Johnson City Press: Williams wins wild one at Kingsport Speedway
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Williams wins wild one at Kingsport Speedway

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 11, 2019 at 5:12 PM

KINGSPORT — Nik Williams capsized Ronnie McCarty’s hopes for a victory cruise and went on to win a wild Late Model Stock feature Friday night in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Kingsport Speedway.

McCarty dominated the first two-thirds of the race, pulling out to a large lead before a lap-43 caution bunched the field back up. Intense racing between McCarty and Williams followed, leading to McCarty’s No. 5 Ford spinning between turns 1 and 2.

Williams, in the No. 32 Chevrolet, had another intense battle for the lead with Hayden Woods before those two made contact and Woods spun off turn 4 on lap 53.

At the end, Williams held off Joey Trent’s No. 26 Chevrolet and Shell’s No. 1 Ford to win the race.

“It was a really wild night, but it was fun,” said Williams, a 22-year-old driver from Chuckey. “It was one of the wildest races I’ve ever had here. To win two weeks in a row, it means a lot and shows what this team can do. I had a good car under me and was patient picking them off until it got wild at the end.”

He and McCarty had vastly different views of what happened in their lap-43 incident. They were banging fenders coming down the frontstretch before going into the corner, where McCarty spun between turns 1 and 2.

“There are always different opinions, but it was just racing,” Williams said. “He gave the inside and we got tangled up going down the front straightaway and I couldn’t get off him. We got beside each other in the turns and he just lost it. I got into him a little bit, but he just lost it. That’s why they didn’t put me to the back. It was just a racing deal.”

McCarty, a two-time Kingsport Speedway champion, ended up with a torn-up race car after another incident — which saw Derek Lane’s No. 28 Chevy go over the hood of McCarty’s car.

“He decided he couldn’t beat me any other way than wrecking me. That’s fine if that’s the way he wants to race; we’ll race that way too I guess,” McCarty said about Williams. “I had it in cruise control and wanted to maintain a three-quarters straightaway lead. I know that’s not good for the fans, but we were here to win tonight. We came prepared to win, he saw that and figured that was the only way he could beat me.”

Trent had his own set of adventures, with contact between him and Bryson Dennis bringing out the lap 43 caution. It damaged the front end on Trent’s No. 26 car to the point the hood was removed with the engine exposed for final laps. Still showing speed, he held off defending track champion Zeke Shell for the runner-up spot.

“We got tangled up about midway, but the car still drove well,” Trent said. “It came to me late. Hats off to Zeke Shell. It got away from me a couple of times and he could have run plumb through me, but he didn’t. I appreciate that.

“I’m sure there are hard feelings, but it was hard racing. I can tell you that we didn’t leave anything on the track tonight.”

Shell was frustrated, feeling that Williams should have been placed back of the field after the incidents with McCarty and Woods. In the end, he felt his result matched his No. 1 Ford’s performance.

“The car was good, but for some reason, it got worse as the night went on,” Shell said. “Really, we finished where we deserved to finish. It was a third-place car. We left with a second-place car last week and we’re leaving with a third-place car this week.”

Woods finished fourth and Derek Lane rounded out the top five.

PURE STREET AND PURE 4

Doug Austin of Castlewood, Virginia, stayed undefeated in the Pure Street division. It featured five lead changes over the final six laps in an intense battle of Camaro drivers with Gene Griffey.

Keith Helton of Kingsport also kept his perfect record intact in the Pure 4 class, taking the lead on 12th circuit of the 30-lap feature. However, it didn’t come easy with Bruce Crumbley battling him to the end. It was a strong field with 22 cars.

MOD 4 AND MOD STREET

Kevin Canter of Abingdon remained unbeaten in Mod 4, winning every race at Kingsport this season as well as winning a feature two weeks ago at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. Zack Fritz finished second with Canter’s grandfather Herschel Robinette in third.

Kingsport driver Derek Lane drove the No. 9 Dodge Challenger to victory in the first of two Mod Street races to open the night’s action. Lane competed in three races with a pair of fifth-place finishes in the aforementioned Late Model feature and the second Mod 4 race.

Kevin Wolfe of Abingdon took the win in the second Mod 4 race, taking the lead from Dennis Deese with five laps to go. Erwin driver Alex Miller in his second year of racing, ended second in both Mod 4 races for the best finishes of his career.

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