nate Monteith of Blountville, leading the track Late Model Stock point standings, while also ranked eighth nationally in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings, and leading the Tennessee State NASCAR points, passed Blake Jones for the lead on lap 3 and ran a flawless race the remaining distance en route to capturing his division-leading ninth feature win of the season.
Lee Tissot, winner of three straight races (counting last week’s UARA-STARS touring event) at the track, set fast-time during qualifying with a run of 15.404 seconds. But the top six from time trials were inverted for the 60-lap feature, thus putting Jones and Daniel Pope II on the front row.
Completing the opening lap, Jones and Pope were side-by-side at the stripe, with Monteith, Housewright and Tissot following. Tissot got around Housewright to move into the fourth spot on lap 2. Racing off turn two on the third lap, Jones nosed ahead of Pope to briefly assume the lead. Monteith was glued to the rear bumper of Jones racing into the third turn, and racing off the fourth turn Monteith grabbed a lead he would never relinquish.
Tissot got around Jones for the runner-up position on the fourth lap, while Pope battled his way to get around the 14-year-old Jones for the third spot on lap six. The event’s first caution waved on lap 7 when Royce Peters spun in turn two and, only six circuits back under green the yellow was brought out once again for debris on the track.
Monteith led Tissot, Pope, Jones and Housewright for the restart on lap 13. With the field tightly bunched together after going back green, and before one lap was completed, between turns three and four front-to-rear bumper contact was made with Jones getting into the rear of Pope following contact from behind to Jones from Housewright. Pope spun in the fourth turn, forcing all cars behind him into evasive action to avoid a multi-car accident to bring out the caution.
Monteith led the field back up to speed, with Tissot, Jones, Housewright and Zeke Shell in pursuit. Shell got under Housewright between turns three and four on lap 15 to make the pass to move into fourth in the running order. While Monteith put a few car lengths advantage between himself and Tissot up front, back behind the lead duo attention was focused on the battle for the fifth spot involving Housewright and Robbie Ferguson.
Following an incident between the two a couple of weeks ago, this was bound to get interesting if Ferguson was able to maneuver his way around Housewright. Ferguson began taking peeks underneath Housewright racing off the corners, but Housewright each time fended off the challenges. But on lap 25 racing off turn two, Ferguson cleanly got around Housewright for position racing down the backstretch.
As they raced into the third turn, Housewright drove into the rear of Ferguson’s car and moved Ferguson up the track. Further contact resulted in Housewright spinning Ferguson, with Housewright also looping his car to bring out the caution. Housewright’s race was over with front-end damage resulting in a damaged radiator, while Ferguson entered the pits for crew to check over his car and rejoined at rear of the field to resume the race.
Monteith was once again forced to be sure get a clean restart and not miss a (gear) shift to allow Tissot to capitalize with the waving of the green flag. Cleanly through the gears and back up to speed, Monteith began to gradually put some distance between his True Line Construction Co./KBM Commercial Properties/Pizza Plus/BSA Security Co./TAB Performance/Clark’s Automotive Race Engines/Griffin Radiators/Amsoil/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions/Five Star Race Car Bodies/ProParts Engineering Performance/Sherwin-Williams/Primetime Designs Race Decals/ Townsend-LTO Race Cars/WD Performance/eXlander Designs/Monteith Racing/No. 44 Chevrolet Impala and Tissot, Jones, Shell and Dakota Slagle.
During a long green (flag) run, Monteith’s car seemed to get better-and-better. With 10 laps remaining Monteith was cruising with a comfortable lead over Tissot, and the last thing he wanted to see was a caution. But that’s what happened on lap 53, when the yellow flag waved and thus set the stage for a seven-lap shootout to the finish.
However, the gunslinger Monteith was loaded for the battle and shot back ahead of Tissot to record his ninth Late Model Stock victory. Monteith was chased to the checkers by Tissot, Jones, Shell and Peters, who fought his way back up through the field following an early race spin to finish in fifth.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Ferguson, Slagle, Nick Cole, Ryan Stiltner and Pope, with 10 cars on the lead lap at conclusion of the race.
