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Cardwell, Coffey, Rickett, Overholser, Byers visit victory lane at Volunteer Speedway

By Volunteer Speedway | 18 June 2017 | 2017 | | 0 Comments   

Cardwell, Coffey, Rickett, Overholser, Byers visit victory lane at Volunteer Speedway

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 17, 2017) — The temperature was hot around East Tennessee on Saturday as the thermometer hovered near the 90-degree mark, and the racing action was heated in the evening as Volunteer Speedway held an exciting five division Father’s Day weekend racing program.

Jason Cardwell of Knoxville captured a crowd-pleasing Steel Head Late Model win, with Rex Coffey of Morristown recording the Sportsman Late Model victory, while Chris Rickett of Morristown won his fourth Modified Street feature. Richie Overholser of Corryton won the Classic Challenge for his third victory of the season, with John Byers of Knoxville capturing the Mini Stock win.

During the week John Tweed of Greeneville serves as President and CEO of Landair Transportation, but when the weekend rolls around he enjoys getting behind the wheel of a dirt late model at “The Gap.” Tweed set fast-time at 13.198 seconds in Steel Head Late Model qualifying to earn the pole position for the 30-lap main event.

Tweed smashed the loud pedal to jump out to the lead on the start over Chase King, Josh Henry, Greg Estes and Jason Cardwell. The event’s first caution waved just a couple of laps in when Estes got loose and spun in turn two.

Off the double-file restart Tweed got a little high between turns one and two getting the car out of shape, and with young guns King and Henry bearing down it was a wild three-car scramble for the top three positions. Tweed managed to hang onto the point, but Henry passed King to take over the second spot. Another caution period slowed the action on lap 6 when both Chris Chandler and Ellery Leake had mechanical issues and entered the pits.

Back under green Tweed was still showing the way out front over King, while Cardwell got past Henry to take over third in the running order. Cardwell was up-on-the-wheel applying pressure on King, and lap 8 racing off the fourth turn he pulled the trigger to shoot past into the runner-up position.

But King wasn’t just going to roll over and not battle back, as he powered his way around Cardwell to retake the spot on lap 11 racing off turn four. The hard-nose racing between King and Cardwell had fans in the grandstands cheering, and lap and a half later Cardwell muscled his way back around King for second place and set his sights ahead on leader Tweed.

Cardwell quickly closed in behind Tweed and began sizing his opponent up ready to make a move. Racing into the first turn on lap 18, Cardwell dropped to the inside of Tweed and as they raced up off (turn) two he pulled alongside to challenge for the lead on the backstretch. Speeding off into the third turn, Cardwell drove off hard and deep into the corner to move into the lead.

Once out front and with a clear track ahead of him, Cardwell began pulling away and would go on to record a 3.705-second margin of victory over King, Tweed, Henry and Gary Crittenden.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Michael Smith, Bobby Mays, Estes, Anthony Arnwine and Michael Rutherford.

Rex Coffey of Morristown made it a clean sweep in Sportsman Late Model action as he earned the pole starting position with a time of 13.640 seconds, and then led flag-to-flag for his first victory on the season.

Rex grabbed the lead at start of the 20-lap feature over Chris Coffey and Heath Alvey, with Andy Ogle, Warren McMahan, Kevin Lewis, Jimmy Calloway and Cody Brake battling for position. Alvey slowed on lap 7 along the backstretch to bring the caution out, and after attention from his crew in the pits he rejoined the race at rear of the field.

Off the double-file restart Rex jumped back out into the lead, while Ogle moved past Chris for second place. The event’s final caution waved on lap 15 when David Bullington spun off turn two.

But Rex Coffey would not be denied a visit to victory lane as he held Ogle off for the win, with Chris Coffey, McMahan and Calloway rounding out the top five finishers.

Wayne Rader set fast-time in Modified Street qualifying at 14.877, but it was Chris Rickett of Morristown jumping out to the lead at start of the 20-lap feature over Rader, Austin Atkins, Jeffrey Melton and Michael Woods.

Atkins got around Rader between turns one and two for second place on lap 3, and just two circuits later a good run for Woods ended when he suddenly slowed on the backstretch with mechanical issues to bring the caution out.

Back under green Rickett was showing the way out front leading Atkins and Rader. A multi-car incident on lap 12 along the front straightaway was triggered when Kaleb Trent climbed the wall underneath the flagstand and almost flipping, which collected Parker Estes, Willie Busler and Craig Schmalzried to bring the caution out.

