Kres VanDyke did not have the easiest path to his third consecutive Late Model Stock victory and fourth overall at Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee.
VanDyke set the fast time in qualifying, his red No. 15 Chevrolet touring the track in 15.060 seconds (89.641 mph). An inversion of the top-six qualifiers, however, meant he had to battle his way to the front.
The Abingdon, Tennessee driver did just that, charging into second by lap 20. He moved early leader Ashton Higgins out of the way and then raced side by side with Wayne Hale for four laps before moving to the front on lap 31.
VanDyke led the rest of the 60-lap feature.
“I was running the high line on Wayne when Ashton moved up into my line so I gave him a little bump-and-run going for the lead,” he said. “Wayne got by me and that made it interesting. It was like chess. It’s pretty hard to play, but once you figure it out, it’s good.”
Hale finished runner-up in the No. 19 Toyota.
The Bluff City driver earlier created a gap between himself and Higgins after a spirited battle for the lead, and Hale didn’t have anything for VanDyke over the second half of the race.
“He could get through the corner better than we could,” he said. “We’ve got to go back and figure out why we were tight in the center of the corner. If we get this tightness out of it, we’ve got a rocketship, too, and we’re going to give him a run for his money.”
Higgins, a North Carolina driver, was third in the No. 9 Chevrolet. The former winner at Kingsport Speedway in the Southeast Super Trucks and Limited Late Model classes is still looking for his first Late Model Stock victory.
“That was a rough race, but it was fun,” Higgins said. “It’s been a long time since I had to race for anything that hard.”
Bryson Dennis in the white No. 15 Chevy made a last-lap pass on Chase Dixon in the No. 07 Chevy to finish fourth.
1. Kres VanDyke #15
2. Wayne Hale #19
3. Ashton Higgins #9
4. Bryson Dennis #15
5. Chase Dixon #07
6. Keith Helton #97
7. Brad Housewright #88
8. Allen Hawkins #14
9. Robbie Henry #11
10. Anthony Adams #18
11. Rick Pannell #33
12. Nik Williams #32
13. Kyle Barnes #0
14. Matt Smith #27
15. Archie Adams #17
16. Chris Tunnell #57
Did Not Start: Derrick Lancaster #25