VanDyke Captures Kingsport Late Model Season Opener

Kres VanDyke captured the 2018 season-opening NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car feature win Saturday at Kingsport Speedway. Photo by Randall Perry

The start of the 2018 racing season at Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway was delayed one week due to inclement weather in Northeast Tennessee. But the wait for the Food City 175 was well worth it.

In the headlining NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car feature, defending track champion Kres VanDyke held off a hard-charging Zeke Shell to capture the victory.

VanDyke set a new track record in qualifying with a fast-lap at 14.869 seconds (90.793 mph), followed by Shell at 14.879 (90.732). Both lowered Chad Finchum’s previous record of 14.880 seconds (90.726 mph), set at the 2015 season-opener.

VanDyke and Shell battled side-by-side over the opening four circuits of the 60-lap feature before Shell moved ahead, with Wayne Hale, Mike Looney and Robbie Ferguson in tow. Shell and VanDyke were setting a blistering pace out front, and at lap 10 the duo had pulled out to an eight car-length advantage over those in pursuit.

VanDyke was finally able to pull the trigger and shoot past Shell to take a lead he would never relinquish on lap 18, but the road ahead to victory lane wasn’t a leisurely cruise. Dale Cline spun at end of the front straightaway entering the first turn on lap 23 to bring out the caution.

Additional caution periods over the final half of the race set up double-file restarts, but on each occasion VanDyke was able to power back out ahead of Shell. Looney worked his way past Hale for the third spot, and behind them Ferguson had his hands full with Derrick Lancaster.

Even though Shell worked to try to reel in the leader, it just wasn’t enough to be able to overtake VanDyke as he captured the win. Sheel had to settle for second, followed Looney in third, Hale in fourth and Ferguson in fifth.

Lancaster, Nik Williams, Derek Lane, Ronnie McCarty and Joey Trent rounded out the top ten.

In other action, Royce Peters scored the victory in the Modified Street feature. Nick Cole came home in second, with Kevin Wolfe in third, Chris Tunnell in fourth and Rusty Clendenin in fifth.

Kenny Absher held off Bruce Crumbley to take the Pure 4 win. Brandon Sutherland, Todd Duff, and Ben Barker rounded out the top five.

Brad Ball was the winner in the Mod 4 feature. Dennis Arnold finished in second, with Kevin Canter in third, Mike Brooks in fourth and Zach Fritz in fifth.

Rob Austin scored the win in the Pure Street feature, with Joey Sykes following in second, Jay Swecker in third, Kevin Darnell in fourth and David Strong in fifth.

Kingsport Speedway returns to action on Saturday, April 7. For more information, visit NewKingsportSpeedway.com.

Kingsport Speedway – Kingsport, TN
Food City 175 – March 31, 2018

Late Model Stock Cars
1. Kres VanDyke #15 – Abingdon, VA
2. Zeke Shell #1 – Johnson City, TN
3. Mike Looney #87 – Catawba, VA
4. Wayne Hale #19 – Bluff City, TN
5. Robbie Ferguson #7 – Jonesborough, TN
6. Derrick Lancaster #25 – Christiansburg, VA
7. Nik Williams #32 – Greeneville, TN
8. Derek Lane #28 – Kingsport, TN
9. Ronnie McCarty #5 – Kingsport, TN
10. Joey Trent #26 – Gray, TN
11. Bryson Dennis #15 – Greeneville, TN
12. Dillon Hodge #5 – Kingsport, TN
13. Trey Bayne #21 – Knoxville, TN
14. Brett Baer #24 – Greenback, TN
15. Rick Pannell #33 – Kingsport, TN
16. Dale Cline #99 – Wytheville, VA
17. Mardy Roberts #55 – Kingsport, TN

Modified Street
1. Royce Peters #42
2. Nick Cole #63
3. Kevin Wolfe #17
4. Chris Tunnell #6
5. Rusty Clendenin #27
6. Joey Sykes #22
7. Steven Roark #27
8. Hannah Seal #55
9. Joshua Gobble #88
10. Chase Dixon #07
11. Trey Lane #9
12. Paul Shull #48
13. Dennis Deese #24
14. Alex Miller #37
15. Sam Hurd #11
16. Gary Crumbley #59

Pure 4
1. Kenny Absher #11
2. Bruce Crumbley #33
3. Brandon Sutherland #48
4. Todd Duff #16
5. Ben Barker #54
6. Craig Phelps #00
7. Chad Jeffers #38
8. Jimmy Thomas #14
9. Chris Stine #10
10. David Trent #57
11. Derek Fowler #53
12. Dennis Stanley #21
13. Paul Stanley #40
14. Nasty Jones #13
15. Josh Detwiler #38
16. Richard Quillen #21
17. Clint Dunn #98
18. Larry Stapleton #15
19. Josh Collins #77
20. Bucky Smith #99
21. William Hale #47

Mod 4
1. Brad Ball #17
2. Dennis Arnold #7
3. Kevin Canter #3
4. Mike Brooks #77
5. Zach Fritz #2
6. Dalton Thomas #22
7. Chris Coleman #20
8. Chris Amburgey #17
9. Darrell Whitehead #43
10. Mitch Gibson #06
11. Larry Bowens #18
12. Jimmy Acito #57
13. Ted Glover Jr. #03
14. Billy Duty #1
15. Jessie Amburgey #7
16. Mike Pendergrass #2

Pure Street
1. Rob Austin #18
2. Joey Sykes #23
3. Jay Swecker #77
4. Kevin Darnell #4
5. David Strong #53
6. Ricky Payne #1
7. Jason Herron #7
8. Jeremy Draughn #7
9. Jessica Payne #12
10. Penny Hurd #11
11. Anitra Little #31
12. Virgil Young #13

 

About Robert Walden