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Volunteer Speedway season opener set for Friday

Jeff Birchfield • May 20, 2020 at 10:00 AM

It’s about time to get down and dirty at The Gap.

Volunteer Speedway opens its season Friday night with a doubleheader featuring the Topless Outlaws and the American Crate All-Star Series.

Action includes heat races, B-Mains and feature races for both of the Late Model classes. The Topless Outlaws is a $2,500-to-win race, and the American Crate All-Stars is $2,000-to-win.

There also will be features for the Street Stock, Classic and Front Wheel Drive classes.

Track owner Landon Stallard has done an immense amount of work making upgrades to the Bulls Gap facility, located right off Interstate 81 at exit 23. It’s easy to see some of Stallard’s handiwork upon arrival: fresh paint on the front grandstands and plenty of grading on the four-tenths-mile oval.

Judging from last Saturday’s test session, his work could pay off with a wide racing groove, which is conducive to plenty of close-quarters action.

Grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are to start about 7 p.m., followed by qualifying and racing.

Because of the full schedule, qualifying times for the support classes will be determined by the hot laps.

HARVICK HITS MILESTONE

Here’s a quick trivia question:

Which one of the following drivers has a NASCAR Cup Series championship and 50 career wins, including in the Daytona 500? Your choices: A) Bill Elliott, B) Junior Johnson, C) Kevin Harvick or D) Tony Stewart.

The correct answer is C.

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, is often overlooked in discussions of NASCAR’s all-time greatest racers. When considering Harvick’s accomplishments, though, they match up favorably with many Hall of Fame drivers.

His victory Sunday at Darlington made him the 14th driver to have 50 Cup Series victories. He tied Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson on the all-time list and became the third active driver to accomplish the feat, joining Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.

Harvick has more wins than Stewart (49) and Elliott (44). He also won the Daytona 500, something that eluded Stewart, and a series championship, which Junior Johnson never won.

NEWPORT NIGHTMARE

Jimmy Owens reached victory lane in $5,000-to-win races on consecutive nights last week on the dirt tracks at Magnolia (Mississippi) Speedway and 411 Speedway in Seymour.

The driver nicknamed “The Newport Nightmare” beat a packed Magnolia field, which included champion racers Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan and Billy Moyer Jr. In the “Spring Sizzler” at 411, Owens and fellow East Tennessee driver Cory Hedgecock headed a field that attracted racers from around the country.

Jonesborough’s Jensen Ford, a frequent winner in the Crate Late Model division, finished ninth in his Super Late Model debut.

ROGERSVILLE DRAG RACING

Cherokee Race Park is hosting the sixth annual Old Timers Race on Saturday. Gates open at 4 p.m.

The $1,000-to-win event is for drivers 50-and-older, and there will be a prize for the oldest racer.

Pro (Box) and No Box races also are on the docket. Purses are guaranteed with 24 cars in each class.

Contact Jeff Birchfield via email at [email protected]

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