Zeke Shell looks at the crowd after winning the second Late Model Stock Car race of the night at Kingsport Speedway following a rough driving penalty that left him parked for the final laps of race one. Jaden Austin photo.

Since reopening in 2011 Kingsport Speedway has been known for having wild nights of racing action that spilled over into post-race and sometimes in-race shenanigans giving it the nickname the “Concrete Jungle”. Friday night, July 5th provided much of the same as the three-point leaders in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Cars crashed late in the first of twin races. Two of them came back to win on the night but the hard feelings weren’t gone by the end of the night.

Zeke Shell (1) and Nik Williams (32) lead the field down for the green flag at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Jaden Austin photo.

After Zeke Shell posted the fastest time in qualifying beating out Nik Williams by just over four one-hundredths of a second the two started from the front row in the first 35-lap race with a 13-car field tucked in behind them. With Shell on the inside, it was Williams who would get the jump as the outside line has been strong at Kingsport on starts and restarts but the two raced hard with sparks flying early.

Shell and Williams would make contact once with Shell slamming into the left side of Williams car nearly turning him head-on into the inside wall before Williams gathered it back up. They made contact again a lap later as Shell made contact with the rear of Williams in between turns three and four allowing Joey Trent to get the lead momentarily on Williams.

Greg Bohanon (17) and Mardy Roberts get turned around during the first of twin races at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Jaden Austin photo.

From there the two would separate but they weren’t done and after a caution for the spinning cars of Greg Bohanon and Mardy Roberts, business picked up considerably for the leaders. On this restart, Williams would take the inside with Shell outside and contact came quickly between the two as Shell leaned on Williams in turn one and by the time they came off turn two they were in the same lane and Williams car went spinning.

At the same time, Trent looked low for the lead while Williams was crossed up but just as it appeared Trent might make it by and take the lead Williams car slammed into the right side and sent Trent slamming head-on into the backstretch wall.

Zeke Shell (1) leans on Nik Williams (32) on a restart with just 13 laps left in the first of twins at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Moments after this photo the two crashed hard on the backstretch taking Joey Trent with them. Jaden Austin photo.

Trent’s car would be done for the night and it appeared that Williams was done for the night as well. Williams came to pit road with major damage to the front of the car and he got out of the car fired up about the contact from Shell. Meanwhile, Shell had pulled back up to the front stretch with minimal damage with hopes of continuing but NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officials determined that he was at fault for the wreck and parked him for the remainder of the first race.

Joey Trent’s (26) car is destroyed after Zeke Shell (1) and Nik Williams (32) get together following a restart with 13 to go in the first of twin races at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Jaden Austin photo.

With Shell done, Williams crew was thrashing to get his car back on track. Track officials allowed a few extra minutes for Williams to get back on track and he made it before they went back green. With the top three runners gone from the front of the field, Wayne Hale and Derek Lane assumed the front of the field and they just had to get in on the action. Right after the next restart, Lane found himself turned around from contact with Hale. Hale was put to the rear of the field and both had to battle back.

After the Hale and Lane contact Bryson Dennis found himself in the lead with Jerry Broyles flanked to his outside for the next restart. From here Williams, who would restart fourth made his way to the front quickly and took the lead on a three-wide move and drove off to victory. Behind him, Wayne Hale had made it back to second after the penalty for contact with Lane and coming up behind him was Lane. Lane showed Hale his displeasure coming to the checkered flag, running into Hale’s car off turn four but not enough to turn him.

Wayne Hale (19) and Derek Lane (28) lead the field to the green flag for a restart late in the first of twin races at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Just after this photo was taken the two made contact sending Lane spinning and Hale to the rear for the contact. It would be the first of several run-ins they would have. Jaden Austin photo.

Following the checkered flag, a member of Hale’s team slammed Lane’s hood with a tire gauge and Lane went to Hale’s window as a lot of yelling and screaming went back and forth but officials were able to deescalate the situation.

After the win, Williams didn’t mince words about how he hoped Shell felt about him winning.

“I just hope that pisses them off even more,” Williams told RACE22. “I can’t say enough about my team, I thought we was done. We went back out there and won the damn thing. It says a lot about our team and our cars and how fast they are. I don’t know what else to say, to be honest.”

Williams also shared his thoughts on the crash and the earlier contact.

