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VanDyke Finally Gets Another Kingsport Speedway Victory

VanDyke Finally Gets Another Kingsport Speedway Victory

by June 22, 2013 0 comments

By Robert Walden
Kingsport Speedway Media/Public Relations

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 21) — There’s a saying that good things come to those who wait, and Kres VanDyke of Claypool Hill, Va., has waited since May 3, 2002, the date he last visited victory lane at Kingsport Speedway.

But in all fairness to the 31-year-old VanDyke, the track sat closed from end of 2002 until reopening for weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned racing in 2011, under the guidance of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Robert Pressley.

VanDyke has unfinished business at “The Concrete Jungle” that stretches all the way back to 2002.

Needless to say, a rain delay just past the midway point of the 60-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Dalton Direct Carpets” Late Model Stock feature on Friday wasn’t enough to dampen his competitive fire.

Once the track dried, VanDyke pounced on race leader Paul Nogradi Jr. on lap 38, nudging the No. 02 car and moving it up the track heading into turn one to take the lead for good on Davis Brothers Roofing Night at the Races.

It was the first win of the season for VanDyke, who missed out on winning the points title at Kingsport Speedway by a single point back in 2002. That near miss is what is driving him in his quest to win the Late Model Stock championship this season.

“Since then, I’ve never quit thinking about it,” VanDyke said. “When you’re a racer, you’re going to be a racer forever. I feel like I deserve it and I want it, but it’s a battle. I know all those other guys want it as bad as I do.”

Indeed, the point battle in the Late Model Stock division at Kingsport Speedway is shaping up to be something special.

Including VanDyke’s victory Friday, seven different drivers have won at least one feature over the first 13 weeks of the season.

With so many good drivers and cars in the field, the point standings are predictably tight. VanDyke, Zeke Shell and Daniel Pope II are among the drivers hot on the heels of rookie Chad Finchum, who has taken his blazing-fast No. 19 machine to the top of the standings thanks to two victories and a heaping helping of consistency.

VanDyke pulled to within seven points of Finchum on Friday after Finchum came home fourth. Pope finished second to close within 10 points of Finchum, who hasn’t finished worse than seventh all season.

Pope has run his share of laps at Kingsport, but he said experience isn’t everything in racing.

“Experience has helped me a lot, but you also have to have raw speed,” Pope said. “The 19 car, he’s a rookie and he’s showing that speed.

“It’s a lot tougher than it’s been any year I’ve run here,” he continued. “There’s legitimately six or seven cars here every week that can win a race. It makes it really difficult compared to the last couple years when there’s only been two or three cars that were actually contenders every week.”

Pope’s second-place run on Friday was good news for a team that has been plagued by engine problems all season. Pope switched back to his old engine provider a couple weeks ago and the problems seem to be solved.

Johnson City driver Shell is equally hopeful that his mechanical failures are behind him as the points race heats up. Shell did a good job of biding his time Friday, running in sixth for most of the race before moving Nogradi out of the way on the final lap to slip into the top five.

Shell, who now sits 12 points out of the lead, said patience is a virtue he believes will help him in his chase for a championship.

“Overdriving a car and burning it up in the beginning is one of the worst things you can do when the only part that matters is the end,” Shell said. “You might fight and tear yourself up with a guy who won’t even finish the race.”

VanDyke agreed that avoiding the urge to get too aggressive is a constant battle.

“It’s walking a fine line,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful.”

But with a potential victory in sight on Friday, VanDyke felt like a little aggression in turn one was just what the doctor ordered.

It landed him in Victory Lane and, as they say, winning is always the best medicine. Through 13 races this season, VanDyke has recorded one feature win to go with nine top-five finishes, and 13 top-10 runs total.

VanDyke, driving the Anderson’s Lawn & Landscapes/Service Fuel, Inc./Pizza Plus/Clark’s Automotive Race Engines/Townsend Race Cars/No. 15 Chevrolet Impala, was chased to the checkers by Pope, Ronnie McCarty, Finchum and Shell.

Completing the top 10 at the finish were Ryan Stiltner, Austin Peters, Tyler Goodwin, Joey Trent and Allen Hawkins.

“I have to say that tonight’s win is probably the most special victory I’ve ever had since I began racing,” said the race winner VanDyke. “After the track closed down back at end of 2002, I didn’t really race any since then until I came back last year. I saw what was happening with the track after (Robert) Pressley opened it back up in 2011 and decided I wanted to be a part of it (racing) again.

“But for me to race it’s a really tough deal. I’m a coal miner and work overnight shift and put in 50-60 hours during the week, and just work on the race car when I can. It’s just me and my dad and a couple of buddies. I don’t have a new racing chassis like a lot of the teams here at the track do, and to win with my car that was built in 2001 is pretty cool. Winning tonight isn’t only special for me, it means a lot to my dad and mom, Kenneth and Peggy VanDyke and also my wife, Erin. It’s the first time she’s ever gotten to celebrate in victory lane with me. I also want to thank my crew members Wade Day, Kevin Canter, Hershell Robinette and Rocky Yates. The way we’re consistently running in the top five, I believe we’ve got some more wins this season we’ll get.”

Chris Tunnell and Kirby Gobble raced each other hard for the lead at the beginning of the Street Stock feature before Tunnell moved to the point. But up-on-the-wheel and coming fast was Allen Rich of Sylva, N.C.

