KINGSPORT, Tenn. — With the threat of rain all around the region Friday evening, Adam Long outran Mother Nature and a strong field of “Dalton Direct Carpets” NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock competitors to capture his second straight feature win on O’Reilly Auto Parts Night at the Races.
After setting a new track record last week, Lee Tissot once again stood atop the scoreboard in P1 following time trials again this week after posting a quick lap of 15.142-seconds. Following the invert of the top five from qualifying, Long and Kres VanDyke led the 20-car field to green from row one.
On the start and with a light drizzle falling from the skies, Long and VanDyke battled door-to-door around the .375-mile banked concrete oval with neither giving an inch over the opening four circuits, each wanting the lead, before Long moved ahead of VanDyke, Hayden Woods, Zeke Shell and Tissot. Shell got around Woods for third on lap six, and one lap later VanDyke slipped exiting the fourth turn and Shell sped past into the second spot.
Racing off turn two on lap nine, Tissot got around Woods for fourth and with the door open and Woods stuck on the outside, point leader Chad Finchum pulled under to challenge Woods for fifth.
Lap 13 proved to be unlucky for Woods, as he had nowhere to go but into the lapped car of Bruce Blessing in the fourth turn who was sitting sideways in the racing groove. Woods’ night was over with a badly damaged ride parked in the pits, an innocent victim of circumstances.
The double-file restart had Long and Shell on the front row. Back under green, Shell got loose exiting the fourth turn to allow VanDyke to slide past into second place. Before Shell could fully recover he had lost real estate to both Finchum and Tissot, settling into the fifth spot.
Meanwhile out front Long, driving the Tru-Line Pipeline, LLC/CNX Gas/Clark’s Automotive Race Engines/Hedgecock (Race Cars) Racing Enterprises/Graphics Effects/Wallburg Speedshop/Adam Long Racing/No. 3 Chevrolet SS, lap after lap began to increase his advantage to lead VanDyke by a half-straightaway at the midpoint of the 60-lapper.
A tough break for the third-running Finchum on lap 36, when lapping Mike Potter between turns three and four contact was made which resulted in a cut tire for Finchum. Shell ran over sheet metal from Potter’s car to also sustain a flat tire, with the yellow flag waving for debris on the track. After attention from their pit crews, both Finchum and Shell rejoined the race at rear of the field.
Long and VanDyke once again brought the field back up to speed from the front row, with VanDyke giving it his best effort to grab the lead for three laps before Long moved ahead. Just behind Long and VanDyke, Ronnie McCarty was having his best Late Model Stock run ever at “The Concrete Jungle” in battling door-to-door with Tissot for third, with Daniel Pope II just behind them running fifth.
R.J. Stanley spun entering the first turn on lap 46 and slid high up the track to bring the caution out. On the ensuing attempt to restart, following contact with another car Austin Peters was turned hard into the outside wall along the front straightaway and the yellow waved once again. Peters slowly maneuvered his damaged car into the pits and thus ended a run inside the top 10.
VanDyke had one more chance to try and secure the lead from Long with the green flag waving for a 14-lap sprint to the finish. But Long proved to be up for the challenge, powering back ahead of VanDyke and going on to record his second consecutive feature win and division-leading third victory on the season. Long was chased to the checkers by VanDyke, Tissot, McCarty and Pope.