July 28, 2012 - A mild East Tennessee Summer evening brought a beautiful with no rain in the forecast, and also brought the Schaeffer Oil Ray Cook Southern Nationals Series back to Tazewell Speedway to hold its 8th annual season finale on the 1/3 mile high banks. Coming in to the evening, eight cars had followed the whole tour, with the event turning out a showing of 25 Super Late Models. Also on tap for the evening were the Modified Street, Pure Street, and Classic divisions. Time trial qualifying saw Chris Madden claim the pole for the Southern Nationals event with a lap of 11.448 seconds. Mike Marlar claimed the outside pole to make up row one for the 53 lap feature. Also, Tazewell Speedway officials placed a new rule into effect, in which the top 4 qualifiers from each division would be inverted in order to better the racing. After the inversions from qualifying, Gary Blanken, Matt Tharp, and Dustin Eldridge became pole winners for other divisions.

After qualifying took place for the Southern Nationals, the top eight drivers were locked into the show. Drivers 9th and back were lined up into one of two heat races. Heat race one saw Dale McDowell win, while heat two was claimed by Chris Combs. All cars from both heats transferred to the feature, due to mechanical issues for Jeff Maupin, Jason Trammell, and Josh Henry.

After all preliminary action had taken place, feature time rolled around with Modified Street taking the track 1st. Robbie Buchanan grabbed the lead from the outside of row one, while Gary Blanken settled into 2nd. Blanken pressured Buchanan throughout the entire event, while the Horton duo, Tony and Jordan, battled for 3rd. On lap 10, brief contact between the Horton duo resulted in flat tires for both cars, sending them to the pit area for new rubber. In the end, Buchanan held off Blanken for the win. Clyde Overholt, Jason Sizemore, and Jordan Horton rounded out the top 5.

Modified Street Results
1. P21 – Robbie Buchanan

2. 5 – Gary Blanken

3. 4 – Clyde Overholt

4. 44C – Jason Sizemore

5. 56H – Jordan Horton

6. 1 – David Clark

7. 56 – Tony Horton

8. 21K – Dakota Knuckles

9. 54 – Larry Burke

10. 14 – Wayne Overholt

After the conclusion of the Modified Street feature, the Super Late Models rolled to the speedway for their 53 lap event paying $5,300 to the winner. On the initial start, Madden jumped out to the lead. Marlar began to slide backwards early, losing positions to Brad Neat and Kenny Compton early in the going. The track was covered with two and three wide action until a lap 16 caution slowed the event for a slowing Daniel Baggerly. On the restart, Neat ran on Madden’s bumper, trying to find an opportunity to make a pass for the lead on the South Carolina hot shoe. The event’s final yellow drew on lap 26 for a spinning Kenny Compton. The remaining 27 circuits ran caution free. Madden pulled away from Neat, until he reached lapped traffic. Neat ran Madden down, but Madden was finally able to work his way around the traffic and pull away once again. Madden went on to take the checkered flag, and claim the 2012 Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Series title.

Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Results
1. 44 – Chris Madden

2. 41 – Brad Neat

3. 5B – Mike Marlar

4. 47 – Brett Miller

5. 41 – Dale McDowell

6. 201 – Billy Ogle Jr.

7. 3 – Steve Smith

8. 47 – Chris Combs

9. 54 – Dillan White

10. 5 – Bryan Hendrix

11. 7 – Heath Alvey

12. 1G – Greg Estes

13. 56J – Jody Horton

14. 1 – Vic Hill

15. 10 – Kenny Compton Jr.

16. 1W – Dillon Wood

17. 97 – Keith Chapman

18. 10 – Chad Ogle

19. 97 – Michael Chilton

20. 16 – Daniel Baggerly

21. 28 – Jeff Wolfenbarger

22. 14 – Terry Wolfenbarger


90J – Jason Trammell

0 – Jeff Maupin

25 – Josh Henry

After all the excitement from the championship conclusion subsided, Classic car action rolled to the speedway. Matt Tharp took the lead over Shane Lockhart going into turn one. Shortly after, Joe Keck claimed 2ndc from Lockhart. Keck began to challenge Tharp for the lead, while Logan Dukes and Robbie Sands battled each other and Shane Lockhart for 3rd. Dukes and Sands worked by Lockhart, and closed on Tharp and Keck making a four car battle for the lead. After a lap 16 caution, a restart shook things up a bit. Keck got a run on Tharp coming off of turn two for the lead. The duo made contact, and Keck took the lead. As a result, Dukes was also able to steal a spot from Tharp, moving him up to 2nd. In the end, Keck took the win over Dukes and Tharp.

Classic Car Results
1. 8 – Joe Keck

2. 5 – Logan Dukes

3. 59 – Matt Tharp

4. 17 – Robbie Sands

5. 18 – Eli Keck

6. 1 – Shane Lockhart

7. 7 – Luke Stevens

Pure Street wrapped the night up. On the start, Buster Cupp grabbed the lead from Dustin Eldridge, while Johnathan Miracle took 2nd over from Eldridge thereafter. Steve Smith also worked by Eldridge, moving him to 3rd. However, it proved to be Cupp’s night as he drove the #28 El Camino to the win over Miracle and Smith.

Pure Street Results
1. 28 – Buster Cupp

2. 41 – Johnathan Miracle

3. 2 – Steve Smith

4. 94 – Dustin Eldridge

5. 97 – Bo Hall

6. 12 – J.J. Green

7. 5 – Jason Saylor

8. 18 – Jr. Cody

9. 27 – Gary Harville

Gary and Shirlene Hall wanted to continue to spread their gratitude for making Tazewell Speedway the most successful track in not only East Tennessee, but the tri-state area. As mentioned in the invocation earlier in the evening, long time Tazewell Speedway track official Rick Brooks has been facing some health issues lately, and was unable to attend the event. All of Tazewell Speedway would like to wish “Big Rick” a speedy recovery, and hopes for his return to the track very soon. Join us next Saturday night, August 4th, as Gary Hall hosts another edition of “Kidz Nite at the Taz”, featuring a 20,000 nickel toss on the front stretch for kids ages 14 and under. This event will be co-sponsored by Home Federal Bank of Tazewell, Tennessee. Also, our five weekly divisions will be in action, including Tazewell Late Models, Modified Street, Pure Street, Classics, and 4 Cylinders.


Victory lane photos by Scott Miller of NitroFotos