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Kerr strong in recording third Late Model victory at ‘The Gap’

By Robert Walden

BULLS GAP, TN (Sept. 4) – Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway, Tommy Kerr of Rockford, Tenn., flexed his muscle by leading the 50-lap Late Model feature flag-to-flag for his third victory of the season.

The "Rockford Rocket" Kerr unloaded fast as he paced the 22-car Late Model field in qualifying, posting a fast-time of 13:880-seconds to capture the pole position, with Dale Ball of Johnson City, Tenn., touring the high-banked, 4/10-mile track at 14:065 to claim the outside front row starting berth. Rounding out the top-five in the starting lineup were Herman Goddard of Knoxville, Tenn., at 14:126, Kerry Jones of Bristol, Tenn., at 14:137, and Michael Jackson of Greeneville, Tenn., at 14:181.

At the drop of the green flag, Kerr launched into a lead he would never relinquish over Ball, Goddard, Jones and Jackson. In his best outing of the season, Jackson was racy early, passing Jones for fourth place on lap 3. By lap 10, Kerr had a half-straightaway advantage over Ball, who had the veteran Goddard glued to the rear bumper of his car. The event’s first caution waved on lap 12 when Warren Strickler and Randy Sauceman spun between turns one and two.

The top-five on the restart were Kerr, Ball, Goddard, Jones and Jackson. But up front, Kerr quickly began to distance himself over Ball and Goddard. With Kerr holding a 10 car-length lead on lap 22, the caution flag appeared when Goddard slowed with mechanical problems in turn two sending him to the pits for the night.

Back under green, at halfway Kerr was cruising out front over Ball, Jones, Jackson and Brett Miller. Running sixth through tenth were John A. Utsman, Rick Norris, who was making his first start of the year in a new TNT race car, Casey Huffman, Gary Blanken and Brogie Broyles.

On lap 34, exiting turn four onto the front straightaway, Huffman and Utsman tangled sending both into the outside concrete wall, also collecting Broyles and Sauceman to bring out the red flag. Ready to go back green, Ball looked to mount a challenge on Kerr for the point … but Kerr would have none of it as he once again pulled back into a comfortable lead.

On lap 42, the final caution waved to bunch the field back up for an eight-lap "sprint" to the finish. But over the final circuits, 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, roared to the $1,500 payday over Ball, Jones, Miller and Norris. Completing the top-10 finishers were Jackson, Utsman, Blanken, Lloyd Osborne and Greg Burchett.

"We knew we had a good car after hotlaps tonight," said Kerr after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "We were the only car to get in the 13’s in qualifying, and fortunately, we jumped out into the lead at the drop of the green and ran our own race. This Stinger race car has really been working well here at ‘The Gap’ these last few weeks, and it gives us great optimism for the upcoming Hav-A-Tampa race in two weeks.

"And I can’t thank my grandparents’ J.T. and Ima Jean Kerr enough, along with the family business for providing me the opportunity to race. Tonight makes our third win of the season, and we might even make a run for the points before all is said and done. But it’s going to be tough to catch Kerry (Jones) and Dale (Ball)."

Randy Davidson of Morristown, Tenn., held off Randall Keaton, Tim Grindstaff, Mike Mellons, and Kenneth Smelcer to capture the 30-lap Super Stock victory.

Chad Ogle of Sevierville, Tenn., led wire-to-wire in capturing the 25-lap UMP (Open-Wheel) Modified feature victory over Stanley Donahoo, Louis Hickey, Rick Taylor and Rodney Clonce.

Tim Trent of Morristown, captured his first 25-lap Sportsman feature win of the season. Trent was followed by Glen Atkins, Bobby Mays, Eddie Morris and Ronnie Holt.

Lee Sauceman of Morristown, raced to the 20-lap Stock 4-Cylinder feature victory over Shawn Henry, Larry James, Runah Henry and Les Cox.

        LATE MODEL (50-laps)

  1. Tommy Kerr #4T-Rockford, TN
  2. Dale Ball #25-Johnson City, TN
  3. Kerry Jones #6-Bristol, TN
  4. Brett Miller #12-Charlotte, NC
  5. Rick Norris #15-Kingsport, TN
  6. Michael Jackson #03-Greeneville, TN
  7. John A. Utsman #26-Bluff City, TN
  8. Gary Blanken #56-Whitesburg, TN
  9. Lloyd Osborne #11-Johnson City, TN
  10. Greg Burchett #17-Church Hill, TN
  11. Dennis Alverson #71-Kingsport, TN
  12. Jim Sisson #99-Morristown, TN
  13. Randy Sauceman #29-Morristown, TN
  14. Carlos Campbell #34-Jonesborough, TN
  15. Casey Huffman #7-Newport, TN
  16. Brogie Broyles #43-Piney Flats, TN
  17. Mikey Ball #7x-Newport, TN
  18. Jerry Travis #1-Mosheim, TN
  19. Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
  20. Herman Goddard #22-Knoxville, TN
  21. Warren Strickler #66-Kingsport, TN

DNS: David Crabtree #5-Maryville, TN

        SUPER STOCK (30-laps)

  1. Randy Davidson #28-Morristown, TN
  2. Randall Keaton #22-Whitesburg, TN
  3. Tim Grindstaff #57-Jonesborough, TN
  4. Mike Mellons #18-Kingsport, TN
  5. Kenneth Smelcer #8-Newport, TN

UMP MODIFIED (25-laps)

  1. Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN
  2. Stanley Donahoo #00-Dandridge, TN
  3. Louis Hickey #74-Whitesburg, TN
  4. Rick Taylor #7T-Morristown, TN
  5. Rodney Clonce #8-Mooresburg, TN

SPORTSMAN (25-laps)

  1. Tim Trent #17-Morristown, TN
  2. Glen Atkins #44-Morristown, TN
  3. Bobby Mays #5-Jonesborough, TN
  4. Eddie Morris #2x-Jonesborough, TN
  5. Ronnie Holt #H7-Newport, TN

STOCK 4-CYLINDER (20-laps)

  1. Lee Sauceman #04-Morristown, TN
  2. Shawn Henry #25-Newport, TN
  3. Larry James #J1-Newport, TN
  4. Runah Henry #R25-Newport, TN
  5. Les Cox #6-Church Hill, TN

NOTE: A full five-division racing program is scheduled next Saturday, Sept. 11 at Volunteer Speedway. Also, the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series will be making its final appearance in the state of Tennessee for 1999 at Volunteer Speedway on Friday and Sat., Sept. 17 & 18, for a big, two-day $15,000 to win event.

Volunteer Speedway (423) 235-5020 www.bullsgap.com

Track Office (423) 288-5992

Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact (423) 928-9644