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Hill thrills at ‘The Gap’

By admin | May 23, 2009

Hill survives ‘Friday Night Fights’ for second straight Super Late Model victory at Volunteer Speedway


By Robert Walden


BULLS GAP, Tenn. (May 22) — The Memorial Day holiday weekend is the traditional kick-off into summer. But more importantly, it’s a time we all pause to remember and honor the men and women who lost their lives or are missing in action from defending our country during wartime, either in the past or present. We all know freedom is not free! And with the military conflict in the Middle East, Memorial Day has taken on an extra-special meaning for all United States citizens with loved ones and friends abroad.


Round three of “Friday Night Fights” at Volunteer Speedway presented by Rusty Wallace Toyota of Morristown, and which many people are calling the “most exciting weekly racing program in the United States,” produced yet another stellar field of “TSC Cars” Super Late Models to battle for the $3,000 winner’s purse, with competitors in the pits representing four states.


Vic “The Thrill” Hill of Morristown led flag-to-flag for his second consecutive Friday Night Fights Super Late Model win and the right to wear the champion’s belt in victory lane.


Hill, a four-time track champion, blistered the high banks with a time of 12.443-seconds (115.730 mph) to earn the pole position for the 50-lap, $3,000-to-win main event.


Hill jumped into the early lead over Chad Ogle, Rick Rogers, Shon Flanary and David Crabtree. The event’s first caution waved on the second lap when a traffic jam in fourth turn saw Roger Best, Herman Goddard and Brandon James tangle, with Goddard and James spinning.


Hill was riding on the point over Ogle, Rogers, Flanary and Crabtree going back green. Rocketing around the track, riding the high-line through the corners, by lap 10 Hill had stretched his advantage over Ogle to eight car lengths. Just outside the top-five, Randle Chupp and Mark Vineyard were battling for sixth in the running order, with Kerry Jones, Shannon Thornsberry and Dale Ball also close in the hunt.


Riding on Ball’s rear bumper was the hard-charging Steve Smith, who had blasted his way forward from his 20th starting spot by rim-riding up high through the corners and overtaking competitors. But Smith’s good run ended following a brush with the outside guardrail between turns one and two that resulted in right-front suspension (steering) damage. Vineyard raced hard into the first turn on the inside of Chupp on lap 23,  and exiting turn two he powered his way into the sixth spot.


Meanwhile out front, Hill was putting real estate between himself, Ogle and Rogers, building up almost a full-straightaway lead by lap 30. Lap 37 between turns three and four, Vineyard made a bold move on the outside to overtake both Crabtree and Flanary, when Flanary got out of shape, to advance from sixth to fourth in the running order.


With 10 laps remaining, Hill was in command riding out front on the point. But the scenario changed with just seven laps (lap 43) left when Jones, running in eighth (last car on lead lap) spun in the fourth turn to bring out the final caution, erasing Hill’s huge lead over Ogle and Rogers. Racing in tight quarters, with Flanary, Chupp and Jones directly in front of him, Hill had gotten into the rear of Jones.


Going back green for the sprint to the finish, Hill, who had made contact with the front of his nosepiece to the back of Jones for the previous caution, was dropping fluid on the track. With the field racing off into the first turn, Ogle, Rogers, Vineyard and Crabtree all got out of shape after getting into water coming from Hill’s car. Rogers got sideways up high in the banking between turns one and two, with Vineyard and Crabtree overtaking Rogers for position.


But Hill, driving the Landair Transport Inc./Pilot Travel Centers/Miller Brothers Coal Inc./American Racing Tire South/VP Racing Fuel/Dan Estes Construction/Ohlins/Peterson Fluid Systems/Comp Cams/Edelbrock/CP Pistons/Gary Williams Fuel Systems/Lunati Cranks/CV Racing Products/Joe Gibbs Driven Performance Synthetic Racing Oil/Jesel/Manley/Simpson/Vic Hill Racing Engines/Fastlane Signs & Graphics/Real Wheels/Team GRT Race Cars/No. 1 Chevrolet Impala SS, survived over the closing laps with a powerplant beginning to run hot with no coolant (water), to capture his second straight $3,000 Friday Night Fights Super Late Model victory.


