By Robert Walden
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 15, 2019) – Mother Nature finally delivered a beautiful sunny day Friday in Northeast Tennessee to welcome everyone to Kingsport Speedway for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Food City 175 Night at the Races.
Ronnie McCarty of Kingsport has stepped back somewhat this season with his racing and is only competing occasionally. But fans can rest assured when the two-time “Highlands Sign Shop” Late Model Stock Car track champion shows up he’ll be a strong contender to win. McCarty passed his teammate Lance Gatlin for the lead prior to halfway in the 60-lap main event and once out front he never looked back en route to capturing his second victory on the season.
McCarty was fastest in qualifying at 14.982 seconds to narrowly edge out Hayden Woods who toured “The Concrete Jungle” at 14.993. The roll of the dice inverted the top four from time trials, putting Gatlin on the pole with Nik Williams on the outside of the front row.
Gatlin grabbed the lead on the start over Williams, McCarty, Woods and Bryson Dennis. McCarty immediately went to work trying to overtake Williams for the second spot, and it didn’t take long before he pulled the trigger to complete the pass. Setting his sights ahead on leader Gatlin, he quickly closed to his back bumper.
There’s something to be said for having good chemistry between driver and crew chief. McCarty showed up on race day at Kingsport Speedway with a smile on his face, because he was happy to be reunited once again with his cousin, Mark Ketron. Ketron led McCarty to the two track championships before stepping away from racing to take a break last year. When you put McCarty behind the wheel with Ketron calling the shots as crew chief – just call them the “dynamic duo.”
McCarty got up on the wheel to pass Gatlin for the lead and once out front he never looked back. He was on a mission and was bound and determined to settle for nothing but parking in victory lane. McCarty captured his second win of the season over Woods, Williams, defending Late Model Stock Car track champion Zeke Shell and Gatlin.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Dennis, Joey Trent, Derek Lane, Wayne Hale and Keith Helton.
Nothing tastes sweeter than your first kiss or in motorsports with your first-ever win. Alex Miller of Erwin definitely likes the feeling of getting his first victory. Miller outran Rusty Clendenin, two-time defending “Super Transmission” Modified Street champion Royce Peters, Austin Peters and Kevin Canter for the crowd-pleasing win.
Keith Helton maneuvered his way past Brandon Sutherland late in the Pure 4 feature to capture his sixth feature win on the season. Helton was chased to the checkered flag by Sutherlan, Bruce Crumbley, Josh Detwiler and Bucky Smith.
Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Dennis Arnold of Meadowview, Va., turned in a strong run to knock three-time defending Mod 4 champion Kevin Canter from the unbeaten ranks. Canter had started the season by recording eight straight victories. Arnold captured his first win of the season over Canter, Billy Duty, Hershell Robinette and Chris Amburgey.
Doug Austin of Castlewood, Va., sped to his division-leading seventh Pure Street win over Tony Dockery, Kevin Darnell, Skylar Schmalzried and Mike Mays.
FOOD CITY 175
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES
(First 3 finishers)
“HIGHLANDS SIGN SHOP”
LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (60 laps)
1. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
2. Hayden Woods #6-Piney Flats, TN
3. Nik Williams #32-Chuckey, TN
SUPER TRANSMISSION” MODIFIED STREET (30 laps)
1. Alex Miller #37
2. Rusty Clendenin #27
3. Royce Peters #48
PURE 4 (30 laps)
1. Keith Helton #9
2. Brandon Sutherland #48
3. Bruce Crumbley #33
MOD 4 (30 laps)
1. Dennis Arnold #71
2. Kevin Canter #3
3. Billy Duty #2