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Sexton roars to seventh Volunteer Late Model victory
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, TN (Oct. 2) – Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway, Scott Sexton of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., powered into the lead at the drop of the green flag and led wire-to-wire in capturing his seventh Late Model feature victory of the season.
Sexton paced the 25-car field in qualifying with a fast-time of 13:034-seconds to capture the pole position for the 50-lap Late Model main, with young Duayne Hommel of Newport, currently fourth in Southern All-Star Super Late Model points, second quickest at 13:144 to earn the outside front row starting berth. John A. Utsman of Bluff City, at 13:171, Vic Chandler of Weaverville, N.C., at 13:220, and Tommy Kerr of Rockford, at 13:233 rounded out the top-five in the starting lineup.
Sexton, driving the Quality Heating & Air/English Mountain Spring Water/Precision Construction/J.T. Kerr Racing Equipment/Newport Auto Parts Place/Custom Race Engines/Hoosier/RCI/Wilwood/Bert Transmissions/Stinger Race Cars/No. 52 Grand Prix, launched into the lead over Hommel at the drop of the green as the field roared into the first turn, with Chandler, Utsman and Kerr in tow.
The veteran Utsman worked under Chandler to move into third place on lap 2, with the "Rockford Rocket" Kerr blasting around both Chandler and Utsman to move from fifth into third on lap 3, setting his sights on the second running Hommel. Closing to Hommel’s rear bumper on lap 8, and after battling side-by-side for two laps Kerr moved into the runner-up position on lap 10. Chandler continued to drift backwards, with Carlos Campbell moving into fifth on lap 11, and one lap later Campbell maneuvered around Utsman to take over fourth place. The event’s first caution flag waved on lap 14 for a spin in turn four by Utsman.
Preparing for the restart, the top-five were Sexton, Kerr, Hommel, Campbell and Dave Burks. Before one lap could be completed, the caution quickly reappeared for the spinning Brogie Broyles in the fourth turn. Back under green, Kerr had his hands full fending off the challenge from Hommel trying to retake second, but with Hommel’s tires fading, Kerr comfortably began to pull away in attempting to chase down the leader Sexton.
At halfway, Sexton held a four car-length advantage over Kerr, followed by Hommel, Burks and Campbell. Running sixth through tenth was David Crabtree, Herman Goddard, Kerry Jones, Rick Norris and Gary Blanken.
With the leaders working their way through lapped traffic on the 30th circuit, Sexton began to feel the heat from Kerr in his bid to overtake the "Pigeon Forge Flyer" for the point. Burks mounted a charge and dropped Hommel from third, to fourth place on lap 31. The final caution appeared on lap 37 for a spin in turn four by Brad Carty, setting up a 13-lap "sprint" to the checkers.
The lead trio of Sexton, Kerr and Burks were running nose-to-tail over the final laps, with Kerr sneaking his nose under Sexton’s left-rear quarter panel on a few occasions. But working his way masterfully through the lapped cars over the final five laps, Sexton pocketed $1,500 for the victory in holding off the hard charging Kerr and Burks, followed by Hommel and Goddard. Completing the top-10 finishers were Campbell, Crabtree, Norris, Blanken and Greg Burchett.
"Once again we had a really good car tonight here at ‘The Gap,’ " said the victorious Sexton after climbing from his mount. "The car worked great on the bottom of the track but about the last 15 laps of the race it began to tighten up and Tommy (Kerr) was giving me a hard run there at the finish. That’s a one-two sweep for Stinger Race Cars and we’ll take that.
"I’ve been very fortunate to have the outstanding season we’ve had, tonight was our seventh win at Volunteer Speedway and our 21st victory overall. I’ve got to thank my crew chief David Bryant for all that he means to my racing success, and also to Brian Imler for his help working on the car. And if not for the sponsorship support I receive, none of this would be possible, and I really need to thank everyone who contributes to Scott Sexton Racing. Hopefully, this will be a big boost for us and we will have a good run in next weekend’s Hav-A-Tampa Shootout at Dixie Speedway."
Tim Grindstaff of Jonesborough, Tenn., fresh off wrapping up his first-ever Super Stock track championship last week, led flag-to-flag in winning the 30-lap Super Stock feature over Randy Davidson, Allen Perry, Bobby Mays and Michael Smith.
Chad Ogle of Sevierville, Tenn., passed Rodney Kiker for the lead on lap 12 and never looked back in recording the UMP (Open-Wheel) Modified feature victory. Finishing behind Ogle and Kiker were Wayne James, Kurt Owens and Paul Bales.
Shannon Emery of Morristown, Tenn., captured his second Sportsman feature victory of the season over Ronnie Holt, Lynn Sauceman, Jeff Mays and Jason Smelcer.
Lee Sauceman of Morristown, Tenn., captured the 20-lap Mini stock victory holding off Roger Blakely, Marty Phillips, Brandon James and Runah Henry.
LATE MODEL (50-laps)
DNS: Dale Ball #25-Johnson City, TN
Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020
Track Office (423) 288-5992
Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact (423) 928-9644