Hill was chased to the stripe by Ogle, Crabtree, Vineyard and Chupp. Completing the top 10 finishers were Flanary, Rogers, Jones, Thornsberry and Ball.


“We had an awful strong car tonight, but we were very fortunate to have survived there at the end to get this win,” said a smiling Hill while shaking his head following the race in victory lane and holding the fan from his racing engine. “When I accidentally got into the back of Kerry (Jones), it (contact) shoved the radiator bracing back into the fan and bent the fins all up, also breaking the fan and front shaft off the water pump. The fan was actually laid up on the engine following the race when my guys (pit crew members) pulled the hood off the car.


“I’m definitely glad the race ended when it did, because the engine was running very hot and I was fixing to have to pull in. That would’ve been very disappointing after having run so well. Like I said, we had a really good car tonight. But we caught a lucky break there at the end to be able to finish and get the win, after having lost fluid and the engine running hot. I love these ‘Friday Night Fights’ and I want to thank track owner Joe Loven for putting these very good paying weekly shows on. Excellent fields of cars are showing up every week, and the crowd is much better tonight following a good day around the region with no rain in the forecast. I’m looking forward to getting back in action here at ‘The Gap’ in a couple of weeks to see if we can’t win our third consecutive race, which will also win us the $1,000 bonus put up by Primetime Designs besides the $3,000 winner’s purse.”


Jerry Broyles of Jonesborough and Jensen Ford raced side-by-side down the front straightaway into the first turn on the start of 25-lap “Courtesy Chevrolet” Pro Late Model feature, with Broyles riding the cushion up top between turns one and two to carry momentum off the banking down the backstretch to ease into the lead over Ford, Tony Trent, Josh Henry and Vic Chandler. With Ford challenging Broyles on almost every lap racing off the corners, sticking the nose of his machine under Broyles as they raced off the turns, just behind them Trent, Henry and Chandler were running nose-to-tail.


With the lead duo beginning to work slow traffic at the back of the field, both Broyles and Ford got around the car of James Goosie unscathed. But with Goosie riding in the middle of the track on lap 11, and Trent directly behind him with Henry taking a look on the low-side of Trent for position as they raced off the fourth turn, Trent got into the back of Goosie, lifting the rear wheels off the ground – which resulted in Goosie turning nose-first into the front straightaway outside concrete wall where his car barrel-rolled before coming to rest upside down entering the first turn. Trent’s mount came to a stop up against the first turn guardrail. After the red flag was quickly displayed over the field to stop action, emergency and track officials hurried to both cars where each driver was OK.


Back up to speed, Broyles and Ford began to put some distance between themselves and Henry, Chandler and Dale Ball. Battling with Chandler for position, Ball got out of shape on the bottom racing off turn two on lap 19 and took a wild slide down the backstretch, coming to a stop nose-first against the tire that protects the infield pit wall opening in the third turn.


Going back green for a six-lap dash to the checkers, Ford was locked-and-loaded for one last assault on Broyles. But Broyles held off the advances from Ford to capture his second feature win of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Henry, Ricky Moore and Chandler.


Jason Welshan launched into the lead at the drop of the green in the Steel-Head Late Model feature over Knoxville’s Jason Cardwell, Travis Fultz, Mark Rosner and Ross White. Fultz dropped low racing off turn two on the second circuit to overtake Cardwell for second in the running order. On the fourth lap racing down the backstretch into turn three, eighth-running Johnny Lane dumped fluid on the track as he spun to bring out the caution.


Welshan led Fultz and Cardwell on the restart, and just behind them young Ross White wasted no time in passing Mark Rosner to move into fourth as they raced off turn two. With Welshan in command out front, Fultz was feeling pressure from Cardwell for the runner-up position. Racing off the fourth turn on lap 10, Fultz slid up the track opening the door for Cardwell to drive by into second place. With the door open, White also capitalized to gain a position as he passed Fultz to move into third.


For his second consecutive outing, Welshan saw his hopes for victory end prematurely as he slowed on lap 13 and coasted into the pits, thus moving Cardwell to the point. A late-race caution just five laps from the finish when Phillip Nichols spun in the fourth turn tightened the field for a five-lap sprint to the checkers.


