Austin Dillon (3), Mike
Gault (17) and Jeff Smith (18) race three-wide during the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series "Tennessee vs.
Carolina Brawl" Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway. (Randall
Carolina Clash: Series
Invades Volunteer State; Dillon Prevails at Bulls Gap
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, Tenn. - June 25.—Austin Dillon of Lewisville, N.C., grandson of
legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, currently sits fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point
standings and knows the joy of winning on the national racing scene as he has two truck victories to date in his
But, the 21-year-old Dillon is a dirt racer at heart, and Saturday night following the conclusion of the
inaugural Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series "Tennessee vs. Carolina Brawl"”he sat parked in victory lane at
Volunteer Speedway to the cheers of big crowd in attendance.
After earning the pole position for the $5,000-to-win event by touring the high banks at
12.413-seconds (116.140 mph), Dillon powered into the lead over Chris Ferguson, Mark Douglas, Ricky Weeks and
Jeff Smith on the opening lap.
The event's first caution appeared on lap three when Travis Greer, Doug Sanders, Jay Sessoms
and Chad Paxton tangled.
Volunteer Speedway champion Vic Hill battles inside of Carolina Clash regular Scott
Autry for second at Bulls Gap. (Randall
Dillon was all alone out front for the Delaware double-file restart, with Ferguson and Douglas
side-by-side behind him. Up on the wheel and digging hard, Ferguson got around Dillon for the lead on fourth
circuit, only to slow on lap five with a flat tire to bring out the caution.
Back under green, Dillon had Smith and Douglas in tow, while back through the top 10 cars in
running order, action was two- and three-wide around the 4/10-mile oval involving Weeks, Ross Bailes, Luke
Roffers, Tim Allen, Johnny Pursley, Dennis Franklin and Vic Hill. With the leader working traffic at rear of the
field on lap 16, Dillon tangled with a lapped car and Smith momentarily made pass for the lead. However, before
a new green flag lap was scored the caution waved when Weeks slowed high in turn four with a flat tire, putting
Dillon back on the point.
With Dillon leading Smith and Douglas, making a bonsai charge back up through the field was
Ferguson, who moved into eighth place on lap 21. But just two circuits later, Ferguson slowed with a flat right
rear tire. Third running Douglas also pulled into the pits, ending his night prematurely.
With a tacky, hooked-up track and intense racing among competitors for track position,
sheet-metal was swapped and it became a scenario of survival. Second-running Smith dropped out on lap 30, and
caution waved on lap 37 when Franklin slowed with a flat tire, which also saw Ferguson pull into the infield
pits calling it a night.
Chris Ferguson looks under leader Austin Dillon during the early
laps of the Carolina Clash main event at Volunteer Speedway. (Randall Perry)
While Dillon was in command out front, just behind him Scott Autry, Hill, Allen and Pursley
were battling for position. A strong run for Autry ended on lap 48, and then a tough break for Allen when he
slowed with a flat tire on lap 53, thus setting up a seven-lap sprint to the checkers.
Hill, a five-time Volunteer Speedway Super Late Model champion, had closed to the rear bumper
of Dillon prior to the event’s final caution and going back green he had visions of overtaking Dillon for the
lead. But Dillon shot out ahead of Hill on the restart when Hill's car failed to come up to speed. Hill was
passed for second place by Pursley, but while Dillon roared to the $5,000 victory, Hill got back around Pursley
for the runner-up spot with just two laps remaining. Bailes and Gault rounded out the top-five.
It was a battle up front among former track champions in the Fastrak Racing Series-sanctioned
Pro (Crate) Late Model feature. Jerry Broyles of Jonesborough (2009 champion) had finished second to Dale Ball
(2008 and 2010 champion) on three occasions this season, but he made his intentions known with the waving of the
green flag on the 25-lap event that he planned to improve his finishing position by one spot.
Austin Dillon after his first
Carolina Clash win at the tour's first Volunteer Speedway appearance on the 24th. (Randall Perry)
Broyles grabbed the lead over Ball and Mike Smith to start the race. Just six circuits in the
red flag waved when James Cole slammed hard into the outside concrete wall on the backstretch, with the incident
also collecting Mack McCarter, Keith Helton, Hugh Scalf and Tyler Dixon.
Back under green Broyles, Ball and Mike Smith began to distance themselves from their closest
challengers. With just under 10 laps remaining, Ball was riding on Broyles' rear bumper. As the lead duo
approached a couple of lapped cars, Broyles maneuvered his way past them with ease while Ball momentarily got
held up. That was all Broyles needed as he recorded the flag-to-flag run to his first feature win of the season,
followed by Ball, Smith, Forrest Trent and Todd Brooks.
Volunteer Speedway Carolina
1) Austin Dillon, 2) Vic Hill,
3) Johnny Pursley, 4) Ross Bailes, 5) Mike Gault, 6) Luke Roffers, 7) Chad Paxton, 8) Dennis Franklin,
9) David Taylor, 10) Tim Allen, 11) Ricky Weeks, 12) Craig Shuffield, 13) Scott Autry, 14) Robbie
Bailey, 15) Dustin Mitchell, 16) Chris Ferguson, 17) Jay Sessoms, 18) Jeff Smith, 19) Doug Sanders, 20)
Mark Douglas, 21) Travis Greer, 22) Travis Yow, 23) Jeff Maupin.
Fast Time (25 entries):
Randall Perry photo