By Robert Walden
Kingsport Speedway – Media/Public Relations
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (May 26, 2017) — It’s not that Chad Finchum hadn’t been running out front at any point this season in contention for a win, because he’s led several laps in the three races he’s ran in the Model City. Finchum, 22 years old and from Knoxville, finally sealed the deal and impressively captured his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car victory Friday at Kingsport Speedway on Patriot Mining Night at the Races.
Finchum set fast-time in Late Model Stock Car qualifying at 15.099 seconds to narrowly edge out Wayne Hale’s quick-lap at 15.106. The roll of the dice produced an invert of the top three qualifiers for the feature, thus placing Ronnie McCarty and Hale on the front row for the 60-lap main event.
Hale jumped out to the lead over Kres VanDyke, McCarty, Finchum and Zeke Shell on the opening lap. The race’s first caution waved just three circuits in when Luke Sorrow spun between turns one and two, with Nik Williams, Darin Silver and Jamie Harrison each getting involved.
Off the double-file restart, VanDyke moved into the lead over Hale, Finchum, McCarty and Robbie Ferguson. Finchum passed Hale for second place on lap 5, and set his sights ahead on leader VanDyke.
You could hear a buzz among the crowd over loud sound of the racing engines, because VanDyke and Finchum have had their “heated moments” this season in racing incidents, with VanDyke coming out on top recording two feature wins and Finchum left disappointed parked in the pits with a wrecked race car on two occasions.
Racing is all about competition, and fans love seeing rivalries between the competitors. There are some in attendance weekly at “The Concrete Jungle” who say VanDyke is the villain, and Finchum the good-guy. That’s all the ingredients for a good short-track racing rivalry.
Finchum closed to VanDyke’s back bumper and got a strong run off the bottom exiting the fourth turn onto front straightaway on lap 8 to pull alongside VanDyke. They battled for the lead side-by-side for right at seven laps before Finchum pulled ahead on lap 13. Caution waved on lap 15 when Shell suddenly slowed on the backstretch and stopped between turns three and four with right-front brake/wheel hub assembly issues which would end his race prematurely.
On the ensuing double-file restart, Finchum chose the inside with VanDyke on outside. With the field racing down into the first turn, Finchum took VanDyke up the track and powered into the lead racing off the second corner. Behind Finchum and VanDyke in the running order were McCarty, Ferguson and Hale.
With a clear view out front, Finchum was setting a blistering pace around the .375-mile banked concrete oval and began putting some distance between himself and closest challengers VanDyke and McCarty. At the midway distance of the race Finchum held a half-straightaway advantage over the pair, with McCarty pressuring VanDyke for the second spot.
Ferguson began to fade, losing positions to Hale, Williams and Joey Trent to fall back to seventh in the running order. With Finchum in control leading the field, McCarty worked his way past VanDyke for second place on lap 40. But McCarty was never able to separate himself from VanDyke as the laps began to count down.
Finchum received the white flag holding a 10 car-length lead over McCarty and VanDyke. Racing up off (turn two) VanDyke got to the inside of McCarty and at end of the backstretch entering the third corner the cars were side-by-side. VanDyke emerged from the battle with McCarty holding the second position, while McCarty was left sitting sideways in middle of the track off exit of the fourth turn as he spun, with drivers behind him forced into evasive moves to avoid hitting McCarty.
Finchum took the checkered flag for the victory over VanDyke, and with the precarious situation involving McCarty’s car sitting sideways on the front straightaway the yellow flag waved to freeze the field, with Hale, Williams and Trent rounding out the top five. Completing the top 10 finishers were Ferguson, Derrick Lancaster, Derek Lane, Sorrow and McCarty.
Royce Peters of Kingsport recorded his second Modified Street victory of the season when apparent winner Kevin Wolfe’s car failed post-race technical inspection. Finishing behind Peters were Paul Shull, Jared Broadbent, Rusty Clendenin and Dennis Deese.
Kenny Absher of Kingsport and Billy Ketron entered the night of racing separated by only two points in the Pure 4 standings. When the checkered flag waved they were separated by two finishing positions, with Absher getting his second win of the season and Ketron finishing third, thus putting them tied for the points lead.
