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McDowell overtakes McIntosh late for Volunteer Speedway Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series ‘Scott Sexton Memorial’ victory

By Volunteer Speedway | 15 April 2018 | 2018 | | 0 Comments   

McDowell overtakes McIntosh late for Volunteer Speedway Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series ‘Scott Sexton Memorial’ victory

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (April 14, 2018) — In racing it’s not where you start that counts, ultimately it’s where you finish that matters.

Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., has driven his way to the front on many occasions over the years to reach victory lane. McDowell started from outside of the fifth row in tenth position Saturday at Volunteer Speedway and steadily worked his way to the front, bringing many fans from one of the track’s biggest crowds ever to their feet when he passed race-long leader Donald McIntosh following a restart on lap 43 when McIntosh got a little out of shape and drifted up the track between turns one and two.

Once out front there would be no denying McDowell a trip to the bank with the winner’s purse of $10,052 for taking the checkered flag in the Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series sixth annual Scott Sexton Memorial presented by Sunoco Race Fuels and Tennessee RV Supercenter.

“When Scott (Sexton) was racing here regularly, he was known to run the top groove and not many could run it as well as he did. If there was anything to grab on the top, you always knew he’d be up there, and he could sure get it done. It was pretty neat to see people using the same line during the race that he used to run here all the time.

“Since this was his memorial race, my thoughts were on him quite a bit tonight. We raced together a lot over the years, and we all miss him.”

The Scott Sexton Memorial is held in memory of the late Scott Sexton, from Pigeon Forge, a two-time (1991 and 1995) Volunteer Speedway champion who passed away at age 46 on Jan. 10, 2013 after battling health issues for seven years. Sexton left his mark in East Tennessee racing history during a distinguished 30-year racing career in go-karts (over 300 wins) and dirt late models (164 wins), which saw him earn the nickname “Superman” from his fans.

Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg, Ind., was quickest in Group A qualifying at 12.613 seconds, while Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., was fastest qualifier in Group B and overall at 12.488 seconds over 26 entrants.

Four heat races each transferred the top four finishers into the main event, with Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., winning the first 10-lap heat, while Vic Hill of Mosheim, Tenn., recorded the win in the second heat. Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., took the win in the third heat, and Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was winner of the fourth heat.

McIntosh shot out into the lead on the start over Roberts, Owens, Hill and Marlar. While behind them the racing action was intense between Jason Jameson, Shanon Buckingham, Eric Wells, McDowell and Dakotah Knuckles.

McIntosh caught the rear of the field on lap 15 to start lapping the slower cars, which allowed Roberts and Owens to close right in on the leader. But McIntosh negotiated the traffic to perfection which allowed him to remain in control out front.

With the race running clean-and-green, McDowell was making his way toward the front as he advanced to the fifth spot on lap 28. McDowell passed Hill for fourth on lap 32 and two circuits later he drove under Owens racing off (turn) two to take over third place. McDowell passed Roberts for second on lap 36 and set his sights ahead on leader McIntosh.

The event’s first caution waved on lap 43 when Chris Barton slowed with a flat tire. With McIntosh all alone out front for the restart, behind him McDowell and Roberts were side-by-side. McDowell drove past McIntosh into the lead on lap 44, but the race wasn’t over at that point as 13-year-old Carder Miller slowed on lap 49 to bring out the caution.

The stage was set for a three-lap shootout for the win, but McDowell, driving the Textron Off Road/Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research/Quality Natural Gas/New Era Industrial/Cometic Gasket/Klotz Lubricants/Clements Race Engines/Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars/Shane McDowell Racing/No. 17m Chevrolet SS, was not going to be taken down as he came out firing and wrote his name in the record book as winner of the Scott Sexton Memorial over McIntosh, Owens, Roberts and Cory Hedgecock (started 18th).

“The track had gotten one lane just a little bit late in the race, and I knew his (Donald McIntosh’s) car was a little tight, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pass him,” McDowell said. “When he pushed entering the corner I was able to get turned down the track a little better than he did, and that’s when we got past him.”

Completing the top 10 finishers were Hill, Buckingham, Jameson, Marlar and Wells. … In a very competitive race, the top 16 cars finished on lead lap and 19 of 22 starters were still on-track when the checkered flag waved.

With a stellar field of 33 Crate Late Models signed-in for qualifying, Trevor Sise set fast-time at 13.324 seconds to earn the pole starting position for the $1,500-to-win feature. Sise powered into the lead on the opening lap over Josh Henry, Jesse Lowe, Rusty Ballenger and Cory Hedgecock.

Sise had a rearview mirror full of the hard-charging Henry, who was feeling pressure from behind by Lowe. Hedgecock quickly got around Ballenger for the fourth spot. Good battles for position were taking place just outside of the top five involving Greg Martin, Adam Tolliver, Kyle Courtney, Ruben Mayfield, Taran Hurst, Gary Crittenden, Tim Maupin, John Llewellyn, and several others.

With Sise leading, Henry and Hedgecock were battling for second place and contact between the duo exiting the second corner saw the third generation racer Henry get into the outside wall and damage his car, which sent him into the pits on lap 17.

Back under green Hedgecock began working Sise over before taking the lead on lap 21. Hedgecock went on to capture the victory over Sise, Lowe, Brandon Williams (started 16th) and Crittenden.

