Monteith easily captures season-opening Kingsport Speedwayvictory
By Robert Walden
Kingsport Speedway Media/Public Relations
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (March 12) The end of the 2002 racing season marked the last time weekly stock car racing had been held in the Model City. The much-anticipated rebirth of weekly racing at NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned Kingsport Speedway became reality on a beautiful, sunny spring afternoon Saturday for Pepsi Day at the Races with former NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck series racer Robert Pressley at the helm of the legendary track.
Former United Auto Racing Association Southern Touring Asphalt Racing Series champion Lee Tissot earned the pole position after touring the .375-mile banked concrete oval at 15:43 seconds. But it was Nate Monteith of Blountville, starting from outside of the front row, who grabbed the lead on the opening lap and never looked back, en route to easily winning the 60-lap Late Model Stock feature by leading flag-to-flag.
We absolutely had a great car today, said Monteith in the pits following the race. We barely missed getting the pole, but maybe that played a little to our advantage as we were able to launch on the start from outside the front row and beat Tissot into the first corner. I cleared him as we raced off (turn) two initially, then following that restart on lap 3, I just tried to get settled into a good rhythm so I could put some distance between us and Tissot.
Im really excited to be racing full-time here at Kingsport Speedway in 2011 under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner. Our goals are to win races and win the track championship, which will give us the Tennessee state NASCAR title. Weve got a really good race team, and coming right out of the gate and winning like we did today its a confidence booster.
With Monteith leading Tissot and Robbie Ferguson at the start, the events first caution flag waved on lap 3 when Brad Housewright got into back of Ferguson between turns one and two, sending the 2002 Kingsport Speedway champion Ferguson spinning.
The top five for restart were Monteith, Tissot, Housewright, Daniel Pope and Royce Peters. Monteith began flexing his muscle quickly, stretching his lead over Tissot to almost a full-straightaway by lap 20. After pressuring Housewright several circuits for third in the running order, Pope assumed the position on lap 28.
With the race reaching halfway, Monteith was still in command with a comfortable margin over Tissot, who was riding eight car lengths ahead of Pope and Housewright. Monteiths huge lead was erased when Dakota Slagle spun between turns one and two on lap 35.
Ready to go back green, Monteith was trailed by Tissot, Pope, Housewright and Peters. Tissot failed to come up to speed, as he tried to hold onto his Ford Fusion that had a right-rear tire deflating. He spun between turns one and two on lap 37 to bring out the caution, and after quick work from his crew in the pits to change the tire he tagged on at rear of field for restart.
Monteith led Pope, Housewright, Peters and Ferguson, who had worked his way back into the top-five following his early race tangle with Housewright, back up to speed. While Monteith, Pope and Housewright were holding down the top three positions, things were getting interesting behind them as Tissot was making a hard charge back forward following his tire change to close behind Peters and Ferguson.
Tissot got to the inside of Ferguson and Peters racing off into the corner between turns three and four on lap 43. As the trio raced off the fourth turn contact was made Tissot escaped unscathed while Ferguson and Peters wrecked along the front straightaway, with Caleb Roark also getting caught up in the action. The race for Peters came to a grinding end, as his car sustained heavy damage.
He (Ferguson) doesnt have to run over somebody, Peters said. He could only get close on the restart and then we would get away from him. He was overdriving his car. I always liked Robbie pretty good, but I dont like him right now.
Ferguson, who continued with his damaged race car, saw it differently.
At the beginning of the race I got under Housewright clean and then he spins me intentionally, Ferguson said. We worked our way back through the pack into the top five. Then we just run out of real estate Im hitting the wall in turn four, the guy (Peters) cuts up and he blames the wreck on me. Its just short-track racing.
Following the red flag to clear the front straightaway, the race resumed for a green-flag run to the checkers.
But the class of the field was Monteith, as he chauffeured the True Line Construction Company, KBM Commercial Properties, Pizza Plus, BSA Security Company, TAB Performance, Clark’s Automotive Race Engines, Griffin Radiators, Amsoil, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Five Star Race Car Bodies, ProParts Engineering Performance, Sherwin-Williams, Townsend/LTO Race Cars, WD Performance, eXlander Designs No. 44 Chevrolet Impala to victory over Pope, Tissot, Housewright and Paul Nogradi.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Nick Cole, Ferguson, Roark and Ryan Stiltner.
