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King, Sise, Emert, Blanken, Millsap, Brock visit victory lane at Volunteer Speedway in 2018 weekly opener
Eddie King Jr. of Knoxville captured the Steel Head Late Model victory, while Trevor Sise also of Knoxville recorded the Crate Late Model win, with Jed Emert of Maryville bringing home the Sportsman Late Model victory.
Gary Blanken of Russellville captured the Modified Street victory, while Michael Millsap of Knoxville recorded the Classic win, with Josh Brock of Corbin, Ky., taking the Open Wheel Modified victory.
Austin Neely was fastest in Steel Head Late Model qualifying at 13.481 seconds, but it was outside front-row starter Jason Trammell jumping out into the lead over Neely, Michael Smith, Jordon Horton and Ruben Mayfield.
With Trammell and Neely quickly putting distance between themselves and their closest challengers, behind them good, hard racing action was taking place involving Smith, Horton, Mayfield, Anthony White, Eddie King Jr. and Eric Webber.
The number 13 proved to be unlucky for both the fourth-running Smith and second-place Neely. Smith slowed on the backstretch to bring out the caution, and while under yellow Neely pulled into the pits at the turn four entrance for attention from his crew.
Back under green Trammell held the lead over King, Horton, Mayfield and Webber. But tough luck for Trammell as he slowed on the high side between turns three and four with a flat right-rear tire on lap 19. Once his crew changed the tire he tagged back on as last car on the lead-lap for the restart.
With King assuming the lead, the action behind him was intense as Horton, Mayfield, Webber, Neely, Trammell and Smith were all in the mix battling for real estate. Behind leader King on the white flag lap between turns one and two, Horton, Mayfield and Webber raced three-wide.
King captured the victory over Horton, Webber, Mayfield and Neely, with Trammell and Smith close behind in sixth and seventh, respectively.
With Trevor Sise competing this season in the Crate Late Model division, he showed fellow competitors in qualifying that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with as he set fast-time at Sise 13.520 seconds to nail down the pole starting position.
Sise rocketed out into the lead at the start over defending track champion Ross White, Anthony White, Rusty Ballenger and Tim Byrd. Caution quickly waved on lap 6 when Jerry Green spun in the second turn.
Before the field could get back under green flag racing conditions, there were two consecutive caution periods before one lap could be completed for spins by Tim Maupin and Tyler Arrington.
Finally back up to speed, Sise was in control out front leading Anthony White and Ballenger, while Ross White and Josh Henry were battling for the fourth spot. Sise caught rear of the field with just five laps remaining, but he masterfully worked his way past the slower traffic to maintain his advantage. Meanwhile, Ballenger was pressuring Anthony White for the runner-up position.
Racing into the first turn on lap 28, Ballenger drove in hard on the inside to slide up in front of Anthony White to take away second place. Clearly not liking the manner in which he had been passed for position Anthony White got into the rear of Ballenger and spun him exiting the second turn on the backstretch to bring out the caution.
Before the race restarted, track officials put Ballenger back in the second spot and ordered Anthony White to rear of the field for causing the caution. But the “Dirty White Boy” would have none of it, and elected to pull into the infield pits and call it a race.
Sise would not be denied a trip to victory lane as he won over Ballenger, Henry, Kyle Courtney and Ross White.
Jed Emert was quickest in Sportsman Late Model qualifying at 13.801 seconds, but it was defending track champion Heath Alvey who grabbed the lead on the start over Emert, Travis Fultz, Zach Sise and Brad Seagle.
While Alvey was putting some distance between himself and those in pursuit as the race reached halfway distance, it was a good three-car battle between Emert, Fultz and Sise. With the race running clean-and-green, at lap 15 the leader Alvey began working heavy lapped traffic and had difficulty maneuvering his way past the slower cars, which allowed Emert, Fultz and Sise to quickly close in.
The trio of Emert, Fultz and Sise caught leader Alvey working lap 17 racing into the first turn. With Alvey not able to cleanly overtake the slower traffic directly in front of him on the backstretch, and knowing he was primed to be passed for the lead, he decided to take matters into his own hands and turned Floyd Self into the outside wall near the crossover gate entering the third turn.
Self slammed hard into the wall destroying his race car, while Joshua Sneed and James Kelso also were collected in the wreck – which first brought out the caution and then the red flag. Once the field began circling the track following cleanup, track officials penalized Alvey for overly aggressive driving and ordered him to restart from rear of the field. But instead Alvey pulled into the pits.
With Emert now out front, over the final three circuits he managed to hold off Fultz, Sise, Seagle and Brandon Miller to get the win.
It had been quite a while since Gary Blanken last (June 11, 2016) visited victory lane at “The Gap,” but the veteran driver served notice he had a fast hot-rod in Modified Street qualifying by setting fast-time at 15.040 seconds to earn the pole position for the 20-lap feature. Blanken powered into the lead on the start and led flag-to-flag in winning over Shannon Emery, Josh Brock, Brady Lee and Robbie Buchanan.
Michael Millsap captured his first-ever Classic victory at Volunteer Speedway over Tony Trent, Will Carey, Chris Worsham and David Kerr.
With several Open Wheel Modified competitors around the region not quite yet ready to race, the field was slim for the open-wheel event. Josh Brock easily won over Terry James.
STEEL HEAD LATE MODEL (30 laps)
CRATE LATE MODEL (30 laps)
SPORTSMAN LATE MODEL (20 laps)
Did Not Start: David Bullington #4
MODIFIED STREET (20 laps)
CLASSIC (20 laps)
Did Not Start: Shane Taylor #37
OPEN WHEEL MODIFIED (8 laps)
1. Josh Brock #17
Did Not Start: Billy Palmer #36