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Goddard pockets $2,000 for Late Model victory at Volunteer
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, TN (August 6) Ė For this week ONLY, the racing action switched to Friday night at Volunteer Speedway instead of the normal Saturday racing program, and the largest field of Late Model competitors of the season packed the pits. When the checkered flag waved, 63-year-old veteran racer Herman Goddard, of Knoxville, Tenn., was celebrating his third 50-lap Late Model feature victory of the season, worth $2,000.
Scott Sexton of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., set fast-time of 13:875-seconds over the 41-car field of Late Model competitors in qualifying to capture the pole position for the 50-lap feature, and Tommy Kerr of Rockford, Tenn., with a time of 14:050 earned the outside front row starting berth. Goddard, with a time of 14:072, Steve Smith of Powell, Tenn., at 14:144, and Greg Burchett of Church Hill, Tenn., at 14:178 rounded out the top-five in the starting lineup.
The top-18 starters were locked in on their qualifying times, while the remainder of the 26-car starting grid was determined in two 10-lap consolation races, won by Tommy Devaney of Oliver Springs, Tenn., and Terry Wolfenbarger of Knoxville.
The pole-sitter Sexton was unable to start the feature due to a family emergency and instead, Gusty Christenberry of Seymour, Tenn., climbed aboard Sextonís race car for the start and tagged on at the rear of the field. At the drop of the green flag, the "Rockford Rocket" Kerr launched into the lead over Goddard, Smith, Burchett and Jerry Broyles. The eventís first caution appeared on lap 1 when Mark Vineyard spun in turn four.
Only one lap back green, the yellow waved again when eighth-running John Llewellyn also looped his car in turn four. With Kerr still on the point the top-five remained the same on the restart. A furious battle for position waged from sixth, back to tenth in the running order involving H.E. Vineyard, Dale Ball, Carlos Campbell, Roger Best and Duayne Hommel.
Hommel was on the move on lap 3, picking off both Best and Campbell to take over eighth place, while Randle Chupp had worked around Best to challenge Campbell for ninth. The battle for the lead between Kerr and Goddard, saw the duo run two laps side-by-side before Goddard roared into the lead on lap 9 and would never look back.
H.E. Vineyard was on the move on lap 12, working under Broyles for fifth place. With Goddard stretching his lead to eight car lengths over Kerr, Kerr had his rear view mirror full of a hard-charging Smith. Smith worked the low-side coming off turn two on lap 19 to take over second, setting his sights on Goddard. Only one lap later, H.E. Vineyard dropped Burchett from fourth to fifth.
On lap 21, the caution waved when Broyles spun between turns one and two. Track officials determined Broyles was tagged in the rear by Ball. Broyles was placed back in the position he was running prior to the caution and Ball to the rear of the field for the restart.
As the race reached halfway, Goddard, driving the Goddard Performance Parts/Goddard Vinyl Siding & Replacement Windows/Volunteer Chevrolet/Custom Race Engines/Warrior Race Cars/No. 22 Monte Carlo, led Smith, Kerr, H.E. Vineyard and Hommel. Burchett, Chupp, Campbell, Best, and John A. Utsman rounded out the top-10 in the running order.
As Goddard encountered heavy traffic on lap 32, Smith closed to within two car lengths of the leaderís rear bumper. But that would be the closest Smith could get, as by lap 40, Goddard had stretched his lead back to seven car lengths.
Goddard recorded the feature victory over Smith, Kerr, H.E. Vineyard and Hommel. Finishing sixth through tenth were Chupp, Burchett, Campbell, Rex Richey and Best.
"Yeah, this was a really good win tonight over an outstanding field of cars," said Goddard. "This Warrior race car worked great. I couldnít have asked for it to be any better. People talk about me being 63 years old and still racing, well, Iím having fun. And thatís one of the keys.
"Either when it is no longer fun, or I am no longer competitive, thatís when Iíll know itís time to quit. But Iíve got news for these younger boys, the old man has still got some more wins left in him. I need to thank Bret Jackson, my sons Butch and Greg Goddard, my grandson Nathan Nash, and my son-in-law Billy Nash, for helping me out on the car."
Randall Keaton of Whitesburg, Tenn., led flag-to-flag in capturing the 30-lap Super Stock feature victory over Kenneth Smelcer, Mike Mellons, Tim Grindstaff and Michael Smith.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., the defending UMP Modified national champion, recorded a wire-to-wire victory in the 25-lap Open-Wheel feature. He was trailed by Chad Ogle, Rick Taylor, Rodney Kiker and Ray Wilmoth.
Bobby Mays of Jonesborough, Tenn., captured his 10th Sportsman feature victory of the season over Glen Atkins, Jason Smelcer, Shannon Emery and Gary Wilson.
LATE MODEL (50-laps)
NOTE: Racing returns to Saturday (August 14) night next week at Volunteer Speedway, featuring a five-division racing program with Late Model, Super Stock, UMP Modified, Sportsman and Mini Stock. Gates will open at 4 p.m., with qualifying at 7, followed by racing at 8 oíclock.
Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020
Track Office (423) 288-5992
Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact (423) 928-9644