Following a long, cold winter around East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, both race fans and competitors alike are ready for the first green flag of 2014 to wave at Kingsport Speedway. With the season-opening event, originally scheduled for March 29, pushed back one week due to rain this past weekend, "The Concrete Jungle" will now roar to life on Friday, April 4 with Precision Electrical Company Inc. Night at the Races.
An exciting six-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program will feature Late Model Stock (60 laps), Street Stock (30 laps), Pure 4 (25 laps), Mod 4 (20 laps), Rookie Pure 4 (15 laps), and Legends (10 laps) in action at the .375-mile banked concrete oval.
Chad Finchum of Knoxville, who captured last year's Late Model Stock track championship and also earned Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series honors, will be back this season to defend his title. Among those looking to dethrone Finchum will be Zeke Shell of Johnson City, Kres VanDyke of Claypool Hill, Va., Lee Tissot of Asheville, N.C., Paul Nogradi Jr. of Clinton, Ryan Stiltner of Grundy, Va., along with several others.
John Harrell of Surgoinsville and Nick Cole of Bristol ended last season tied in Street Stock points, but on the basis of having more wins during the season, Harrell claimed the championship. The 48-yearold Harrell will enter this season with a bull's-eye on him as several competitors look to wrestle the title away from the veteran driver. Among those will be Cole, Chris Tunnell of Wise, Va., Jared Broadbent of Spruce Pine, N.C., Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., Royce Peters of Kingsport, plus several others.
John Ketron of Kingsport will also be a marked man, based on having captured two Pure 4 track championships and having visited victory lane on several occasions over the past three seasons. Several racers from the Model City will be looking to overtake John Ketron this season, including his sons Jason and Billy, along with Kenny Absher, Chris Neeley, Keith Helton, David Trent, Dylan Bates, Michael "Mook" Jeter, Brandon Crumbley, brothers Billy and Brandon Byington, Jon Pittman of Hazard, Ky., along with many more.
The Rookie Pure 4 division looks to be wide open, with several new competitors slated to strap in behind the wheel in 2014. The Mod 4 and Legends divisions should also produce exciting racing.
The pit gate opens Friday, April 4 at 12 p.m. (noon), with the grandstands and tier-parking gates opening at 5:30 p.m. Practice is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., to be followed by qualifying at 7 p.m. Legends racing action (10 minutes or 10 laps) will begin at 7:45 p.m., followed by the invocation and national anthem at 8 p.m. before green flag waves over the remainder of the night's racing activities.
Adult grandstand admission $10, with kids 12-and-under admitted free. Adult tier-parking admission $10 per person (plus a $10 vehicle parking spot fee). Pit passes are $25 with a NASCAR license, $35 without a license. NASCAR license forms are available at the track office during the week, and they will also be available at pit sign-in the day of event.
Tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers all about the exciting, action-packed weekly "Friday Night Heat on the Concrete" racing programs at Kingsport Speedway. You don't want to miss it!
Kingsport Speedway is located at 2961 North John B. Dennis Highway. For more information, call the office at (423) 288-5992, track general manager and promoter Karen Tunnell at (276) 393-9594, follow on Twitter @KPSpeedway, or visit the website at www.NewKingsportSpeedway.com.