Pope wears crown following second Kingsport Speedway Late Model Stock victory

Sunday, Apr 22 1758

What better way to make the 5-hour drive back home to Middle Tennessee more enjoyable than to be taking the trophy and winner’s share of the purse with you? That’s exactly what Daniel Pope II of Smyrna did Friday at Kingsport Speedway, on Allied Waste Services Night at the Races, when he moved into the lead on lap 6 after overtaking Nate Monteith for the point and once out front stayed there until the checkered flag waved to capture his second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Dalton Direct Carpets” Late Model Stock feature win in 2012.

Lee Tissot set fast-time during qualifying and after the invert started the 60-lap main event from the fifth spot. Pope and Monteith started from the front row, with Monteith leading after the opening lap following by Pope, Paul Nogradi Jr., Hayden Woods and Tissot.

Tissot used the low-side to pass Woods racing off the fourth turn to move into fourth in the running order on lap 2. Monteith was being pressured for the lead by Pope, while Nogradi, Tissot and Woods were riding in their rearview mirrors.

With cars running nose-to-tail and also side-by-side back through the top-15 in the running order, action all around the track had the fans’ attention. Pope stuck his nose underneath Monteith racing off turn two on lap 6 and the duo raced door-to-door down the backstretch into the third turn. Racing up off the fourth turn, Pope cleared Monteith and moved into the lead.

With Monteith up in the outside groove, Tissot got under Nogradi racing down the front straightaway.  Having Monteith pinned up top, Tissot looked to pass Monteith and move into second place. Entering the first turn, Nogradi got into the rear of Tissot which resulted in Tissot spinning to bring out the caution flag on lap 7.

The top five for the restart were Pope, Monteith, Nogradi, Woods and Ryan Stiltner. With the field roaring down the front straightaway into the first turn, Woods’s night came to a violent end when he slammed hard into the outside concrete wall around turns one and two after the throttle hung wide-open on his car. The red flag immediately waved and after catching his breath and attention from emergency personnel, Woods was able to climb up out of his badly damaged race car and limp away favoring his foot/leg back into the pits to cheers from the crowd.

The next attempt to get back under green racing conditions found Pope still riding on the point followed by Monteith, Nogradi, Stiltner and Zeke Shell. Shell wasted no time in getting around Stiltner for the fourth spot, making the pass for position racing off the fourth turn on lap 8. Caution waved just one circuit later when Joey Trent spun between turns one and two.

Back up to speed once again, back behind Pope, Monteith and Nogradi in the running order, action was heating up between Stiltner, Shell, Blake Jones, Austin Peters, Royce Peters, Robbie Ferguson and Tam Tapham.

Stiltner battled his way back around Shell for fourth on lap 14 racing into the first corner, and with Shell riding the high-side Jones dropped to the inside racing off (turn) two to get past Shell for the fifth spot, dropping Shell back to sixth. The caution waved once again on lap 16 for an incident involving Trent when he spun in turn four.

Pope led Monteith, Nogradi, Stiltner and Jones to green with action all back through the field keeping fans’ on the edge of their grandstand seats. Many had their eyes fixated on the hard-charging Tissot as he was steadily working his way back forward, getting around Tapham on lap 18 racing off the fourth turn to move back inside the top 10. Tissot then got around Ferguson and Royce Peters just past the 20-lap mark to advance to the eighth spot, just behind 20-year-old rookie competitor Austin Peters.

Tissot passed Austin Peters for position on lap 26 racing off the fourth turn down the front straightaway. Entering the first turn, young Peters got in a little too hot and the resulting contact between his car and Tissot’s, sent Tissot spinning between turns one and two and Peters getting all sideways before he reeled his mount back in. With the caution flag being unfurled by flagman Terry Gillenwater for the racing incident, the night of frustration reaching a boiling point for Tissot. Having a strong car underneath him, after being spun for the second time during the race, instead of going to the rear of the field for the restart Tissot chose to pull into the pits off turn four and call it a night.