Duke Bare of Meadowview, Va., grabbed the lead over Jeff Counts at start of the 30-lap Street Stock event and the duo battled the entire distance. Early in the race, behind leader Bare and Counts, John Harrell got around Chuck Crigger for fourth place on lap 3 racing off the fourth turn. Crigger lost another spot back to sixth in the running order when Rob Austin got around him exiting turn two on the backstretch.
The most spectacular crash at the track this season occurred on lap 8, involving Mark Christian and Scott Robinson. A silence fell over the speedway when Christian got up on the wall exiting the fourth turn, thus launching his car hurtling through the air and wildly flipping several times along the front straightaway. With emergency personnel quickly on the scene, along with track officials, in a few moments a shaken but uninjured Christian climbed from his badly damaged car to cheers from the crowd. Robinson also emerged unscathed from his torn-up machine.
Following the red-flag for cleanup from the wreck, racing resumed with Bare leading Counts and Greg Grindstaff. Back under green, lap-after-lap Counts shadowed Bare around the track looking for the leader to make a mistake to open the door for him to move out front.
While Counts would stick the nose of his car under Bare’s Real Tree Specialist of Abingdon, Va./Dowell Paint & Body Inc. of Marion, Va./Carter’s Pharmacy of Saltville, Va./Smitty Smith/TNT Graphics/Monteith Racing/Gobble Racing/No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro on several occasions racing off the corners, Bare continually slammed the door shut on Counts’ advances. Just behind them, Crigger first got around Austin to move into fourth on lap 15, and just two circuits later he passed Grindstaff for the third spot.
Over the final five laps, watching the battle for the lead between Bare and Counts was worth the price of admission in itself. Counts managed to pull up to Bare’s door numbers racing down the straightaway, but riding the high-groove Bare carried a little more momentum to still hold the lead entering the corners.
Unleashing an all-out assault trying to overtake Bare on the final lap, Counts came up just a little short at the flagstand. When the checkered flag waved Bare – “barely” edged Counts by a few feet to score his apparent (pending further post-race technical inspection) fourth feature win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Grindstaff, Crigger and Austin.
**NOTE: The official complete Street Stock results will be released at first of the week once a final ruling is determined.
Following a 10-car invert from qualifying for the 25-lap Pure 4 feature, Chuck Swiger jumped into lead over Dean Slagle and Lynn Shaffer.
With the top 10 cars all running in a tight group jockeying for position, on lap 5 Lewis Slagle spun and hit the inside retaining wall along the front straightaway. While under caution and with the cars slowly circling the track, Lewis accelerated and slammed into the front of John Ketron’s car, which had almost come to a stop trying to avoid contact near the start-finish line. Slagle’s race was over, while Ketron pitted for crew to work on the front nose of his car and he tagged on at rear of the field for restart.
With Swiger and Dean Slagle on front row for double-file restart, Slagle moved into the lead with Swiger, Shaffer and Chris Neeley in tow. Swiger drifted high between turns one and two to lose positions to both Shaffer and Neeley.
Neeley got under Shaffer for second racing off turn two on lap 7, and at end of backstretch entering the third turn he got to inside of Dean Slagle to challenge for the lead. Racing off the fourth turn Neeley grabbed the point, while behind him Greg Stephens got inside of Slagle to battle for the second spot racing down the front straightaway. Entering the first turn, Stephens moved into second and set his sights on Neeley.
With Neeley riding out front, Stephens was applying pressure on the leader looking move to the point. Just behind the lead duo, Dean Slagle, Swiger, Shaffer, Mark McCrary, Jason Ketron and Billy Ketron were battling for real estate. Also entering back into the picture after his earlier altercation with Lewis Slagle was John Ketron.
McCrary got around Shaffer and then disposed of Swiger and Dean Slagle to move into the third spot on lap 12. John Ketron got around his sons, Jason and Billy, and began to challenge Shaffer for fifth. Racing off the fourth corner on lap 13, John Ketron passed Shaffer for the position.
