Story By: RYAN DELPH SOUTHERN NATIONALS SERIES – BULLS GAP, TN – Deja Vu. Just like last night at Wythe (VA) Raceway, Dale McDowell took control in the second half of Sunday’s Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series headliner at Volunteer Speedway to secure another $10,053 first place prize!
After a near two-hour rain delay, Dale earned Fast Time honors of the 31 competitors during FK Rod Ends qualifying and later scored a victory in his eight lap heat race.
His sweep of the evening did not come easy; however, as the pole-sitting driver from Chickamauga, Georgia had to work to grab the top spot from Jensen Ford on the 34th circuit of the main event.
Dale then survived a late caution for debris on lap 44 and was able to lead the remainder of the 53-lap contest to cross underneath the checkers 2.318 seconds ahead of Jensen Ford. The Johnson City, Tennessee ace, who paced the strong field at the nearby Bulls Gap, Tennessee oval for the first 33 circuits, finished an impressive runner-up for the second time in the first three tour events. Mack McCarter made his first appearance with the Southern Nationals in 2022 and made the most of it by starting and finishing in third. Sam Seawright picked off six competitors during the A-Main to come home fourth, while Dakotah Knuckles fought hard to round out the top five.
Only two caution flags slowed the action during the 53-lap main event. Eighth-starting Vic Hill slowed with a flat right rear tire on lap 29 to draw the first yellow before the second caution of the night was caused by debris on lap 44. A total of 16 cars finished on the lead lap tonight at the ultra-fast Volunteer Speedway. Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series Champion Carson Ferguson was the hard charger of the race, as the Lincolnton, North Carolina hotshoe blasted past eleven cars en route to a steady seventh place performance.
“Well this place is just awesome and these great race fans make it all worth it,” exclaimed McDowell in Schaeffer’s Oil Victory Lane. “This track got slick and that’s more this old man’s speed. Earlier there (in the feature), Jensen fired off good and I didn’t know if I was going to have anything for him – I was a little free. But once it slickened up and we couldn’t charge the corners as hard, the car balanced out. I need to thank E-Z-GO, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, Cometic Gaskets, CSA, Fox Racing Shox, Northeastern Fabrication, the entire team, and just everybody that makes this thing go around. I always look forward to coming to this place, as it’s been awfully good to me through the years!”
Dale’s ninth career Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series triumph came aboard a Shane McDowell Racing Team Zero Race Car powered by a Clements Racing Engine. Sponsorship on his #17M comes in part from E-Z-GO, Cometic Gaskets, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, Connected Strategy Advisors, Fox Racing Shox, Northeastern Fabrication, Campbell Insulation Specialists, M&S Motors, and Garrison Enterprise.
A contingent of 31 of the best Super Late Models from around the region all converged at Volunteer Speedway tonight for the eleventh visit by the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series. Following the long rain delay prior to the start of FK Rod Ends qualifying, Dale McDowell clicked off a fast lap of 11.926 seconds around the Bulls Gap, Tennessee speedplant to earn Fast Time honors and an extra $150 courtesy of Memory Lane Classic Car Museum. McDowell, Jensen Ford, and Mack McCarter all picked up heat race wins, while Ashton Winger emerged victorious in the lone B-Main.
The popular twelve-race miniseries will get our first break in the action on Monday before returning to competition on Tuesday evening, July 19. The Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series will roll into I-75 Raceway in Sweetwater, Tennessee for a midweek special, which boasts a $4,053 paycheck. The Volunteer State facility has hosted two previous tour visits, as Cory Hedgecock (’20) and Dale McDowell (’21) are recent winners at I-75 Raceway.
Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels
Round 3 Race Summary
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Volunteer Speedway (Bulls Gap, Tennessee)
Schaeffer’s Oil Feature Finish (53 Laps):
1. (1) Dale McDowell $10,053
2. (2) Jensen Ford $5,000
3. (3) Mack McCarter $2,500
4. (10) Sam Seawright $1,800
5. (5) Dakotah Knuckles $1,250
6. (4) Camaron Marlar $900
7. (18) Carson Ferguson $800
8. (6) Zack Mitchell $700
9. (11) Ross Bailes $675
10. (7) Matthew Nance $650
11. (13) Michael Brown $625
12. (12) Will Roland $600
13. (14) John Henderson $575
14. (17) Parker Martin $550
15. (19) Ashton Winger $525
16. (21) Kenny Collins $500
17. (20) Brenden Smith $500
18. (15) Austin Neely $500
19. (9) Cory Hedgecock $500
20. (24) Tim Vance $75
21. (16) Forrest Trent $500
22. (8) Vic Hill $500
23. (22) Clay Coghlan $500
24. (23) Dalton Cook $75
Lap Leaders: Jensen Ford (Laps 1-33), Dale McDowell (Laps 34-53)
Cautions: 2 (Vic Hill Slows with Flat Right Rear Tire on Lap 29, Debris on Lap 44)
FK Rod Ends Time Trials:
Fast Time Overall: Dale McDowell 11.926
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat Race #1 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. Dale McDowell, 2. Camaron Marlar, 3. Matthew Nance, 4. Sam Seawright, 5. Michael Brown, 6. Forrest Trent, 7. Brenden Smith, 8. Jordan Koehler, 9. Joshua Sneed, 10. Steve Smith (DNS)
American Racer South Heat Race #2 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. Jensen Ford, 2. Dakotah Knuckles, 3. Vic Hill, 4. Ross Bailes, 5. John Henderson, 6. Parker Martin, 7. Ashton Winger, 8. Dalton Cook, 9. Brent Cornette, 10. Conner Pate, 11. Clay Coghlan
E-Z GO Heat Race #3 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. Mack McCarter, 2. Zack Mitchell, 3. Cory Hedgecock, 4. Will Roland, 5. Austin Neely, 6. Carson Ferguson, 7. Kenny Collins, 8. Tim Vance, 9. Aaron Guinn, 10. Brandon Williams (DNS)
Collins Signs B-Main Finish (Top Two Transfer): 1. Ashton Winger, 2. Brenden Smith, 3. Kenny Collins, 4. Aaron Guinn, 5. Dalton Cook, 6. Jordan Koehler, 7. Clay Coghlan, 8. Tim Vance, 9. Brent Cornette, 10. Joshua Sneed (DNS), 11. Conner Pate (DNS), 12. Steve Smith (DNS), 13. Brandon Williams (DNS)
Series Provisionals: Kenny Collins, Clay Coghlan
Emergency Provisionals: Dalton Cook, Tim Vance