TAZEWELL, Tenn. (July 27) — Just one night removed from his series triumph at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn., Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., returned to Schaeffer’s Southern Nationals victory lane on Saturday night, earning a $10,053 payday in the miniseries finale at Tazewell Speedway.
Winning his heat race to start fourth in the 53-lap feature, McDowell slipped under polesitter Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., in turn two to assume the point on lap 13. Dominating the remaining distance, McDowell outran Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., for the second straight night to score his fifth career series victory.
“We were about to give up up here because the last couple times we’ve been in position to win and had a flat tire,” McDowell said. “I was just waiting on something to happen. But thank the good Lord above a good safe race and let it be our night.”
Strickler charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with McDowell moving into second on a lap-one restart. As the pair worked through early lapped traffic, McDowell closed the gap between himself and Strickler, edging ahead when the modified ace slipped up the track, opening up the preferred line. McDowell then stretched his lead to capture his sixth victory of the 2019 season.
“My brother’s worked his tail off, so it’s fun for us to have some success together,” McDowell said. “It’s rough when you’re running bad and you have to travel up and down the road and you’re brothers. But when you’re running good it’s a lot of fun.”
Sliding ahead of second-running Strickler with less than a handful of laps remaining in the distance, Overton finished runner-up, clinching his second career Southern Nationals championship. Strickler ran third, with Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., finishing fourth. Jason Trammell of Knoxville, Tenn., rounded out the top five.
While Overton was able to make up ground between himself and McDowell after moving ahead Strickler, he found himself out of time to make any real challenge for the lead.
“I’d just like to seen a caution,” Overton said. “I felt like I was running 200 mph faster than everybody when I passed (Strickler). But it is what it is. I’m not down or upset. I wanted to win, but to come back in those points and win them, that’s a pretty cool deal. We did what we had to do to overcome stuff. All in all, our race car’s really fast.”
Falling to Overton with just a few laps remaining, Strickler held on to finish third. In his last visit to the high banks of Tazewell, the Wells and Sons Motorsports pilot scored a Schaeffer’s Iron-Man Championship Series victory.
“I really like this place and enjoy coming here,” Strickler said. “Just messed up on tires. We live and we learn and we’re getting better. These guys in front of me here are really, really good. I hate that I was holding up (Overton). He needed to get by me and I didn’t want to mess with him for points or anything. We were a sitting duck there at the end. I hate that I started on the pole and backed her up to third, but I’m still really proud of our guys.”
Notes: McDowell notched his fifth career Southern Nationals victory. … The race’s lone yellow flag waved on the first lap when Michael Chilton got into the turn-two wall. … Ninth-place finisher Jackie Boggs made his first appearance at Tazewell since 1997. … Jason Jameson and the Rattliff Racing team lost a driveshaft in their hauler en route to the racetrack and had to be towed to the pit area. … Promoter Ray Cook was recognized during Saturday’s drivers meeting for 15 years of Southern Nationals action.
Row 1: Kyle Strickler, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Ross Bailes, Dale McDowell
Row 3: Jason Trammell, Michael Chilton
Row 4: Jake Knowles, Vic Hill
Row 5: Cla Knight, Donald McIntosh
Row 6: Jackie Boggs, Dakotah Knuckles
Row 7: Tanner English, Jason Jameson
Row 8: Forrest Trent, Tyler Clem
Row 9: Jeff Wolfenbarger, Benji Hicks
Row 10: Kenny Collins, Greg Estes
Row 11: Mack McCarter, Eric Webber
A yellow flag waved on the green flag lap when Jason Wolfenbarger got sideways on the backstretch and Lynn Leach came to a stop in the top of turn three. Charging around the top side, Benji Hicks led the opening lap, with a three-car battle ensuing for the lead in the early distance. Wolfenbarger pulled ahead of Hicks to lead the fourth lap, with Collins running a close third. Stretching his lead to a full straightaway late-race, Wolfenbarger won the consolation, with Hicks running second. Collins fourth off a charging Greg Estes to finish third.
Finish (top four transfer): Jeff Wolfenbarger, Benji Hicks, Kenny Collins, Greg Estes, Mack McCarter, Terry Wolfenbarger, Eric Webber, Lynn Leach, Clyde Overholt.
(12 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Kenny Collins, Benji Hicks
Row 2: Jeff Wolfenbarger, Greg Estes
Row 3: Terry Wolfenbarger, Eric Webber
Row 4: Clyde Overholt, Matthew Holt
Row 5: Mack McCarter, Lynn Leach
Polesitter Dale McDowell charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, as Dakotah Knuckles challenged Vic Hill for second in the opening laps. McDowell held nearly a half straightway lead at the halfway mark, with Hill, Knuckles and fourth-running Tyler Clem all racing single-file. McDowell took the checkered flag, with Hill and Knuckles rounding out the podium.
Finish (top four transfer): Dale McDowell, Vic Hill, Dakotah Knuckles, Tyler Clem, Greg Estes. Scratched: Matthew Holt.
