Shell wins crash-shortened Kingsport race; Bayne OK after violent crash

Jeff Birchfield • May 5, 2018 at 4:26 PM

KINGSPORT — Zeke Shell raced to his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory of the season and Trey Bayne walked away without major injury after the most frightening crash of his young career Friday night at Kingsport Speedway.

Shell, a Johnson City driver, had his No. 1 Budweiser Ford in the lead of the Late Model Stock feature when the race had to be stopped after 32 of the scheduled 60 laps for Bayne's accident. Bayne, driving the No. 21 Ford, came up the track and made contact with Derek Lane, sending his car nose first into the wall and out of control. Bayne, the 14-year-old brother of NASCAR Cup Series driver Trevor Bayne, then slammed backward into the turn-one metal gate — where cars enter the track at nearly full speed.

Bayne's legs were bruised and sore, but without any broken bones.

"Coming off turn four, I was racing the 15 (of Bryson Dennis)," Bayne said. "Wade (Day, Bayne's spotter) was telling me outside, outside and then as soon as the 15 cleared me, I thought was I clear. Wade was yelling outside, outside, but it was too late and the 28 (Lane) got me.

"I was stomping around trying to find the brake, but it was tossing me around and I hit the clutch instead of the brake. It put me full speed backwards into the fence."

With the turn-one gate broken and making it unsafe to continue, the race was called official just two laps past the halfway point.

For Shell, it was more than being in the right place at the right time. He won a third straight pole position at the 3/8-mile concrete oval. Although the top three qualifiers were inverted at the start, he quickly established himself as the man to beat, moving in front of Kres VanDyke in a side-by-side battle on lap 18.

"We definitely needed the win," Shell said. "Our team morale has been up all year and we've had a blast. We finally got to show what we had, although I had plenty in reserve waiting on the end of the race. That just didn't happen due to the safety issues."

Shell now holds a six-point lead in the track's point standings over VanDyke, the defending track champion who finished runner-up in the No. 15 Chevrolet. VanDyke pointed out he was lucky to race at all after blowing an engine on Friday. It was partly his fellow racers who helped get him back on track.

"We were fortunate to be here tonight after a motor failure yesterday in practice," VanDyke said. "Thanks to all our good friends around the race track community and all my guys, we're back here tonight."

VanDyke talked about how drivers at the short track will be mad as hornets at each other one week and then come together to help each other the next week.

"The little drama and conflict makes it interesting," VanDyke said. "But at the end of the day, everybody is a big family, although it's a competitive family."

Ronnie McCarty of Kingsport finished third, followed by Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough and Nik Williams of Greeneville.

Wayne Hale, the previous week's winner from Bluff City, finished sixth, with Joey Trent of Gray, Dillon Hodge, Dennis and Bayne rounding out the top 10.

Other race winners included: Bruce Crumbley (Pure 4), Kevin Canter (Mod 4), Royce Peters (Mod Street) and Joey Sykes (Pure Street).

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