Story By: RYAN DELPH / SOUTHERN NATIONALS SERIES – TAZEWELL, TN – “MacDaddy” Dale McDowell secured his third Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series triumph of the year in the miniseries finale on Saturday night at the bad-fast Tazewell Speedway.
After stopping the clock fourth quickest in Memory Lane Classic Car Museum time trials, Dale ran second in his heat race to earn the outside of the second row for the 53-lap feature event. The Chickamauga, Georgia Hall of Famer then took advantage of leader Dakotah Knuckles’ misfortune with a lapped car to inherit the point on the forty-first circuit. From there, Dale led the rest of the way in the ‘Ray Varner Ford 53’ to bag the $10,053 payday.
Finishing 1.481 seconds behind winner McDowell at the checkered flag was runner-up Mack McCarter, who started in the sixth position. Ricky Weiss advanced past six competitors during the contest to round out the podium in third. David Payne won a heat race before finishing fourth, while Forrest Trent passed five racecars to land in the fifth spot.
A total of four caution periods slowed the action at the high-banked Tazewell, Tennessee oval. Series point leader Cory Hedgecock slowed to draw the first yellow flag on lap 19 with a flat left rear tire. Dakotah Knuckles, who led laps 10-40, was then out front working on lap 41 when he tangled with another competitor in heavy lapped traffic and ultimately spun to a stop. The third caution came on lap 46 when a multicar pileup blocked the track in turn four. Leader Dale McDowell stopped to avoid the incident, but was not part of the caution and therefore kept his spot in front of the field. The fourth and final yellow then waved on lap 51 when third running Eli Beets, who paced the field for the first nine circuits, spun on the backstretch after contact with another competitor.
Dale’s tenth 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 total of 26 Super Late Model competitors piled into the Tazewell Speedway pit area and Eli Beets started off the evening by clicking off the fastest lap during time trials. His quick lap of 11.374 seconds earned him an extra $150 courtesy of Memory Lane Classic Car Museum. The three heat race winners were Beets, Dakotah Knuckles, and David Payne, while Josh Sneed captured the victory in the lone B-Main. Seventeen of the starters were still on the track at the completion of the ‘Ray Varner Ford 53’ and the top ten all finished on the lead lap.
With the dust settled on the 2022 Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series tour, Loudon, Tennessee ace Cory Hedgecock was celebrated following the finale as the Series Champion and received an extra $10,053 for his efforts. Will Roland finished a strong runner-up in the final point tally to earn an additional $5,053 and the Jasper, Georgia youngster also picked up a $1,000 paycheck courtesy of Dirt Draft for Rookie of the Year honors. Eight drivers were eligible for point fund money this year with Kenny Collins third, Jensen Ford fourth, John Henderson fifth, Parker Martin sixth, Dalton Cook seventh, and Brenden Smith eighth rounding out the final point standings.
Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels
Round 12 Race Summary – Ray Varner Ford 53
Saturday, July 30, 2022
Tazewell Speedway (Tazewell, Tennessee)
Schaeffer’s Oil Feature Finish (53 Laps):
1. (4) Dale McDowell $10,053
2. (6) Mack McCarter $5,000
3. (9) Ricky Weiss $2,500
4. (3) David Payne $1,800
5. (10) Forrest Trent $1,250
6. (5) Kenny Collins $900
7. (15) Vic Hill $800
8. (12) Austin Neely $700
9. (11) John Henderson $675
10. (7) Parker Martin $650
11. (8) Cory Hedgecock $625
12. (13) Will Roland $600
13. (18) Jensen Ford $575
14. (16) Ryan Winchester $550
15. (17) Aaron Guinn $525
16. (22) Brenden Smith $500
17. (19) Josh Sneed $500
18. (1) Eli Beets $500
19. (14) Wil Herrington $500
20. (2) Dakotah Knuckles $500
21. (21) Matt Tharp $500
22. (20) Steve Smith $500
Lap Leaders: Eli Beets (Laps 1-9), Dakotah Knuckles (Laps 10-40), Dale McDowell (Laps 41-53)
Cautions: 4 (Cory Hedgecock Suffers Flat Left Rear Tire on Lap 19, Dakotah Knuckles Tangles with Lapped Car and Spins on Lap 41, Multicar Pileup Blocking Track on Lap 46, and Eli Beets Spins on Backstretch on Lap 51)
Memory Lane Classic Car Museum Time Trials:
Fast Time Overall: Eli Beets 11.374
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat Race #1 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. Eli Beets, 2. Dale McDowell, 3. Parker Martin, 4. Forrest Trent, 5. Will Roland, 6. Ryan Winchester, 7. Josh Sneed, 8. Brenden Smith
American Racer South Heat Race #2 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. Dakotah Knuckles, 2. Kenny Collins, 3. Cory Hedgecock, 4. John Henderson, 5. Wil Herrington, 6. Aaron Guinn, 7. Steve Smith, 8. Brian Shockley, 9. Joshua Chesney
E-Z-GO Heat Race #3 Finish (Top Six Transfer): 1. David Payne, 2. Mack McCarter, 3. Ricky Weiss, 4. Austin Neely, 5. Vic Hill, 6. Jensen Ford, 7. Matt Tharp, 8. Matthew Holt, 9. Troy Eads
Collins Signs B-Main Finish (Top Four Transfer): 1. Josh Sneed, 2. Steve Smith, 3. Matt Tharp, 4. Brenden Smith, 5. Brian Shockley, 6. Matthew Holt, 7. Troy Eads, 8. Joshua Chesney (DNS)