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Williams wins wild one at Kingsport as points leaders crash

Johnson City Press • Updated Jul 21, 2018 at 8:05 PM

KINGSPORT — Nik Williams outdueled Joey Trent for his first-ever Late Model Stock win at Kingsport Speedway on Friday night after a big crash between points leaders took place behind them.

Williams, a Chuckey driver in the No. 32 Chevrolet, passed Wayne Hale for the lead on lap 22 and then fended off a challenge from Johnson City’s Zeke Shell in the No. 1 Ford after lap 25 restart.

Trent passed Shell for second place, leading up to a battle for third between Shell and defending track champion Kres VanDyke. The two points leaders, Shell and VanDyke, were racing hard when on lap 40 they made contact with both drivers slamming hard into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch.

VanDyke’s car landed on the hood of Shell’s car as they came to rest right past the start-finish line. The weight of the VanDyke car broke the carburetor from the engine on Shell’s car which resulted in a fire which crews quickly extinguished.

After a lengthy red-flag condition to clean up the carnage, Williams raced side-by-side with the No. 26 Chevrolet of Trent before passing him on lap 44. From there, he held off repeated attempts by Trent to take the lead as both drivers were trying to get their first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory. Williams wouldn’t be denied in taking the win in the 60-lap feature.

“There late in the race I had a really good battle for the lead with Joey off a double-file restart, but I knew once I was able to clear him all I had to do was run mistake-free laps to the finish,” Williams said. “It’s just great to get our first win, and especially over such a strong field of cars. Nothing comes easy racing against these guys at Kingsport Speedway.”

Williams, 21, talked about his go-kart background, but said it was a lot different racing the Late Models at Kingsport.

Trent, a veteran driver from Gray, held on to finish second. Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough was third, followed by Trey Bayne and Bryson Dennis.

Dillon Hodge, a 15-year-old who attends Sullivan South, finished sixth, followed by Hale, Dale Cline, Rick Pannell and Darin Silver.

Pannell, a Kingsport driver making his 150th consecutive start at the track, was honored in a ceremony before the race.

Shell finished one spot ahead of VanDyke, thus closing the margin between the two drivers in the track championship standings to just five points.

OTHER DIVISIONS

Kingsport driver Keith Helton was fastest in qualifying and captured his fourth Pure 4 win of the season over Bruce Crumbley, Craig Phelps, Brandon Sutherland and Billy Byington.

Kevin Canter of Abingdon, Va., continued his winning ways in Mod 4, as he captured his division-leading eighth victory of the season over Zack Fritz, Dalton Thomas, Billy Duty and Chris Amburgey.

David Strong of Weber City, Va., recorded his third Pure Street feature win on the season by outrunning Jay Swecker, Kevin Darnell, Ricky Payne and Jon Cook.

Due to heavy rain which suddenly hit, the Modified Street was stopped at the halfway point, making it an official race. Kingsport Speedway promoter Karen Tunnell and scorers are reviewing transponders before making the finishing order of the race official.

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