Over the final eight laps Rickett stayed ahead over the hard-charging Atkins to record his fourth win on the season. Finishing third through fifth, respectively, were Rader, Melton and R.J. Mayes.

With the Classic division taking center stage for the $500-to-win Classic Challenge, two heat races determined the starting lineup for the 25-lap feature with Josh Chesney and Eli Keck earning wins. At drop of the green Chesney took the lead over Eli, John Stevens, Richie Overholser and Lee Merritt as the field raced into the first turn.

Overholser was quickly on the move in the early going as he got around both Stevens and Eli to move into second in the running order on lap 3. Behind leader Chesney and Overholser, Eli and Stevens were battling for the third spot.

Just hard racing for position led to contact between Eli and Stevens along the front straightaway on lap 6, but as the two fought for real estate along the backstretch Eli was spun hard into the outside wall by Stevens to bring the caution out – which also ended the race for Stevens when he was parked by track officials for rough driving. After pulling into the infield pits to let his crew look the car over, Eli rejoined the race from tail of the field.

Off the restart Chesney led Overholser, Joe Keck, Chad Manning, Chris Worsham and Tony Trent. But Eli Keck was working his way forward from the back, and quickly. Overholser began applying pressure on leader Chesney on lap 15, pulling right on his back bumper. With the two battling for the lead, on lap 20 between turns three and four Chesney spun to bring the caution out.

Back under green for a five-lap run to the finish, Overholser, from Corryton, remained out front to record his third win on the season over Eli Keck, Chesney, Manning and Worsham.

John Byers led all 20 laps in winning the Mini Stock feature over Marty Phillips, David Darden, Alex Holbert and Mitchell Fox.

Volunteer Speedway will next be back in action for “Fast Friday at The Gap” on Friday, June 23. The five division racing program will showcase Steel Head Late Model, Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model, Modified Street and Classic battling on the high banks.


1. Jason Cardwell #07
2. Chase King #44
3. John Tweed #5
4. Josh Henry #B00
5. Gary Crittenden #18
6. Michael Smith #4
7. Bobby Mays #25
8. Greg Estes #31
9. Anthony Arnwine #11
10. Michael Rutherford #18
11. David Clark #1
12. Dale Reed #52
13. Brandon Tipton #4
14. Chris Chandler #8
15. Ellery Leake #34
16. Vance Surratt #23

Did Not Start: Taran Hurst #22


1. Rex Coffey #2
2. Andy Ogle #68
3. Chris Coffey #97
4. Warren McMahan #33
5. Jimmy Calloway #84
6. Brandon Starnes #1
7. David Bullington #20
8. Kevin Lewis #15
9. Cody Brake #58
10. Heath Alvey #7
11. Nicholas Shelton #9
12. John Adams #32
13. William Hux #51
14. Tyler Smith #32

Did Not Start: Phillip Nuchols #J1


1. Chris Rickett #36
2. Austin Atkins #14
3. Wayne Rader #01
4. Jeffrey Melton #4
5. R.J. Mayes #6M
6. Willie Busler #31B
7. Lance Creasman #C8
8. Adam Mitchell #74
9. Jeff Ferguson #24
10. Shawn Henry #C5
11. Brandon Johnson #J5
12. Kaleb Trent #3
13. Parker Estes #31
14. Wendell Spence #21
15. Craig Schmalzried #29
16. Michael Woods #66
17. Tony Reed #17
18. Charles Bates #27
19. Heath Alvey #81

Did Not Start: Skylar Schmalzried #7, McKenlee Hall #44

CLASSIC (25 laps)

1. Richie Overholser #18
2. Eli Keck #8
3. Josh Chesney #1
4. Chad Manning #77
5. Chris Worsham #3
6. Tony Trent #501
7. Joe Keck #78
8. Jason Hartsock #21
9. Lee Merritt #14
10. Chris Nix #44
11. Billy Woods #1
12. Jesse Hickman #69

Disqualified (Rough Driving): John Stevens #7

Did Not Start: Will Carey #16, Chris Turner #58, Luke Ellis #17

MINI STOCK (20 laps)

1. John Byers #83
2. Marty Phillips #4
3. David Darden #31
4. Alex Holbert #7
5. Mitchell Fox #5
6. Jamie James #13
7. Stephen Russell #77

Did Not Start: Thomas Clark #41

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