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Kerr captures second Late Model victory at Volunteer
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, TN (August 14) – Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway, Tommy Kerr of Rockford, Tenn., assumed the lead on lap 18 when early race leader Dale Ball slammed the outside turn one wall, and Kerr never looked back in roaring to his second Late Model feature victory of the season.
In qualifying for the 50-lap Late Model event, Ball, of Johnson City, Tenn., set fast-time over the 26 cars timing-in at 13:941-seconds to capture the pole position, with Kerr second quickest at 14:045 to earn the outside front row starting berth. Kerry Jones of Bristol, Tenn., the current Late Model track points leader, at 14:060, Herman Goddard of Knoxville, Tenn., at 14:071, and Greg Burchett of Church Hill, Tenn., at 14:200 rounded out the top five in the starting lineup.
After three failed attempts to start the feature race, track officials lined the cars up for a single-file start. After one lap, Ball led Kerr, Jones, Goddard and H.E. Vineyard. On lap 6, a multi-car accident between turns one and two, triggered when J.W. Musslewhite backed his mount into the wall, eliminated Musslewhite, Jim Sisson, Jerry Broyles, Gary Blanken and Steve Carr.
With Ball still riding on the point, Kerr, Jones, Goddard, and Vineyard followed on the restart. The battle for positions six through ten between Brogie Broyles, John A. Utsman, Casey Huffman, Tim Frye, and David Crabtree was heated, with Broyles and Utsman, and Huffman and Frye running side-by-side.
Ball’s hopes of recording his first win of the season dimmed on lap 18 when he slammed into the outside turn one wall after making contact with the slower car of Jackie Hughes. As Ball and Kerr raced off turn four onto the front straightaway, the cars of Hughes, Jeff Silvers and Carlos Campbell were right in front of the leader. With Kerr coming hard on the inside gunning for the lead, Ball was blocked on the high-side and tried to tap Hughes out of the way, but instead wound up in the wall.
With a clear track in front of him the "Rockford Rocket" Kerr was setting a blistering pace, stretching his lead to 10 car-lengths at halfway into the 50-lapper over Jones, Goddard, Vineyard and Broyles. Running sixth through tenth were Utsman, Huffman, Crabtree, Michael Jackson and Frye.
By lap 30, Kerr was comfortably cruising out front, while Jones had his hands full in trying to hold off the veterans Goddard and Vineyard. Working his way back up through the field after his early race altercation, Ball picked off Frye and Jackson to move from eleventh to ninth place on lap 32. The event's final caution appeared on lap 45 for a spin in turn two by Frye.
Preparing for a five-lap "shootout" to the checkered flag, Kerr was trailed by Jones, Goddard, Vineyard and Utsman. But Kerr, driving the J.T. Kerr Racing Equipment/Thomas Hill Auto Center/Lowe Trucking/ABJ Custom Powdercoating/TW Metals/Stinger Race Cars/No. 4T Grand Prix, would have none of the "gunfight" as he raced to a seven car-length margin of victory over Goddard, who passed Jones for the runner-up position on lap 46. Finishing third through fifth were Jones, Vineyard and Utsman. Rounding out the top-10 were Huffman, Crabtree, Silvers, Ball and Jackson.
"We had a killer car here tonight," said Kerr after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "It seemed the harder I would run this Stinger race car the better it worked. I got a good run on the 25 car (Dale Ball) when we got into lapped traffic, and he tangled with one of those cars as we were battling for the lead.
"I had never won a Late Model race here at "The Gap" until a couple of weeks ago, and now we’ve got our second victory of the season, and I believe we’ve got a few more in us before the season is over. I would like to thank my grandparents’ J.T. and Ima Jean Kerr, along with the family business for providing me the opportunity to race."
Randy Davidson of Morristown, Tenn., started from the pole position and led flag-to-flag in winning the 30-lap Super Stock feature. Davidson was followed by Bobby Mays, Michael Smith, Danny Holt and Kenneth Smelcer.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., currently leading the UMP Modified national point standings, held off Stanley Donahoo, Kurt Hall, Rick Taylor, and Thomas Hutson in capturing the 25-lap "Open Wheel" feature victory.
Bill Banks of Dandridge, Tenn., captured the 25-lap Sportsman feature victory over Glen Atkins, Bobby Mays, Ronnie Holt and Jeff Ferguson.
Shawn Henry of Newport, Tenn., led wire-to-wire in winning the 20-lap Mini Stock feature over Brandon James, Larry James, Les Cox and Runah Henry.
LATE MODEL (50-laps)
DNS: Terry Wolfenbarger #3-Knoxville, TN
SUPER STOCK (30-laps)
NOTE: After being postponed on two other occasions due to rainouts, the Volunteer Speedway "Night of Champions" will be held next Saturday, August 21, honoring all former Late Model track champions. Sponsored by Don Smith Ford of Greeneville, Tenn., a five-division racing program is scheduled. Gates will open at 4 p.m., with qualifying set for 7 p.m., followed by racing at 8 o’clock.
Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020 -www.bullsgap.com
Track Office (423) 288-5992
Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact (423) 928-9644