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Daily Dirt 03/03/2024 03:02:17

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July 31
Tazewell Speedway,
Tazewell, TN
Sanction: Schaeffer's Southern Nationals (Ray Varner Ford 53 ) - $10,053
Information provided by: Robert Holman (last updated August 1, 8:35 am)
Chilton captures finale, McIntosh wraps up title
Ray Varner Ford 53
  1. Michael Chilton
  2. Dale McDowell
  3. Zack Mitchell
  4. Ross Bailes
  5. Donald McIntosh
  6. Ryan King
  7. Austin Neely
  8. Vic Hill
  9. Jason Trammell
  10. Jensen Ford
  11. Kyle Strickler
  12. Cody Overton
  13. Dakotah Knuckles
  14. Garrett Smith
  15. Ahnna Parkhurst
  16. Benjamin Cranford
  17. Kenny Collins
  18. Jeff Neubert
  19. Pierce McCarter
  20. Matthew Holt
  21. Brian Shockley
  22. Jeff Wolfenbarger
  23. John Llewellyn
presented by
Michael Moats/mrmracing.net
Michael Chilton's team in victory lane after his $10,053 victory.
What won the race: Becoming the fourth first-time series winner of 2021, outside front-row starter Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky., led all the way in the Ray Varner Ford 53 in the Schaeffer's Southern Nationals points finale. Chilton kept runner-up Dale McDowell in check the second half of the race while Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., raced from 16th to fifth to secure his first series title.
Key notes: Chilton became the ninth winner in nine miniseries races and the fourth first-time series winner. ... He has three five-figure paydays in his career, one last September and two this season. ... Among slowdowns was a lap-19 red flag when Pierce McCarter's machine rode the backstretch wall an ended up upside down at the turn-three entrance. He wasn't hurt. He'd been battling Kyle Strickler for the sixth spot ... Dakotah Knuckles hit the turn-four wall running third on lap 21. ... High-banked Tazewell hosted the series for the 18th time and wrapped up championship points chase for the 17th time.
On the move: Series champion Donald McIntosh started 16th and finished fifth.
Winner's sponsors: Chilton drives a Rocket Chassis with a Bullock Race Engine and is sponsored by Parkview Home Center, Caton Industrial Painting, Chilton's Lawn & Maintenance, PPM Racing Products, Brucebuilt Performance and Kamikazi Web Works.
Points chase: Final: 1. Donald McIntosh (1,576): 2. Dale McDowell (1,560); 3. Cody Overton (1,546); 4. Jensen Ford (1,522); 5. Kenny Collins (1,520); 6. Garrett Smith (1,474); 7. Benjamin Cranford (1,428): 8. Jeff Neubert (1,398); 9. Ahnna Parkhurst (1,382); 10. Stacy Boles (1,088).
Current weather: Overcast, 73°F
Car count: 30
Fast qualifier: Garrett Smith
Time: 11.231 seconds
Polesitter: Ross Bailes
Heat race winners: Ross Bailes, Dale McDowell, Michael Chilton, Dakotah Knuckles
Consolation race winners: Ahnna Parkhurst, Austin Neely
Provisional starters: Jensen Ford, Kenny Collins, Jeff Neubert
Next series race: August 1, Volunteer Speedway (Bulls Gap, TN) $4,053
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

TAZEWELL, Tenn. — Capping a Schaeffer's Southern Nationals title chase with plenty of fresh faces, its fitting that the final points event ended with a first-time series winner and a first-time series champion.

Michael Chilton of Salvisa, Ky, led all the way from outside the front row Saturday at Tazewell Speedway for a $10,053 victory while longtime tour regular Donald McIntosh overcame preliminary struggles with a 16th-to-fifth run that secure the $10,053 championship.

Chilton took the checkers 0.502 seconds ahead of Hall of Famer Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., at the high-banked oval while ninth-starting Zack Mitchell of Enoree, S.C., was third. Pole-starting Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., settled for fourth and McIntosh rallied from his eighth-row starting spot to round out the top five.

Crediting a heat race victory he called a "gift" after Vic Hill and Cody Overton were penalized for jumping two starts that put him in position to win, Chilton still had to contend with McDowell, who was lurking in third early and took second from Bailes on the 28th of 53 laps.

"I was watching that scoreboard and I knew that Dale was probably going to be the guy to beat when he got to running that bottom there," said Chilton, who earned his third five-figure payday over the last 10 months. "I just knew I needed to try to protect the bottom and save some tire. Dale, he's the master of saving for the end. I got pretty worried there when I got to a couple of them lapped cars and I felt like they were pulling away from me. I was just trying not to make not mistakes and slip. And we got it done."

Chilton struggled with lapped cars late in the race but kept McDowell in check at a track where he's left on a wrecker more than once.

"It was tough. This place owes me a few. We've had a couple of good runs — and we tore a lot of race cars over silly stuff," he said. "We was gone on vacation last week and the guys worked on this car all week and got together for this weekend. And I appreciate them and my wife for putting up with all this."

