Wayne Hale in victory lane after winning the first half of twin 35 lap main event for NASCAR Late Models at Kingsport Speedway. September 8, 2017. Photo by Drew Hierwarter

Hale and Lane Split Wins on Championship Night at Kingsport

The 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing season at Kingsport Speedway began on a sunny Saturday afternoon back in March, and concluded Friday with Championship Night presented by Richmond Gear and Toyota of Kingsport.

While the temperature was unseasonably chilly in the Model City with everyone in attendance bundled up trying to stay warm, the racing action was heated at “The Concrete Jungle” as both Wayne Hale of Bluff City and Derek Lane of Kingsport became first-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car feature race winners this season.

All Kres VanDyke had to do was take the green flag in the first race and that would secure his second Late Model Stock Car track championship, but he looked to close the season out by trying to add another victory to his total of nine wins and reach double figures.

In the first of two twin 35-lap features, VanDyke jumped out to the lead at the start over Nik Williams, Hale, former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Danny O’Quinn Jr. and Joey Trent. Hale quickly got around Williams for second just a couple of laps in, while a little further back Trent was trying to maintain his position and hold Robbie Ferguson off.

Ferguson moved to inside of Trent racing into the first turn on lap 5, and over the next three circuits they raced side-by-side before Ferguson took the fifth spot. Racing up off (turn) two on lap 9, O’Quinn passed Williams to move into third in the running order. The event’s first caution waved on lap 10, when Bruce Blessing’s engine went up in smoke and dumped fluid on the track.

Off the ensuing double-file restart, VanDyke powered back out into the lead over O’Quinn and Hale, with Williams and Ferguson trailing. With VanDyke riding out front seemingly in command, his car suddenly slowed midway down the backstretch on lap 25 with transmission issues and the field sped past him as he made his way around to the pit opening at exit of the fourth turn.

O’Quinn moved into the lead over Hale, Ferguson, Williams and Trent. But first misfortune for Williams when he slowed and entered the pits on lap 25, and just five circuits later Ferguson spun with a flat tire to bring the caution out.

The stage was set for a five-lap shootout for the win, and what unfolded was an all-time classic finish between O’Quinn and Hale. With O’Quinn taking the white flag, racing into the first turn Hale drove in to the inside.

Battling side-by-side down the backstretch into the third turn, it was anyone’s guess who would gain the advantage accelerating off the fourth turn back to the stripe. In a photo finish Hale barely edged O’Quinn out for the win by one-foot (margin of victory 0.019 seconds), with Austin Peters, Derek Lane and Trent rounding out the top five.

Wayne Hale beat Danny O’ Quinn by that much to win the first 35 lap main event for NASCAR late models at Kingsport Speedway. September 8, 2017. Photo by Drew Hierwarter

Completing the top 10 finishers were Allen Hawkins, Sawyer Frady, Darrin Silver, Billy Light and Ferguson.

In the second 35-lapper, Frady (who had NASCAR Cup Series legend Dave Marcis in his pits) grabbed the early lead over Hawkins and Lane. Lane passed Hawkins for second on lap 5 and closed right in behind Frady, while Hawkins was feeling pressure from several drivers including Trent, Hale, O’Quinn, Ferguson, Williams and VanDyke.

Lane moved past Frady to take the lead on lap 8 and, with the door open the line of Trent, Hale, O’Quinn, Ferguson, Williams and VanDyke all dropped both Frady and Hawkins back in the running order.

O’Quinn moved around both Hale and Trent working lap 10 to settle into the second spot behind leader Lane, with Ferguson and Williams also advancing past Hale and Trent soon after. With the race reaching lap 20, Lane was showing the way out front over O’Quinn, Ferguson, Williams, Hale and VanDyke.

But just as in the first race, transmission trouble once again sidelined VanDyke on lap 25 as he slowed and entered the pits. The top four of Lane, O’Quinn, Ferguson and Williams were running nose-to-tail, with Hale about six car lengths behind.

With the flagman showing five fingers to the field for five laps remaining, would Lane be able to maintain his position leading the race? Indeed he would, as he hit his marks and never missed a beat en route to capturing his first-ever NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car feature win over O’Quinn, Ferguson, Williams and Hale.

Derek Lane gets his first main event win at Kingsport Speedway winning the second of twin 35 lap races for late models. September 8, 2017. Photo by Drew Hierwarter

Completing the top 10 finishers were Trent, Frady, Peters, Silver and Hawkins.

NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (Race #1 – 35 laps)

1. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
2. Danny O’Quinn Jr. #96-Abingdon, VA
3. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
4. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
5. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
6. Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
7. Sawyer Frady #99-Hendersonville, NC
8. Darin Silver #12-Spruce Pine, NC
9. Billy Light #8-Bluff City, TN
10. Robbie Ferguson #40-Jonesborough, TN
11. Nik Williams #32-Greeneville, TN
12. Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
13. Steven Deskins #12-Sevierville, TN
14. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
15. Bruce Blessing #00-Gate City, VA

NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES – LATE MODEL STOCK CAR (Race #2 – 35 laps)

1. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
2. Danny O’Quinn Jr. #96-Abingdon, VA
3. Robbie Ferguson #40-Jonesborough, TN
4. Nik Williams #32-Greeneville, TN
5. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
6. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
7. Sawyer Frady #99-Hendersonville, NC
8. Austin Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
9. Darin Silver #12-Spruce Pine, NC
10. Allen Hawkins #14-Kingsport, TN
11. Billy Light #8-Bluff City, TN
12. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
13. Kres VanDyke #15-Abingdon, VA
14. Steven Deskins #12-Sevierville, TN

Did Not Start: Bruce Blessing #00-Gate City, VA


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