BULLS GAP — Ricky Weiss created nightmares for his opposition on Friday the 13th, the opening night of the Crate Late Model national championships at Volunteer Speedway.
The Canadian, a Super Late Model racer and 2020 World of Outlaws Series runner-up, pulled off a slide job over Knoxville’s Zach Sise on lap 9 and led the rest of the 50-lap feature to earn the $5,000-to-win prize.
Weiss was the fastest of the 74 Crate Late Model teams and drivers on hand after posting a lap of 13.300 seconds around the four-tenths-mile clay oval.
He won his heat race, but Sise jumped out to the lead at the start. Sise held on through the first restart before Weiss, driving the black No. 7, made the winning pass. He maintained a lead as the two drivers worked through traffic before Sise went out with electrical issues on lap 30.
That left Welshan, who beat Weiss the previous Saturday to win Volunteer Speedway’s Fall Brawl, as his main competition. Weiss, who hails from Headingly, Manitoba, fended off multiple challenges from Welshan in the black No. 01 machine over the second half of the race.
Trevor Sise, who recently won the American Crate All-Star Series championship, finished third. Wartburg’s Drew Kennedy and Russellville’s Aaron Guinn rounded out the top five.
Jimmy Owens, the “Newport Nightmare” who recently won his fourth Lucas Oil Super Late Model national championship, finished sixth.
Seven of the top 10 were East Tennessee racers competing against a field of drivers from 12 states and Canada. Kingsport’s Tyler Smith was the only Tri-Cities racer to advance to the A-Main. He finished 17th in the white No. 32 machine.
Knoxville’s Michael Millsap outran Johnson City’s Charles Bates to win the Classic division after leaders Josh Chesney and Bobby Mays wrecked with two laps to go.
Chesney set the fast time in qualifying, but Mays pressured him throughout the race and the Jonesborough racer finally made the pass on the low side between turns 1 and 2 on lap 18. Going into turn 3, Chesney drove hard on the inside and both drivers crashed into the outside wall.
A furious Mays drove his car into the back of Chesney’s machine at the entry of the pits off turn 4. Track officials separated the drivers, and both were disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Tim Bounds, Marcus Mays and Shane Taylor rounded out the top five.
Morristown’s Logan Hickey earned a flag-to-flag victory in the Street Stock race. David Trent, Donovan Long, Colby Long and Logan Cobb completed the top five.
Saturday’s schedule of races was to feature heat races and a $15,000-to-win, 100-lap Crate Late Model event. Iron-Man Open Wheel Modified and Front Wheel Drive classes also were scheduled to be in action.