- Sept. 10 - Volunteer Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Carolina Clash: Cook knocks out competition for ‘Tennessee vs. Carolina Brawl’ at Volunteer

by Robert Walden

BULLS GAP, Tenn. — Sept. 10. With the feel of fall in the air around East Tennessee on Saturday night, Volunteer Speedway hosted round two of the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series “Tennessee vs. Carolina Brawl – Saturday Night Fight at "the Gap.”

Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., proved to be the ultimate warrior as he knocked out the competition by first, setting fast-time at 12.385 seconds and then secondly, leading all 60 laps to record the $5,000 victory and capturing the impressive championship title belt.

Cook bolted out of the gate at drop of the green, taking the lead over 15-year-old Zack Mitchell, Ross Bailes, Mark Douglas and Jonathan Davenport. With Cook setting a blistering pace out front leading the 24-car field around the high-banked, 4/10-mile oval, the first caution waved on lap 8 when series points leader Luke Roffers and Jay Sessoms tangled on the front straightaway about the start-finish line and spun down against the inside wall.

Following the restart, Cook once again began to put some distance between himself and his closest challengers – Mitchell, Bailes, Douglas and Davenport. Cook caught the tail of the field and was faced with working lapped traffic on lap 20, but the veteran chauffeur maneuvered his way past cars with the skills of a surgeon.

Chad Ogle was having a strong run in sixth, riding on Davenport’s rear bumper. Just back behind Ogle, Johnny Pursley, Ricky Weeks, Kennie Compton Jr., Tim Allen, Dennis Franklin, Dustin Mitchell, Jeff Maupin and Brett Miller were all battling for real estate. After Maupin had just gotten around Miller for 13th-place on lap 21 between turns three and four, on lap 23 racing into the first turn Maupin attempted a slide job under Dustin Mitchell – but instead contact was made and Maupin spun between turns one and two to bring the caution out.

Back under green for just three circuits, on lap 26 fourth-running Douglas saw his night come to a disappointing end when he got high between (turns) one and two and hit the wall. Then on lap 29 the caution waved once again when Travis Yow spun.

Cook brought the field back up to speed and glued to his rear bumper was Davenport, who had gotten around both Bailes and Zack Mitchell for positions. The chilled grandstand crowd was hoping to see a battle up front between Cook and Davenport for the lead, but Cook put a quick end to those thoughts as he left Davenport and Bailes to duel for the runner-up spot.

With the race running “clean-and-green” for the entire second half of the 60-lapper, Cook continued to build on his advantage. While Cook was in command out front, he did encounter a few tense moments late in the race when negotiating lapped traffic just 10 circuits from the finish. That briefly allowed Davenport and Bailes to close within four car lengths of the leader.

But once the “Tarheel Tiger” Cook cleanly worked his way around the slower cars, he pulled back comfortably ahead of Davenport and Bailes. Lapped traffic played out favorably for Bailes as he was able to overtake Davenport to move into second-place.

However, the 39-year-old Cook completed a dominant flag-to-flag run to the $5,000 victory driving the Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Industrial Power Tools/Hicks & Ingle Co./Race Engine Design/D&R Motorsports/PPM Racing Products/VP Racing Fuels/Performance Rod & Custom/K&N Filters/A+ Moving & Storage Co/James Cook Construction/JB Performance/Bill Elliott Racing/Real Racing Wheels/Integra Racing Shocks/Stealth Racing Carburetors/Demon Carburetion/Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants/American Racer Tires/Peterson Fluid Systems/Bert Transmission/Sweet Mfg./MSD Ignition/Wiles Racing Driveshafts/Scott Performance Wire/FK Rod Ends/T&D Machine Products/Wilwood Disc Brakes/GW Performance/ISC Racers Tape/Brodix Cylinder Heads/Chizmark & Larson Insurance Agency/Delph Communications/Frankland Racing Supply/Eibach Springs/Daniel Built Racing Starters/Turbo Start Batteries/MasterSbilt Race Cars No. 53 ride. Cook was chased to the checkers by Bailes, Davenport, Ogle and Zack Mitchell.

