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Racing Notes: Finchum gets winning groove back; dirt flies on, off track at Volunteer Speedway

April 16th, 2014 1:00 pm by Dave Ongie

Racing Notes: Finchum gets winning groove back; dirt flies on, off track at Volunteer Speedway

The first two weeks of Chad Finchum's NASCAR Whelen All- American Series Late Model season have been kind of like the ABC Wide World of Sports.

Finchum has experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

The Knoxville resident opened defense of his track championship at Kingsport Speedway a couple weeks ago, but it was hardly the debut he was looking for. By lap 4, he was out of the race after a wreck with Blake Jones and had to settle for a 17th- place finish.

But Finchum bounced back in a big way last Saturday night, winning a pair of 40-lap Late Model races at Lonesome Pine Raceway. Finchum held off Kres Vandyke, who won Kingsport's season opener, in the first race and outran runner-up 2013 LPR track champ Ryan Stiltner in the second race.

Other winners at LPR last week included Kirby Gobble (Street Stock), Rocky Yates (Mod 4), John Ketron (Pure 4), Duke Bare (Pure Street), Aaron Ratliff (Iron Warrior) and John Farris (Rookie Pure 4).

Racing returns to both tracks this weekend, starting with a full slate of racing at Kingsport Speedway on Friday night. The grandstands in the Model City open at 5:30 p.m. and racing will start around 8.

The action moves to LPR on Saturday night. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. with green-flag action set to begin about 7.

For more information on this weekend's racing, visit or

Volunteer Speedway

If you've ever sat in the front row at a dirt track, you know mudslinging is part of racing.

But the mudslinging hasn't been confined to race days lately. The owners of four East Tennessee dirt tracks have been embroiled in a disagreement over scheduling, which has led to the scrapping of a gentleman's agreement not to encroach on each other's events.

Joe Loven, owner of Volunteer Speedway, claims it all started on April 5 when Tazewell Speedway, 411 Motor Speedway and Smoky Mountain Speedway all added races to their schedules that went head to head with the Steel Head Late Model event at Volunteer.

"They knew what they were doing," Loven said in a statement. "They knew they were taking the cars from us. They just didn't give a (darn)."

That led Loven to stage the Mad Dog 60 last Saturday night, an event headlined by a $10,000-to- win Super Late Model feature. Loven said his event was designed to take cars and fans away from the World of Outlaws race being run in Tazewell on the same night.

"To (heck) with them, and I'll just bust up their (darn) races," Loven said.

The big winner in all this was Jimmy Owens. The "Newport Nightmare" held off Vic "The Thrill" Hill to pocket the $10,000 prize.

Racing returns to Bulls Gap this Saturday night with the third annual Walter Ball Memorial set to roll off. For more information on the event, visit

Bristol Dragway

Another exciting night of street-legal drag racing is on the docket at Bristol Dragway on Thursday night when Street Fights returns.

In addition to the usual action on the asphalt, the ever-popular money drop promotion is set for this week. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing set to start at 6.

For more information, visit

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