While Neeley had his hands full trying to hold back the charging Stephens, McCrary was running a smooth race in third thinking about the overall (points) scenario. John Ketron and Dean Slagle got to racing for the fourth spot, and as Ketron moved to overtake Slagle racing off turn two down the backstretch on lap 18, contact from Slagle resulted in damage on both cars to effectively end their night prematurely parked in the pits.
Stephens, from Asheville, N.C., driving the Snap-on High Performance Tools/Wynn’s Car & Truck Specialties/RSC Equipment Rental/No. 37 Honda, made a move to get around Neeley for the lead and would not be denied his first-ever Pure 4 victory on the .375-mile banked concrete oval. Stephens was chased to the checkers by Neeley, McCrary, Shaffer and Swiger.
John Ketron and McCrary entered the night of racing ranked first and second, respectively, in both the track Pure 4 point standings and in the NASCAR Finalist Program Division III national standings. But following the two separate on-track tangles with the Slagles (Lewis and Dean), Ketron dropped out of the race and finished 19th while McCrary came home with a strong third-place run, thus McCrary assumes the Pure 4 track points lead with only one race remaining.
Tyler Goodwin of Kingsport, a 15-year-old student at Daniel Boone High School, held off a hard-charging Hayden Woods to record his first-ever Legends victory at Kingsport Speedway. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Drew Shortridge, Greg Turner and Jacob Owens.
Pie Short of Abingdon, Va., driving the Real Tree Specialist of Abingdon/Dowell Paint & Body Inc. of Marion, Va./Lyle Morgan/TNT Graphics/Bad Boy Race Cars of Greenville, S.C./Monteith Racing/Duke Bare Racing/No. 52 Chevrolet Cavalier, won her fourth Rookie Pure 4 race.
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)
Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses
1. (4) Nate Monteith #44-Blountville, TN (60
2. (6) Lee Tissot #27-Asheville, NC (60)
3. (1) Blake Jones #80-Sevierville, TN (60)
4. (5) Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN (60)
5. (9) Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN (60)
6. (7) Robbie Ferguson #32-Jonesborough, TN (60)
7. (10) Dakota Slagle #13-Asheville, NC (60)
8. (13) Nick Cole #63-Bristol, TN (60)
9. (12) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA (60)
10. (2) Daniel Pope II #16-Smyrna, TN (60)
11. (15) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN (58)
12. (11) Mardy Roberts #55-Blountville, TN (28)
13. (3) Brad Housewright #1-Kingsport, TN (25)
14. (8) Paul Nogradi Jr. #02-Clinton, TN (21)
15. (14) Billy Lane #14-Kingsport, TN (14)
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
***NOTE: The official complete Street Stock results will be released at first of the week once a ruling is determined.
PURE 4 (25 laps)
1) Greg Stephens #37; 2) Chris Neeley #94; 3) Mark McCrary #99; 4) Lynn Shaffer #52; 5) Chuck Swiger #88; 6) Kenny Absher #11; 7) William Hale #95; 8) Bill Coleman #15; 9) Luke Foz #0; 10) David Trent #57; 11) Jason Ketron #26; 12) Austin Crigger #71; 13) Billy Ketron #27; 14) Todd Cross #41; 15) Mark Gillespie #18; 16) Robert Darnell #7; 17) Jeremy Hughes #43; 18) Dean Slagle #13; 19) John Ketron #28; 20) Kevin Darnell #11; 21) Lewis Slagle #99s; 22) Steve Skeen #17
LEGENDS (20 laps)
1) Tyler Goodwin #64; 2) Hayden Woods #87; 3) Drew Shortridge #32; 4) Greg Turner #64; 5) Jacob Owens #8; 6) Aaron Lawson #23; 7) Casey Head #33p; 8) Matt Smith #33; 9) Tony Wiggins #4; 10) Cody Johnson #31; 11) Zack Walton #38; 12) Adam Gray #37
Kingsport Speedway is located at 2961 North John B. Dennis Highway. For more information, call the office at (423) 288-5992, track promoter Robert Pressley at (828) 215-2077, or visit the Web site at www.NewKingsportSpeedway.c om.
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)