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Ogle Jr. captures second Volunteer Late Model victory
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, TN (Sept. 11) – Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn., Billy "The Kid" Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., held off the hard-charging Tommy Kerr, Vic "The Thrill" Hill, and Dale Ball to capture his second Late Model feature victory of the season.
With a stellar field of 32 Late Models packing the pits at "The Gap," Ogle Jr. set fast-time of 13:947-seconds to earn the pole position for the 50-lap feature with Kerr, of Rockford, Tenn., grabbing the outside front row starting berth at 13:989. Rounding out the top-five in the starting lineup were Hill, at 14:097, Gary Blanken of Whitesburg, Tenn., at 14:260, and Ball, of Johnson City, at 14:287.
The top-18 starters were locked-in based on qualifying times, with the remaining six starting positions determined through a 15-lap consolation and the final two based on the highest non-transferring drivers in the track point standings. Phil Hall, of Mt. Airy, N.C., recorded the win over David Crabtree, Mark Douglas, Tommy Devaney, Michael Jackson and Steve Carr, with Tim Frye and Lloyd Osborne added through the points.
Ogle Jr. and the "Rockford Rocket" Kerr slowly brought the 26-car field to the green, with Kerr winning the drag race into turn one over Ogle Jr. At the end of one lap, the top-five were Kerr, Ogle Jr., Blanken, Hill and Ball. On lap 3, caution waved for a spin in turn four by Mark Leach.
With the top-five still the same on the restart, Kerr had his hands full with Ogle Jr. working the low groove around the 4/10-mile track trying to overtake Kerr for the point. Hill used a good bite exiting turn four to work underneath Blanken and take over fourth on lap 4, while Dave Burks completed the pass of Ball to move into fifth place. The stay was short for Burks as he looped his mount in turn two the following circuit to bring out the event’s second caution.
Back under green, Ogle Jr. was once again working the bottom of the track in his attempt to grab the lead from Kerr. After running two laps side-by-side, Ogle Jr. tucked back on Kerr’s rear bumper. Ball worked the high-line between turns one and two to pass Blanken for fourth on lap 11, setting his sights on Hill, Ogle Jr. and Kerr.
As the leaders began to encounter heavy lapped traffic on lap 14, Ogle Jr. once again dove to the bottom groove. Using the lapped cars to his advantage Ogle Jr. powered into a lead he would never relinquish on lap 16, though he would be pressured to the finish by Kerr, Hiil and Ball.
With the top-four of Ogle Jr., Kerr, Hill and Ball running nose-to-tail as the race reached halfway, closely followed by Blanken, caution appeared for the spinning Frye in turn two. Running sixth through tenth were Jeff Silvers, Kerry Jones, Rick Norris, Jerry Broyles and Casey Huffman.
On lap 26, Ball dove to the inside of Hill racing into turn one to challenge for third, but "The Thrill" slammed the door shut on Ball racing down the backstretch. With the top-four setting a blistering pace around the high-banked speedplant, led by gunslinger Billy "The Kid" Ogle Jr., with Kerr, Hill and Ball all in tow, the crowd rose to its feet on several occasions as they threaded their way through lapped traffic.
In only his second outing of the season, Norris continued to look impressive in his new TNT Late Model, overtaking the current track points leader Jones for seventh on lap 32, then three laps later moving around Silvers into sixth place.
With ten laps remaining Ogle Jr. held a four car-length advantage over Kerr, Hill and Ball, but before all was said and done – lapped traffic would come into play at the finish. Crossing the stripe on lap 47, Kerr looked to make his move around Ogle Jr. for the lead between turns one and two, but Ogle Jr. fended off the challenge. As the white flag waved, Kerr attempted to mount one last charge to wrestle the lead away from Ogle Jr., but Billy "The Kid" would not be denied his second $1,500 Late Model victory of the season at "The Gap."
Ogle Jr., driving the Vanover Concrete Finishers/Calhoun’s Restaurant/P & J Builder’s/Wheels Used Cars/Custom Race Engines/Warrior Race Cars/No. 201 Monte Carlo, held off Kerr, Hill, Ball and Blanken. Rounding out the top-10 were Norris, Silvers, Jones, Douglas and Broyles.
"Man, it’s always great to win a race here at Volunteer," said a happy Ogle Jr. after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "This was a really strong field of cars assembled here tonight, and by no way was it an easy win. Tommy (Kerr) got the jump on us there on the start and I tried him on the bottom (groove) a few times to try and take the lead.
"The lapped cars played a major role in this win tonight, and fortunately for me … I was able to use them to my advantage to move around Tommy for the lead. Where lapped traffic helped enable me to take the lead early in the race, there at the end it was all I could do to hold off Tommy, Vic (Hill) and Dale (Ball) as we battled through the slower cars. I knew they were breathing down my neck. It was good to get some laps in here tonight for the Hav-A-Tampa race next weekend. We’ve got a great car, and it would really be good to win again next week."
In his quest for the ’99 Super Stock track points championship, Randy Davidson of Morristown, Tenn., rolled to yet another 30-lap Super Stock feature victory over Tim Grindstaff, Ken Hall, Kenneth Smelcer and Bobby Mays.
"Rockin’ " Rodney Kiker of Greeneville, Tenn., started from the pole position and led flag-to-flag in winning the 25-lap UMP (Open-Wheel) Modified feature over Mike Clevenger, Jeff Maupin, Kurt Owens and Skimp Henry.
Bobby Mays of Jonesborough, Tenn., recorded his division-leading 12th Sportsman feature victory of the season over Glen Atkins, Eddie Morris, Shannon Emery and Lynn Sauceman.
In his first appearance of the season at Volunteer Speedway, Marty Philips of Maryville, Tenn., captured the 20-lap Mini Stock feature victory over Roger Blakely, Brandon James, Shawn Henry and Runah Henry.
LATE MODEL (50-laps)
NOTE: The United Dirt Track Racing Association (UDTRA) Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series, the nation’s premier dirt Late Model sanctioning body, returns to Volunteer Speedway Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17 & 18 for the "Loven Ready Mix 100," a big $70,000 purse … $15,000 to win event.
Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020
Track Office (423) 288-5992
Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact (423) 928-9644