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Tissot shines in Stars race at Kingsport

August 17th, 2011 7:21 am by Jeff Birchfield

The UARA-Stars Series invaded Kingsport Speedway this past Saturday night, but one of the track regulars stole the show.

Former UARA champion Lee Tissot of Asheville, N.C., who now runs weekly at Kingsport in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, led flag-to-flag to win the Courtesy Chevrolet 150.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Tissot quickly powered past pole-sitter Brennan Poole and built a half-straightaway advantage.

While Tissot’s No. 25 ran comfortably out front, the battle behind him was tough with Kyle Grissom, son of former NASCAR Busch Series champion Steve Grisson, eventually passing Poole for second.

Grissom took a shot at Tissot’s bumper on a final green-white-checkered restart, but Tissot stayed in control and quickly pulled away.

Alex Yontz finished third with Poole fourth and Coleman Pressley, son of track operator Robert Pressley, in fifth.

Overall, there were three sons of former NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the 16-driver field.

Besides Grissom and Pressley, there was Chad Little’s son, Jesse. The younger Little has ties to the area as his mother is the former Donna Moore, who grew up in Bristol and lived in Johnson City for a while.

Also in the field was George Miedecke, an Aussie who drives a car owned by Marcos Ambrose, the most recent Sprint Cup winner.

For Tissot, it was his sixth victory overall at Kingsport, where he ranks second in the track championship standings to Nate Monteith of Blountville.

There was also plenty of action in the preliminary races with Hayden Woods, the 14-year-old from Piney Flats, putting on an impressive performance in the Legends division. Woods showed the maturity of a veteran racer, picking up his ninth win of the season.

Learning the old racing adage that “slow is fast,” Woods kept backing up his entry into the corners from the beginning to the end of the race.

In the early stages, he went all the the way to the pit opening at the entrance of turn one before lifting his right foot. By the end of the race, Woods was getting off the throttle by the second light pole on the frontstretch, allowing him to have a faster exit off turn two.

With Woods clicking off fast laps, no one came close to catching his No. 87 machine.

While he did a great job on the track, he couldn’t match the winner’s interview of Dan Hall, who drove the No. 88 to victory in the Rookie Pure 4 race. Hall didn’t exactly sound like Muhammad Ali addressing the speedway crowd.

“I didn’t know what I was doing out there,” Hall said. “I was about like a one-eyed cat looking at two mouse holes.”

Kingsport Speedway goes back to a Friday racing program this week and then has a special Late Model race scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28, the day after the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano has committed to the Sunday race, which has a 3 p.m. start time.

• Two special promotions give fans the chance to win $1 million at the upcoming IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, while another will see someone walk away with the keys to the 50th anniversary gold Ford Mustang.

The IRWIN Tools Thank A Tradesman Sweepstakes puts •

$1 million in the pocket of someone should Jamie McMurray, who finished third in last year’s IRWIN Tools Night Race, take the checkered flag Aug. 27.

The Sprint Summer Showdown puts a total of $3 million on the line for a fan, driver and the drivers charity.

Any driver who wins the IRWIN Tools Night Race - and any of the four preceding Sprint Cup races - will become a finalist for the $3 million payout on Labor Day weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

If one of the winners from BMS, Michigan, Watkins Glen, Pocono and Indianapolis also wins at Atlanta, the driver and a fan will win $1 million each and $1 million will go to the driver’s favorite charity.

• Bristol Dragway officials have elected to postpone the Fas Mart Street Fights event scheduled for Thursday, until a later date due to the upcoming August NASCAR race weekend.

The move will allow workers extra time to prepare Thunder Valley for race fans.

Besides hosting race fans, Victory Weekend Ministries will set up a unique week of Christian-themed entertainment, including concerts, driver testimonies, motivational speakers and exhibitions.

The program begins Wednesday, Aug. 24 with music by the Sidewalk Prophets prior to the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 Truck Series races.

On Friday, Aug. 26, Victory Weekend Ministries will host Press Play, whose debut album went to No. 2 on the Billboard Christian charts. The Gatlin Brothers, who have more than 40 years of hit songs, take the stage Saturday, Aug. 27 for an afternoon of gospel music.

Racing returns to Bristol on Sept. 2-4 with Mopar Thunder.

• Taking a page from the past, NASCAR officials announced Tuesday that the NASCAR Preview 2012 will take place Saturday, Jan. 21.

It is part of the NASCAR Acceleration Weekend which starts Friday, Jan. 20 with the induction of the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 (Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Dale Inman, Glen Wood and Richie Evans) at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Saturday preview is similar to the old Winston Preview with autograph sessions, showcar appearances, simulators, and other interactive activities scheduled. Tickets for the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the NASCAR Preview go on sale Sept. 20.

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