“I got by him and he hit me in the left rear and about spun me into the wall,” Williams continued as he explained the early race contact with Shell. “He hit me again in turn three, I guess he don’t like people getting by him. He can’t stand it. We got by him again and then he wants to turn us into the wall. I don’t know I was just driving and got turned. I don’t know.”

Nik Williams (left) stands in victory lane with Miss Kingsport Madison Noe and sponsor Ken Daffron after rallying to win a wild one at Kingsport Speedway on July 5, 2019. Jaden Austin photo.

Shell took some time to calm down before allowing us to interview him but he says he only gave Williams what he gave him.

“It’s a repeat from the beginning of the season,” Shell told RACE22. “He jumps the start, they let it go but it was close enough I was ok with that at first. He started driving pretty hard and I was able to hold onto it and I drove hard and he lost. I can’t help that. He deemed it being overly aggressive so they black-flagged me.”

For Trent’s part in the wreck, he was disappointed with the way they raced each other.

“We was all racing hard up there and Zeke and Nik they got together,” Trent told RACE22. “Zeke just drove through him and Nik lost it. I thought I had him cleared and they hooked me and I drove it straight into the outside wall. Tore the hell out of it. It’s one of those bad things, you kinda hate it when it goes down by rough driving like that but I know that’s part of it.”

Williams switched to a backup car for the second race, which left some people questioning whether that was legal by NASCAR Whelen All-American Series rules. Trent wouldn’t get to start in his car due to the damage but Williams loaned him his damaged car that he had just won with. Shell would be ready to go for the second race as well.

After the mandatory eight car invert for the second race of the night, Rick Pannell and Mardy Roberts led the field to the green flag. Pannell would lead off the start but Hale made a quick move to get to the front of the field on the outside. As Dennis took over the lead, Shell followed him after coming from the back of the pack to second. A lap five caution would see Lane spin again but this time from diving in and making it three-wide with Hale, who he’d had the earlier altercation with.

Shell set sail after this restart and the race was pretty much over from there. Williams backup car got stuck in third gear and he parked it for the night soon after. Shell would go on to win with  Hale finished second with Lane making it back to finish third. Trent in Williams primary car was rolling and finished fifth but said after the race he didn’t push it because he didn’t want to wreck the car loaned from Williams.

Shell was happy to get back to victory lane after being parked in the first race of the night.

“My crew, they definitely make me look a lot more talented than I probably am,” Shell said in victory lane. “We’re definitely going to celebrate tonight.”

Shell also spoke about Trent getting his car tore up in the first race fracas and talked about Williams running a backup car.

“My hearts out there to Joey Trent,” Shell continued. “He got a car destroyed and he wasn’t even involved in it. I feel really bad for him and fortunately, Nik Williams was good enough to stand up and give him a car. I really hate he (Williams) didn’t get to finish the race, somehow he was able to weasel in and cheat up and get in a different car which isn’t allowed but he still wasn’t able to finish. I hate that for him.”

Shell said he wasn’t pissed off about Williams getting back out and winning the first race.

“It didn’t piss me off,” Shell said. “He’s a local guy and he’s very talented. There’s a lot of skill in those gloves of his. I’ll give him that. Honestly hats off to him, he took it like a champ. He didn’t say anything, he knew he deserved what he got from me. He took it like a man. I can give a lot of respect to that. If he wanted me to be pissed off seeing him in victory lane, I hope he feels this.”

Race Results:

Race #1:
1. Nik Williams #32-Chuckey, TN
2. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
3. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
4. Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
5. Bryson Dennis #15-Greeneville, TN
6. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
7. Mardy Roberts #55-Kingsport, TN
8. Jimmy Acito #57-Kingsport, TN
9. Greg Bohanon #17-Leicester, NC
10. Joey Trent #26-Gray, TN
11. Alice Barnette #57B-Bristol, VA
12. Royce Peters #66-Kingsport, TN

Race #2:
1. Zeke Shell #1-Johnson City, TN
2. Wayne Hale #19-Bluff City, TN
3. Derek Lane #28-Kingsport, TN
4. Bryson Dennis #15-Greeneville, TN
5. Joey Trent #32T-Gray, TN
6. Rick Pannell #33-Kingsport, TN
7. Mardy Roberts #55-Kingsport, TN
8. Chris Tunnell #57T-Wise, VA
9. Nik Williams #32-Chuckey, TN
10. Greg Bohanon #17-Leicester, NC
11. Royce Peters #66-Kingsport, TN
12. Alice Barnette #57B-Bristol, VA
13. Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN