||Maupin, Flanary, Whitt visit Volunteer Speedway victory lane on ‘East Tennessee Masonry Night at the Races’
BULLS GAP, Tenn. — With a full moon shining over Volunteer Speedway and the crowd bundled up on a cool night in East Tennessee, weekly racing began Saturday with East Tennessee Masonry Night at the Races.
Tim Maupin of Johnson City captured his first-ever Fastrak Racing Series-sanctioned Pro (Crate) Late Model feature win, while Shon Flanary of Mount Carmel recorded the Open Wheel Modified victory, with defending two-time Modified Hobby track champion Jamie Whitt of Wise, Va., kicking the season off with a visit to victory lane.
With the track in perfect condition, wet-and-tacky and hooked-up, John Tweed wrote his name in the record books by touring the high banks at 13.071 seconds (111.104 mph) to establish a new Pro Late Model track qualifying record. Tweed’s fast-lap lowered the previous record of 13.192 seconds which Jerry Broyles established on Sept. 4, 2010. Besides Tweed, both Broyles and Dale Ball were faster than Broyles’ old time.
Following two bad starts attempting to get the 35-lap Pro Late Model feature started, both Tweed and Broyles were relegated back to the second row, with row two of Ball and Mike Smith moving to the front row. With Smith’s engine suffering from fuel pressure problems, he was forced into the pits, thus moving Broyles back up to the front row beside Ball for the start.
Ball and Broyles brought the field to green and raced side-by-side down the front straightaway into the first turn, but carrying momentum on the high-side Broyles rolled into the lead racing off (turn) two down the backstretch. Broyles led Ball, Tweed, Maupin and Chris Chandler back around to the stripe completing the opening lap.
With Ball pressuring Broyles for the point, between turns three and four on the seventh lap, Ball nearly got into the back of Broyles and almost spun his machine – thus allowing both Maupin and Tweed to drive by before getting his mount reeled in. Caution waved on lap 13, when leader Broyles had a left-rear wheel break off his car, sending him spinning between turns one and two.
Maupin was riding all alone out front for the Volunteer Double File Restart, with Ball and Tweed door-to-door behind him. Back up to speed Maupin quickly began to set sail over his teammate Ball and Tweed, while behind them Chandler, Tim Byrd, Ricky Moore, Todd Brooks, Brad Coffey, Vic Chandler and John Harrell were racing hard battling for real estate.
After earning rookie of the year honors last season and finishing sixth in points with several top-five runs, it was only a matter of time before the 28-year-old Maupin, a former professional ATV racer with multiple championships to his credit, would capture his first-ever dirt late model victory.
With 10 laps remaining, Maupin, driving the Smith Brothers Harley-Davidson of Johnson City/Kerry Jones Trucking – Bigfoot Enterprises/Luke’s Pizza of Johnson City/Alan Poyner Enterprises/Mainline Communications/Twin D Auto & Truck Sales of Johnson City/Advance Auto Parts/Envy Suspension & Race Consultants/VP Racing Fuels/Warrior Race Cars/No. T2 Chevrolet Impala, began to put some breathing distance between his car and Ball’s. Maupin would not be denied that ever-so-sweet first trip to victory lane in winning over Ball, Tweed, Byrd and Chris Chandler.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Moore, Brooks, Coffey, Tyler Dixon and Harrell.
“Yeah, to finally get my first-ever Pro Late Model feature win most definitely is awesome,” said a smiling Maupin after climbing from his car in victory lane. “After the deal early on when Dale (Ball) almost spun and I got past him to move into second behind Jerry (Broyles), I then began closing in a little on the leader and then all at once the rear wheel broke off his car and I thought for sure I was going to run all over him. But somehow I managed to avoid Broyles and when I looked up on the scoreboard under caution and saw my teammate Ball was behind me, I knew I had to get up on the wheel and drive with all I had in me.
“Both of these Warrior Race Cars that Dale and I drive handle really well, and in crate-engine late model racing that’s such a crucial factor. We’ve got a good shock package underneath them and they’re a dream to wheel around these high banks. Without mirrors in the car, I kept waiting to hear the sound of Dale maybe sticking his nose under me in the corners or getting up on the outside of me. But, man, I just kept my focus and lap-after-lap hit my marks and didn’t make any mistakes. It’s such a cool deal to be able get my first win outrunning Dale (my racing mentor). I really want to thank the car owner, Alan Poyner, and Dale for giving me the opportunity to race. I’m just having a blast and ‘living a dream’ racing a dirt late model. They say winning for the first time is the toughest. If that’s the case, hopefully we’ll be able to back this win tonight up with a few more throughout the rest of the season.”
Pole-sitter Blake Kelley jumped into the lead over Jon Cook at start of the 25-lap Modified Hobby feature and rode out front in search of his first-ever win for the opening five circuits before tangling with a car he was lapping, which resulted in a flat tire for Kelley. With Cook assuming the lead, he was shadowed by defending two-time division champion Jamie Whitt.
Whitt pressured Cook for the point and they battled side-by-side for two circuits before Whitt powered into a lead he would never relinquish racing off the fourth turn on lap 11. Cook would drop out of the race and Whitt set the cruise control as he easily won over Robbie Woods, Chris Gregg, Tyler Smith and Dennis Metcalf.
Shon Flanary launched into the lead at drop of the green flag in the 20-lap Open Wheel Modified feature and never looked back en route to winning over three-time track champion Wayne James. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Josh Sexton, Justin Blevins and third generation “James Gang” member Tyler James.
PRO LATE MODEL (35 laps)
1. Tim Maupin #T2-Johnson City, TN
2. Dale Ball #2-Johnson City, TN
3. John Tweed #5-Greeneville, TN
4. Tim Byrd #24-Jonesborough, TN
5. Chris Chandler #8-Weaverville, NC
6. Ricky Moore #75-Mosheim, TN
7. Todd Brooks #T1-Greeneville, TN
8. Brad Coffey #88-Maryville, TN
9. Tyler Dixon #00-Greeneville, TN
10. John Harrell #H19-Surgoinsville, TN
11. Vic Chandler #88-Weaverville, NC
12. Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
13. Richard Adkins #73-Bristol, TN
14. James Cole #5-Sevierville, TN
15. Bobby Mays #19-Jonesborough, TN
16. Mike Smith #4-Rogersville, TN
MODIFIED HOBBY (25 laps)
1) Jamie Whitt #1; 2) Robbie Woods #2; 3) Chris Gregg #73; 4) Tyler Smith #32; 5) Dennis Metcalf #55; 6) Todd Johnson #25; 7) Kimberly Allen #15; 8 ) Jon Cook #0z; 9) Danny Helton #14; 10) Dale Reed #52; 11) Jesse Wilder #79; 12) Blake Kelley #K5; 13) Terry Dean #47; 14) Eddie Adams #9; 15) Rick Fillers – Did Not Start: Jesse Helton #28; Kaleb Trent #3
OPEN WHEEL MODIFIED (20 laps)
1) Shon Flanary #98; 2) Wayne James #4; 3) Josh Sexton #13; 4) Justin Blevins #50; 5) Tyler James #420; 6) Aaron Hopkins #72 – Did Not Start: Jeff Fox #2