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Shell wins opener, moves closer to Kingsport crown

staff reports • Updated Aug 25, 2018 at 3:45 PM

KINGSPORT — Zeke Shell won the first of twin 35-lap Late Model Stock features at Kingsport Speedway Friday night to move closer to his first track championship.

The Johnson City driver set the fast time in qualifying at 14.940 seconds and pulled away from Piney Flats racer Hayden Woods in the early going around the 3/8-mile concrete oval.

Chuckey’s Nik Williams, who would go on to win the second race, passed Woods for second on lap 17, but Shell's No. 1 Ford was too strong in the lead to take his third win of the season.

Williams finished second, followed by Woods, Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough and defending track champion Kres VanDyke.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Trey Bayne, Joey Trent, Derek Lane, Dillon Hodge and Kyle Barnes.

Due to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series rules, the top eight finishers were for the second 35-lap race. Lane and Trent led the field to the green ahead of VanDyke, Bayne and Woods.

VanDyke, needing to make up ground to Shell in the championship battle, passed Trent for second on lap 7 racing up off (turn) two.

Woods worked his way past Trent for third on lap 11 racing off the second corner, but behind him Williams was on the charge. He passed both Ferguson and Trent to settle into fourth and then pressured Woods for third until making the pass for position on lap 15.

VanDyke passed Lane for the lead on lap 18. Williams also wasted no time as he quickly got around Lane to move in behind leader VanDyke.

Williams' No. 32 Chevrolet rode on the rear bumper of VanDyke's No. 15 Chevy lap-after-lap. As VanDyke and Williams raced down the front straightaway to receive the white flag, Williams used the bump-and-run move to take leader VanDyke up the banking.

The duo raced off turn two down the backstretch, side by side into the third turn. With Williams on the bottom, he used a strong run off the fourth turn to narrowly edge VanDyke for his sixth Late Model Stock Car victory of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Shell, Woods and Ferguson.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Bayne, Trent, Barnes, Hodge and Wayne Hale.

Shell holds an 11-point lead over VanDyke in the track championship standings with the final race scheduled for this Friday, Aug. 31.

OTHER DIVISIONS

Chase Dixon of Abingdon, Va., won for the his third feature win in the first twin 20-lap event by outrunning Kirby Gobble, Royce Peters, Alex Miller and Daniel McMurray. Gobble, also from Abingdon, visited victory lane in the second race by winning over Dixon, Peters, Miller and Rusty Clendenin. The pair of fourth-place finishes were season bests for Erwin driver Miller in his rookie season.

Kingsport drivers Keith Helton and John Ketron continued their longstanding rivalry in Pure 4, trading the lead back and forth before Helton captured his seven win of the season. With a fierce battle amongst the lead pack, Billy Byington finished second ahead of Brandon Southerland, Kenny Absher and Ketron.

Kevin Canter of Abingdon continues to rule the Mod 4 division, as he cruised to his 11th feature win of the season. His celebration was muted as Canter's 74-year-old grandfather, Hershell Robinette, violently slammed the inside concrete retaining wall following contact from another car exiting the second corner on lap 17, which ended the race prematurely due to time limit.

Robinette was transported to a local hospital by ambulance for precautionary measures, and after being thoroughly examined by medical personnel was released.

Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., recorded his third straight Pure Street win by outrunning Joey Sykes, Sammy Ferguson, Kevin Darnell and veteran Jon Cook of Jonesborough.

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