Trevor Bayne, 2011 Daytona 500 winner, will race in the Scorcher 100 at Volunteer Speedway on Thursday, Aug. 23. Bayne is scheduled to drive a car with the ‘We Back Pat’ paint scheme like he will run the following night in the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bayne won’t the only NASCAR driver to test his mettle against the top late model racers on dirt. Austin and Ty Dillon will also be on hand.
Austin, the defending Camping World Truck Series champion, is currently driving the black No. 3 in the Nationwide Series. Ty, the defending ARCA Series champion, is driving the black No. 3 in the Truck Series.
For the second straight year, Kingsport Speedway will have racing on Sunday following the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 3/8-mile concrete oval will host the Food Country USA 250 for the CARS Pro Series (formerly Hooters Pro Cup Series) on Aug. 26.
Local standouts and former Pro Cup winners, Caleb Holman and Wade Day, are among the entries. The Sunday afternoon program will also feature a 75-lap race for the Street Stock division.
It means five consecutive nights of action on August race week.
BMS hosts the UNOH doubleheader for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series and Camping World Truck Series on Wednesday night. Volunteer Speedway has the Scorcher 100 on Thursday night, while fans also have the option of attending Food City Family Race Night in downtown Bristol.
The Food City 250 for the Nationwide Series, along with Sprint Cup Series qualifying, is set for Friday with the main event of the week, the IRWIN Tools Night Race scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25.
There will not be racing at Beechnut Raceway that night. An error on the go-kart track’s website shows it on the schedule, but, promoter Jim Carico said the plans are to race this Saturday night and then take a hiatus the week of the Bristol race before returning one week later.
Defending track champion Nate Monteith equaled his win total for the previous year with his ninth and 10th victories at Kingsport Speedway last Friday night.
A night later, he made it a three-win weekend outrunning Lance Gatlin at Lonesome Pine (Va.) Raceway’s Late Model feature.
With his victories in Kingsport’s twin 30-lap features, Monteith has clinched the Tennessee state championship for the NASCAR Weekly All-American Series. He can clinch his second straight track championship by simply starting the both of this Friday night’s twin features.
Johnson City driver Zeke Shell is close to wrapping up second place in the standings. Shell finished fourth in the first 30-lapper this past Friday, and started on the pole before a seventh-place finish in the second feature.
Former track champion Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough had finishes of 10th and ninth. Johnson City’s Mike Potter, a veteran of 60 Sprint Cup races, made his first appearance in a race car in two years. The 63-year-old Potter posted finishes of 18th and 20th in the fields of 25 cars.
Besides the race for the track championship, the battle for track rookie of the year is going down to the wire. Second-generation driver Austin Peters of Kingsport holds a 10-point lead over Hayden Woods of Piney Flats in the rookie standings.
Tyler Goodwin, a 16-year-old Daniel Boone High School student, has already wrapped up the Legends division crown. He won for the 16th time in 18 races on Friday night.
In the other support classes, Surgoinsville’s John Harrell outdueled track points leader Roger Neece in the Street Stock feature. Keith Helton of Kingsport captured his first Pure 4 victory of the season, and Brandon Byington of Kingsport was also a first-time winner in the Rookie Pure 4 class.
The season finale for the NASCAR Weekly All-American Series takes place this Friday with a pair of 75-lap late model features.
Jack Ingram, the 75-year-old racing legend from Asheville, is among those scheduled to compete. Ingram, a two-time Busch Series champion and a three-time Late Model Sportsman national champion, was a 2007 inductee to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Another legendary short-track racer, Buck Simmons, was found dead at his Georgia home on Sunday. He was 66.
Simmons, who bore a resemblance to country music superstar Hank Williams Jr. and was famous for fielding the No. 41 Chevrolet, captured 1,012 feature wins over his career.
He was a frequent visitor to the local area, winning races at Johnson City’s old Sportsman Speedway, Kingsport Speedway and the old Appalachian Speedway in Kingsport. He was the champion of the Kingsport-based National Dirt Racing Association in 1981.
Robert Walden, track publicist for Kingsport Speedway and Volunteer Speedway, ranked Simmons ahead of Scott Bloomquist as the greatest dirt track racer ever and called him the best seat-of-the-pants driver he ever saw.
In addition, Simmons was well accomplished on the paved surfaces, racking up 244 asphalt short-track wins.
Wayne Estes, Bristol Motor Speedway vice president of events, grew up watching Simmons race in his native state of Georgia.
“I watched him race at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., Saturday night after Saturday night,” Estes said. “There was a time when he didn’t win the race, then Jody Ridley would. They had some epic battles, including a 20-lap match race to determine who would get a Sprint Cup ride. He was a great racer.”
In addition to his legendary short track career, the Baldwin, Ga., native made eight starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving the No. 12 Chevrolet for car owner Kenny Childers.
Johnson City’s Paul Lewis, who raced against Simmons on both asphalt and dirt, was equally complementary of the driver nicknamed the ‘Georgia Bandit.’
“When Buck Simmons showed up, you better be at your best or you would be outrun,” Lewis said. “But he was clean. I never heard anything negative about his driving style or him being overly aggressive. He was just a highly skilled race car driver, hard to beat.”
Jacob Austin of Jonesborough won both motos for the 125cc two-stroke class this past Saturday night in the Victory Sports Summer Supercross Series at Appalachian Fairgrounds.
Austin finished second overall in the 250C division. Another local winner was Tanner Dickens of Butler in the 85cc beginner class.
The Summer Series wraps up this Saturday at I-81 Motorsports Park, located right off Tennessee exit 44.