McDowell crept closer to Chilton but couldn't make a serious stab at the lead.

"This place always provides excitement for us and the race fans, especially. I was just trying to go where (the opposing cars) weren't, so I was able to manage my tires there pretty good, which we can do pretty good in those cars. (Amid) lapped traffic (other frontrunners) got to working their tires, and I just tried to maintain," McDowell said. "So I think that's what happened there at the end. But, congratulations to Michael for the win and congratulations to Donald for the championship. ... we kept that E-Z-Go hot rod in the hunt, anyway, that's all we can ask for."

McIntosh, who spent most of the series driving his Blount Motorsports teammate Tommy Kerr's No. 4T after struggling in his regular No. 7m, said the car switch suggested by crew chief David Bryant made all the difference.

"We've felt changes and didn't get a win, but we got close three or four times there," McIntosh said. "I got behind qualifying tonight and put us behind, but we was able to pass some cars. Man, I tell you what, when I first started racing here, I didn't really like this racetrack too much. But, boy, it's gotten to be a lot of fun to race on. You can pass on it and run side-by-side.

"What a great night. I can't thank these guys enough for standing behind me. It's been a long road to finally get one of these (Southern Nationals) championships. It means a lot. We've been doing it a while and it's a pretty cool deal."

The 53-lapper had three incidents, including a lap-19 red flag when seventh-running Pierce McCarter's machine rode the backstretch wall and ended up upside down at the turn-three entrance. He climbed out unhurt. McCarter had been battling Kyle Strickler for the sixth spot.

A caution appeared on lap 21 when third-running Dakotah Knuckles got into turn-four wall and the race's start was delayed when, during warmup laps before the race, there was a pileup entering turn three involving Matthew Holt, Ahnna Parkhurst, Kenny Collins and Austin Neely.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Ross Bailes, Michael Chilton
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Dakotah Knuckles
Row 3: Garrett Smith, Benjamin Cranford
Row 4: Kyle Strickler, Pierce McCarter
Row 5: Zack Mitchell, Vic Hill
Row 6: Matthew Holt, Jason Trammell
Row 7: Brian Shockley, Ryan King
Row 8: John Llewellyn, Donald McIntosh
Row 9: Ahnna Parkhurst, Austin Neely
Row 10: Jeff Wolfenbarger, Cody Overton
Row 11 Jensen Ford, Kenny Collins
Row 12: Jeff Neubert

Pre-feature notes

Polesitter Ross Bailes is chasing his third career Southern Nationals win. Both of Bailes’s wins came at Georgia’s Screven Motor Speedway, this season and in 2019. He finished third in series points last year. … Michael Chilton has never won a series race. … Dale McDowell has six career Southern Nationals wins, including a 2019 victory at Tazewell. … Dakotah Knuckles is the 2020 winner of the Ray Varner Ford 53. … Taking provisionals were Jensen Ford, Kenny Collins and Jeff Neubert. Ford had mechanical trouble before his heat and didn’t run a prelim. … Championship hopefuls Donald McIntosh, Cody Overton and Dale McDowell start 16th, 20th and third, respectively. … With mechanical issues to both water trucks, Tazewell was fortunate to get Saturday’s program in. One truck blew an oil and the second truck had issues with the pump on the water tank. “We patched the one truck,” said race director Jeff Treece, adding that the repairs were not complete until about 5:15 p.m. … Sportsman time trials were stopped momentarily when a rabbit darted across the speedway.

Consolation results

First consolation (top two transfer): Ahnna Parkhurst, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Troy Eads, Jonathan Miracle, Ryan Winchester. DNS: Mack McCarter, David Payne.

Second consolation (top two transfer): Austin Neely, Cody Overton, Jeff Neubert, Kenny Collins, Mitchell Burke. DNS: Jensen Ford, Steve Smith.

Consolation lineups

(12 laps, top two transfer)
First consolation
Row 1: Ahnna Parkhurst, Troy Eads
Row 2: Jeff Wolfennbarger, Mack McCarter
Row 3: Jonathan Miracle, David Payne
Row 4: Ryan Winchester
Second consolation
Row 1: Austin Neely, Jeff Neubert
Row 2: Cody Overton, Kenny Collins
Row 3: Steve Smith, Mitchell Burke
Row 4: Jensen Ford

Heat race notes

Kyle Strickler and Mack McCarter made contact exiting turn two on the first lap of the second heat, setting off a chain reaction that resulted in McCarter sliding hard into the inside wall at the end of the backstretch. David Payne was also involved. … It took multiple attempts to start the third heat. Michael Chilton spun on the first try, collecting Steve Smith to draw a complete restart. After front row starters Vic Hill and Cody Overton jumped the start two times, they were docked a row, putting Chilton and Benjamin Cranford on the front row. Chilton took advantage and cruised to the heat win over Cranford to earn the outside front row starting spot for the feature. … Ross Bailes won an otherwise uneventful first heat, beating polesitter Garrett Smith to the finish to earn the pole position for the 53-lap main event. … The fourth heat went relatively smooth as well as Dakotah Knuckles led all 10 laps.

