Widner leads list of local drag racing champions

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Oct 2, 2018 at 8:06 PM

A pair of Carter County drivers are among the DER Bracket Series champions for Bristol Dragway this season, while other drag racers had championship efforts at Cherokee Race Park in Rogersville.

Elizabethton driver Carl Widner won his third straight Sportsman division championship at Bristol. He won the points 363-286 over runner-up Ed Cannon. Another Elizabethton racer, Larry Price II, finished fourth in the class.

Dru Owens of Hampton won the Junior Dragster, Division 3 championship by a tiebreaker over Ethan Ford of Jonesborough after both finished with 352 points. Joshua Owens, Dru's younger brother, was third with 330 points.

In addition to those divisions, Lucas McKinney of Elizabethton won the High School Challenge.

Another tiebreaker was needed in Super Pro, where champion Seth Street of Richlands, Virginia, and runner-up Josh Dykes both ended up with 363 points. Street lost a tiebreaker to Tim Griffith of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, in the Pro division after scoring 341 points.

Russell Justus of Knoxville won the Jim's Motorcycle championship 374-352 over six-time champion Jerry Turner of Bluff City. Eric Colley of Bristol was the Trophy division champion, while Forrest Radford of Radford, Virginia, and Carley Brown of Blountville won Junior Dragster, Division 1 and 2 titles, respectively.

Brown has a championship pedigree with her father, Barry, and brothers, Carson and Tucker, former Bristol Dragway champions.


Gale Lumpkins of Bean Station won the Box championship and Eric Carpenter of Morristown won the No Box title for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries track championship at Cherokee Race Park in Rogersville.

Another longtime local competitor, Bobby McKinney of Bakersville, North Carolina, finished runner-up to Mitchell McKinney of Crossnore, North Carolina, for the Top division in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries standings at Wilkesboro (North Carolina) Dragway.

All of the IHRA champions are now qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals in Memphis. It's the most prestigious national championship in all of bracket racing.


Kingsport Speedway will host the Southeast Super Truck Series and the Gripp Limited Late Model Series on Saturday. The Southeast Legends cars as well as the Pure Street and Pure 4 divisions will also be in action at the 3/8-mile concrete oval. Practice starts at 1 p.m. with SuperTruck qualifying at 5:15 p.m. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.


Three-time Tennessee state champion Kres VanDyke finished eighth in arguably the biggest asphalt late model stock races in the country, the Valley Star 300 at Martinsville Speedway, last Saturday night.

After making his way into the main event, the Abingdon driver finished just one position behind Ty Gibbs, grandson of NASCAR Cup Series owner Joe Gibbs, and ahead of such notables as national champion drivers Phillip Morris and Lee Pulliam.

Derrick Lancaster, another driver to win at Kingsport during the 2018 season, finished 21st. C.E. Falk won the race in a controversial finish when race officials went back to the last completed lap to determine the winner.


Two Johnson City racers, Madison Hensley (Women's division) and Alton Clark (ATV Novice), scored wins in round 13 of the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series at Appalachian Fairgrounds.

Two youth from Johnson City, Riley Cash (65cc Beginner) and Braylen Hickman (51cc Multi-Speed) posted runner-up finishes.

Other local youth winners included: Izayah Shipley of Gray (85 cc Beginner) and Kamryn Tester of Bluff City (51cc Beginner).

Runner-up finishes were also posted by Justin Carberry of Jonesborough (250D) and Jake Hillman of Jonesborough (51 cc, 4-6).

Coming soon is the 31st annual Suzuki Top Gun Showdown set for Oct. 12-14 at Muddy Creek Raceway. Local racing legend Mike Brown, the former AMA national champion, won the 250 Pro race at last year's showdown.


Volunteer Speedway will host the second annual “Fall Classic” this Saturday at the 4/10-mile Bulls Gap dirt track.

The six-division racing program features the Crate Late Model and Sportsman Late Model classes racing against each other in a $1,500-to-win main event. The Modified Street, Open Wheel Modified, Classic, Street Stock and 4-Cylinder divisions are also scheduled.

Hot laps will start after a 6:30 p.m. driver's meeting followed by qualifying and racing.

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