As the Christianburg, Va., driver posed with the trophy and checkered flag in front of his white No. 25 Chevrolet, the other cars around him weren’t in the same condition at the end of the 60-lap Late Model Stock feature in Friday's Model City Night at the Races.
Robbie Ferguson, who came across second before his car was disqualified in post-race inspection, had the hood bowed up on the front of his No. 7 Ford. And the track nicknamed the "Concrete Jungle" took big chunks out of the next two cars. Joey Trent, who ended up second, had the left-front fender ripped off his No. 26 Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Zeke Shell had the right-front fender ripped off his No. 1 Ford.
Lancaster, who grabbed the lead at the start of the race when pole sitter Michael Looney's car was bumped sideways, wasn't surprised with the aggressive racing. Since no caution laps count toward the finish, the final seven laps of the race took over an hour to complete to clean up all the wreckage.
"It’s a pleasure to come up here and win,” Lancaster said.
Kres VanDyke passed Lancaster for the lead on lap 31, and Shell traded sheet metal to take over second. But it really picked up with eight laps to go when Shell got into VanDyke, spinning out both in turn two.
A lap later, Trey Bayne ran over the front fender of Trent's car, causing significant damage. VanDyke was back to third when he and Wayne Hale made contact to send Hale in a spin. Track officials sent both drivers to the back of the lead-lap cars.
Bayne was then up to third when he got spun out by Bryson Dennis.
Ferguson, a Jonesborough racer, said the drivers have to leave their feelings at home before coming to race at the 3/8-mile concrete track.
"Three, four or five laps to go, you have to get in there and race,” Ferguson said. “Everybody that’s going to get their feelings hurt, they need to stay at home. People have to learn it’s a race track. It’s not follow the leader. You’ve got to push your car to the front. I’ve spent too many years doing this to lay over. I’m going to try to win the show.”
Despite the damage on the car, Trent was all smiles after the race. Shell came up and gave him a big hug after the two had a spirited battle for what ended being second place.
"The car wasn’t good, and we were trying to hold on the first 30 laps,” Trent said. “When we got run over and it pulled the hood off, it just made the car come alive. It was making great horsepower and hooking up great. It was the best it drove all night and a lot of fun.”
Shell captured the pole with a lap of 14.923 seconds at 90.464 mph. But he had to start fourth with an inversion of top qualifiers and then lost his right front when he got squeezed by the lapped car of Marty Roberts as he and Ronnie McCarty were racing for position.
“It was great. There was action and it wasn’t follow the leader,” the Johnson City racer said. “We had a great car which got damaged early. That was the reason for us slowing down. But I go out of here knowing I had the fastest car, and I have no regrets.”
Hale finished fourth with McCarty, a two-time track champion from Kingsport, rounding out the top five. The rest of the top 10 had VanDyke in sixth, followed by Terry Smith, Nik Williams, Derek Lane and Darin Silver.
Bayne, the 14-year-old brother of 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, started 15th and finished 11th in the No. 21 Ford.
Kevin Canter, driving a black No. 3 Chevrolet with the classic Dale Earnhardt-style paint scheme, passed Brad Ball for the lead on lap 17 of the 30-lap Mod 4 feature. Ball held off David Brown in what turned out to be the race win when Canter’s car, like Ferguson’s late model, failed post-race inspection due to a carburetor infraction.
Kevin Wolfe worked his way up from a sixth-place starting spot and won by just a half-car length over Royce Peters for the Mod Street win. Trey Lane finished third, while Nick Cole faded when a part failed on his No. 63 Camaro and it was showering a stream of sparks down the frontstretch.
Doug Austin took over the top spot when leader David Strong got caught behind a pair of slower cars and then pulled away on the next restart in the No. 18 Camaro for the win. Strong was second, followed by Kevin Darnell in third.
John Ketron led flag-to-flag in the first of twin 15-lap features for the Pure 4 Class. The race was behind him with Dylan Bates holding off Kenny Absher for second place.
Ketron passed Absher with two laps to go to win the second feature.