Welshan uses high lane to land knockout punch in Steel Head feature
BULLS GAP – A good boxer might fake a few low blows before landing the the knockout punch up high – a strategy which can also be useful in auto racing as Jason Manley learned Saturday night.
Manley was the only driver Saturday at Volunteer Speedway to turn a qualifying lap in the 12-second range, earning him the pole for the regular season opening 35-lap Steel Head Late Model feature.
Manley’s only challenger for the lead throughout the race was Jason Welshan, who kept looking to the low side get get by Manley, but was unable to make the pass stick.
Late in the race, however, Manley started moving lower in the corners to cut off Welshan’s advance. That’s when Welshan darted to the top of the track. Coming out of turn two Welshan found some grip in the cushion and drove past Manley to the outside to steal the win.
“I told Jason (Manley) if he’d run all 35 laps like he did the first one, I probably never would have got by him,” Welshan said from victory lane. “I kept showing him the bottom and showing him the bottom, and got into him a little bit. I didn’t want to wreck him because we had a little incident last year and took ourselves out. I kept showing him that and he took it, playing defense. When he did that I just never cracked it, used that little bit of cushion you have in one and two, and was able to drive right by him.”
Manley said he knows he gave the race away.
“That’s happened ot me twice now,” he said. “I’ve led every lap but the one that matters. I started playing defense.”
Manley added, “I tried to take his line away from him and I forgot what was fastest in myself. …I’ve beat myself twice now. We’ll be back Friday, and I promise if I’m in that position I won’t beat myself again.”
Rounding out the top-5 were Dan Tipton, Jason Trammell, and Jason Cardwell
Seventeen-year-old Crate Late Model rookie Bryson Dennis earned his first career pole position Saturday, but was quickly shuffled back to fourth place on the start of the 30-lap feature.
Tim Maupin started fourth, but jumped out to second right away.
Maupin dogged Warren McMahan for about half the race before completing the winning pass. From there Maupin drove away from the rest of the leaders, although lapped traffic did become a challenge in the waning laps.
At one point Maupin rammed into the back of a slow car in turn four and got airborne. But when he landed he just kept right on going to take the victory.
“I was just trying to bide my time and see where the car was going to go, and see what the track was going to do,” Maupin said after the race. “It started coming around and I seen is lines, and I seen where I needed to be, and took advantage of it.”
Maupin said lapped cars were a challenge.
He added, “They tell us for the lapped cars to move down. I guess they’re racing just like we are. You just have ot pick you way around them and go.”
McMahan finished second ahead of Keith Chatman, Dennis, and Gary Crittenden in fifth.
During the 25-lap Modified Hobby feature Jamie Whitt seemed to have the better car in clean air. About halfway through the race Whitt got trapped behind slow traffic, allowing Eddie Morris to maneuver his way into the lead.
By the time Whitt cleared the lapped cars, Morris was nearly a full straight-away ahead.
A caution on lap 14 bunched the leaders back together, but fans were robbed of what appeared to be a developing challenge by Whitt to retake the lead when Morris’s right front wheel broke completely off heading into turn one, and continued rolling down the backstretch.
From then on Whitt was home free.
The battle for the remainder of the top-5 got a bit dicey, however, especially on the last lap.
Dale Reed won the battle for the runner up position, finishing ahead of defending track champion Mike Mays, who picked up two spots on the last lap. Rounding out the top-5 were Charles Bates and Robbie Woods.
Up next at The Gap, at two night event this coming weekend April 11-12 including the $10,000-to-win “Mad Dawg 60″ Super Late Model special event, plus a $1,000 fast-time qualifier bonus. There will also be Crate Late Model racing action on Saturday.
On Friday, April 11, there will be a $1,500-to-win Limited (Steel Head) Late Model feature, along with Modified Hobby racing and open practice for Super Late Models.
For more information contact Phyllis Loven at (423) 676-9081.
Results from April 5, 2014:
1. Jason Welshan
2. Jason Manley
3. Dan Tipton
4. Jason Trammell
5. Jason Cardwell
6. Greg Estes
7. Jesse Lowe
8. Ruben Mayfield
9. Layne Clifton
10. Keith Gregory
11. John Tweed
12. Austin Atkins
13. Dale Ball
Crate Late Models:
1. Tim Maupin
2. Warren McMahan
3. Keith Chatman
4. Bryson Dennis
5. Gary Crittenden
6. Eric Register
7. Tyler Dixon
8. Cody Brake
9. Hugh Scalf
10. Richard Adkins
11. Joey Tweed
1. Jamie Whitt
2. Dale Reed
3 Mike Mays
4. Charles Bates
5. Robbie Woods
6. Parker Estes
7. Clynis Phillips
8. Kaleb Trent
9. Jesse Wilder
10. David Bullington
11. Eddie Adams
12. Ivis Earley
13. Eddie Morris
14. Daniel Reese