But Cardwell, making his first-ever start at “The Gap,” would not be denied a visit to victory lane as he held off White, Scott Gardner, Rosner and Fultz for the win.


Two-time divisional champion Dustin Shaver showed no rust in his first appearance at the track this season, as he led the first 10 circuits of the 20-lap “McDonald’s” Hobby Stock feature before being sidelined with mechanical problems. With Shaver parked in the pits, Mark Sturgill of Pound, Va., inherited the lead and held off a hard-charging Chuck Johnson for his first-ever feature win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Ray Jarnigan, R.J. Mayes and Tracey Wolfe.




(Showing Finish Position, Starting Position, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown)


1.      (1) Vic Hill #1-Morristown, TN

2.      (2) Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN

3.      (6) David Crabtree #41-Maryville, TN

4.      (10) Mark Vineyard #4v-Powell, TN

5.      (4) Randle Chupp #114-Troutman, NC

6.      (5) Shon Flanary #98-Mount Carmel, TN

7.      (3) Rick Rogers #44-Knoxville, TN

8.      (7) Kerry Jones #6-Bristol, TN

9.      (12) Shannon Thornsberry #17-Martin, KY

10.  (14) Dale Ball #7-Johnson City, TN

11.  (18) Brandon James #j1-Newport, TN

12.  (19) Tim Huddleston #24-Clinton, TN

13.  (11) Michael Smith #4-Rogersville, TN

14.  (21) Jeff Cooke #99-Spartanburg, SC

15.  (16) Chris Chandler #8-Weaverville, NC

16.  (20) Steve Smith #3-Powell, TN

17.  (17) Chris Combs #47-Isom, KY

18.  (9) Bobby Giffin #97-Maryville, TN

19.  (13) Roger Best #007-Maryville, TN

20.  (8) Jeff Maupin #0-Greeneville, TN

21.  (15) Herman Goddard #22-Knoxville, TN




1) Jerry Broyles #72; 2) Jensen Ford #83; 3) Josh Henry #B00; 4) Ricky Moore #75; 5) Vic Chandler #88; 6) Todd Brooks #T1; 7) Joe “Dirt” Good #911; 8) Ken Wilkerson #21; 9) Greg Estes #31; 10) Dale Ball #2; 11) James Cole #5; 12) Mark Vicars #7; 13) Jacob France #9; 14) Tony Trent #18; 15) James Goosie #44; 16) Tim Byrd #24 – Did Not Start: Heath Alvey #7




1) Jason Cardwell #07; 2) Ross White #0; 3) Scott Gardner #21; 4) Mark Rosner #17; 5) Travis Fultz #T0; 6) Shane Bales #12; 7) Robby Moses #7; 8) Phillip Nichols #33; 9) Mark Dyer #18; 10) Adam Beeler #66; 11) Ernie Teaster #22; 12) Jason Welshan #29; 13) Shawn Henry #B00; 14) Johnny Lane #19




1) Mark Sturgill #4; 2) Chuck Johnson #17; 3) Ray Jarnigan #73; 4) R.J. Mayes #6m; 5) Tracey Wolfe #11; 6) Dennis Metcalf #55; 7) Mike Kelley #8; 8) Jamie Whitt #j1; 9) J.R. Potter #1; 10) Craig Schmalzried #6; 11) Chris Long #75; 12) Bobby Reed #54; 13) Jesse Wilder #79; 14) Charlie Bates #27; 15) Tony Reed #71; 16) Dustin Shaver #7; 17) Roger Hunter #7-11; 18) Patrick Flannery #88; 19) Eddie Adams #9; 20) Duke Bare #B4; 21) Jason Long #15 – Did Not Start: Darrell Mayes #92


Volunteer Speedway: (423) 235-5020
Track Office - Weekdays Only 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.: (423) 378-5942
Phyllis Loven: (423) 676-9081
Robert Walden-Media/Public Relations Director: (423) 928-9644
Jimmy Meade-Marketing and Sales: (423) 817-0925

Race Director David Bryant: Volunteer Speedway Race Shop (423) 235-5420 … Cell (865) 978-1752

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