McCarty set fast time in qualifying around the three-eighths-mile concrete oval and edged Hayden Woods for the pole position. An inversion of top four qualifiers put Gatlin on the pole and Nik Williams on the outside. McCarty wasted no time getting past Woods and Williams into second place and on the back of Gatlin’s bumper.
Once McCarty got in front of Gatlin, he set sail out front in the first race back for McCarty’s crew chief, Mark Ketron. The combination won two track championships together before Ketron stepped away last season to take a break.
Woods of Piney Flats raced to the runner-up spot ahead of points leader Williams of Chuckey. Johnson City’s Zeke Shell, the defending track champion, was fourth and Gatlin fifth.
Bryson Dennis, Joey Trent, Derek Lane and Wayne Hale finished sixth through ninth. Keith Helton, winner of the Friday’s Pure 4 race, was 10th in the Late Model feature.
Erwin’s Alex Miller captured his first-ever win in the Mod Street feature, beating Rusty Clendenin and two-time track champion Royce Peters to the finish line. Austin Peters, Royce’s son, and Mod 4 points leader Kevin Canter rounded out the top five.
Helton maneuvered his way past Brandon Sutherland late in the Pure 4 race to capture his sixth feature win on the season. Sutherland, Bruce Crumbley, Josh Detwiler and Bucky Smith crossed third through fifth.
Dennis Arnold of Meadowview, Va., turned in a strong run to knock three-time defending Mod 4 champion Kevin Canter from the unbeaten ranks. Canter opened the season with eight straight victories. Arnold captured his first win of the season over Canter, Billy Duty, Hershell Robinette and Chris Amburgey.
Doug Austin of Castlewood sped to his division-leading seventh Pure Street win over Tony Dockery and Kevin Darnell.
Kingsport Speedway hosts the Super Car Stock Car Series, which features old NASCAR Cup Series cars, Friday, June 21.