April 23, 2011 – Owens, Umberger capture ‘Late Model Showdown’ victories at Volunteer Speedway
Owens, Umberger capture ‘Late Model Showdown’ victories at Volunteer Speedway
By Robert Walden
Volunteer Speedway Media/Public Relations
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (April 23) — The Third Annual Late Model Showdown @ The Gap drew Ultimate Super Late Model Series and Fastrak Racing Series Pro Late Model competitors from 10 states for the Easter holiday weekend event in East Tennessee Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway.
Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., led flag-to-flag in winning the 75-lap Ultimate Super Late Model Series main event, earning $10,000 for the victory. Brandon Umberger of Rural Retreat, Va., grabbed the lead on lap 14 in the Fastrak Racing Series Pro Late Model event, and once out front he never looked back en route to the $2,000 victory.
Owens may never want to leave his home area again. Just a couple weeks ago “The Newport Nightmare” took a $5,000 winner’s check and a trophy back to his nearby race shop from a track (Volunteer Speedway) where he began his racing career. And winning the Ultimate Super Late Model Series event at “The Gap” Saturday night increased Owens’ bank account to the sum of $15,000 for the two victories.
In preliminary events, Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., Owens, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., each won heat races. Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., and Petey Ivey of Union, S.C., won last chance B-mains.
The big grandstand crowd was buzzing with excitement waiting for the start of the Ultimate Super Late Model Series feature, ready to watch a “Showdown” between two of the country’s top dirt late model chauffeur’s in Owens and Bloomquist battle on the famed Volunteer Speedway high banks. But when Bloomquist pulled onto the track in turn two from the outside pits to drive around to the front straightaway starting grid, once on the backstretch the driveshaft broke in his car and he slowly coasted to a stop in the infield pits where his crew quickly assessed the situation. However, the crew didn’t have time to retrieve a new driveshaft and get it installed before start of the main event, leaving Bloomquist to only watch and hope one of his Team Zero Bloomquist Race Cars could win.
After posting a quick time of 12.449-seconds in time trials to earn $300 from Martin’s Roofing Service of Bean Station, and then going on to win his heat race, Ferguson started from the pole position with Owens flanking him on the outside of row one.
With the waving of the green flag, Ferguson and Owens raced door-to-door into turn one. Riding the rim up top, Owens carried the momentum off the high side racing down the backstretch to power into a lead he would never relinquish. Trailing Owens after the opening lap were Ferguson, Davenport, Casey Roberts and Eric Wells.
The first of what would be three cautions during the 75-lap event appeared on lap 8 when “The Headknocker” Petey Ivey slowed to a stop high in the fourth turn with mechanical problems that would end his night prematurely.
Owens was riding all alone out front for the Delaware Double-File Restart, and lined up side-by-side behind him were Davenport and Ferguson. Davenport brought the crowd to their feet and showed them why he’s called “Superman,” when he drove off deep into the first turn and got around Ferguson to move into the runner-up position, setting his sights ahead on Owens.
Back under green conditions and with cars hooked up on a tacky track, Owens set sail with Davenport in pursuit. It became apparent quickly that nobody in the stellar 24-car field had anything for Owens. The race was his to lose, with Davenport and the rest of the competition’s only chance to win was if Owens had mechanical gremlins creep up.
Having one of his strongest runs in quite a while was Steve Smith, as he ran good to transfer from the second heat into the feature. Smith was up-on-the-wheel hustling his mount around the high banks, moving around Roberts for the sixth spot on lap 15 and just two circuits later getting around “The Earthshaker” Eric Jacobsen for fifth in the running order.
With Smith running in fifth and Jacobsen holding down sixth, just behind them the trio of Chris Madden, Roberts and Ray Cook were battling for position. During a long green flag stretch, Owens continued to run at a blistering pace, putting distance between his Reece Monument Co./Gantte Appraisals/Byrd’s Radiator/Midwest Sheet Metal/Hoosier Racing Tire South/Alwee Trucking/Red Line Synthetic Oil/VP Racing Fuels/Performance Rod & Custom/Wear Development/Cornett Thunder Racing Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars/No. 20 Ford Fusion, and his closest challengers Davenport, Ferguson and Wells.