Rich disposed of Gobble on lap 2 and then just two circuits later he passed Tunnell to move into the lead. Behind the front-running duo of Rich and Tunnell, fast qualifier Nick Cole got around Gobble for the third spot on lap 6 racing off turn two.

Closing to the rear bumper of Tunnell, on lap 8 at exit of the fourth turn contact saw Cole climb up the driver’s side on Tunnell and go across the hood and slam the outside front straightaway wall to bring out the caution. With a badly damaged car, Cole’s race was over while Tunnell was able to continue with wrinkled sheet-metal.

Rich and John Harrell were on the front row for the double-file restart, and back under green for three laps they battled for the lead before Rich moved ahead. Driving a flawless race out front in search of his first-ever Kingsport Speedway victory, Rich held off several attempts Harrell tried to get around him. Rich would not be denied parking in victory lane as he won over Harrell, Jared Broadbent, Gobble and Rob Austin.

Kenny Absher passed Dylan Bates to move into the lead on the second circuit of the 25-lap Pure 4 feature. But behind Absher and Bates, Team Ketron led by father John and sons Jason and Billy, were on the move. John and Jason both got around Bates on lap 6 racing off turn two down the backstretch, dropping Bates back to fourth in the running order.

Keith Helton was also feeling racy as he got into the mix in first overtaking Billy for the fifth spot on lap 7, and then one lap later getting around Bates to move into fourth. With Absher in command out front leading the elder Ketron, on lap 14 the caution waved when Jimmy Hillard and Bates tangled between turns one and two with Bates spinning.

Off the ensuing double-file restart, Absher once again moved back into the lead. The action behind Absher was heated involving the Ketron trio and Helton.

Kingsport’s Jason Ketron, driving the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Kingsport/K & K Auto/No. 28 Honda, passed Absher to move into the lead on lap 21 and held his brother Billy off to record his division-leading sixth Pure 4 victory. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Helton, Chris Neeley and John Ketron.

Derek Lane of Kingsport and Jacob Owens engaged in a spirited battle in the Legends feature much to the delight of the crowd. Lane grabbed the lead on the start and was followed by Owens, but while attempting to get under Lane between turns one and two contact from Owens sent the leader Lane spinning to bring out the caution.

After getting his car back under power, Lane circled the track and pulled directly in front of Owens and then suddenly slammed on the brakes when Owens pulled to within a couple of feet on the backstretch, leading to Owens running into the rear bumper of Lane.

Back under green and over the remaining distance, Owens mounted a couple other serious charges trying to get past Lane. But Lane held on for his third victory of the season, with Owens, Jerry Lane and Trey Lane trailing at the finish.

Brandon Byington of Kingsport captured his second straight and third overall Rookie Pure 4 feature win.

NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “DALTON DIRECT CARPETS” LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)

Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses

1. (1) Kres VanDyke #15-Claypool Hill, VA (60)
2. (7) Daniel Pope II #16-Smyrna, TN (60)
3. (6) Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN (60)
4. (3) Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN (60)
5. (8) Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN (60)
6. (10) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA (60)
7. (11) Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN (60)
8. (12) Tyler Goodwin #64-Kingsport, TN (60)
9. (9) Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN (60)
10. (13) Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN (60)
11. (2) Paul Nogradi Jr. #02-Clinton, TN (60)
12. (16) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN (59)
13. (4) Ben Rhodes #41-Louisville, KY (57)
14. (19) Jamie Harrison #76-Church Hill, TN (55)
15. (17) Justin Wright #21-Kingsport, TN (41)
16. (5) Lee Tissot #7-Asheville, NC (31)
17. (14) Anthony Anders #36-Easley, SC (31)
18. (18) Dean Barrett #82-Abingdon, VA (30)
19. (15) Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN (25)
20. (20) Erika Schmidt #19s-Greenback, TN (3)

STREET STOCK (30 laps)

1) Allen Rich #03; 2) John Harrell #19; 3) Jared Broadbent #74; 4) Kirby Gobble #3; 5) Rob Austin #25; 6) Chris Tunnell #6; 7) Clint Watkins #91; 8) Sammy Ferguson #5; 9) Royce Peters #48; 10) Nick Cole #63 – Did Not Start: Jason Leatherwood #29

PURE 4 (25 laps)

1) Jason Ketron #28; 2) Billy Ketron #27; 3) Keith Helton #14; 4) Chris Neeley #94; 5) John Ketron #26; 6) Danny Pless #5; 7) Jimmy Hillard #74; 8) Tim Abselseth #96; 9) Derek Penley #38; 10) Kenny Absher #11; 11) Jay Swecker #77; 12) Steve Skeen #17; 13) Todd Cross #41; 14) Alton Satterfield #95; 15) Darby Fleenor #66; 16) Dylan Bates #6; 17) David Trent #53 – Did Not Start: Shawn Peters #84

LEGENDS (15 laps)

1) Derek Lane #9; 2) Jacob Owens #8; 3) Jerry Lane #19; 4) Trey Lane #28

ROOKIE PURE 4 (17 laps)

1) Brandon Byington #11 (*** Remainder of Rookie Pure 4 finish to be released on Monday!)

Press Release
Press Release, source information and photo credits are located at the bottom of the article.

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