KINGSPORT — It was a nice double-dip for Nate Monteith.
The Blountville driver wrapped the Late Model Stock track championship at Kingsport Speedway on Sunday by winning his 10th race of the season.
Monteith started the Tennessee Championship 125 for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on the outside pole, but powered by championship rival Lee Tissot heading into turn one. Once Tissot dropped out of the race on lap 74, Monteith focused solely on winning over a strong field which included Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano.
Logano’s No. 20 Chevrolet finished runner-up in the 22-car field. He qualified third, but fell to sixth in the early stages. He charged to second by lap 59, but had nothing for Monteith’s No. 44 Chevrolet.
“I think Logano being here was a little extra incentive for us,” Monteith said. “I didn’t have to worry about the points once Lee had problems. The main focus at that point was to outrun Joey. I’ve been trying to make it (in NASCAR) for a long time and to beat someone like Joey, as talented as he is, that can’t hurt.”
With the race in the heat of the day and twice as long as a normal Kingsport feature, it was a feather in the cap of the 29-year-old Monteith to hold off Logano, who was runner-up in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol only two days earlier.
“The short races are pretty easy when you have good tires just to run all out and not save anything,” said Monteith, whose car sported a paint scheme like the “Lightning McQueen” cartoon character. “Here with 90-some degree heat and 125 green-flag laps with no breaks, you have to conserve your stuff. You have to be fast at the beginning, fast in the middle and fast at the end. To do that in these conditions says a lot about the car and my crew.”
The battle for the runner-up spot was far from over, as Logano, driving a car owned by Coleman Pressley, fended off challenges first from Johnson City driver Zeke Shell and later from Virginia driver Mike Looney.
“I had a big, ole’ time up here,” Logano said. “We had a good time. We didn’t have enough to beat “Lightning” up there. We couldn’t hang with him, but it was tough trying to stay in second with the 47 (Looney) at the end.”
Shell and Logano traded paint for a 10-lap stretch before Looney came in to make it a three-car battle.
“They say we all put our shoes on the same, but when you’ve accomplished what that guy (Logano) has, I’m sure you can put them on a little different,” Shell said. “He drove a heck of a race. I made him earn it, but he outsmarted me. I raced him clean. If I had raced him dirty, I’m sure I could have gotten around him, but what would have been the fun in that.”
Looney was third in the final rundown, followed by Shell and Nashville-area driver Daniel Pope II. The fourth-place finish was a nice end to the season for Shell, who finished fourth in the track point standings despite missing the first three races of the season.
“We weren’t even concerned with points,” Shell said. “I can’t believe I got fourth. We were just out here trying to dial the car in, keep everybody happy and have fun. This track is extremely hard to drive, not a driver-friendly track. You have to slow down here to go quick so it’s a fun, challenging track.”
Other notable finishes included Jonesborough’s Robbie Ferguson in seventh, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John King II in eighth and Tissot who ended up 17th.
Chuck Crigger of Surgoinsville won his 10th Street Stock feature of the season, but Jeff Counts of Castlewood, Va., captured the track championship based on 17 top-five finishes in 18 races.
The same happened in the Pure 4 division as John Ketron of Kingsport won his fifth race of the season in a strong 26-car field, while Mark McCrary of Bristol used a fifth-place finish to win the track title.
Tyler Goodwin, a 15-year-old Daniel Boone High School student, passed fellow 15-year-old Hayden Woods on lap 5 of the Legends race to capture his second straight win. Brad Ball of Abingdon, Va., started out the day’s action with a win in the Rookie Pure 4 race.
n The 12th Annual Mopar Thunder takes place Friday through Sunday at Bristol Dragway.
Friday evening features Mopar vs. The World, a special event which pits Mopar vehicles against all-comers.
Saturday racing includes a Bonus race and Slant 6 action, while Sunday features drag racing in Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman and Slant 6.
Also on Saturday, the General Hazzard will be giving rides to fans, while classic Chryslers, Plymouths and Dodges will be on display.
A visit to the swap meet and Manufacturers’ Midway will give spectators and participants the opportunity to purchase hard-to-find items.
Petty’s Garage also will be on hand with one of the most outrageous new Dodge Challengers around, the Legacy by Petty.
The Legacy by Petty is a custom Dodge Challenger wiuh a convertible top, which is an option not available on the stock Challenger. Throughout the car, fans will see the story of Richard Petty’s professional life, from his NASCAR Rookie of the Year start to his record-setting 200 race wins, and seven NASCAR championships.
Legacy by Petty’s base coat is the trademark Petty Blue color made famous on the No. 43 Superbird. Airbrush artist Mickey Harris covered the special vehicle with detailed images of key moments in Petty’s career.
Jeff Birchfield is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at email@example.com.