On the restart Pope was still showing the way out front over Monteith, Nogradi, Jones and Shell. While Monteith began applying pressure to the rear bumper of Pope’s Right Way Logistics/Storage Plus of Murfreesboro/D&D Repair Inc./AR Bodies/Superior Sandblasting & Powder Coating/Charlie Long Race Engines/HarCor Racing Fabrication/Daniel Pope Racing/No. 16 Chevrolet Impala, racing was intense between Nogradi, Jones and Shell for position.

Monteith stuck the nose of his car underneath Pope racing up off turn two on lap 38, but Pope powered down the backstretch and maintained his position. But Monteith kept working on Pope trying to get the lead, however, Pope lap-after-lap kept fending off the advances from the defending track champion.

Racing off turn two on lap 41, Jones got under Nogradi to move into the third spot. And with the door open, Shell also passed Nogradi to take over fourth and dropped Nogradi back to fifth. The event’s final caution waved on lap 47, when Anthony Anders spun between turns one and two.

Following a 21-lap green flag run, most of the field had glowing right-front brake rotors and heated tires. With time to allow the rotors and tires to cool while circling the track under caution, the stage was being set for a 13-lap sprint to the checkers.

Pope brought the field back up to speed with Monteith on his rear bumper, followed by Jones, Shell and Nogradi. Shell pulled alongside Jones racing up off turn two on lap 49, and on the opposite end of the track exiting the fourth turn Shell cleared Jones to take over the third spot. Nogradi capitalized on the situation with Jones stuck on the outside to also advance a position into fourth, moving Jones back to fifth in the running order.

With Monteith giving it his all trying to get around Pope for the lead, Pope kept focused on running his own race and not wanting to make a mistake to allow Monteith to get by. On two occasions over the final 10 circuits, Monteith managed to get up alongside Pope racing up off the corners down the straightaway. But lapped cars down on the inside entering the corners kept Monteith from being able to complete the pass to overtake Pope.

Pope received the white flag with Monteith’s front nosepiece against the rear bumper of Pope’s car as they raced off into the first turn. Pope got a little out of shape between turns one and two, but Monteith settled for a runner-up finish while Pope recorded his second win. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Shell, Nogradi and Ferguson.

Completing the top-10 were Jones, Austin Peters, Topham, Royce Peters and Nick Cole.

“I hope the fans enjoyed the racing tonight, because I know it was sure exciting from my vantage point,” said a smiling Pope following the race. “We had a good car tonight, very good as a matter of fact. Even though it was an off-week here at Kingsport Speedway last week, we still raced locally back home at the Fairgrounds Speedway with our Pro Late Model and had a pretty good outing. Back at the shop, my crew chief Randy Weaver made some changes and tweaked the setup on the car we race here and during practice I knew we were going to be very competitive.

“You’ve got to get up on the wheel and race hard, bring your A-game if you’re going to win a race here on Friday nights. After I got around Monteith for the lead early in the race, he never faded and I just had to concentrate and stay focused to keep him behind me. He got alongside of me some and we rubbed a little and then there on the white-flag lap between turns one and two, there was some contact. But, hey, that’s just good hard-nosed short-track racing. That’s what the fans come out to see. Heck, I like being a part of it, too. It’s good to get our second win, and hopefully we can come back next Friday and back tonight’s win up with another trip to victory lane. Winning, that’s what it’s all about – getting the trophy and race winner decal to place on your car.”

Roger Neece of Clintwood, Va., continued his winning ways in “Absolute Plumbing” Street Stock action by visiting victory lane for the sixth consecutive event. The 56-year-old veteran Neece, driving the Johnson Chevrolet of Clintwood/Pro Image Racing Graphics/84EXPO.com/No. 22 Chevrolet Camaro, was chased to the checkers by Rob Austin, Chris Tunnell, Jared Broadbent and Roby Orr.

Keith Helton grabbed the lead over Jeremy Hughes and Chris Neeley at start of the 25-lap Pure 4 feature, and looked like he might be headed to his first win of the season. But a late race caution on lap 20, when rookie Darby Fleenor who was making his first-ever start slowed on the backstretch with a flat tire, set up a five-lap shootout to the finish between Helton and Kingsport’s John Ketron.

