By admin | June 23, 2008
Dillon, Buckingham capture Volunteer Speedway ‘Late Model Showdown’ victories
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 21) — It was never a question whether Austin Dillon of Lewisville, N.C., would drive a race car, after all he grew up around the sport of auto racing since he’s the grandson of legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and the son of former NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike Dillon. Racing dirt late models over the last couple of years has proved to be a good hands-on developmental program for paving the road to future success in hopefully the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Austin.
Competing full-time in 2008 with the NASCAR Camping World East Series, Dillon bolted out the gate strong by winning his first-ever entered NASCAR event back in April at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway. He currently sits atop the series’ point standings heading into the June 27 Camping World East event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
But in the years ahead the 18-year-old Dillon will fondly look back and the success he enjoyed racing on the high banks at Volunteer Speedway. Dillon captured his first Super Late Model feature win at the East Tennessee track in 2007, and Saturday night he passed pole-sitter Rick Rogers for the lead on lap 34 of the “Late Model Showdown at The Gap” 40-lap main event, and once out front he would not be denied the $2,000 victory.
Rogers and Shanon Buckingham led the stellar 23-car field to the green, with Rogers jumping into the lead over Buckingham as he carried the momentum off the high-side racing off turn two on the opening lap, with Brad Neat, Dillon and Tommy Kerr in tow. A strong run early in the race for Neat came to a premature end on the ninth circuit when he slowed with mechanical problems exiting the fourth turn and dropped to the inside coasting down the front straightaway and into the infield pits at the turn one entrance.
With Rogers flexing his muscle out front, Dillon quickly closed to the rear bumper of Buckingham and began pressuring him for the runner-up position, while just behind them the action was heated between Kerr, Mark Douglas, Mark Vineyard, Bryan Hendrix, Kerry Jones, 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, and Vic “The Thrill” Hill.
Vineyard passed Douglas for fifth on lap 12, and one circuit later he advanced to fourth in the running order by moving past Kerr. Douglas quickly moved back into the top-five by passing Kerr for fifth on lap 14, and with the door open Hendrix seized the opportunity and moved past Kerr taking over the sixth spot.
With Hill, Scott James, Elliott and Mike Smith all running in tight quarters battling for position, James and Hill made contact racing hard into the third turn on lap 17 … sending Hill sliding up the track between turns three and four. After reeling his mount back in, Hill was hard on the throttle when he and Elliott tangled in the fourth turn which ended the night for the 44-time NASCAR Cup Series winner Elliott with front-end damage to his car.
With the field lining up for a Delaware Double-File Restart, Rogers was all alone out front in the lead, with Buckingham and Dillon side-by-side just behind, with Vineyard and Kerr in row two. Rogers accelerated off the fourth turn with the waving of the green, with Buckingham and Dillon racing hard off into the first turn battling for second. Driving in hard on the bottom, young Dillon made his car stick and racing off the second turn he moved past Buckingham and set his sights on the race leader Rogers.
With Rogers setting a blistering pace while Dillon was in hot pursuit, Buckingham had things under control as he was unchallenged running in third. As the leader Rogers began working lapped traffic, Dillon closed to his rear bumper. Using a strong run racing off the bottom of turn two, Dillon pulled alongside Rogers racing down the backstretch into the third turn. Dillon powered around Rogers racing off the fourth turn on lap 34, and once out front he never looked back en route to sprinting to the checkers for the $2,000 victory.
Dillon, driving the Camping World/RVs.com/Garage Equipment Supply/No Fear/Team Realtree/J-Bar Foods/Hummers Gone Wild/Snap-on Tools/Allstar Performance/Integra Racing Shocks/Port City Racing/VP Racing Fuels/Weld Racing Wheels/Schoenfeld Headers/Peterson Fluid Systems/Frankland/Performance Bodies/Simpson/Dick Shirley Chevrolet/MagnumClean.com/Motorsports Designs/Clements Racing Engines/GRT Race Cars/Richard Childress Racing-Team Dillon Motorsports/No. 3 Chevrolet Impala SS, was followed across the stripe at the finish by Rogers, Buckingham, Vineyard and John Gill (who charged his was forward after starting 17th).
