By Robert Walden
Volunteer Speedway Media/Public Relations
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (Aug. 17) — If you ask Dale McDowell what he thinks about racing at Volunteer Speedway, he’s liable to tell you he thinks about it being home-turf for him. Because over the years he’s captured several big-purse special event wins at “The Gap.”
Before a huge midweek crowd Thursday, the 51-year-old from Chickamauga, Ga., wrote his name in the record book for a second time as winner of the Ultimate Super Late Model Series 13th annual Scorcher for a $10,000 payday. The run to his second $10,000 victory at the track this season was very impressive, as he led from start-to-finish.
In preliminary action, Brandon Overton set fast-time overall during qualifying among the 31 entries with a quick lap at 12.098 seconds. McDowell, Casey Roberts, Shanon Buckingham and Ross Bailes won their respective heat races, with Jonathan Davenport and 13-year-old Carder Miller each winning B-mains.
McDowell powered into the lead at start of the 50-lap feature over Bailes, Roberts, Buckingham and Dakotah Knuckles.
Mike Marlar looked fast early on as he swept by Knuckles to claim fifth on lap 2 which also opened the door for Overton to move in on Knuckles for sixth place. After moving into the top five, Marlar quickly went to work on Buckingham for fourth.
Meanwhile, Buckingham, Marlar and Overton were engaged in a fierce battle for position. On lap 12 they went three-wide out of turn four and bounced off of one another on the front straightaway while managing to keep going at full-speed.
Ultimately, Marlar would gain the fourth position with Overton also moving around Buckingham. Overton grabbed fourth away from Marlar on lap 18.
The first caution flag of the night waved on lap 20. On the ensuing restart, McDowell was able to get away from an intense fight for the positions behind him involving Roberts, Bailes and Overton.
Another yellow flag appeared on lap 22. Bailes took advantage of the restart to take second away from Roberts while Marlar and Overton resumed their battle as they disputed the fourth spot.
A hard charging Donald McIntosh, who started from the rear of the field moved forward during the race’s first half and pulled himself into a battle for sixth with five-time Volunteer Speedway Super Late Model champion Vic Hill and Jimmy Owens.
Overton found trouble on lap 31 as his fourth-running machine banged off of the turn four wall causing damage from a flat right rear tire that ended his night.
McIntosh and Owens brought out the event’s final caution of the night on lap 37 when they tangled racing off the fourth turn, with McIntosh getting turned across Owens’ nose into the outside wall while racing for sixth. McIntosh was able to continue while Owens retired from the race.
Back under green for a run to the checkered flag, McDowell remained in control driving the Textron Off Road/Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research/Kinzer Drilling Company/Quality Natural Gas/New Era Industrial/Cometic Gaskets/Klotz Lubricants/Clements Race Engines/Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars/Shane McDowell Racing/No. 17m Chevrolet SS, to the $10,000 victory over Bailes, Hill, Roberts and Dennis Franklin.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Knuckles, Joey Coulter, current Ultimate Super Late Model Series points leader Tyler Millwood, Forrest Trent and Miller.
The first attempt to start the Crate Late Model feature saw the caution quickly wave on the opening lap for a wreck between turns one and two involving Jordon Horton, Kyle Courtney, Adam Tolliver and Jerry Green. Tolliver and Green were towed into the pits ending their night prematurely.
On the second try at green, Ross White of Knoxville grabbed lead over Cory Hedgecock, Horton, Gary Crittenden and Rusty Ballenger. Both Crittenden and Ballenger got around Horton on the second lap, moving into fourth and fifth, respectively, in the running order. The caution waved on lap 8 when Jason Melton spun in the fourth turn.
Off the double-file restart, White pulled back into the lead over Hedgecock and Ballenger. Behind the front-running trio the battle for position between Crittenden, Jason Trammell, Logan Roberson, Horton, Tim Byrd, Vic Chandler and Bryson Dennis was producing two- and three-wide action around the high banks.
With White in command out front, Hedgecock was feeling pressure from Ballenger for second. On lap 23 racing off the second corner down the backstretch, Ballenger made the move to take the position. But clearly White had the car to beat, as he led flag-to-flag in winning his fourth Crate Late Model feature on the season over Ballenger, Hedgecock, Trammell and Roberson.
Rex Coffey of Morristown held off a hard-charging Matt Tharp to record his second Sportsman Late Model victory of the season, with Heath Alvey, Tyler Smith and Andy Ogle rounding out the top five finishers.
