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Ford scores third Volunteer win of the season

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 25, 2018 at 4:48 PM

Jensen Ford has made the most of a limited schedule at Volunteer Speedway this season.

The 30-year-old Jonesborough driver, who has split his time between racing on a pair of touring series and racing at Volunteer this season, passed Trevor Sise for the lead on second lap and led the rest of Saturday night's 25-lap Crate Late Model feature. It was the third win of the season for Ford, tying him with Sise for the most in the division.

His latest win wasn't without its challenges as Ford and the lapped car of Tristan Clawson made contact on lap 16 and Clawson spun out. Back under green, Sise stayed on the bumper of Ford's No. 83 Chevrolet, waiting for him to make a mistake. It never happened and Ford motored on for a 60th career win.

Sise of Knoxville finished runner-up and maintained his big lead in the 4/10-mile dirt track's point standings. Three-time track champion Tim Byrd of Jonesborough, who had won the previous two Crate Late Model races, finished third.

Austin Neely and Josh Henry rounded out the top five. Johnson City driver Tim Maupin ran most of the race in the top five before winding up eighth.

Zach Sise, the 18-year-old younger brother of Trevor Sise, captured the Sportsman Late Model win. He started third, but quickly worked his way to the front for his fifth victory of the season.

Shannon Emery of Morristown won the Modified Street feature after early leaders Kurt Owens and Chris Rickett slowed with tire issues. Jeff Hamby of Knoxville got his first win in the Open Wheel Modified division, while Lee Merritt had a division-leading eighth Classic feature win. Rex Coffey captured his third 602 Stock victory this season.

The next race night at Volunteer Speedway for the Fall Classic is scheduled for Oct. 6.

BAMA BATTLE AT BRISTOL?

Nick Saban added fuel to the fire of rumors about the next Battle at Bristol football game involving the University of Alabama.

The coach of the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide wore a Bristol Motor Speedway polo shirt to Monday's weekly press conference. The rumors have circulated with Clemson, Ohio State or Michigan mentioned as the Tide's potential opponent, with the game to take place in 2022. If Michigan is the other team, it could be 2021 as the Wolverines canceled a home-and-home series with Virginia Tech, including a game in Blacksburg scheduled for Sept. 11, 2021.

READY FOR THE ROVAL

The most anticipated NASCAR race of the year is coming this weekend with the Bank of America 400 at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

While there have been test sessions on the 2.28-mile track that incorporates both the oval track and an infield road course, the race is the great unknown. It features 17 turns and 35 feet of elevation change — and several drivers crashed or suffered some type of damage during the test sessions.

In addition, it is the last race of the first round of the NASCAR playoffs. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is below the cut-off for the next round, currently in 14th in the point standings. It's likely perennial contender Denny Hamlin, 16th in points, will need to win to advance.

Several ticket packages, including weekend passes to the unique event, are still available.

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

Alton Clark of Johnson City held off Jonesborough riders Chris Furches and Quentin Wise to the win in the ATV Novice race at the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series last Saturday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.

Trey Emert of Johnson City won the Pro race, while Madison Hensley of Johnson City finished runner-up in the Women's division.

Other local winners included: Justin Carberry of Jonesborough (250 D), Izayah Shipley of Gray (85cc Beginner), Malakian Shipley of Gray (65cc Beginner), Jake Hillman of Jonesborough (51cc, 4-6 Stock), Carson Eads of Kingsport (two classes) and Laken Fields of Church Hill (two classes).

Some of the runner-up finishers were: Silas Malone of Telford (85cc Beginner), Lane Cash of Elizabethton (65cc Beginner), Cody Goode of Kingsport (65 cc, 10-11) and Seth Fields of Church Hill (65cc, 7-9).

Round 13 of the Hot Summer Nights Series is scheduled for Saturday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.

CHEROKEE CHAMPIONS

Gale Lumpkins of Bean Station (Box) and Eric Carpenter of Morristown (No Box) have earned season titles at Cherokee Race Park in Rogersville.

They have qualified for the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Summit SuperSeries World Finals, the most prestigious national championship in bracket racing, to be held at Memphis International Raceway on Oct. 18-20.

BIG MONEY AT BRISTOL

Rocky Pintavalle was the big winner at the Sparco Fall Fling bracket race at Bristol Dragway. He won both races last Wednesday and a $50,000-to-win race on Friday. Pintavalle had a perfect light to win the final round on Wednesday.

Jeff Burns won Thursday's bracket racing and Jeremy York won Saturday when final-round opponent Leon Robertson red-lighted.

The biggest announcement was the Fall Fling at Bristol in 2019 will feature a big money, $500,000-to-win bracket race.

CHEVY SHOW

The Menards Chevy Show is coming to Bristol Dragway this weekend, Sept. 28-30. It is highlighted by Thunder Valley Mayhem on Saturday night, featuring Pro Mods, Jet cars and a fireworks show. Bracket racing will be taking place all weekend as well, as car enthusiasts have the opportunity to take part in one of the largest Chevy shows around.

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