Completing the top 10 finishers were Hendrix, James, Justin Rattliff, Douglas and Jones.
“Man, was that an exciting race or what,” exclaimed the jubilant teenager after climbing from his car in victory lane onto the roof with his arms stretched high into the night sky shouting. “This was a very strong field of cars here tonight, and the way the 44-car (Rick Rogers) jumped out to such a commanding lead early in the race I was just kind of hoping to be able to get around (Shanon) Buckingham for second-place. There on the double-file restart I knew that was my time to go … to try and get past Buckingham for second. We raced off hard into the first turn and I got around him and I really thought with a clear track ahead I might have something for Rogers.
“My car worked well tonight, and really anywhere I needed to run whether it was down low on the bottom or up top in the banking. I really love racing here because it’s such a momentum track, and when you’re car’s working great it’s just a blast running around these high banks. You talk about getting your adrenaline pumping, when I passed Rogers for the lead my heart was racing. I can’t wait to get back up in the outside pits and call my dad and grandfather out in California at Sonoma, where they’re there for the road course race … and let them know I won. I want to really thank Shane McDowell, Lance Deiters, Jeff Carter, Dustin Keith and Big E for all they do in working on the race car. Hopefully I’ll be back here in a couple of weeks to run the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series show.”
The Fastrak Racing Modern Chevrolet Southeastern Touring Series for Crate Late Models made its first of two scheduled appearances in 2008 at Volunteer Speedway for the companion event in the Late Model Showdown at The Gap.
Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., set fast-time (13.455) over the 37 Fastrak Racing Series competitors present representing five states (North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee), but following the kids’ draw among the top-6 qualifiers he was relegated to the third starting position for the $2,000-to-win 40-lap feature.
The top-12 from qualifying were locked into the starting lineup for the feature, with three heat races and one last chance consolation determining the remaining starting positions in the 24-car field. Royce Bray of Hull, Ga., won the first heat, with Maryville, Tenn.’s Steve Jones easily winning the second heat, with Chad Pearson of Athens, Ga., winning the third heat. Will Shuffler of Morganton, N.C., won the last chance consolation.
Luke Laney and Ty Dillon led the field to the green, with 16-year-old Dillon jumping into the lead over Laney, Buckingham, Lee Cooper and Jonathan Davenport. The first caution waved quickly when Ron Parker and Matt Long got together in the fourth turn on lap 4, with Chris Chandler also getting collected when he was forced up against the outside concrete retaining wall on the front straightaway, getting the car up on its side with only the left-side tires on the track surface. The car came back down on all four tires right about the flagstand, but suspension damage parked Chandler while Long was sent into the pits with front-end damage.
Dillon brought the field back up to speed with Laney, Buckingham, Cooper and Davenport still in tow. Ryan Gifford was on the move early from his tenth starting spot, moving past John Llewellyn, Kenny Peeples Jr., Jeff Maupin and Brandon Umberger, up to challenge Davenport for fifth place, which he secured with a pass for position racing off turn two on the ninth circuit.
While Gifford was making his move towards the front, another chauffeur advancing positions was Jensen “Kid Dynamite” Ford, who started from the outside of row six. Ford dropped to the inside of Umberger racing off the fourth turn on lap 12 to challenge for the seventh spot, and racing hard off into the first turn he grabbed the position. Laney began losing positions under green when he had a rear tire start deflating, with the field having to dodge his slowing car while at-speed. Laney slowed and coasted into the pits on lap 13.
Meanwhile, out front Dillon had a rearview mirror full of Buckingham’s Rusty Wallace Toyota of Morristown/Toyota Tundra Trucks/S&S Millwright/VP Racing Fuels/Ohlins Shocks/Sweet Mfg./Schoenfeld Headers/Hypercoils/ButlerBuilt/Simpson/Malar Powdercoating/Barry Wright Race Cars/No. 50 Toyota Camry. Dillon got a little out of shape racing off the fourth turn on lap 19, allowing Buckingham to pull alongside as they raced down the front straightaway. Racing off turn two on lap 20, Buckingham passed Dillon for a lead he would never relinquish.
