KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The place to be on Friday nights in the Model City and surrounding Tri-Cities and Southwest Virginia region is Kingsport Speedway for exciting NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing at “The Concrete Jungle.”
Chad Finchum, defending Kingsport Speedway Late Model Stock and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, powered into the lead on the seventh lap and once out front never looked back en route to capturing his second win of the season.
Kres VanDyke, winner of three features this season and currently sitting atop the divisional point leaderboard, set fast-time at 15.346 over Zeke Shell who stopped the clock second quickest at 15.348.
With an invert of just the top-two qualifiers following the roll of the dice, VanDyke and Shell remained on the front row for start of the 60-lap feature. VanDyke pulled ahead of Shell on the opening lap racing off turn two to take the lead, with Finchum, Ryan Stiltner and 16-year-old rookie Justin Fontaine the top five in the running order.
At end of the backstretch working the second circuit, Finchum got around Shell for second and set his sights ahead on leader VanDyke. Lee Tissot, the most recent winner, was quickly on the move from his eighth-place starting spot as he passed Fontaine for the fifth position on lap five.
The event’s only caution flag waved on the sixth lap for a three-car wreck in the fourth turn which involved Brian Blevins, Wayne Hale and Austin Peters. Following a red flag for track cleanup, off the double-file restart Finchum took the lead over VanDyke, Shell, Stiltner and Tissot.
Stiltner had a rearview mirror full of the hard-charging Tissot, and on lap 10 racing off the fourth turn Tissot got around Stiltner to move into fourth, right on Shell’s back bumper.
Meanwhile out front, Finchum was beginning to put some real estate between his mount and those in pursuit. By lap 20, Finchum had stretched his lead to a half-straightaway over VanDyke, Shell, Tissot and Stiltner.
Racing off the fourth corner on lap 25, Tissot got inside of Shell and at end of the front straightaway racing into the first turn he moved into the third spot. With the 19-year-old Finchum setting a blistering pace out front, all attention was focused behind him on the quartet of VanDyke, Tissot, Shell and Stiltner as they ran nose-to-tail around the .375-mile banked concrete oval.
On several occasions racing up off the corners, Tissot would try to get past VanDyke but each time VanDyke would slam the door shut and maintain his position. Tissot managed to get alongside VanDyke on lap 40, and over the next six circuits they raced side-by-side before Tissot finally moved into the runner-up position.
But there would be no catching Finchum out front, as he cruised to a full-straightaway margin of victory over Tissot, VanDyke, Shell and Stiltner.
John Harrell won the street stock race and Keith Helton topped the pure four feature. Kirby Gobble ate up the Mod 4 field and James Deese was best in the rookie pure four event.