KINGSPORT — With a veteran racer nipping at his heels, Clint King never cracked.
The 14-year-old rookie dominated the field and held off 40-year-old Lee Tissot on the final restart to win the Courtesy Chevrolet 150 at Kingsport Speedway on Saturday night.
Tissot settled for second while Brennan Poole came from the back of the pack to finish third.
“We were hoping to get a win this year, but we never thought it would be this early,” said King, who won in just his second career UARA-STARS start. “Our car hooked up right in the middle of the race and we pulled away from them.”
King qualified on the outside of the front row and jumped past polesitter Coleman Pressley to gain the lead on the first lap. King traded some paint with Pressley and Kyle Grissom while falling back to third early in the race, but by the time the caution flag flew on lap 30, King was back up front to stay.
He insisted there were no hard feelings, however, as he showed off the scuffs and scrapes on the side of his No. 07 Ford following the race.
“There’s nothing wrong with these donuts here,” King said. “That’s just good old-fashioned short- track racing. They raced me clean, and I appreciate the sportsmanship in this UARA deal.”
For a kid running his first race at Kingsport Speedway, King got around the place like an old pro. Add in his practice session last weekend to the two he participated in this weekend, and King said it probably didn’t add up to 300 laps of seat time.
As the race wore on, however, King found himself pulling away from the field. And while many sets of brake rotors displayed a cherry-red glow from overheating, King was able to save his equipment.
It was a good thing he did — a four-car pileup on lap 143 brought out the red flag and erased King’s sizable lead. But once the green dropped for the final time, he was able to hit his marks all the way to the checkered flag even though Tissot was applying all the pressure he could muster.
“We were better on the really short run, but he ran a great race,” Tissot said.
While King cruised around up front, Poole had to recover from a clutch malfunction in qualifying to finish third.
Poole started at the back of the pack, passing 21 cars along the way to take over the UARA-STARS points lead.
“We needed to keep all the fenders on it, stay out of trouble and get to the front,” he said. “Sure enough, we did that. It was a great points night, and to be the points leader is awesome.”
In the preliminary event, Donnie Buckner led flag to flag to capture a victory in the 30-lap Street Stock race.
While Buckner was busy checking out on the field, Roger Neece and Robert Austin engaged in a hard- fought battle for second. Austin eventually bumped Neece to get the position and finished second while Neece settled for third.