With Cooper running a steady third, with Buckingham and Dillon running one-two ahead of him, the battle for fourth between Gifford and Ford was heating up halfway through the 40-lap main event. Ford got to the inside of Gifford between turns three and four on lap 25, and racing off (turn) four down the front straightaway the duo raced side-by-side off into the first turn. Contact was made between the first and second corners between Ford and Gifford, and racing down the backstretch Ford slowed with a flat tire high up in the banking between turns three and four to bring the caution out. Unhappy with Gifford, Ford showed his displeasure under yellow conditions by spinning Gifford in the fourth turn … before he was parked in the infield pits by Fastrak Racing Series officials. Gifford was returned to fourth in the lineup for the restart.
Steve Jones was putting on an impressive charge towards the front, after starting from 14th following his win in the second heat race. Jones passed Umberger racing off the fourth turn on lap 27 for fifth place, and one circuit later just ahead Gifford passed Cooper racing off turn two to take over third in the running order. Jones began working on Cooper for fourth, and using a strong run on the bottom off turn two on lap 33 he grabbed the spot.
But out front it was all Buckingham, as he easily captured the $2,000 victory over Jones, Cooper, Umberger and Peeples.
Finishing sixth through tenth were Llewellyn, Bray, Parker, Shuffler and Jacob Grizzle. Dillon and Gifford took the checkers respectively in second and third, but during Fastrak Racing Series post-race tech each car was disqualified for tire infractions, thus moving every competitor from fourth-place back up one finishing position in the final rundown.
“We kind of had to work for this one (victory) tonight,” said a smiling Buckingham after the race. “We all know it’s part of the deal, the draw for starting positions among the fastest six qualifiers, but after you set fast-time like we did tonight you sure hope luck’s on your side and you draw the No. 1 so you can keep your pole position. I guess we were fortunate to at least get the third spot instead of maybe being put back to sixth on the start.
“I knew the car was good and I had to be patient in the early going to not get caught up in anything. Both (Ty) Dillon and (Luke) Laney had good cars too, and there at the start Lee Cooper was right there in the mix. Dillon kind of got out of shape over in the fourth turn and that allowed me to get beside of him as we raced down the front straightaway into (turn) one. We had good momentum and once I cleared him for the lead, I knew it was my race to lose. You’ve just got to race smart once you get into the lead and get around lapped cars cleanly and not allow your closest challengers to maybe sneak up on you. I want to thank my dad (Tom Buckingham), my wife Amanda Buckingham, Scotty Smith, Coy Jordan, and Tim and Pam Bradshaw for all of their help and support in my racing. And a big thanks to Rusty Wallace Toyota for their sponsorship.
Mike Hodges of Morristown held off a hard-charging Dale Reed for his fifth “Rusty Wallace Toyota” Hobby Stock feature win of the season, with Dustin Shaver, Chuck Johnson and Everett Cobb rounding out the top five finishers.
