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The secret to Kingsport Speedway's success

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 24, 2018 at 4:04 PM

There's a good reason why Kingsport Speedway has attracted large crowds for its first two NASCAR weekly racing programs. The one-word answer is action.

If it is true that stock car racing fans go to see the wrecks, there are plenty of them on the 3/8-mile concrete short track. If the motivation is close competition, then Kingsport Speedway offers that as well.

Both scenarios are the result of hard racing and it's something seen at Kingsport every lap of every race. There is more action in a 60-lap Late Model Stock feature than most major NASCAR and IndyCar races.

Last Friday night's Late Model feature is the perfect example.

With caution laps not counting, it took over an hour to run the final seven laps of the race. There were guys running up front who ended back in the pack, and Joey Trent, who was back in the pack most of the race, finished second.

Race winner Derek Lancaster said the guys racing were like he did a few years ago when he described it as being a bull in a china shop. Robbie Ferguson, who finished second before his No. 7 Ford was disqualified for a carburetor infraction, summed up the mentality of most in the field.

"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."

The great racing and great characters aren't limited to the Late Model Stock division. Often the best races are the preliminary classes with upward of 20 cars in the Pure 4 division or the Pure Street division where we hear the squealing of street tires and drivers truly manhandling cars. Last Friday’s Mod Street race saw Kevin Wolfe win by just a half-car length over runner-up Royce Peters.

Kingsport Speedway has another weekly show this Friday night with twin features for the Mod 4 division. Practice and qualifying will be followed by racing, which is scheduled to start at 8.

VOLUNTEER ACTION

Volunteer Speedway has a five-division program scheduled for this Saturday at the 4/10-mile dirt track.

The Steel Head Late Model, Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model, Mod Street and Classic divisions are all on the slate. Volunteer has also been blessed with strong car counts, big crowds and competitive racing the first part of its season.

Practice starts at around 7 p.m. That will be followed by qualifying and racing.

THUNDER VALLEY

The DER Bracket Racing Series at Bristol Dragway kicked off this past weekend with Elizabethton driver Carl Widener picking up where he left off last season with a sweep of Sportsman races. Eric Colley also scored a sweep in the Trophy division.

Another Elizabethton racer, Justin Buckles, won in the Pro class, while Bryce Acuff captured the Motorcycle win. Junior Dragster winners were: Josh Owens (Division 3), Carley Brown (Division 2) and Trentin Lewis (Division 1). Super Pro eliminations were halted after round 6.

Randy Hamilton (Super Pro) and Tim Griffith (Pro) won Sunday races. Dru Owens, who starred for Hampton High School during basketball season, was the Junior Dragster, Division 3 winner, while Brown and Lewis swept their divisions' races.

The popular Street Fights program is scheduled for Bristol Dragway this Saturday.

CHEROKEE PEOPLE

Cherokee Raceway Park in Rogersville has its first race of the season for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries scheduled this weekend.

Defending track champions at Cherokee are: Dustin Light (Box), Jackie Carter (No Box), Corey Lee (Motorcycle) and Makinna Smith (Junior Dragster). The track was represented at last year's IHRA Summit World Finals in Memphis by Randy Marrisett (Box) and Eric Carpenter (No Box).

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