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Byrd, Ford post another 1-2 finish at Volunteer

Jeff Birchfield • Jul 10, 2018 at 4:32 PM

Tim Byrd returned to the winner's circle at Volunteer Speedway last Saturday night, while a surprise appearance by Jimmy Owens led to the dirt late model legend's latest victory.

Byrd, a three-time Volunteer Speedway track champion, won the pole for the Crate Late Model with a 13.919-second qualifying lap around the 4/10-mile dirt oval. He then pulled out front at the start of the race over Michael Courtney and points leader Trevor Sise.

Jensen Ford, the previous week's winner, was making a charge up through the ranks. He passed Sise on lap 3, and got by Courtney on lap 8.

With the roles reversed from the week before, this time Ford was waiting for a slip-up by Byrd the remainder of the 25-lap race. For a second week in a row, the Jonesborough drivers finished 1-2, only this time with Byrd out front.

Knoxville driver Jason Welshan finished third, while Ross Martin and Greg Martin rounded out the top five. Another Jonesborough driver, Bobby Mays, finished 12th in a race featuring a 26-car field.

There was another big field for the Sportsman Late Models, with 24 cars starting the race.

Bradley Lewelling took the lead after another Knoxville driver, Zach Sise, spun after contact with Trey Emert. Lewelling stayed out front as second and third-place drivers Heath Alvey and Brad Seagle got together behind him, putting Alvey in the pits.

Seagle raced on to finish second. Jake Whitehead was third and five-time Volunteer Speedway champion Dale Ball of Johnson City finished fourth, only spot ahead of Sise.

WELCOME TO THE NIGHTMARE

Three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series national champion Jimmy Owens made a surprise visit to the track, driving his older brother Kurt's Modified Street car.

Owens, nicknamed the "Newport Nightmare," grabbed the lead from pole sitter Wayne Rader on the first official lap after an initial attempt to start the race resulted in McKenlee Hall taking a wild ride — flipping down the frontstretch after tangling with Tyler Haynes.

Owens, who last raced at Volunteer Speedway on June 2 — winning a special event for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series — held off a determined David Clark for the victory. Clark made several attempts to pass Owens, but each time Owens was able to beat back the challenge.

Gary Blanken finished third with Rader fourth.

Shawn Henry, also of Newport, won the 602 Street division race, and Josh Chesney of Maynardville took the Classic feature.

UP NEXT

Volunteer Speedway returns to action Monday, July 16 with the Schaffer's Oil Southern Nationals $3,500-to-win Super Late Model race.

There will be features for the Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model and Modified Street divisions.

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