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Lisenbee wins Bristol Big Rigs race; Proffitt captures third series title

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 12, 2019 at 9:14 PM

BRISTOL — Jon Lisenbee lived out a dream by winning on the high banks at Bristol Motor Speedway as Ricky “Rude” Proffitt’s dreams of a third straight Bandit Big Rig Series championship nearly turned into a nightmare.

In the end, nothing couldn’t have been finer for the pair of Weaverville, North Carolina semi-truck drivers.

Lisenbee, driving the No. 7 Jupiter Motorsports Peterbilt, beat teammate Scott Treadway by a car length to win the inaugural Bandit Bristol Battle race on Saturday night. Proffitt recovered from an early accident to finish fifth and wrap up the championship.

In the race itself, Marshall Davis finished right behind Lisenbee and Treadway to give the Jupiter Motorsports team a sweep of the top three positions.

“The hair stands up on your arms and the back of your neck when you come here,” Lisenbee said. “I think we’ve done something to do this at Bristol.”

Lisenbee’s truck was a handful at the end of a 30-lap feature. The right front tire on his truck was nearly bald on the inside and the left front tire was flat-spotted. Still, he passed Randy Briggs on the outside for the lead on lap 23 after the race was red-flagged for Brian Bayer’s wreck on the front stretch.

“When the tires get heated up, it can go both ways on a restart,” Lisenbee said. “I was worried a little bit, but I knew my truck was quick and I was catching him before that. I got my tires cleaned and when we got the restart, my truck hooked up. Man, it held in there and did what it should have.”

Treadway pressured Lisenbee for the win, but raced him clean. Even though Treadway finished right behind his neighbor and co-worker, bumping him out of the way wasn’t a consideration.

“I caught up with Jon, but I wasn’t going to push the issue with him,” said Treadway, a former stock car racer at Newport Speedway. “We’re teammates and if I had a good chance to get around him, I would, but I wasn’t going bump him, tear our trucks up and take us both out. If I had a good run on him, I would have tried my best, but I’m proud of how we did today.”

All top three drivers are friends and co-workers who haul coal from Kentucky to South Carolina through the week. Briggs finished fourth and Proffitt rounded out the top five.

THIRD STRAIGHT TITLE

Proffitt’s championship hopes looked to be in jeopardy when contact with Briggs turned him into the turn-3 wall during one of the challenge races leading up to the 30-lap feature. His No. 14 Peterbilt came to rest at the end of turn 4 with damage to the front bumper and right front fender.

Proffitt, a former Late Model Stock racer, was able to drive to his pit for repairs and finished one spot ahead of series runner-up Mark Noble in the feature event. While the truck handled a little different after the accident, it got him focused on the task at hand.

“The wreck really helped me,” Proffitt said. “I was so nervous before. It’s racing, I understand it — but it’s something I probably wouldn’t do with the points leader. If I hadn’t been the points leader, I might have nudged him a little bit, but we try to be respectful in the Bandit Series. In our series, there’s no fighting. We go have a conversation and state our point.

“These guys are very talented and this (championship) was the hardest one yet.”

 

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