Front-row starters Michael Chilton and Brandon Overton crossed the stripe side-by-side on the opening lap, with Chilton holding the advantage by just inches. Overton pulled ahead on the following circuit, with third-running Donald McIntosh challenging Chilton for position just past the halfway mark. Stretching his lead late-race, Overton won the heat, with Chilton holding off McIntosh to finish second.
Finish (top four transfer): Brandon Overton, Michael Chilton, Donald McIntosh, Jason Jameson, Benji Hicks, Eric Webber, Lynn Leach.
Rolling around the high side, outside polesitter Ross Bailes took an early lead, with fifth-starting Jackie Boggs charging to third on the opening lap. Bailes held a comfortable lead at he halfway point, with Boggs attempting to reel in second-running Jake Knowles. Bailes won the heat, with Knowles and Boggs rounding out the podium. After starting on the pole, Forrest Trent slipped back to fourth to finish fourth and take the final feature transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Ross Bailes, Jake Knowles, Jackie Boggs, Forrest Trent, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Clyde Overholt.
Polesitter Kyle Stricker shot to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, with Cla Knight and Kenny Collins making contact in turn four on the opening lap. Both cars continued, but Collins slipped to the rear of the field. Strickler held a straightaway lead at the halfway mark, with outside polesitter Jason Trammell running a comfortable second. Dominating all 10 laps, Strickler won the heat, with Trammell, Knight and Tanner English transferring to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Kyle Strickler, Jason Trammell, Cla Knight, Tanner English, Kenny Collins, Terry Wolfenbarger.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Kyle Strickler, Jason Trammell
Row 2: Cla Knight, Kenny Collins
Row 3: Tanner English, Terry Wolfenbarger
Row 4: Mack McCarter
Row 1: Forrest Trent, Ross Bailes
Row 2: Jake Knowles, Jeff Wolfenbarger
Row 3: Jackie Boggs, Clyde Overholt
Row 1: Michael Chilton, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Donald McIntosh, Jason Jameson
Row 3: Benji Hicks, Lynn Leach
Row 4: Eric Webber
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Vic Hill
Row 2: Dakotah Knuckles, Tyler Clem
Row 3: Greg Estes, Matthew Holt
Tripping the clock with a time of 11.850 seconds, Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., was Saturday’s overall fast qualifier at Tazewell. He’ll start on the pole of the evening’s first heat race. Clocking the quickest time in his respective qualifying group, Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky., will start on the pole of the third heat race. Joining Strickler and Chilton as heat race polesitters are Forrest Trent of Morristown, Tenn., and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.
The Schaeffer’s Southern Nationals Series wraps up Saturday night with a $10,053-to-win program at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway. The 1/3-mile, high-banked East Tennessee oval hosts the series finale for the 15th consecutive season.
Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., has won the last two Southern Nationals events at Tazewell. The former series champion enters Saturday’s show just four points ahead of Jake Knowles of Rome, Ga., in the tour’s points standings.
Saturday’s program will include hot laps, group time trials, four heat races (top four transfer), one consolation (top four transfer) and the 53-lap main event. Provisionals will make up the final row of the feature lineup. Sportsman and street stocks are among four other divisions that will be in action.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 11.850
Forrest Trent (101), Morristown, Tenn., 12.011
Jason Trammell (90J), Knoxville, Tenn., 12.127
Ross Bailes (87), Clover, S.C., 12.194
Cla Knight (42), North Augusta, S.C., 12.198
Jake Knowles (66), Rome, Ga., 12.216
Kenny Collins (1C), Colbert, Ga., 12.254
Jeff Wolfenbarger (28), Clinton, Tenn., 12.293
Tanner English (58), Benton, Ky., 12.313
Jackie Boggs (4B), Grayson, Ky., 12.371
Terry Wolfenbarger (14), Powell, Tenn., 12.376
Clyde Overholt (4), Tazewell, Tenn., 13.936
Mack McCarter (51), Gatlinburg, Tenn., no time
Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 12.112
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 12.182
Brandon Overton (2), Evans, Ga., 12.215
Vic Hill (1), Mosheim, Tenn., 12.311
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 12.321
Dakotah Knuckles (21K), Ewing, Va., 12.345
Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 12.447
Tyler Clem (58), St. Petersburg, Fla., 12.474
Benji Hicks (55), Mount Airy, N.C., 12.494
Greg Estes (31), Jonesville, Va., 12.826
Lynn Leach (22), Andersonville, Tenn., 12.972
Matthew Holt (22H), Thorn Hill, Tenn., 12.983
Eric Webber (25), Morristown, Tenn., 13.010
7 p.m. Drivers meeting
- Four cylinders
- Late Models
- Street stocks
- Four cylinders (1 lap)
- Sportsman (2 laps)
- Classics (1 lap)
- Late Models (2 laps)
- Street stocks (1 lap)
- Late Model heat races (10 laps)
- Four cylinder feature (20 laps)
- Late Model consolation (if needed)
- Classic feature (20 laps)
- Late Model feature (53 laps)
- Sportsman feature (20 laps)
- Street stock feature (20 laps)