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Byrd wins again on hot-tempered night at The Gap

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 4, 2019 at 11:30 AM

On a night tempers heated up behind him, Jonesborough’s Tim Byrd continued his summer hot streak by earning his fourth Crate Late Model win of the season at Volunteer Speedway.

All that drama preceded a classic finish in the Classic division.

Byrd, racing the blue No. 24 Chevrolet, set fast time in qualifying. Once the race started, he quickly jumped out to the lead over Rusty Webb and led flag to flag in the Crate Late Model feature on the four-tenths-mile dirt track in Bulls Gap.

Called the “End of Summer Bash,” the race lived up to its name as Rusty Ballenger, Cameron Skinner, Jason Cardwell and points leader Tim Maupin all jockeyed for the second position. Ballenger emerged as runner-up, and the racing got rough behind him.

Webb, Cardwell and Maupin all made contact on lap 28 resulting in Maupin turning hard into the outside wall. Webb then drove into Cardwell under caution, which led Webb to being parked and disqualified.

Webb’s troubles weren’t over, though: He and Maupin got into a fight in the pits.

Meanwhile back on the track, Skinner raced to a third-place finish, followed by Cardwell and Gary Crittenden.

Maupin took a big hit in other ways. His 11th-place finish left him just a couple of points ahead of Byrd in the track championship standings.

Johnson City driver Jackie Hughes finished 10th.

Chuck Killian came painstakingly close to his first win of the season in the Classic division. He was leading fellow Johnson City driver Jim Canning Jr. and John Stevens going into the final lap.

Stevens, who came from the rear of the field after a flat tire, went on the high side and passed Canning coming off turn 2. Stevens made the same move going into turn 3 and came off turn 4 side by side with Killian.

The Kentucky driver beat Killian to the finish line by a foot for his ninth win of the season. Canning was third, followed by Nicholas King and Chad Manning.

Adam Mitchell of Knoxville followed up his first-ever win in the Sportsman Late Model division the previous week with a second straight victory. Warren McMahan finished second and Rex Coffey third. Chris Coffey finished fourth and pulled within one point of fifth-place Brad Dyer in the track championship standings.

David Clark of Tazewell won for the fifth time in six starts in Modified Street. Jeffrey Melton and Michael Woods were the other podium finishers. Kurt Owens, the brother of Late Model star Jimmy Owens, finished fourth with Landon Steele fifth.

Chris Brady of Newport won for the first time in Street Stock, a race in which Jonesborough’s Jon Cook finished fourth.

Tommy Newton of Seymour won for the third time this season in Mini Stock.

KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY

Kingsport Speedway hosted a drivers’ meeting last week to give racers a chance to air some of their grievances at the track instead of on social media.

It was a good first step by track officials, providing both a meal and a forum for the racers. General manager Karen Tunnell expressed a desire for more get-togethers of this kind because drivers’ meetings during race nights are often rushed.

There are only two weeks left in the battles for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championships at Kingsport Speedway.

Races at the three-eighths-mile concrete oval are scheduled for Friday night and the following Friday, Sept. 13.

Nik Williams holds a 10-point lead over Zeke Shell in the featured Late Model Stock division. Other points leaders are Kevin Wolfe (Mod Street), Kevin Canter (Mod 4), Keith Helton (Pure 4) and Doug Austin (Pure Street).

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

Two Jonesborough riders named Jacob were winners at the latest Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series event at I-81 Raceway Park.

Jacob Austin rode his Yamaha to sweeps of motos in the CollegeBoy Am division, and Jacob Carberry powered his Honda to the overall victory in the Unlimited D division.

Steve Watkins of Johnson City won in 450D ahead of runner-up Jim Sheesley of Gray. Tim Calhoun of Fall Branch was the 40+ winner, and Alton Clark of Johnson City captured both ATV Novice motos.

Dawson Ball of Kingsport won the 250D race and was runner-up to Carberry in Unlimited D. Haley Ball of Kingsport edged Madison Hensley of Johnson City to win the Women’s race. Other local winners included Jackson Horne of Kingsport (85cc, 9-13), Chandler Myers of Bluff City (85cc, 12-15) and Jackson Statzer of Elizabethton (51cc, 4-6).

Seth Fields of Church Hill posted runner-up finishes in two classes and Zack Greene of Blountville was second in Unlimited B.

Motocross racing in the Thor Mega Series takes place at Muddy Creek Raceway this weekend. Saturday is a practice day with racing scheduled for Sunday.

BRISTOL DRAGWAY

The DER Bracket Series is winding down at Bristol Dragway, and Elizabethton racers Randy Ellis and Carl Widner were among last weekend’s winners.

Ellis drove his classic 1957 Chevy to prevail in Saturday’s Super Pro race and Widner took his fast Buick to the win in Sunday’s Sportsman eliminations.

Carter County racers have done well of late; Lucas McKinney of Hampton won the previous week in the Pro division.

Other winners for Sept. 1 were Katie Street (Super Pro), Brandon Bailey (Pro), Hayden Whited (Trophy) and Stu Dollar (Motorcycle).

Forrest Radford (Division 1), Carley Brown (Division 2) and Alexis Whitaker of Jonesborough (Division 3) won in Junior Dragsters.

The DER Bracket Series wraps up the season on Sept. 13-15. Friday is a test-and-tune session, and bracket races are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.

Email Jeff Birchfield at [email protected]

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