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Ford scores third win of season at The Gap

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 26, 2018 at 2:21 AM

Jensen Ford has made the most of a limited schedule at Volunteer Speedway this season.

The 30-year-old Jonesborough driver, who has split his time between racing on a pair of touring series and at Volunteer this season, passed Knoxville’s Trevor Sise for the lead on second lap and led the rest of Saturday night’s 25-lap Crate Late Model feature.

Ford and the lapped car of Tristan Clawson made contact on lap 16 and Clawson spun out. Back under green, Sise stayed on the bumper of Ford’s No. 83 Chevrolet, but Ford never made a mistake and motored to a 60th career win.

Sise finished second and maintained his big lead in the four-tenths-mile dirt track’s points standings. Three-time track champion Tim Byrd of Jonesborough, who had won the previous two Crate Late Model races, finished third.

Austin Neely and Josh Henry rounded out the top five.

Ford’s third win of the season tied him with Sise for the most in the division.

Zach Sise, the 18-year-old younger brother of Trevor Sise, won the Sportsman Late Model race, his fifth victory of the season.

Shannon Emery won the Modified Street feature, Jeff Hamby got his first win in the Open Wheel Modified division, Lee Merritt earned a division- leading eighth Classic feature win, and Rex Coffey captured his third 602 Stock victory this season.

Volunteer Speedway’s next event is the Fall Classic, scheduled for Oct. 6.

BAMA BATTLE AT BRISTOL?

Nick Saban added fuel to the fire concerning rumors about the next Battle at Bristol football game involving Alabama.

The coach of the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide wore a Bristol Motor Speedway polo shirt to his news conference Monday.

Rumors have circulated involving Clemson, Ohio State or Michigan as the Tide’s potential opponent in a game possibly taking place in 2022. If Michigan were the other team, the game could come in 2021 because the Wolverines canceled a home-and-home series with Virginia Tech, including a game in Blacksburg on Sept. 11, 2021.

READY FOR THE ROVAL

The most anticipated NASCAR race of the year is coming up this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s roval with the Bank of America 400, the last race of the first round of the playoffs.

There have been test sessions on the 2.28-mile track incorporating both the oval track and an infield road course, but the race is the great unknown. The roval features 17 turns and 35 feet of elevation change, and several drivers crashed or suffered some type of damage during the test sessions.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, 14th in the points standings, is below the cutoff for the next round of the playoffs. And perennial contender Denny Hamlin, 16th in points, likely needs to win to advance.

Several ticket packages, including weekend passes to the unique event, are still available.

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

Alton Clark of Johnson City held off Jonesborough riders Chris Furches and Quentin Wise to take the win in the ATV Novice race at the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series last Saturday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.

Trey Emert of Johnson City won the Pro race.

Other local winners included Jonesborough’s Justin Carberry (250 D) and Jake Hillman (51cc, 4-6 Stock), Gray’s Izayah Shipley (85cc Beginner) and Malakian Shipley (65cc Beginner), Kingsport’s Carson Eads (two classes) and Church Hill’s Laken Fields (two classes).

Among the runner-up finishers were Kingsport’s Cody Goode (65 cc, 10-11) and Church Hill’s Seth Fields (65cc, 7-9).

Round 13 of the Hot Summer Nights Series is scheduled for Saturday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.

CHEROKEE CHAMPIONS

Gale Lumpkins of Bean Station (Box) and Eric Carpenter of Morristown (No Box) won the season titles at  in Rogersville.

They qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals, the most prestigious national championship in bracket racing, at Memphis International Raceway on Oct. 18-20.

BIG MONEY AT BRISTOL

Rocky Pintavalle was the big winner at the Sparco Fall Fling bracket race at Bristol Dragway. He won both races last Wednesday and a $50,000-to-win race on Friday. Pintavalle had a perfect light to win the final round on Wednesday.

Jeff Burns won Thursday’s bracket racing and Jeremy York won Saturday when final-round opponent Leon Robertson red-lighted.

CHEVY SHOW

The Menards Chevy Show will be at Bristol Dragway Friday through Sunday, highlighted by Saturday night’s Thunder Valley Mayhem featuring Pro Mods, Jet cars and a fireworks show. Bracket racing will take place throughout the weekend, giving car enthusiasts the opportunity to take part in one of the largest Chevy shows around.

(Email Jeff Birchfield at jbirchfield@johnsoncitypress.com.)

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