posted June 16, 2001 09:37 AM
Milton records first career Late Model victory at Kingsport
By Robert Walden
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 15) – Recent talk around the pits among several of his fellow competitors had them saying it was only a matter of time before 31-year-old rookie driver Reece Milton of Blountville would win his first race at Galaxy Kingsport Speedway.
Milton grabbed the lead on lap 33 from Kres VanDyke and, at the finish held off the hard-charging Michael Chaney to capture his first career Shoney’s NASCAR Late Model Stock feature victory before a wildly cheering crowd Friday on Ferguson Enterprises/Kids’ Night at the Races.
Newcomer to the track, Steve Blackburn of Prestonsburg, Ky., set fast time of 15:450-seconds in qualifying to earn the pole position for the 50-lap feature. Wade Lopez, who entered the night of racing holding a one-point lead over Jeff Berry in the track Late Model Stock point standings, was second quickest to nail down the outside front row starting berth.
Like he was shot out of a cannon when the green flag waved, Lopez launched into the first turn to take the lead over Blackburn, VanDyke, Milton and Wayne Hale as the 14-car field completed the opening lap. In the early going Lopez was comfortably riding on the point, while behind him VanDyke was pressuring Blackburn for second place.
With VanDyke getting a good run on Blackburn on lap 6 off (turn) four, contact was made between the two at the start/finish line sending the pole sitter hard into the outside front straightaway concrete wall. While under caution, Blackburn after climbing from his car expressed his displeasure with young VanDyke as the field slowly circled the track. With his mount sustaining heavy front-end damage Blackburn was through for the night.
The top five on the restart were Lopez, VanDyke, Milton, Hale and Chaney. By lap 15 the race had developed into a three-car breakaway out front between Lopez, VanDyke and Milton. Not content to ride in second, VanDyke made his move under Lopez on lap 22 racing into turn one to take the lead. With VanDyke opening the door, racing off the second turn Milton seized the opportunity to also sneak by Lopez and move into the runner-up spot.
As the 50-lapper reached halfway VanDyke was riding on the point followed by Milton, Lopez, Chaney and Adam Dean. Running sixth through tenth were Hale, Mark Ketron, Bill Garrett, Brian Rose and Jeff Berry.
Lopez’ hopes of a top five finish ended on lap 32 when track officials waved the caution flag for his smoking car dropping fluid on the track. Preparing to go back green, the top five were VanDyke, Milton, Chaney, Dean and Ketron.
Milton, driving the Phil Bachman Honda/Ferguson Enterprises/Hill Ventilating Air Conditioning/B & L Homes/Burgers ‘R Us/Inove Graphics/Townsend-Berry Race Cars/No. 16 Monte Carlo was glued to VanDyke’s rear bumper, and racing into the first turn on lap 33 he dropped to the inside to challenge for the lead. Racing off (turn) two he grabbed a lead he would never relinquish, although he would have to withstand two ensuing restarts following cautions.
The first of those on lap 35 when the ninth-running Rose erupted an engine going into the third turn, and the final caution period on lap 41 when the runner-up VanDyke spun in turn two while trying to drop to the inside of Milton.
Lining up for a nine-lap dash to the checkers, all Milton had to do to earn his first trip to victory lane was hold off the "young guns" Chaney and Dean. And that, he would do. At the finish Milton was followed by Chaney, Dean, Ketron and Berry. Completing the top-10 finishers were VanDyke, Garrett, Hale, Lopez and Rick Pannell.
"The feeling I have right now is hard to describe, but let me tell you – it’s great to finally get our first Late Model win here at Kingsport Speedway," said Milton with a smile on his face after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "Once I got the lead, I flipped the mirror up so I wouldn’t look at who was behind me. I knew as long as I concentrated on my driving instead of watching who was behind me, I would be OK. We were loose at first, but the way we set the car up was perfect because it came right in to us in the second half of the race.
"I have so many people I want to thank, especially Jeff Berry for all he’s taught me about racing. Jeff’s been racing for 30 years, and I’m very fortunate he’s taken me under his wing to pass along some of what he’s learned over the years. Also, we’ve got a great bunch of guys working on the car, headed by my crew chief Mike Frye, Kevin Lowe, David Peterson and Greg Godsey."
Paul Shull of Clintwood, Va., the legendary 60-year-old veteran driver, held off Tommy Spangler, Caleb Holman, Bill Garrett and Bruce Blessing to win his third Allied Mortgage Sportsman 30-lap feature.
Starting from the pole position, Church Hill’s Stacey Castle led flag-to-flag in winning his fourth 25-lap Street Stock feature of the season over Chuck Crigger, Billy Babb, Duke Bare and Mike Hayes. The apparent second, third and fourth place finishers – Sam Ferguson, Scott Robinson and Chris Neeley, all were disqualified in post-race technical inspection.
Randy Bethea of Newport brought an end to the nine-race winning streak of Jeff Maupin in the UMP Modified division. Bethea started from the pole and at the finish held off Alton Satterfield, Sam Hurd, Chap Slaughter and Ricky Thornburg for his second victory of the season.
