Jonathan Davenport at Volunteer Speedway. (Randall Perry)
Davenport Takes Volunteer's "King of
the Gap" Honors
BULLS GAP, Tenn. - June 4. Following a rainy spring around the
East Tennessee region, summer-like temperatures in the 90s greeted race fans and competitors Saturday at
Volunteer Speedway for running of the $5,000-to-win "King of The Gap - Saturday Night Smackdown 60" for Late
Fast qualifiers Davenport and Vic Hill ran side-by-side before the event's first caution
waved only two laps in when Ross White spun. Hill had powered into the lead, but under caution, Hill had a rear
tire go down, sending him into the pits and leaving Davenport on the point.
Jonathan Davenport and
#1 Vic Hill launch the "Saturday Night Smackdown" at Volunteer on the 4th before Hill suffered a flat tire under
a lap two caution. Davenport was unchallenged for the remainder. (Randall Perry)
Davenport was followed by Eric Jacobsen and Billy Ogle, Jr., a trio that set a blistering
pace out front - unofficial times had them touring the high banks faster than they qualified. With each lap,
Ogle stuck the nose of his mount underneath Jacobsen in the corners, only for the Californian Jacobsen to pull
back ahead on the straightaways. Fionally, Ogle got hooked up racing off the fourth turn on lap seven to
move past Jacobsen into second.
Tommy Kerr and #10 Chad Ogle dice for position at
Volunteer. (Randall Perry)
Billy Ogle Jr. immediately closed to the rear bumper of Davenport, but could never really
mount a serious challenge to overtake the leader, who earned $5,000 and was crowned "King of The Gap"”for
winning the "Saturday Night Smackdown 60". Finishing behind Davenport and Ogle were Jacobsen, Tommy
Kerr, and Mark Vineyard. Sixth place went to Hill, the last car on the lead lap.
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., is the current Late Model track record holder at
Volunteer Speedway, having toured the track at 12.001 seconds (120.004 mph) on March 6, 1998 - one year
before the track was reconfigured in spring of 1999, making it 40-feet wider on the backstretch exiting turn
Tonight, Davenport put a buzz in the grandstand crowd when he ran a 12.050-second lap, the
fastest lap ever turned since the track was widened. Second quickest was five-time track champion Hill, who ran
Dale Ball of Johnson City, 1999 Super Late Model and defending two-time Crate Late Model
champion, battled early with pole-sitter Mack McCarter in the 25-lap Crate Late Model feature before teenager
McCarter's night ended prematurely on lap nine, when he got into the outside backstretch concrete wall.
With McCarter sidelined, Ball still had to contend with two former track champions in Jerry
Broyles and Mike Smith, but finally he began to steadily pull away from Broyles and Smith and cruised to his
third feature win of the season. Rounding out the top five at the finish behind Ball, Broyles and Smith, were
Todd Brooks and Forrest Trent
June 4 - Volunteer Speedway "King of the Hill"
1) Jonathan Davenport, 2) Billy Ogle, Jr., 3) Eric
Jacobsen, 4) Tommy Kerr, 5) Mark Vineyard, 6) Vic Hill, 7) Chad Ogle, 8) John Tweed, 9) Kerry
Jones, 10) Ross White, 11) Travis Greer, 12) Steve Smith, 13) Jeff Maupin. (13
Randall Perry photo