Heat race results

First heat (top four transfer): Ross Bailes, Garrett Smith, Zack Mitchell, Brian Shockley, Ahnna Parkhurst, Jeff Wolfenbarger, Jonathan Miracle, Ryan Winchester.

Second heat (top four transfer): Dale McDowell, Kyle Strickler, Matthew Holt, John Llewellyn, Trot Eads, Mack McCarter, David Payne.

Third heat (top four transfer): Michael Chilton, Benjamin Cranford, Vic Hill, Ryan King, Austin Neely, Cody Overton, Steve Smith. DNS: Jensen Ford.

Fourth heat (top four transfer): Dakotah Knuckles, Pierce McCarter, Jason Trammell, Donald McIntosh, Jeff Neubert, Kenny Collins, Mitchell Burke.

Heat race lineups

(10 laps, top four transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Garrett Smith, Ross Bailes
Row 2: Zack Mitchell, Ahnna Parkhurst
Row 3: Brian Shockley, Ryan Winchester
Row 4: Jeff Wolfenbarger, Jonathan Miracle
Second heat
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Kyle Strickler
Row 2: Mack McCarter, David Payne
Row 3: Matthew Holt, John Llewellyn
Row 4: Troy Eads
Third heat
Row 1: Cody Overton, Vic Hill
Row 2: Michael Chilton, Benjamin Cranford
Row 3: Jensen Ford, Austin Neely
Row 4: Ryan King, Steve Smith
Fourth heat
Row 1: Pierce McCarter, Dakotah Knuckles
Row 2: Jason Trammell, Donald McIntosh
Row 3: Jeff Neubert, Kenny Collins
Row 4: Mitchell Burke

Time trial results

Driver (car no.), hometown, time (unofficial)
First group
Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., 11.231
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 11.393
Ross Bailes (79), Clover, S.C., 11.438
Kyle Strickler (8s), Mooresville, N.C., 11.496
Zack Mitchell (57), Enoree, S.C., 11.659
Mack McCarter (51m), Gatlinburg, Tenn., 11.691
Ahnna Parkhurst (23), Evans, Ga., 11.701
David Payne (8), Murphy, N.C., 11.772
Brian Shockley (17), Thorn Hill, Tenn., 11.814
Matthew Holt (22), Thorn Hill, Tenn., 11.854
Ryan Winchester, Heiskell, Tenn., 11.861
John Llewellyn (90), Knoxville, Tenn., 12.006
Jeff Wolfenbarger (28), Powell, Tenn., 12.030
Troy Eads (52), Tazewell, Tenn., 12.483
Jonathan Miracle (50), Tazewell, Tenn., 12.787
Second group
Cody Overton (2), Evans, Ga., 11.303
Pierce McCarter (71), Gatlinburg, Tenn., 11.447
Vic Hill (1), Mosheim, Tenn., 11.557
Dakotah Knuckles (21k), Ewing, Va., 11.631
Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 11.634
Jason Trammell (90j), Knoxville, Tenn., 11.649
Benjamin Cranford (93), Thomson, Ga., 11.668
Donald McIntosh (4T), Dawsonville, Ga., 11.715
Jensen Ford (83), Johnson City, Tenn., 11.806
Jeff Neubert (86), Knoxville, Tenn., 11.810
Austin Neely (3N), New Tazewell, Tenn., 11.910
Kenny Collins (1c), Colbert, Ga., 11.956
Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 11.958
Mitchell Burke (54), Tazewell, Tenn., 12.181
Steve Smith (3s), Powell, Tenn., 12.460

Saturday’s schedule

3 p.m.: Pit gates open
5 p.m.: Grandstands open
7 p.m: Drivers’ meeting
7:30 p.m: Hot laps/qualifying
- Classic car hot laps
- Sportsman hot laps
- Four cylinders hot laps
- Super Late Model hot laps
- Street stocks hot laps
- Classic car qualifying
- Four cylinder qualifying
- Super Late Model qualifying
- Street stock qualifying
- Sportsman qualifying
Opening ceremonies
- Super Late Model heats (10 laps)
- Classic car feature (20 laps)
- Super Late Model consolations (12 laps, if needed)
- Four cylinder feature (20 laps)
- Super Late Model feature (53 laps)
- Sportsman (20 laps)
- Street stocks (20 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Bailes, Chilton
Row 2: McDowell, Knuckles
Row 3: Smith, Cranford
Row 4: Strickler, P. McCarter
Row 5: Mitchell, Hill
Row 6: Holt, Trammell
Row 7: Shockley, King
Row 8: Llewellyn, McIntosh
Row 9: Parkhurst, Neely
Row 10: Wolfenbarger, Overton
Row 11: Ford, Collins
Row 12: Neubert

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