Jeff Woodward of Rosedale, Va., battled early in the 30-lap Charger feature with Austin Peters, as Woodward led the first 13 laps before Peters grabbed the lead for next five circuits. But once Woodward regained the lead, he gradually pulled away to win over Peters, Derek Woodward, Royce Peters and Paul Shull.
Woodward’s No. 94 Ford Fusion is sponsored by FM 94 Radio in Marion, Va., Woody’s Auto Sales, DJ’s Tire & Auto Sales, Pepsi, Buchanan Oil Co., Pro Image Graphics and 84 Expo.
Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., led all 30 laps in winning the Street Stock feature over Chris Tunnell, Chuck Crigger, Roger Neece and Jeff Counts.
Austin’s No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro is sponsored by St. Paul Builders & Block, Poor Boy Auto, Pro Image Graphics and 84 Expo.
Dean Slagle of Asheville, N.C., held off Tom Hodges, John Ketron, James Mills and Nasty Jones to win the 25-lap Pure 4 feature.
Slagle’s No. 13 Honda Prelude is sponsored by Southern Sun Construction, Rabbit’s Trucking, Silverman & Co., and Bent Creek Tire.
Another exciting racing program is scheduled on Friday night, March 18. Kingsport Speedway is located at 2961 North John B. Dennis Highway. For more information, call the office at (423) 288-5992 or visit the Web site at www.NewKingsportSpeedway.com
LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)
1 ) Nate Monteith #44-Blountville, TN
2 ) Daniel Pope #16-Smyrna, TN
3 ) Lee Tissot #27-Asheville, NC
4 ) Brad Housewright #1-Kingsport, TN
5 ) Paul Nogradi #02-Clinton, TN
6 ) Nick Cole #63-Bristol, TN
7 ) Robbie Ferguson #13-Jonesborough, TN
8 ) Caleb Roark #99-Abingdon, VA
9 ) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA
10 ) Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
11 ) Dakota Slagle #13s-Asheville, NC
12 ) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
13 ) Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN
14 ) Lance Gatlin #97-Knoxville, TN
Did Not Start: Jack Ingram #11-Asheville, NC
CHARGER (30 laps)
1 ) Jeff Woodward #94; 2 ) Austin Peters #66; 3 ) Derek Woodward #18; 4 ) Royce Peters #40; 5 ) Paul Shull #48; 6 ) Steve Wright #75; 7 ) Ryan Stiltner #22; 8 ) Kevin Wolfe #17; 9 ) Larry Northern #47
STREET STOCK (30 laps)
1 ) Rob Austin #25; 2 ) Chris Tunnell #6; 3 ) Chuck Crigger #71; 4 ) Roger Neece #22; 5 ) Jeff Counts #11; 6 ) Tony Vance #07; 7 ) Mark Christian #43; 8 ) Tony Ward #7; 9 ) Freddie Taylor Jr. #16; 10 ) Donnie Buckner #11; 11 ) James Mills #65; 12 ) Matt Smith #33
PURE 4 (25 laps)
1 ) Dean Slagle #13; 2 ) Tom Hodges #94; 3 ) John Ketron #26; 4 ) James Mills #65; 5 ) Nasty Jones #13; 6 ) Bill Coleman #15; 7 ) Austin Peters #25; 8 ) Lewis Slagle #99; 9 ) Greg Stevens #88; 10 ) Paul Pressley #5; 11 ) Steve Skeen #17; 12 ) William Hale #95; 13 ) Richard Hicks #23; 14 ) David Trent #57; 15 ) Dean Barrett #82; 16 ) Kevin Darnell #11; 17 ) Mark McCrary #99; 18 ) Tim Pressley #83; 19 ) Eddie Smith #8; 20 ) Dan Hall #88; 21 ) Luke Fox #0; 22 ) Jimmy Hillard #74 Did Not Start: Cortney Roark #99