Helton still held advantage over Ketron back under green racing conditions following the double-file restart. But John Ketron, driving the ServPro Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration of Kingsport/K&K Auto/No. 26 Honda, got under Helton racing up off (turn) two on lap 22 and captured his second victory of the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Dakota Slagle, Billy Ketron and Jason Ketron.

Tyler Goodwin of Kingsport, driving the No. 64 Bank of Tennessee/Bancsec Inc./Rockstar Graphix/McAulay Motorsports machine, made it six straight Legends feature wins in cruising to victory over Drew Shortridge, Jacob Owens, Adam Gray (career best finish) and Brian Tinker. Dating back to the final two races in 2011 at Kingsport Speedway, the 16-year-old Goodwin has now captured eight consecutive wins on the .375-mile banked concrete oval.

Steve Skeen of Mount Carmel, driving the Bloomingdale Car Care/Hale’s Used Auto Parts/Pro Image Graphics/No. 95 Honda, rolled to the Rookie Pure 4 victory over Jimmy Hillard, Tim Abelseth, Pie Short and Dylan Bates.

NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES “DALTON DIRECT CARPETS” LATE MODEL STOCK (60 laps)

Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses

1. (1) Daniel Pope II #15-Smyrna, TN
2. (2) Nate Monteith #44-Blountville, TN (60)
3, (8) Zeke Shell #97-Johnson City, TN (60)
4. (3) Paul Nogradi Jr. #02-Clinton, TN (60)
5. (12) Robbie Ferguson #32-Jonesborough, TN (60)
6. (11)) Blake Jones #80-Sevierville, TN (60)
7. (6) Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN (60)
8. (14) Tam Topham #21-Wytheville, VA (60)
9. (10) Royce Peters #38-Kingsport, TN (60)
10. (13) Nick Cole #63- Bristol, TN (60)
11. (21) Justin Wright #21-Kingsport, TN (60)
12. (19) Mark Christian #43-Blountville, TN (60)

13. (20) Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN (58)

14. (22) Dean Barrett #82-Abingdon, VA (54)

15. (7) Ryan Stiltner #22-Grundy, VA (47)
16. (15) Anthony Anders #36-Anderson, SC (47)

17. (5) Lee Tissot #27-Asheville, NC (26)

18. (18) Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN (21)

19. (9) Zach Franks #1-Avery Creek, NC (8)

20. (4) Hayden Woods #87-Piney Flats, TN (7)

21. (16) Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN (3)
22. (17) Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN (3)

“ABSOLUTE PLUMBING” STREET STOCK (30 laps)

1) Roger Neece #22; 2) Rob Austin #25; 3) Chris Tunnell #6; 4) Jared Broadbent #74; 5) Roby Orr #52; 6) Tony Ward #7; 7) Paul Shull #48; 8) Rick Smith #33

PURE 4 (25 laps)

1) John Ketron #26; 2) Keith Helton #9; 3) Dakota Slagle #2; 4) Billy Ketron #27; 5) Jason Ketron #28; 6) Chris Neeley #94; 7) Jeremy Hughes #57; 8) William Hale #55; 9) Lewis Slagle #9; 10) David Trent #57; 11) Lee Shults #74; 12) Kenny Absher #11; 13) Dan Collins #4; 14) Tim Abelseth #66; 15) Glenn Hughes #75

LEGENDS (20 laps)

1) Tyler Goodwin #64; 2) Drew Shortridge #32; 3) Jacob Owens #8; 4) Adam Gray #37; 5) Brian Tinker #14; 6) Hubert Whitehead #3; 7) Tony Wiggins #4; 8) Aaron Lawson #31 – Did Not Start: Zack Walton #38

ROOKIE PURE 4 (10 laps)

1) Steve Skeen #55; 2) Jimmy Hillard #74; 3) Tim Abelseth #66; 4) Pie Short #1; 5) Dylan Bates #6; 6) Danny Pless #5; 7) Robin Hughes #75

Kingsport Speedway PR