BULLS GAP, Tenn. — A “super moon” was illuminating the nighttime skies over Volunteer Speedway for running of the Ultimate Super Late Model Series Saturday night Shootout 50.
Chad Ogle of Sevierville pulled the trigger and shot past Casey Roberts for the lead on lap 48 en route to claiming the $5,000 victory, the biggest Super Late Model win of his career.
Chad Ogle began the night setting fast-time at 12.393 seconds (117.074 mph) to earn pole position for the 50-lap main event, while Billy Ogle Jr. laid down a time of 12.439 to claim the outside front row starting berth.
Showing the way up front, it was the Ogle vs. Ogle show bringing the 24-car field to the green. “Billy the Kid” blasted ahead of Chad Ogle racing down the front straightaway into the first turn to take the lead, and up top in the banking between turns one and two, Roberts got around Chad Ogle for second, with Zack Mitchell and Brett Miller holding down the fourth and fifth spots in the running order on the opening lap.
The first caution waved on lap 3 between turns one and two when Mark Vineyard, Bryan Hendrix and Jensen Ford all got together. The race ended early for both Hendrix and Ford, while Vineyard and Boles continued on with slight sheet-metal damage.
Billy Ogle was all alone out front for the Ultimate Double File Restart, with Roberts and Chad Ogle lined up behind him side-by-side. Once again, Billy quickly rocketed back out to a comfortable lead over Roberts and Chad Ogle, while behind them action was fast-and-furious with drivers’ jockeying for position. Racing off turn two on lap 9, a disappointing end for racer leader Billy Ogle when the driveshaft (yoke) broke on his car and he coasted down the backstretch and stayed up high between turns three and four to bring the caution out.
Roberts moved to the point, followed by Ogle, Mitchell, Ray Cook and Miller. Before one lap could be completed, Ogle and Mitchell tangled between turns one and two, which forced all cars behind them into evasive action. Travis Greer and David Watts spun at exit of turn two to bring the yellow (flag) back out.
Following the dual cautions at lap 9, during the first half of the race two additional caution periods slowed the pace. And on each double-file restart, cars behind the front-runners battled two- and three-wide for position back through the field around the high-banked 4/10-mile oval.
Things began to settle down somewhat just past the mid-point in the 50-lapper, when Roberts, Ogle, Cook, Dale McDowell, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series competitor Ryan Gifford occupied the top five spots in the running order. With the lead pack rim-riding around the upper groove in the turns, on several occasions Ogle tried sticking his nose underneath Roberts. But each time Roberts slammed the door racing off the corner down the straightaway to maintain his advantage.
With 10 laps remaining, the quartet of Roberts, Ogle, Cook and McDowell were setting a blistering pace out front. Lapped traffic began to come into play with just a couple laps left on the scoreboard.
Crossing the stripe at the start-finish line to begin lap 48, Ogle drove off hard into the first turn inside of racer leader Roberts. The slower cars of Casey Barrow, Randy Todd and Jeff Franklin loomed directly ahead, and Ogle managed to trap Roberts up high in the banking behind the lapped cars to make the pass on Roberts for the lead. With the door open, Cook also worked his way around Roberts into the runner-up spot.
Once into the lead, there would be no denying Ogle a visit to victory lane driving his Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine/Ogle Towing/J.T. Kerr Racing Equipment/Ohlins/Schoenfeld/Hoosier Race Tire/Matlock Race Decals/Awesome Racewear/Custom Race Engines/CVR Race Cars/No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro. Ogle collected the $5,000 payday over Cook, McDowell (who swapped paint with Roberts for third racing off turn four to the checkered flag), Roberts and Gifford.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Stacy Boles, Miller, Terry Wolfenbarger, Daniel Baggerly and Greer.
“What a race and what a finish, man, we definitely needed this win tonight,” said a smiling Ogle following his first Ultimate Super Late Model Series victory. “It was great racing and the fans definitely had to like what they saw, because I know from my vantage point it sure got interesting there at the end. You take (Casey) Roberts, myself, Ray (Cook) and (Dale) McDowell, I knew from seeing the numbers posted on the scoreboard that any of us had a shot at getting the win. I really felt we were a little better running down in the middle of the track, or on down on the bottom than Roberts was. It just seemed his car worked best up top right against the cushion. When I saw we were approaching those slower cars, I knew that was my opportunity to try and pass him for the lead.
“I got to Roberts’ inside and trapped him up behind those slower cars, and I knew once I got the lead the win was going to be ours. People just don’t know what this win tonight means for our family race team. This is just the third race in 2012 we’ve ran. We had a break-in at our race shop during the off-season and we basically got cleaned out. The burglars just about hauled everything away we owned. It was a devastating blow for us to say the least, and we’ve just slowly had to piece-by-piece start putting this race team back together. Winning tonight sure helps put a smile on your face, especially after all the adversity we’ve faced. I want to thank my dad, Rick Ogle, along with John Ogle, and there’s Chip Vineyard at CVR Race Cars for building such a great racecar; and Jason Webb, plus my wife Mary and our kids Reece and Aniston for their support.”
Brad Coffey of Maryville jumped into the lead over Mike Smith at drop of the green in the 30-lap Fastrak Racing Series-sanctioned Pro (Crate) Late Model feature and led flag-to-flag for his first feature win. Strong runs for both Smith and Ricky Moore ended prematurely. First for Moore while running in third and the battery cable connection pulled loose, and for Smith running second when a radiator hose connection loosened and began spewing water just two laps from the finish.
But out front it was all Coffey, driving the Airport Motor Mile Wrecker Service/Bill Bunch Carburetion/Twisted Roofs/Hoosier Racing Tire/Simpson/Warrior Race Cars/No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro to victory over James Cole, Dale Ball, Todd Brooks and Greg Burchett. Following race the top three finishers were put through extensive tech (checking engine, carburetor spacer, headers, racing fuel samples, tires, etc.) in the infield pits, with Coffey, Cole and Ball found to be legal.
Shannon Emery led the first 14 laps of the Modified Hobby feature before a smoking engine parked him in the pits for remainder of the race. Blake Kelley of Parrottsville hadn’t visited victory lane at “The Gap” since the 2003 racing season, but he had recorded several runner-up finishes along the way plus finished top-five in points. Once the 30-year-old Kelley moved to the point, he never looked back en route to driving the Boone’s Garage/Eastport Exxon/Town and Country Drugs/The Sign Shop/No. K5 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to victory over Dale Reed, Jamie Whitt, Mike Kelley and Jesse Wilder.
Wayne James of Newport, driving the Dave’s Roofing/Lane’s Market/West Haven Speed Equipment/Performance Chassis/No. 4 ride, captured his second Open Wheel Modified victory over Tyler James and Jeff Akers.