Even while working heavy lapped traffic, Owens never missed a beat, still managing to put real estate between himself and Davenport. With the race reaching the 50-lap mark, Owens had closed to the rear bumper of 10th-running Tyler Reddick.
The strong run for Smith saw the veteran begin to slowly fade, losing a few positions as Jacobsen, Madden, Cook and Billy Ogle Jr. got around him.
But out front the star of the show was clearly Owens, as he eventually closed to the rear spoiler of eighth-running Ogle when the checkered flag waved. Finishing behind Owens was Davenport, Ferguson, Wells and Madden.
Jacobsen, Cook, Ogle, Kent Robinson (first-ever appearance at Volunteer Speedway) and Smith completed the top 10 finishers.
“We had a good car all night long,” Owens said in victory lane after climbing from his car with a smile on his face. “We qualified pretty good and won our heat race to give us a good starting spot for the feature. We worked on our shocks a little bit before the feature, making some minor adjustments, and we were really good in the race. Working lapped traffic on a few occasions, we kind of had a few close calls getting around some of those cars. They (race officials) were telling the cars we were approaching to lap where to run, and I believe that kind of got some of those guys (racers) messed up hearing the officials talking.
“I really want to thank Mike Reece with Reece Monument Co. in Tazewell, and George Gantte with Gantte Appraisals in Dandridge for all they do for me – along with all other sponsors we have on the car, and all the guys on the crew who continue helping this dream keep happening for me. We won a $5,000 to win show here a couple of weeks ago after we drove overnight getting back home from Brownstown, Ind., and now to win this $10,000 event here tonight it’s really awesome. I really love the opportunities I get to race here before all these local East Tennessee race fans. You really miss seeing all these people when you’re out on the road racing all over the country every week with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.”
After being busy working all last fall and through the winter into early spring at the family business (TNT Race Cars) building race cars for customers, local racer Jensen Ford of Piney Flats finally got to race for the first time this season and he was fast right out of the box, earning the pole position for the Fastrak Racing Series Pro Late Model 40-lap feature. Ford jumped into the lead at the start over Vic Chandler, Brandon Umberger, Dale Ball and Bobby Mays.
Racing hard off into turn one, Umberger got alongside Chandler and wrestled the second spot from him as they raced off turn two only two laps in. Just outside the top five, David Smith, Lee Cooper, Jordan Dill, Mark Rosner and Brian Connor were battling for position – with 12th-starting Shanon Buckingham right in the mix. Just 10 laps in, Buckingham had worked his way to seventh in the running order, and on lap 12 he moved into sixth.
Race leader Ford had a rearview mirror full of the hard-charging Umberger, and on lap 14 racing into the first turn Umberger drove up around the outside of Ford and racing off turn two down the backstretch he grabbed the lead and never looked back.
All eyes were focused on Buckingham, as he continued working his way towards the front. Buckingham got around Mays for fifth on lap 17, and just two circuits later he got around Ball racing off turn two moving into fourth place. And he wasn’t through, as he got around Chandler to move into third on lap 21.
With lead duo of Umberger and Ford working lapped traffic, Buckingham kept closing in to reach Ford’s rear spoiler to make it a three-car battle up front by lap 26. Ball got around Chandler for fourth on lap 28, with Mays moving into fifth as he dropped Chandler back to sixth with a pass on lap 30.
Buckingham pulled the trigger and got around Ford for the runner-up spot with the laps winding down, even closing to within striking distance of Umberger as they received the white flag. But Umberger would not be denied, as he drove the M&U Transport/Judy Short Coldwell Banker/JRI Shocks/Stealth Racing Carburetors/Barry Wright Race Cars/No. 54 Chevrolet Impala, to the Late Model Showdown @ The Gap $2,000 Fastrak Racing Series Pro Late Model Southeast Region Touring feature win.
Jamie Whitt of Wise, Va., defending “Gunslingers of Kingsport” Hobby Stock track champion, jumped into the lead with waving of the green flag and held off Dustin Shaver, Robbie Woods, Chuck Johnson and Ricky Gosnell to record his second straight victory.
