- Apr. 2 - Smoky Mountain Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


NeSmith Racing Series: Wilson Dominates For First Series Win at Smoky Mountain 

Roby Helm

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – April 2. Chris Wilson of Crossville, Tenn. dominated the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series 50-lap race Saturday at Smoky Mountain Speedway to pick up his first career win with the series driving the Dale’s Auto Sales GRT.  Wilson was the fast qualifier and led all 50 laps to pick up the $2,500 first-place money.

After out-timing the 41 entrants during qualifying with a lap around 4/10-mile clay oval in 17.877 seconds, Wilson started from the pole position and took the lead at the start of the race.  The only time the rest of the field could get within striking distance of Wilson was when he was working lapped traffic.

 “We won a race here at Smoky Mountain Speedway last year in our first time in a late model, so to win here tonight against this tough competition is great,” Wilson said.  “The lapped cars were very courteous, and gave us room to race.”

 Finishing 1.236 seconds behind Wilson at the checkered flag was Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn. in the Weaver Auto Sales GRT.  Weaver was able to close within a car-length of Wilson on a couple occasions in lapped traffic, but had to settle for  the second spot.

 David Crabtree of Maryville, Tenn. finished third in the Smoky Mountain Brewery Special, and Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn. was fourth in the Blount Excavating Rocket.  Kayne Hickman of Soddy Daisy, Tenn. took the fifth spot in the A1 Towing Special, and Jason Trammell of Knoxville, Tenn. finished sixth in the Trammell Construction Company Warrior.

Two-time NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Champion David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN was seventh in the Eads Farms/Preferred Sand Blasting Special, and Mark Vineyard of Powell, TN took the eighth spot in the Smithbuilt Homes Special.  Dan Breuer of Troutman, NC finished ninth in the AES Racing Special, and Patrick Duggan of Lenoir City, TN rounded out the top ten in the Duggan Racing GRT.

Todd Coffman of Parksville, KY started 21st in the Coffman’s Photos Special and finished 11th to earn the $100 Hedman Husler Award for improving his position the most from the start of the race to the end of the race.

Breuer left Smoky Mountain Speedway Saturday night as the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series point leader with 354 points and a 14-point advantage over Gentry in the second spot with 340 points and Turner in third with 314 points.

Wilson took the lead at the start of the race followed by Crabtree, Weaver, Trammell, and Hunter Best of Maryville, TN in the Young Motorsports Warrior, while cars in the middle of the pack raced three and four-wide for position.  Kerr passed Best for the fifth spot on lap three, and by the 12th lap, Wilson began to lap the cars on the tail of the lead lap.

 Crabtree and Weaver then closed in to make it a three-car battle for the lead.  Weaver was able to get by Crabtree for the second spot on lap 14 with an outside move in turn four, and then began to put the pressure on Wilson for the lead in heavy lapped traffic.   The first of four caution flags came out on lap 21 when Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA cut down a tire under his Hedman Husler Special. 

For the double-file restart, Wilson led Weaver, Crabtree, Trammell, Kerr, Best, Hickman, Mike Weeks of Friendsville, TN in the Competition Racing Equipment Special, Mark Rosner of Maryville, TN in the J.T. Racing Equipment Stinger, and Gentry down for the green flag.  When the field reached turn two, Rosner spun and that triggered an eight-car pile-up that blocked the track and brought out a red flag.

When the field went back to green flag action, Kerr got by Trammell to take over the fourth spot.  At the halfway point, Wilson held a four car-length advantage over Weaver followed by Crabtree, Kerr, Trammell, Hickman, Weeks, Gentry, Vineyard, and Breuer.  Brandon Williams of Crossville, TN stalled his PPM Special in turn three on lap 32 to bring out the third caution flag.

When the green flag came out for the double-file restart, Weeks spun in turn two while running seventh, and collected six other cars.  One of those cars was Turner, who had come from 24th to 14th in 11 laps.  Turner was done for the night, and that earned him the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award.

 The next restart was single-file, and everyone settled in quickly.  Wilson opened up another three car-length advantage over Weaver, as the top two cars began to pull away from Crabtree,  Behind the fourth-place car of Kerr, Hickman got by Trammell for the fifth spot on the restart.

With four laps to go, Wilson once again entered lapped traffic, and Weaver closed the gap to just a car-length.  Wilson was able to hold the inside groove, and on the final lap, Weaver tried the outside to no avail.  Weaver’s car pushed up the banking in turn three, and Wilson went on to post the victory.

 In preliminary action, the four 12-lap Heat Races were won by Kerr, Brian Ownby of Maryville, TN in the Tommy Brewster Builders Special, Rosner and Gentry.  Chase Edge of Lafayette, AL was the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Race.


NeSmith Racing Series - Smoky Mountain Speedway
1) Chris Wilson, 2) Randy Weaver, 3) David Crabtree, 4) Tommy Kerr, 5) Kayne Hickman, 6) Jason Trammell, 7) David Earl Gentry, 8) Mark Vineyard, 9) Dan Breuer, 10) Patrick Duggan, 11) Todd Coffman, 12) Bobby Giffin, 13) Hunter Best, 14) Mark Rosner, 15) Shannon Lee, 16) Steve Cooke, 17) Mike Weeks, 18) Matthew Turner, 19) Brandon Williams, 20) Jake Teague, 21) Brian Ownby, 22) Anthony White, 23) Tom Maddox, 24) Chase Edge


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