Johnson City Press: Williams earns first win of season, takes over Kingsport Speedway points lead
logo



Williams earns first win of season, takes over Kingsport Speedway points lead

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 4, 2019 at 3:37 PM

Nik Williams won his first race of the season and took over the points lead at Kingsport Speedway on Friday night.

Williams, who started third, took the lead from Hayden Woods on lap 12. He then held off a mid-race challenge from defending track champion Zeke Shell to put his No. 32 Chevrolet in victory lane.

“That was a tough race,” said Williams, a 22-year-old driver from Chuckey. “Hayden was strong at first, but I was able to get by him.

“Zeke had my mirror full for a while, but I was just trying not to mess up where he could get around me. I knew the car would come to me and it did when the tires got hot. We started pulling away and I had to take care of it.”

Shell felt his No. 1 Ford was just as good as Williams’ car and he closed on his back bumper midway through the race. Making a charge, Shell’s car slid up out of the racing groove with 15 laps to go and Williams raced away.

“Sometimes you can’t help but get a little excited,” Shell said. “I got a little throttle-happy. We got a new motor and I burned the right rear (tire) right off of it. We would have been able to compete for the win, but got a little brain dead and too excited. I gave it a little too much on the exit of (turn) two and boiled the right rear.

“At least, we had fun. We’re all smiles here in second place as happy as can be.”

It was the second runner-up finish in as many races for Shell.

Gray driver Joey Trent put together a solid run in the No. 26 Chevrolet and wound up third for his second podium finish of the season.

“We’ve got to get a little better to get ahead of Nik and Zeke,” Trent said. “They and McCarty have the strongest cars out here. We’re close and we’re going to keep digging.

“The car got a little loose late in the race, but that’s because I wasn’t cutting it any slack. I hoped Nik and Zeke would get together and I could sneak a win out, but I’m happy with third.”

Trent moved into second in the track championship standings behind Williams, who took over the lead from the absent Kres VanDyke.

“It was a great night for us,” Williams said. “We just had the car to beat tonight. It was consistent and I tried to keep the wheels under me. I’m proud of the team and I’m glad I finally got one for them.”

Kingsport driver Derek Lane finished fourth. Woods and McCarty rallied to finish fifth and sixth after they both spun on lap 15 after making contact while battling for position.

Two-time track champion Nate Monteith was seventh, followed by Wayne Hale and Rick Pannell in a nine-car field.

MOD STREET EXCITEMENT

Trey Lane of Kingsport beat Rusty Clendenin by 3.43 seconds in the Mod Street feature. Earlier, Lane’s No. 9 Dodge Challenger had taken the lead from Dennis Deese in the No. 24 Camaro.

Clendenin and Kevin Wolfe raced past Deese to the second and third spots. Deese was fourth and Daniel McMurray rounded out the top five.

Alice Barnette emerged without serious injury after a hard crash where her No. 57 Chevrolet impacted the end of the pit wall, severely damaging the right rear of her cars.

FAMILIAR FACES UP FRONT

Abingdon driver Kevin Canter continued to dominate the Mod 4 ranks beating Zack Fritz and his grandfather Herschel Robinette to the finish line.

Canter, in the black No. 3, remained undefeated on the season, winning every race at Kingsport and one last Saturday at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. He is 6-for-6 on the season.

Kingsport driver Keith Helton also remained unbeaten in the Pure 4 ranks, but it came after a spirited battle with runner-up Billy Byington. In the hotly contested race, Helton’s No. 9 Saturn finished .758 second ahead of Byington, with Bruce Crumbley rounding out the top three.

Doug Austin improved to 4-for-4 in Pure Street. Driving the No. 18 Camaro, he beat Mike Mays and Tony Dockery to the finish line.

Johnson City Press Videos