Kurt Owens jumped out to lead at start in the 20-lap Modified Street feature over Chris Rickett of Morristown, but once the duo began working lapped traffic right at the halfway distance, Rickett began sizing his opponent up waiting to strike.
Racing off turn two on lap 12, Rickett passed Owens to take a lead he would hold to the checkered flag in capturing his division-leading sixth win of the season. Finishing behind Rickett were Owens, Michael Woods, Shannon Emery and Austin Atkins.
VOLUNTEER SPEEDWAY – BULLS GAP, TN – THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017 – ULTIMATE SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES – 13TH ANNUAL SCORCHER ($10,000-TO-WIN)
1. Dale McDowell #17m-Chickamauga, GA
2. Ross Bailes #40-Clover, SC
3. Vic Hill #1-Mosheim, TN
4. Casey Roberts #101-Toccoa, GA
5. Dennis Franklin #2-Gaffney, SC
6. Dakotah Knuckles #21K-Ewing, VA
7. Joey Coulter #2-Miami Springs, FL
8. Tyler Millwood #31-Cartersville, GA
9. Forrest Trent #101-Talbott, TN
10. Carder Miller #69-Salem, VA
11. Jason Welshan #29-Maryville, TN
12. Donald McIntosh #7-Dawsonville, GA
13. Mike Marlar #157-Winfield, TN
14. Jimmy Owens #20-Newport, TN
15. Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
16. Brandon Overton #116-Evans, GA
17. Jonathan Davenport #49-Blairsville, GA
18. Chris Barton #144-Middlesboro, KY
19. Dustin Mitchell #89-Pine Level, NC
20. Eric Weber #25-Morristown, TN
21. Brandon Kinzer #18-Allen, KY
22. Jeremy Hines #5H-Seymour, IN
23. Riley Hickman #R1-Ooltewah, TN
24. Jared Bailey #24-Bedford, IN
Did Not Start
Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN
Chad Ogle #25-Sevierville, TN
Steve Smith #3-Powell, TN
Ellery Leake #34-Knoxville, TN
Austin Neely #3-New Tazewell, TN
David Crabtree #C5-Maryville, TN
Matt Henderson #17-Loudon, TN
CRATE LATE MODEL (30 laps)
1. Ross White #0
2. Rusty Ballenger #29
3. Cory Hedgecock #23
4. Jason Trammell #97
5. Logan Roberson #17
6. Gary Crittenden #18
7. Jordon Horton #56
8. Tim Byrd #24
9. Vic Chandler #88
10. Bryson Dennis #15
11. Steve Russell #72
12. Jake Teague #117
13. Christian Hanger #29
14. John Llewellyn #2
15. Jason Melton #95
16. Taran Hurst #22
17. Kyle Courtney #171
18. David Duplissey #D2
19. James Cole #5
20. Brad Hall #52
21. Tim Maupin #3
22. Preston Whitehead #81
23. Adam Tolliver #28
24. Jerry Green #G2
SPORTSMAN LATE MODEL (20 laps)
1. Rex Coffey #2
2. Matt Tharp #43
3. Heath Alvey #7
4. Tyler Smith #32
5. Andy Ogle #68
6. Brandon Miller #89
7. Warren McMahan #33
8. Jed Emert #98
9. Kevin Lewis #K15
10. Chris Coffey #97
11. Cody Smith #11
12. Floyd Self #3
13. David Bullington #20
14. Nicholas Shelton #9
15. Grant Corum #49
16. Steve Carr #77
17. Bubba Long #10
18. Dale Reed #52
19. Kyle Manis #25K
20. Jesse Helton #25
21. Travis Fultz #T0
Did Not Start: Zach Shannon #Z1, Van Lester #50
MODIFIED STREET (20 laps)
1. Chris Rickett #36
2. Kurt Owens #14
3. Michael Woods #66
4. Shannon Emery #M2
5. Austin Atkins #14
6. Wayne Rader #01
7. Charles Bates #27
8. Jon Cook #0Z
9. Parker Estes #31
10. Bret Banks #3
11. Terry Dean #47
12. Nick Presley #69
13. R.J. Mayes #6M
14. Tracy Wolfe #11
15. Kaleb Trent #3
16. Jeff Ferguson #24
Did Not Start: Brad Davis #88