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Tommy Kerr scores big win at ‘The Gap’

By admin | July 25, 2009

By Richard Allen

In a recent interview Tommy Kerr said his best moment in racing came when he won a Southern Nationals race at the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. Now, he has added a moment at least as good if not better than that one.

Kerr won his second career Southern Nationals event, again at the Volunteer Speedway on Friday night. This time, he not only took home the $5,300 winner’s check but he also padded his points lead in the Southern Nationals Series with only one race remaining.

Kerr started his night at ‘The Gap’ in a big way. He blistered the track with a pole winning qualifying effort of 12.43 seconds around the short, high-banked clay oval.

Kerr’s night only got better after the 53-lap feature race began. He raced side by side with outside front row starter Chris Madden for a couple of laps then pulled out to a lead he would never relinquish.

The win did not come without some tension for the native of Maryville, Tennessee. After running the first 36 laps caution free, the race was slowed by a multi-car incident at the exit of turn-2. Among those involved were Jonathan Davenport, who now sits 3rd in the Southern Nationals standings, and Chad Ogle, who had previously won a feature event at Volunteer Speedway earlier this year.

That caution, along with two others, allowed the competition to move up to Kerr’s rear bumper each time.

Jimmy Owens started the race from the outside of row 2. In the early going, he was able to move to the 3rd spot. After following inside row 2 starter, Joe Armes, for several laps, Owens was able to move to 2nd place on lap 31 when Armes found himself trapped behind a slower car.

The race eventually had three caution periods before its finish. On each restart, Kerr drove very high through turn-3 then got a downhill run for the restart as he exited turn-4. The move provided him with a bit of breathing room over the 2nd place running Owens.

In the race’s latter laps, Kerr drove his #4T Chevrolet high through turns 1&2 and low through turns 3&4. Owens looked low in 1&2 several times but never was able to draw alongside the leader.

Further back in the pack, there was bit more action. Madden, who fell back to 6th place after racing with Kerr early, worked his way back to 4th after battling the likes of Scott Bloomquist and Billy Ogle, Jr. Those three cars traded positions several times throughout the race. Ogle crossed the finish line in 5th but was penalized two positions by race officials for jumping the final restart.

Four of the top-5 finishers on the east Tennessee track hailed from nearby locales. Kerr from Maryville was 1st, Owens from Newport was 2nd, Armes from Petros was 3rd, and Bloomquist from Mooresburg was 5th. Only Madden in 4th prevented a local sweep of the top-5.

The Southern Nationals Series concludes on the high-banked Tazewell Speedway on Saturday.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Look for my new site, TennesseeRacer.com, coming soon. The site will be dedicated to racing around east Tennessee and the whole of the Volunteer State.

Topics: ET Racing |

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