Neat Wires Field, Claims $5,200 Prize
BULLS GAP, Tenn. — The Southern All-Star Racing Series visited Volunteer Speedway on Saturday night for the second annual Scott Sexton Memorial, and Brad Neat turned in a dominating performance by leading flag-to-flag to capture the $5,200 victory.
The race honored one of East Tennessee’s all-time best behind the wheel of a dirt Super Late Model. The 46-year-old Sexton, from Pigeon Forge, passed away on January 10, 2013 after a seven year health battle.
Known as “Superman” for his racing exploits, Sexton captured Volunteer Speedway championships in 1991 and ’95. In the decade from 1995 to 2005, Sexton won 10 Southern All-Star Racing Series victories at Atomic Speedway and “The Gap,” plus he still holds the series’ record for most career $10,000 triumphs.
With the tires cooling down following a heat-cycle, Hill hoped to have one last shot to mount a challenge on Neat for the lead. But that never materialized, as on the restart Hill’s car never came up to speed due to a fuel pickup issue which would end his race.
Neat would go on to easily record the $5,200 Scott Sexton Memorial victory over Chupp, Morrow, Ridley and Hickman.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Josh Putnam, Jeff Maupin (who worked his way to seventh after starting from the rear in 21st), Bryan Hendrix, Bobby Mays and Chris Wilson.
If it wasn’t for bad luck, then Trevor Sise wouldn’t have any racing luck at all. At the most recent Steel-Head Late Model racing program at “The Gap,” Sise appeared headed to his first-ever victory only to lose the lead just a couple of laps from the finish.
With Hickman pressuring White for position, between turns three and four on lap 11, Hickman made the pass to move into second place and set his sights ahead on leader Hedgecock. As Hedgecock began working slower traffic at back of the field, Hickman quickly closed the gap and pulled up to Hedgecock’s rear bumper.
Hickman, from Cleveland, made what turned out to be the race-winning pass to take the lead on lap 20 from Hedgecock. And once out front, Hickman never looked back as he went on to capture the $2,000 victory over Hedgecock, White, Greg Estes and John Tweed.
Steve Jones of Maryville had visited victory lane at Volunteer Speedway on several occasions back in the early 2000s, but over the past few years he had stepped away from racing to focus on his insurance business.
It had been four years since the 50-year-old Jones had driven a race car.
Jones jumped out to the lead at the start over Jerry Broyles and Bryson Dennis. With the race running clean-and-green, the event’s only caution waved on lap 21 when Forrest Trent’s car erupted in smoke and he quickly stopped in the fourth turn. Fire personnel were quickly on the scene to take care of the situation, and during the yellow fourth-running Jensen Ford headed into the pits with an overheating engine to end his race prematurely.
Back under green for a run to the checkered flag, Jones sprinted away to easily win over Broyles, 17-year-old Greeneville High School student Dennis, Tim Maupin and Warren McMahan.
Greg Estes of Jonesville, Va., grabbed the lead over Brad Davis and Robbie Buchanan at start of the 25-lap Modified Hobby feature.
With Estes approaching lapped traffic between turns three and four getting ready to take the white flag, Blanken was looking to the inside of Davis and Owens was just looking to make a move to gain track position. But Estes would not be denied a visit to victory lane as he held off Blanken, Davis, Owens and Charlie Bates for the win.