(Trevor Gonzales Photos)
July 27, 2019 at Tazewell Speedway ($10,053 to win)
Article by Trevor Gonzales, RPM Writer
(Tazewell, Tennessee)- The final installment of the 2019 Schaffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series invaded the high banks of Tazewell Speedway in the hills of Northern Tennessee for the $10,053 miniseries finale. With a close points battle between Brandon Overton and Jake Knowles for the series title, it would come down to the last race. At the end of the night, it would be Chickamauga, Georgia driver Dale McDowell who would find himself in victory lane for the second night in a row, capturing another $10,000 payday.
26 late models were signed in for the finale as it would be the same format as last night. No cars locked in through qualifying with everyone running a heat. Top four in each heat transfer. Top four in the one B-Main transfer along with two series provisionals.
Mooresville, North Carolina driver Kyle Strickler would be the only driver to record a lap under twelve seconds during time trials as he would be the fastest overall with a lap of 11.850 seconds around the lightning fast 1/3 mile track in Group A qualifying. Last year’s Southern Nationals rookie of the year Forrest Trent would be second fastest in Group A with a 12.011 lap followed by local driver Jason Trammell, Ross Bailes, and Cla Knight.
Kentucky’s Michael Chilton would be the fastest qualifier in Group B with a lap of 12.112 seconds followed by McDowell, Overton, Vic Hill, and Donald McIntosh.
Strickler would dominate the opening heat race outrunning Trammell, Knight, and Tanner English. Ross Bailes would overtake polesitter Forrest Trent for the lead in the second heat race and win followed by Knowles, Jackie Boggs, and Trent. Overton would win the third heat race clinching the outside pole for the third consecutive night over Chilton, McIntosh, and Jason Jameson. McDowell would win the final heat race with Hill, Dakotah Knuckles, and Tyler Clem also transferring into the feature.
After an opening lap spinout in the B-Main, Jeff Wolfenbarger would win the night’s lone B-Main over Benji Hicks, Kenny Collins, and Greg Estes. Mack McCarter and Eric Webber would take the series provisionals after they had both ran at 411 the previous night.
The feature then was underway as Strickler would pull an early slider on Overton to lead Lap 1 over Overton, McDowell, Bailes, and Chilton. The first and only yellow of the night would fly one lap later as fifth place running Chilton would get into the wall in Turns 1 and 2 and stop his car against the Turn 2 wall. He would immediately pull his car into the outside pits, ending his night. On the restart, Strickler would still lead as McDowell would pass Overton for second. Trammell would also get around Bailes on the outside for fourth. Three laps later on Lap 8, Bailes would overtake Trammell to get the fourth spot back. Strickler would lead early until he stumbled upon lapped traffic which allowed McDowell to take the lead from Strickler coming off of Turn 2. McDowell would immediately set sail and pull away from strickler who had to hold off Overton as they battled for second. McDowell would continue to lead at the halfway mark over Strickler, Overton, Bailes, Trammell, Knowles, Hill, McIntosh, Boggs, and Knuckles. The race would continue to stay green as McDowell would open up over a three second lead over the other front runners as Strickler, Overton, Bailes, and Trammell would all be in contention for the second spot. With 4 laps to go, Overton would finally get around strickler and attempt to make a run at McDowell for the win. That did not happen as McDowell would take the checkers first by 1.7 second and capturing his 5th career Schaffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series win over Brandon Overton, Kyle Strickler, Ross Bailes, and Jason Trammell. With the second place finish, Overton would take his second career Schaffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series championship over Knowles, McIntosh, English, and Cla Knight.
1.17m Dale McDowell- Chickamauga, GA
2.2 Brandon Overton- Evans, GA
3.8 Kyle Strickler- Mooresville, NC
4.87 Ross Bailes- Clover, SC
5.90J Jason Trammell- Knoxville, T
6.66 Jake Knowles- Rome, GA
7.1 Vic Hill- Moshiem, TN
8.7m Donald McIntosh- Dawsonville, GA
9.4B Jackie Boggs- Grayson, KY
10.21k Dakotah Knuckles- Ewing, VA
11.42 Cla Knight- North Augusta, SC
12.58 Tanner English- Benton, KY
13.101 Forrest Trent- Talbott, TN
14.1c Kenny Collins- Colbert, GA
15.58T Tyler Clem- Ocala, FL
16.25 Eric Webber- Morristown, TN
17.51 Mack McCarter- Gatlinburg, TN
18.31 Greg Estes- Jonesville, VA
19.28 Jeff Wolfenbarger- Clinton, TN
20.55 Benji Hicks- Mount Airy, NC
21.12 Jason Jameson- Lawrenceburg, IN
22.97 Michael Chilton- Salvisa, KY