CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — R. J. Conley ran down early race leader Brandon Kinzer and blitzed on to victory to claim the $5,000 win in the inaugural Vallery Chevrolet Atomic Blast for super late models Saturday night July 26 at Brad McCown’s Atomic Speedway.
Drama started to unfold early when fast timer Jason Montgomery experienced possible engine problems and requested the tail. That bumped up R. J. Conley from an eighth-place start to a sixth and set the tone for what would be a spectacular race. It was later discovered that Montgomery dropped a valve in his speedplant.
Brandon Kinzer, Allen, Kentucky charged into the lead over outside pole starter Steve Casebolt Jr. Duane Chamberlain, Richmond, Indiana jumped the cushion and popped a tire off the rim. Racers were allowed a hot pit in the infield and Chamberlain changed the left rear and restarted at the tail with two laps in. No other pit stops were necessary.
After that early caution the next 38 laps clicked off with great precision. The first three cars you could ‘throw a blanket over’ as by lap 8 Kinzer’s early lead had diminished. R.J. Conley had a lap-six pass in a tantalizing move from 5th to second, leap-frogging second place runner Casebolt in the process.
Sometimes three-wide, that trio blitzed away from the rest of the field and by lap 18 Conley had made a run for the top spot. Fans definitely got their money’s worth from the excitement the top three cars generated over the course of the event, not to mention heated action back in the pack. Conley twice dove low, then after the ‘set-up move’ moved to the highest portion of the race track, ram-rodding through turn three, sparks flying off the wall to blast by Kinzer off turn four on lap 22.
Kinzer tried Conley again over the next two laps, but the Wheelersburg driver’s Rocket Chassis No. 71c turned on the after-burners in pulling away from Casebolt and Kinzer. Kinzer held off Casebolt to lap 32, when the C-9 burst by for the runner-up slot.
Casebolt ran out of time in his run for number one, while Dustin Linville- fast all night long– closed the gap on third place Kinzer. Although much of the action was up front, great races for position, including Chamberlain’s charge from last to the front tickled the nerves of the fans.
Berwanger ran in the top five much of the night, stumbling once over the cushion, but recovering for a great top five finish. In the last two laps, Chamberlain bagged J.T. Conley and Gullion for a top six finish. Both Gullion and Conley had credible runs, a compliment to the talents of these two young drivers.
“Wow! I don’t know if anyone was running the same line as me, but I thought I was in trouble through 3 and 4 for 39 laps,” said Conley. “I wondered where some of those guys were (behind me). I was too tired to get my foot off the gas, so I just held it down.”
Dan Ebert’s Artic Cat Impressive Chassis despite the cool Artic blast was hot and fast from start to finish in the 20-lap AMRA Modified headliner. Jamey Adams won the street stock feature.