FASTRAK “LATE MODEL SHOWDOWN AT THE GAP”
SUPER LATE MODEL (40-laps) $2,000-to-win
Showing Finishing Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown
1. (4) Austin Dillon #3-Lewisville, NC
2. (1) Rick Rogers #44-Knoxville, TN
3. (2) Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
4. (8) Mark Vineyard #4-Powell, TN
5. (17) John Gill #1g-Mitchell, IN
6. (9) Bryan Hendrix #5-Knoxville, TN
7. (13) Scott James #83-Lawrenceburg, IN
8. (20) Justin Rattliff #16-Campbellsville, KY
9. (6) Mark Douglas #52-Knoxville, TN
10. (10) Kerry Jones #6-Bristol, TN
11. (11) Mike Smith #4s-Rogersville, TN
12. (7) Tommy Kerr #4T-Maryville, TN
13. (19) Shon Flanary #98-Mount Carmel, TN
14. (16) Bobby Mays #25-Jonesborough, TN
15. (21) Dale Ball #7-Johnson City, TN
16. (23) John King II-Kingsport, TN
17. (15) Barry Arnold #15-Max Meadows, VA
18. (14) Vic Hill #1-Morristown, TN
19. (24) John Tweed #5t-Greeneville, TN
20. (12) Bill Elliott #53-Dawsonville, GA
21. (18) Travis Greer #11g-Marion, VA
22. (3) Brad Neat #41-Dunnville, KY
23. (23) Herman Goddard #22-Knoxville, TN
Did Not Start: Jeff Maupin #0-Greeneville, TN; Stephen Rogers #44r-Knoxville, TN; J. Allan #111-Whitesburg, TN
FASTRAK RACING MODERN CHEVROLET SOUTHEASTERN TOURING SERIES – CRATE LATE MODELS (40-laps) $2,000-to-win
Showing Finishing Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown
1. (3) Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
2. (14) Steve Jones #1j-Maryville, TN
3. (4) Lee Cooper #57-Greer, SC
4. (5) Brandon Umberger #54-Rural Retreat, VA
5. (8) Kenny Peeples Jr. #22p-Rural Retreat, VA
6. (9) John Llewellyn #90-Knoxville, TN
7. (13) Royce Bray #21-Hull, GA
8. (11) Ron Parker #8-Lawndale, NC
9. (22) Will Shuffler #46-Morganton, NC
10. (21) Jacob Grizzle #99g-Blue Ridge, GA
11. (20) Chuck Laney #91-Sevierville, TN
12. (19) Vic Chandler #88-Weaverville, NC
13. (24) Colt Smith #45c-Woodruff, SC
14. (1) Luke Laney #9-Sevierville, TN
15. (12) Jensen Ford #83-Johnson City, TN
16. (6) Jonathan Davenport #49-Blairsville, GA
17. (18) Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
18. (7) Jeff Maupin #0-Greeneville, TN
19. (15) Chad Pearson #45p-Athens, GA
20. (23) Mike Smith #7-Rogersville, TN
21. (16) Chris Chandler #8-Weaverville, NC
22. (17) Matt Long #25-Concord, NC
Did Not Pass Post Race Inspection (Each Car-Tire Infractions): Ty Dillon #2-Lewisville, NC; Ryan Gifford #29-Winchester, TN
Failed To Make Field
Tony Trent #18-Morristown, TN
Mark Cloud #59-Powell, TN
Dale Ball #2-Johnson City, TN
Hunter Best #007-Maryville, TN
David Watts #6-Buchanan, VA
Jeff Hamby #5-Rockwood, TN
Joe “Dirt” Good #911-Greeneville, TN
Trey Poole #91p-Pine Mountain, GA
R.J. Mayes #99m-Rogersville, TN
Josh Henry #B00-Newport, TN
Todd Brooks #T1-Greeneville, TN
Larry Rowe #R0-Greeneville, TN
Ricky Moore #75-Mosheim, TN
“RUSTY WALLACE TOYOTA” HOBBY STOCK (20 laps)
1) Mike Hodges #m2; 2) Dale Reed #52; 3) Dustin Shaver #7; 4) Chuck Johnson #17; 5) Everett Cobb #13; 6) Robbie Woods #16; 7) Dennis Metcalf #55; Jesse Wilder #79; 9) Bobby Reed #54; 10) Patrick Flannery #38; 11) Chris Long #75; 12) Tony Mullinax #71; 13) Ray Jarnigan #31; 14) Scotty McMurray #37; 15) Jon Cook #0z; 16) Shannon Davidson #88; 17) Jamie Whitt #1; 18) Charlie Bates #27; 19) Eddie Morris #14; 20) David Shelton #4; 21) Roger Hunter #7-11; 22) Tyler Smith #32
Volunteer Speedway: (423) 235-5020 www.VolunteerSpeedway.com Robert Walden-Media/Public Relations Director: (423) 928-9644
Topics: ET Racing |