Lee Tissot hasn’t been running a Late Model Stock Car much lately. In fact, it’s been a year since he’s raced at Late Model Stock Car. Instead, he’s spent most of his time behind the wheel of a Super Truck on the Southeast Super Truck Series and behind the wheel of a Pro-Late Model at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville this season.
He returned to the seat of Late Model Stock Car for the Rupert Porter Memorial race at Anderson Motor Speedway on Monday night and did so in grand fashion by qualifying on the outside pole and grabbing the lead early on and holding on to the lead until a caution waved for torrential rain on lap 39. The race would never resume and would be made official after a long delay handing Tissot the victory.
14 Late Model Stock Cars would make the trek to Anderson Motor Speedway for a Monday night special 100-lap race paying $2,000 to win. Mostly the field would be made up of local Anderson Motor Speedway drivers but one driver not local and looking for a win would be Ryan Repko. Repko, who won his first career Late Model Stock Car race at Anderson last season, would come in with a lot of momentum having won twins at South Boston Speedway a few weeks ago and then backing it up with his first win at Hickory Motor Speedway last week.
Then this weekend he took to Hickory in one of the biggest races of the season and came home with a win in the Bobby Isaac Memorial race on Saturday night. His roll wasn’t slowed as he entered the Rupert Porter Memorial race as he was fast in practice and backed that up with a pole run during qualifying.
Repko would take the lead from the initial green flag on Monday night with Tissot falling in line from his outside starting position. Behind them, it was a beehive of action as Neil Meredith, Nolan Pope, Trey Gibson, RA Brown and others shuffled for positions throughout the field. Pope was caught up on the high side and headed backward fast as Meredith settled into third bringing Brown, Satterfield and more with him by Pope.
Meanwhile, up front, Tissot was all over Repko wanting to get to the top spot. Many teams were unaware of the impending rain as the field went green but Tissot was on the march and looking to lead laps. Tissot took over the top spot on lap 8 as raindrops began to fall on the track lightly. Behind Tissot and Repko, Brown was looking under Meredith for third and takes it. Next Gibson and Pope get by Meredith as he’s hung up on the outside line now.
By lap 22, Gibson made his move on Brown for third and took the spot. Repko meanwhile is sticking close to Tissot for the lead as the caution waved over the field on lap 26 for the spinning car of JP Dyar. This would set up a double-file restart with Repko going to the top above Tissot but just as it had for Meredith earlier the outside restart would see Repko hung up and going backward upon the green flag.
Gibson and Pope get by Repko dropping him to fourth place as the rain begins to get heavier on lap 37 as the caution waved for rain on lap 39 slowing the field. As the field was about to go yellow for rain contact was made between David Roberts and Meredith. The contact sent Meredith up the track and left the right front of Roberts car heavily damaged. As the cars rode under a steady stream of rain, the rain changed pace and became a torrential downpour which brought the cars to pit road for a red flag.
As the field came to pit road a member of Meredith’s crew headed to the pit of Roberts to show his displeasure. The two teams argued before walking away. Later Meredith himself along with that crew member came back to discuss the incident with Roberts. The crew member, who we never identified, was very vocal while Meredith was completely respectful and just had a conversation with Roberts. The two walked away eventually without incident.
Meanwhile, the rain hammered for a short span before quitting and it appeared the track was going to put every effort into getting the race resumed. While the track was beginning to gray and dry out overall a drivers meeting was called. During that meeting, a representative of the track discussed the options with the racers.
He informed the drivers that restarting the race wasn’t likely an option due to how long it would take to get it ready and neighbors already calling and complaining about the noise on the night before kids go to school. The options presented to the drivers was to finish the 61-laps of the race this upcoming Friday night or to call it on lap 39. Adding to the difficulty of the decision was a handful of drivers were running in hopes of gaining NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National and South Carolina State points and they would not be given if the race was called before halfway.
It was discussed taking 11-laps under caution to finish it but ultimately the track decision was made to call the race official at lap 39 and payout as they run as many drivers were unable to come back on Friday night and it wasn’t worth the effort to come back. It was the best possible decision given the circumstances but many drivers and teams were frustrated over waiting so late to run the Late Model race. The Late Model Stock Car race was the final of eight divisions of racing. The other seven divisions took nearly three hours to complete.
The decision for Tissot was a win the biggest race of the season at Anderson. Tissot was happy but acknowledged it wasn’t the way he wanted to win it.
“A win is a win as they say,” Tissot told RACE22.com. “It’s such a tough decision for the track and no matter what they did someone wouldn’t be happy. Many of the same teams that ran tonight run at Tri-County next Saturday, so coming back Friday wasn’t a good option.”
Tissot said even running this race was sort of a surprise after a phone call from car owner Jeff Caldwell.
“I’d been running a truck some and a Pro-Late Model and Jeff Caldwell called me and said ‘I bought a car’,” Tissot laughed. “We made plans to come run this race and it wasn’t too bad for never having been in this car before and bringing it out this weekend. I haven’t been in a Late Model Stock Car in a while, so it was good to come out and run like this.”
Second place finisher Trey Gibson was among the handful of drivers willing and able to come back this Friday night and wanted to finish the race but understood the tough position the track was in as was most of the rest of the field. Behind Gibson in the finishing order was Pope, Repko, and Brown completing the top five.
1 – Lee Tissot #88
2 – Trey Gibson #12
3 – Nolan Pope #1
4 – Ryan Repko #14
5 – RA Brown #60
6 – Kenneth Headen #99
7 – Taylor Satterfield #40
8 – David Roberts #18
9 – Justin Sorrow #29
10 – Ashton Higgins #9
11 – Archie Adams #17
12 – Neil Meredith #36
13 – Ron Hall #44
14 – JP Dyar #46