VOLUNTEER SPEEDWAY – “LATE MODEL SHOWDOWN @ THE GAP” – APRIL 23, 2011
ULTIMATE SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES – $10,000-TO-WIN – 75 LAPS
1. Jimmy Owens #20-Newport, TN
2. Jonathan Davenport #49-Blairsville, GA
3. Chris Ferguson #22-Mount Holly, NC
4. Eric Wells #18-Hazard, KY
5. Chris Madden #44-Gray Court, SC
6. Eric Jacobsen #5-Seacliffe Beach, CA
7. Ray Cook #53-Brasstown, NC
8. Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN
9. Kent Robinson #7-Bloomington, IN
10. Steve Smith #3-Powell, TN
11. Casey Roberts #101-Toccoa, GA
12. Tyler Reddick #11-Corning, CA
13. John Blankenship #23-Williamson, WV
14. Mark Douglas #52D-Knoxville, TN
15. Chip Brindle #21B-Chatsworth, GA
16. Ross Bailes #87-Clover, SC
17. Ricky Weeks #1-Rutherfordton, NC
18. Casey Barrow #98-Savannah, GA
19. Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN
20. Zack Mitchell #57-Enoree, SC
21. Daniel Baggerly #16-Rural Retreat, VA
22. Ty Dillon #41-Lewisville, NC
23. Petey Ivey #B4-Union, SC
Did Not Start: Scott Bloomquist #0-Mooresburg, TN
Drivers Failing To Transfer Into Ultimate Super Late Model Series Feature: Brad Neat #41; Mike Marlar #36; Tommy Kerr #4T; Jeff Maupin #25; Kerry Jones #6; Dennis Lunger Jr. #71L; Jay Sessoms #84; Dempsey Harold Jr. #09
FASTRAK RACING SERIES PRO LATE MODEL – $2,000-TO-WIN – 40 LAPS
1. Brandon Umberger #54-Rural Retreat, VA
2. Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
3. Jensen Ford #83-Piney Flats, TN
4. Bobby Mays #19-Jonesborough, TN
5. Dale Ball #2-Johnson City, TN
6. Brian Connor #77-Martinez, GA
7. Lee Cooper #57-Woodruff, SC
8. Vic Chandler #88-Weaverville, NC
9. David Smith #11-Inman, SC
10. Chris Chandler #8-Weaverville, NC
11. Mark Rosner #17-Maryville, TN
12. Anthony Sanders #421-Spartanburg, SC
13. Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
14. Chad Hale #51-Wytheville, VA
15. Jordan Dill #22-Landrum, SC
16. Newt Tackett #68-North East, PA
17. Brandon Williams #95-Crossville, TN
18. Brian Ligon #444-Martinez, GA
19. Forrest Trent #4Q-Morristown, TN
20. Josh Holtgraver #00-Pittsburgh, PA
21. Brandon Overton #76-Appling, GA
22. Adam Yarbrough #57-Denver, NC
23. Jay Sessoms #84-Stanley, NC
24. Keith Helton #5-Kingsport, TN
Drivers Failing To Transfer Into Fastrak Racing Series Pro Late Model Feature: Chris Cantrell #114; Ricky Moore #75; Michael Smith #4; Tim Byrd #24; James Cole #5c; John Broce Jr. #44w; Brian Cantrell #187; Andy Ogle #68a; Jim Pohoman #74
“GUNSLINGERS OF KINGSPORT” HOBBY STOCK (20-laps)
1) Jamie Whitt #1; 2) Dustin Shaver #7; 3) Robbie Woods #2; 4) Chuck Johnson #17; 5) Ricky Gosnell #15; 6) Dale Reed #52; 7) Mike Kilian #94; 8 ) Chris Gregg #73; 9) Eddie Adams #9; 10) Roger Hunter #7-11; 11) Bud Kelley #B21; 12) Charlie Bates #27; 13) Chuck Kilian #96; 14) Shannon Davidson #4; 15) Danny Helton #88; 16) Jesse Wilder #79 – Did Not Start: Mike Mays #30