Compton, Miller, Pursley, Franklin and Weeks completed the top 10 finishers. Jeff Smith finished 11th, the last car on the lead lap.

The Fastrak Racing Series-sanctioned Pro Late Models competed in twin 20-lap features. Jerry Broyles of Jonesborough set fast-time in qualifying with a run of 13.413 seconds to earn the pole position for the first event. Broyles jumped out to the lead on the opening lap over Dale Ball, Kenny Peeples Jr., Tim Maupin and Adam Blankenship. Under the flag-stand on just the second circuit, Teddy Tate and Mark Sant got together with Sant making hard contact with the outside concrete wall and Tate spinning to bring out the caution.

Broyles still led Ball and Peeples for the restart. Ball, a two-time (2008 and 2010) Pro Late Model champion from Johnson City entered the night of racing holding a 14-point lead over Broyles, who won the divisional title in 2009. Ball got under Broyles racing off the fourth turn on lap 3 to take the lead, and began to distance himself from Broyles and Peeples.

Ball’s 10-car length advantage out front was erased following a multicar wreck between turns three and four on lap 15, setting the stage for a five-lap run to the finish.

The only way Ball, driving the Smith Brothers Harley-Davidson of Johnson City/Luke's Pizza of Johnson City/Alan Poyner Enterprises/Mainline Communications/Jim Schweitzer Inc./Twin D Auto & Truck Sales of Johnson City/Advance Auto Parts/Envy Suspension & Race Consultants/Warrior Race Cars/No. 2 Chevrolet Impala, would be shut out of victory lane was if he made a mistake over the final laps. He didn’t, and thus he recorded his sixth Pro Late Model feature win of the season.

Chasing Ball to the checkers in the first twin 20 were Peeples, Broyles, Maupin and Mike Smith.

The top-six finishers from the first race were inverted for the second twin 20, thus putting Todd Brooks and Smith on the front row for the start. Brooks and Smith raced side-by-side into the first corner on the opening lap, but Brooks powered into the lead racing off turn two down the backstretch.

Maupin got around Smith for second racing off turn two on lap 2, with Broyles dropping Smith back to fourth on the third circuit as they raced off turn four. Ball relegated Smith back into the fifth spot with a pass for position racing off the second turn on lap 5. The caution waved on lap 6 when Dennis Stiles spun in the fourth turn.

Brooks was riding all alone out front for the Delaware double-file restart, with Maupin and Broyles side-by-side in the row behind. Broyles powered ahead of Maupin as the field accelerated down the front straightaway and dove to the inside of Brooks racing into the first turn, executing a slide-job to move up in front of Brooks to take the lead.

Another strong run for the rookie Maupin ended with a battery issue on lap 7 which sent him slowly coasting into the infield pits at exit of turn two. Ball dropped to the inside of Brooks between turns one and two on the eighth circuit to move into second place. But just two laps later, Peeples got around Ball for position racing off turn two.

While Peeples and Ball battled for the runner-up spot, out front it was all Broyles, driving the Stars 'N' Stripes/In God We Trust/Envy Suspension/Steve Broyles Racing/No. 72 Chevrolet Impala to his second Pro Late Model feature win of the season. Broyles was followed at the finish by Peeples, Ball, Brooks and Mike Smith.

Sept. 10 - Carolina Clash at Volunteer Speedway
1) Ray Cook, 2) Ross Bailes, 3) Jonathan Davenport, 4) Chad Ogle, 5) Zack Mitchell, 6) Kennie Compton, Jr., 7) Brett Miller, 8) Johnny Pursley, 9) Dennis Franklin, 10) Ricky Weeks, 11) Jeff Smith, 12) Jeff Maupin, 13) Scott Autry, 14) Mike Gault, 15) Travis Greer, 16) Tim Allen, 17) Travis Yow, 18) David Taylor, 19) Kyle Pierce, 20) Luke Roffers, 21) Kerry Jones, 22) Dustin Mitchell, 23) Mark Douglas, 24) Jay Sessoms

Thomas Hendrickson photo


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