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NASCAR/Racing

Cup drivers may suit up at Kingsport

August 9th, 2011 12:04 am by Jeff Birchfield

It’s good to have friends in high places.
Robert Pressley, the track operator at Kingsport Speedway, is working on a Late Model Stock race involving NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers at the 3/8-mile concrete oval on Sunday, Aug. 28, the day after the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Driver names will be released at a later date, but speedway officials confirmed Pressley has already gotten commitments from a couple of high-profile drivers from a pair of the top Sprint Cup teams.
A multiple-time Bristol winner who finished in the top 10 at Pocono on Sunday is another driver showing a lot of interest.
It certainly won’t be the first time that Cup drivers have competed at Kingsport, as the track actually hosted three races on the top series from 1969-71. Richard Petty won the first two Cup races at Kingsport, and defending NASCAR champion Bobby Isaac captured the final race in 1971.
It helps that Pressley is a former Cup Series driver, best known for running the No. 33 Skoal Bandit car after Harry Gant. He competed in 205 Cup Series races from 1994-2002.
If Pressley is able to complete the deal and weather permits, it will mean five days of major racing action in the Tri-Cities area. Bristol hosts both the NASCAR Modified Series and the Camping World Truck Series in a 350-lap doubleheader on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Volunteer Speedway then has its biggest event of the year, the Scorcher 100, for Super Late Models on Thursday. At the same time racing is going on at the 4/10-mile dirt track, Food City Family Race Night takes place in downtown Bristol and the annual transporter parade to the speedway is scheduled for 9 p.m.
There is a whole day of activity on Friday at BMS with practices and qualifying for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. The day ends with the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race.
Then comes the main event on Saturday, Aug. 27 with the IRWIN Tools Night Race, made extra special this year with the 50th anniversary celebration of Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Kingsport race will likely take place early Sunday afternoon once all the details are worked out.
Kingsport Speedway will host the UARA Late Model Series this Saturday with the Chargers, Legends and Pure 4 divisions also running.
n Lee Tissot of Asheville, N.C., won his second straight and fifth overall Late Model Stock feature at Kingsport Speedway this past Friday night in front of the largest crowd of the 2011 season.
Blake Jones, a 14-year-old from Sevierville, was fastest among 21 drivers in time trials, but an invert of the top four qualifiers relegated him to starting the 60-lap race from outside of row two.
Daniel Pope of Smyrna grabbed the top spot over Tissot on the opening lap, but Tissot used a slow car as a pick to take the lead on lap 20 and pulled away as Nate Monteith battled past Pope. Tissot then fended off several challenges from Monteith, the track’s points leader, for the win.
Behind the top three, Daniel Ortiz, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitor from Puerto Rico, finished fourth and Jones rounded out the top five. Johnson City driver Zeke Shell ran fourth for much of the race, but ended up seventh after getting spun out by Royce Peters.
Chuck Crigger of Surgoinsville led flag-to-flag to capture his ninth Street Stock victory of the season, and John Ketron of Kingsport won the Pure 4 race, which featured an impressive 21-car field.
Hayden Woods of Piney Flats captured his eighth Legends feature of the seson and David Trent of Kingsport captured his first-ever Rookie Pure 4 victory.
n Johnson City’s Dale Ball captured his division-leading fifth win of the season in the Pro Late Model division last Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway. Driving the No. 2 Chevrolet Impala, Ball started from the pole position and led all 25 laps of the Pro feature.
While he was unchallenged at the front, the racing was furious behind him with Jonesborough’s Jerry Broyles making a charge from an eighth-place starting position to finish second.
Ball wasn’t the only driver to lead flag-to-flag as Mark Douglas of Knoxville stayed out front all 40 laps of the Super Late Model feature.
Four-time track champion Vic Hill of Morristown battled past California native Eric Jacobsen to take the runner-up spot. Hill was able to put some pressure on Douglas, but was never able to get around the No. 52 machine.
Jamie Whitt of Wise, Va., completed a night of flag-to-flag winners, leading all 20 laps of the Hobby Stock feature over Blake Kelley.
n Joey Sternotti of Blackwood, N.J., took top honors Sunday at the All-Harley Drag Racing Association Thunder in the Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Sternotti won the Top Fuel class after Douglas Horne of Aberdeen, Md., red-lighted in the final. Horne had the top speed of the overall meet at 249.86 mph.
Horne was able to get some satisfaction with a win in Pro Fuel. His winning pass featured an elapsed time of 6.687 seconds (216.65 mph). Other winners included Shaun Reno of Hayes, Va., in Pro Stock and Keith Brown of Semora, N.C., who beat Sternotti in the Pro Gas final.
Bristol Dragway has a special night of FasMart Street Fights scheduled for Saturday. Called Advanced BioServices “Guy’s Night,” there is a bikini competition as well as racing action. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing scheduled for 6 p.m.

Jeff Birchfield is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. You may contact him at jbirchfield@johnsoncitypress.com.

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