Jed Emert of Maryville started eighth in the Sportsman Late Model 25-lap feature and got up on the wheel drive to the front to capture his second victory on the season. Emert was chased to the checkered flag by Matt Tharp, Brad Seagle, Zach Sise and Chris Coffey.

Gary Blanken looked like he was headed to a fourth straight Modified Street feature win. But Austin Atkins of Morristown pulled off a bonsai move on the final lap between turns three and four to pass Blanken for the lead. Atkins recorded the victory over Blanken, Shannon Emery, David Clark and Brady Lee.

Lee Merritt of Knoxville grabbed the lead at start of the 20-lap Classic feature over John Stevens and throughout the race Stevens rode right on the leader Merritt’s rear bumper until a late restart saw Stevens lose positions. Merritt captured his second straight win over Josh Chesney, Quincy Arnwine, Russell Hefti and Chris Worsham.



1. Dale McDowell #17M-Chickamauga, GA
2. Donald McIntosh #58-Dawsonville, GA
3. Jimmy Owens #20-Newport, TN
4. Casey Roberts #101-Toccoa, GA
5. Cory Hedgecock #9-Loudon, TN
6. Vic Hill #1-Mosheim, TN
7. Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
8. Jason Jameson #12-Lawrenceburg, IN
9. Mike Marlar #157-Winfield, TN
10. Eric Wells #18-Hazard, KY
11. Forrest Trent #101-Talbott, TN
12. Dakotah Knuckles #21K-Ewing, VA
13. Brandon Kinzer #18-Allen, KY
14. David Payne #8-Murphy, NC
15. Michael Chilton #97-Salvisa, KY
16. Aaron Ridley #81-Chatsworth, GA
17. Zach Leonhardi #24-Cartersville, GA
18. Ryan King #1G-Seymour, TN
19. Chris Barton #144-Middlesboro, KY
20. Carder Miller #69-Salem, VA
21. Mack McCarter #1-Gatlinburg, TN
22. Robby Moses #21-Maryville, TN

Did Not Start:

Billy Ogle Jr. #201
Chad Ogle #10
Travis Greer #11G
Kenneth Howell #21


1. Cory Hedgecock #23
2. Trevor Sise #73
3. Jesse Lowe #5J
4. Brandon Williams #95
5. Gary Crittenden #18
6. Adam Tolliver #28
7. Tim Maupin #3
8. John Llewellyn #2
9. Eli Beets #109
10. Ruben Mayfield #00
11. Kenny Ford #61
12. Greg Martin #24
13. Kyle Courtney #171
14. Chris Chandler #8
15. Rusty Ballenger #29
16. Josh Fields #11
17. Jonathan Miracle #52
18. Danny Yoder #2
19. Andy Ogle #68
20. Derrick Meadors #9
21. Jerry Green #14
22. Josh Henry #B00
23. Taran Hurst #22
24. Austin Langley #11
25. Jason Trammell #90

Grant Corum #49, Nathan Martin #21, Dale Reed #52, Michael Jenkins #31, Chris Long #75, Anthony Arnwine #11, Tim Byrd #24, Brandon Tipton #13


1. Jed Emert #98
2. Matt Tharp #35
3. Brad Seagle #31
4. Zach Sise #9
5. Chris Coffey #97
6. Vic Chandler #88
7. Jake Whitehead #116
8. Terry Poore #2
9. Adam Mitchell #50
10. Addison Cardwell #07A
11. Heath Alvey #7
12. Warren McMahan #33
13. Joshua Sneed #79
14. Clay Coghlan #6
15. Rex Coffey #43
16. Brandon Miller #89
17. Aaron Guinn #97G
18. Zach Shannon #Z1
19. Dakota Holt #13
20. Nicholas Shelton #9

Did Not Start: Kyle Manis #K25


1. Austin Atkins #14
2. Gary Blanken #05
3. Shannon Emery #M2
4. David Clark #13
5. Brady Lee #31
6. Rocky Ogle #9
7. Dustin Ratliff #10
8. Tracy Wolfe #11
9. Bret Banks #3
10. Nick Presley #69
11. Chad McLemore #EZ1
12. McKenlee Hall #44
13. Dewayne Fox #27
14. Willie Busler #31B
15. Bryan McDaniel #59
16. Chris Hickman #7
17. Kurt Owens #14

Did Not Start: Shawn Henry #C5

CLASSIC (20 laps)

1. Lee Merritt #14
2. Josh Chesney #XXX
3. Quincy Arnwine #1A
4. Russell Hefti #0
5. Chris Worsham #3
6. John Stevens #7
7. Shaun Sise #59
8. Tim Stevens #19
9. Eli Keck #24
10. Clyde Mincey #14M
11. Tim Bounds #11
12. Nicholas King #66
13. Jesse Hickman #69
14. Todd Beeler #J23
15. Brandon Crawford #00
16. Hayston Collett #3C
17. Rusty Welch #1W
18. Jason Hartsock #42
19. Brad Dyer #20

Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series: www.SouthernNationalsSeries.com
Ray Cook (Promoter): 828-360-5353
Chris Tilley (Public Relations): 606-219-1723

Volunteer Speedway (Recording Only): 423 235-5020 www.VolunteerSpeedway.com
Volunteer Speedway (General Manager): 865-257-7223
Joe Byrd (Tech Official): 865-776-1798