Abingdon, Va.’s Josh Sheet captured his first ever 20-lap Charger feature victory over Elmar Nicely, Larry McKnight Jr., Scott McMurray and Larry McKnight.
Kirby Gobble of Abingdon led wire-to-wire in winning the 20-lap Modified Mini feature for the second straight week over Ralph Wilson, Don Emmert, Hershell Robinette and Derek Hawkins.
Kingsport’s Darrel Gillespie led all 20 laps in capturing his sixth Legends feature victory of the season over Rusty Sarver, Adam Sarver, Rob Varney and Ron Humble.
Kelly Glass of Jonesborough visited victory lane for the third straight week in the Modified Lite division in holding off Gerald Smith, Randy English, Chris Manning and David Wright for the win.
Murfreesboro’s Josh Adams, the young 14-year-old speedster, continues to be the dominant force in the Pro Challenge division as he recorded his sixth feature victory of the season over Brad Housewright, Garland Worley and Trevor Richardson.
Galaxy Kingsport Speedway will host another nine-division racing program next Friday, June 22 sponsored by Johnson City’s Race-Scan Communications. For more information, contact the track office at (423) 288-5992.
"SHONEY’S" NASCAR LATE MODEL STOCKS (50-laps)
Reece Milton #16-Blountville, TN
Michael Chaney #24-Abingdon, VA
Adam Dean #81-Bristol, VA
Mark Ketron #26-Kingsport, TN
Jeff Berry #61-Kingsport, TN
Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
Bill Garrett #4-Johnson City, TN
Wayne Hale #19-Piney Flats, TN
Wade Lopez #83-Abingdon, VA
Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
Clyde Jones #7-Kingsport, TN
Brian Rose #72-Nashville, TN
Allen Hawkins #77-Kingsport, TN
DQed Rough Driving: Steve Blackburn #22-Prestonsburg, KY
"ALLIED MORTGAGE" SPORTSMAN (30-laps)
1) Paul Shull #48; 2) Tommy Spangler #28; 3) Caleb Holman #77; 4) Bill Garrett #4; 5) Bruce Blessing #00; 6) Rod Collins #29; 7) Tony Ward #7; 8) Wayne Salyers #5; 9) Steve Storie #44; 10) Jeff Collingsworth #26; 11) Mark Smith #9
STREET STOCK (25-laps)
1) Stacey Castle #11; 2) Chuck Crigger #71; 3) Billy Babb #2; 4) Duke Bare #52; 5) Mike Hayes #1; 6) Don Davis #3; 7) Jay Swecker #77; 8) Tony Vance #7; 9) Wayne Gibson #25; 10) Kenny Holder #28; 11) Mike Guy #12; 12) Paul Spears #17; 13) Roy Holder #21; 14) Matt Smith #33; 15) Robbie Campbell #13 – DQed: Sam Ferguson #41; DQed: Scott Robinson #22; DQed: Chris Neeley #26
UMP MODIFIED (20-laps)
1) Randy Bethea #6; 2) Alton Satterfield #8; 3) Sam Hurd #11h; 4) Chap Slaughter #22; 5) Ricky Thornburg #00; 6) Jeff Maupin #11
1) Josh Sheet #2; 2) Elmar Nicely #16; 3) Larry McKnight Jr. #5; 4) Scott McMurray #37; 5) Larry McKnight #7; 6) Linton Perry #01; 7) Bill Coleman #15; 8) "Iron" Will McKnight #9; 9) Terry McMurray #38; 10) Doyle McMurray #73; 11) Tim White #12; 12) Chad Toliver #0; 13) Rob Davenport #116; 14) Todd Cross #22; 15) Ed Williams #17; 16) Ernie Pilkin #3
MODIFIED MINI (20-laps)
1) Kirby Gobble #88; 2) Ralph Wilson #75; 3) Don Emmert #2; 4) Hershell Robinette #9; 5) Derek Hawkins #1; 6) Jack Osborne #33; 7) Kevin Sweet #94; 8) Luke Fox #9**; 9) T.J. O’Quinn #37; 10) Scott Anderson #31
1) Darrel Gillespie #46; 2) Rusty Sarver #89; 3) Adam Sarver #50; 4) Rob Varney #8; 5) Ron Humble #7; 6) Rusty Tillison #18; 7) Ronnie McCarty #5; 8) Janice Humble #19; 9) Chris Roberts #25; 10) Adrian Lusk #22 – DQed: Steve Price #70
MODIFIED LITE (15-laps)
1) Kelly Glass #01; 2) Gerald Smith #12; 3) Randy English #02; 4) Chris Manning #0; 5) David Wright #36; 6) Sam Couch #34; 7) Ronnie McCarty #1; 8) K.D. Knoedler #4
PRO CHALLENGE (15-laps)
1) Josh Adams #12; 2) Brad Housewright #46; 3) Garland Worley #38½; 4) Trevor Richardson #71
Galaxy Kingsport Speedway: (423) 288-5992
Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact: (423) 928-9644