With a strong 25-car field taking the green flag, in the early going the action was fast and furious among several drivers, which produced two- and three-wide racing and ultimately led to some caution periods involving multiple cars.
But with the laps winding down and the front-running trio of Absher, John Ketron and Billy Ketron working lapped traffic, the Ketrons were primed-and-ready to make their move should Absher pick the wrong line in overtaking the slower cars. The top three cars were right together on the white flag lap, and racing off the fourth turn Absher sped to his second victory over John and Billy, with William Hale and Craig Phelps rounding out the top five finishers.
Kevin Canter of Abingdon, Virginia, was pressured the entire distance by David Brown in the 30-lap Mod 4 feature, with the duo swapping paint on occasions. Brown was lurking just waiting for Canter to make a mistake to open the door. But Canter never missed a beat in holding Brown off to capture his fourth consecutive victory, with Jerry Miller, Chris Amburgey and Hershell Robinette rounding out the top five finishers.
Doug Austin of Castlewood, Virginia, outran Jamie Meadows to capture his second Pure Street feature win of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Jay Swecker, Stacey Castle and Peter Alley.
Clynis Phillips of Clintwood, Virginia, won the Mountain Empire Vintage Racing feature over William Jones, Dicky Mooney, Jeremy Mullins and Calvin Crabtree.
KINGSPORT SPEEDWAY – FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2017 – PATRIOT MINING NIGHT AT THE RACES
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
- Chad Finchum #19-Knoxville, TN
2. Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
- Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
- Nik Williams #32-Greeneville, TN
- Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
- Robbie Ferguson #40-Jonesborough, TN
7. Derrick Lancaster #25-Christiansburg, VA
8. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
- Luke Sorrow #9-Belton, SC
10. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
- David Strong #53-Weber City, VA
12. Darin Silver #12-Spruce Pine, NC
- Mardy Roberts #4-Kingsport, TN
- Billy Light #8-Bluff City, TN
- Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
- Zeke Shell #50-Johnson City, TN
- Jamie Harrison #76-Church Hill, TN
- Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
- Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
- Sam Hurd #44-Kingsport, TN
- Danny Casteel #41-Johnson City, TN
MODIFIED STREET (30 laps)
- Royce Peters #42
- Paul Shull #48
- Jared Broadbent #74
- Rusty Clendenin #40
- Dennis Deese #24
- Sam Hurd #11
- Bruce Crumbley #33
- Duke Bare #52
- Alan Rich #03
- Chris Tunnell #6
- Mark Christian #43
Did Not Pass Post-Race Technical Inspection: Kevin Wolfe #17
PURE 4 (30 laps)
1 Kenny Absher #11
- John Ketron #27
- Billy Ketron #26
- William Hale #47
- Craig Phelps #00
- Kevin Darnell #4
- Chad Jeffers #38
- Trey Lane #7
- Jimmy Thomas #14
- Josh Collins #77
- Tim Young #13
- David Trent #57
- Bobby Dublin #7
- Alexcia Ray #99
- Robert Smith #1
- Bucky Smith #99
- Levi Cox #18
- Larry Stapleton #15
- Paul Stanley #40
- Billy Byington #11
- Jason Ketron #28
- Jason Francis #6
- Cody Curtis #18
- Richard Quillen #13
- Brandon Sutherland #5
Did Not Start: Ben Barker #54
MOD 4 (30 laps)
1. Kevin Canter #3
- David Brown #88
- Jerry Miller #01
- Chris Amburgey #17
- Hershell Robinette #9
- Jessie Amburgey #7
- Billy Duty #1
- Ted Glover Jr. #03
PURE STREET (25 laps)
1. Doug Austin #18
- Jamie Meadows #11
- Jay Swecker #77
- Stacey Castle #11
- Peter Alley #7
- Bobby Talbert #67
- Jeremy Draughn #7
- Virgil Young #13
MOUNTAIN EMPIRE VINTAGE RACING (25 laps)
1. Clynis Phillips #8
- William Jones #8
- Dicky Mooney #24
- Jeremy Mullins #06
- Calvin Crabtree #16
- Jackson Austin #11
- Wayne Mullins #60
- Nick Harrison #6