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Woods, Dennis get up to speed in test session at Kingsport

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 29, 2020 at 10:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Teammates on the track and practically family off it, Hayden Woods and Bryson Dennis got up to speed during a Tuesday test session at Kingsport Speedway.

The drivers were shaking down a pair of new Camaro bodies on Woods’ No. 6 car and Dennis’ No. 15 machine. They have a close bond: They’re co- workers at Acorn Electrical Specialists and Dennis is engaged to Woods’ sister.

Woods, who had four top-five finishes in five races last season, was glad to be back on the three-eighths-mile concrete oval.

“It’s nice to be out here, especially with the short season I had last year,” Woods said. “When I sat down in (the car), I was like, ‘I have to take a second to learn how to buckle in these things.’

“With the way everyone has been cooped up, anything to get out has been nice. This is an added bonus; get the cars ready and hopefully we get to go racing the next month or so.”

No date has been set for when racing might return to the “Concrete Jungle.” Track owner Ervin Stiltner and general manager Karen Tunnell have expressed a desire to get under- way in the next few weeks.

Racing is a way of life for Woods, a 24-year-old from Piney Flats who has been racing either four-wheelers, motorcycles or cars since he was 6. He was learning how the new Camaro body felt from the driver’s seat, and input from Dennis, a 23-year-old driver from Greeneville, helped the process.

“I think it’s a little different as far as aero(dynamics),” Woods said. “Two cars are better than one in my opinion. We get along really well and then (defending track champion) Nik Williams is also in our stable with the same crew chief, so we have a lot of knowledge here.”

“Two different drivers will have two different feels (of the cars),” Dennis noted. “You can cross ideas up, take what you like, what he likes, to make your car better.”

Dennis — who was sixth in the 2019 track standings after closing the season with four straight top-five finishes — couldn’t hide his enthusiasm about being able to turn fast laps again.

“This is very exciting. This is what I love to do,” he said. “I’ve not been able to do it because of the COVID-19. It’s been hard on me as this is my way of getting away from me and having some fun.”

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