KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Aug 8th, 2020) — Kres VanDyke didn’t need a whole race car to pull off his latest driving masterpiece.
Despite having the left front fender ripped off his No. 15 Chevrolet early in the evening, the Abingdon, Va., driver swept twin Late Model Stock features at Kingsport Speedway on Friday night. They were his sixth and seventh consecutive victories on the 3/8-mile concrete oval.
VanDyke qualified seventh for the first 35-lap feature and was one of seven drivers involved in an accident on lap 5. Those proved to be minor setbacks as he passed pole sitter Dillon Hodge for the lead on lap 16 and led the rest of the way.
Still, VanDyke was surprised when he finally saw what his race car looked like afterwards.
“I knew it was pretty rough, but thank goodness we didn’t get any tires knocked out of shape,” VanDyke said. “All the alignment stayed good and the car drove good. I thought we were done when I saw the undercarriage of Nik Williams’ car on that first wreck.”
While Williams went over VanDyke’s hood, the race saw an even scarier crash on lap 15 when Derrick Lancaster’s No. 25 Chevy catapulted over another car and straight into the turn 4 wall.
Lancaster, who already had the side of his car torn off in the first wreck, saw the front of his car burst into flames. Lancaster was shaken up in the wreck and taken to Holston Valley Hospital for overnight observation. He underwent X-rays, which showed no broken bones.
Chase Dixon passed Hodge for second place in a battle of teenager racers. Dixon, a 16-year-old from Abingdon, also finished runner-up in the second 35-lap feature.
“It was a little crazy out there,” said Dixon, driver of the No. 07 Chevrolet. “You would have thought they would have raced conservatively for the first twin. That’s alright, we came back to finish second twice. I wouldn’t want to finish second to anyone other than VanDyke although I really wanted to beat him.”
Hodge, a 17-year-old who attends Sullivan South High School, was making his first start in over a year. Debuting a white No. 51 Chevy, he won the pole with a lap of 83.814 seconds. He tried his best to hold off VanDyke, who charged from an eighth-place start, but to no avail.
“It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been in the car,” Hodge said. “I thought I had something for them the first 20 laps of the first race, but got tangled up and got hot. I just couldn’t get in a rhythm. I was preparing for it physically and mentally, but it was tough out there.”
Keith Helton, the defending Pure 4 track champion, led the first 17 laps of the second Late Model feature before Dixon passed him for the lead. VanDyke soon got around Helton for second and on lap 29, he made the pass on Dixon for his eighth win of the season.
Helton hung on for a third-place finish in a car which also had significant damage.
“We made an adjustment for the right side being gone off the car,” Helton said. “We had a little drive off four, but I buzzed the tires and Chase got under me. It’s a learning curve going from a 4-cylinder, front wheel drive to these. Give us time and we will have success in these cars like we did in the 4-cylinders.”
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Kenny Absher passed early leader Bucky Smith for the lead on lap 15 and then held off teammate Billy Byington the remainder of the way in the Pure 4 feature.
Absher was “absher-lutely” pleased with how his black No. 11 Toyota pulled away from Byington and the rest of the 22-car field on the final restart.
“I think Billy has a little more power than me, but that last restart got him. He wasn’t ready at all,” Absher said. “It was a great race and we had fun.”
Byington took the runner-up spot over Craig Phelps, followed by Smith as all top-four finishers were from Kingsport.
Kyle Barnes won his fifth Sportsman feature in a row, grabbing the lead from Derek Lane on the fourth lap and leading the rest of the way in his No. 00 Chevrolet.
It was the Draper, Va., driver's sixth overall win of the season.
Lane, who passed pole sitter Alex Miller for the lead on the opening lap, finished second. Rusty Clendenin, who set the fast time in qualifying before the top five were inverted, finished third.
Make it 17 straight wins for Kevin Canter dating back to July 2019.
The driver of the No. 3 Ford started fourth in the Mod 4 feature, but grabbed the lead by the end of the second lap.
There was no stopping the Abingdon, Va., racer who is now 8-for-8 on the season. Dennis Arnold recovered from an early spin to finish second and Josh Gobble wound up third.
Tony Dockery continued to be the driver to beat in Pure Street, passing Jay Swecker for the lead on lap 10 and leading the rest of the 25-lap feature in his orange No. 05 Camaro.
Dockery has won seven of nine races this season. Rob Austin, the winner of the other two, passed Swecker to finish second.