Kingsport Speedway opens 2015 NASCAR racing season Saturday, March 21

By Robert Walden

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Following a long, cold winter around Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, both race fans and competitors alike are ready for the first green flag of 2015 to wave at Kingsport Speedway. The first two events of the season at "The Concrete Jungle" will be Saturday afternoon shows on March 21 and 28, before racing moves under the lights on Friday, April 3.

The season-opener in the Model City on Saturday, March 21 at the .375-mile banked concrete oval will feature exciting racing action in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock, Street Stock, Pure 4, Mod 4, Pure Street and Rookie Pure 4 divisions.

Kres VanDyke of Abingdon, Va., defending track and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, will have a bull's-eye on him as he returns to try and win a second straight Late Model Stock title. Looking to attempt wrestle the championship away from VanDyke will be Chad Finchum (2013 track champion) of Knoxville, Zeke Shell of Johnson City, Lee Tissot of Asheville, N.C., Tyler Goodwin of Kingsport, Zack Walton (2014 Kingsport Speedway and Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie-of-the-Year) of Blountville, Ryan Stiltner of Grundy, Va., Justin Fontaine of Fletcher, N.C., Ronnie McCarty of Kingsport, Austin Peters of Kingsport, Joey Trent of Gray, Wayne Hale of Bluff City, Robbie Ferguson of Jonesborough, Rick Pannell of Kingsport, Taylor Coffman of Bean Station, Phil Harris of Kingsport, Allen Hawkins of Kingsport, Bruce Blessing of Gate City, Va., Sam Steffey of Abingdon, Va., Jamie Harrison of Church Hill, along with several others.

Nick Cole of Bristol is defending Street Stock champion. Looking to try and take the title away from Cole this season will be Rob Austin of Castlewood, Va., Chris Tunnell of Wise, Va., Royce Peters of Kingsport, Jared Broadbent of Spruce Pine, N.C., veteran Paul Shull (former NASCAR Late Model Sportsman/Busch Series racer) of Church Hill, Sam Hurd of Kingsport, John Harrell of Surgoinsville, Danny Casteel of Johnson City, Dennis Deese of Piney Flats, Todd Duff of Kingsport, William Hale of Kingsport, Adam Bolyard of Gray, plus others.

One driver that will have plenty of attention focused on him during his rookie season racing a full-size stock car at Kingsport Speedway will be Robbie Allison, the son of late NASCAR racer Davey Allison and the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bobby Allison. The young Allison will be competing in the Pure Street division.

John Ketron of Kingsport is defending Pure 4 champion, and he will be trying to win a fourth title since the track reopened in 2011. The elder Ketron has three championships to his credit, with son Jason Ketron winning one title. Both his sons, Jason and Billy Ketron will be trying to dethrone their father, along with Tim Abelseth of Bristol and additional Kingsport-based racers Kenny Absher, Keith Helton, Chris Neeley, David Trent, Billy Byington, Dylan Bates, Todd Cross, Bruce Crumbley, plus several others.

The pit gate will open Saturday, March 21 at 9 a.m., with both grandstand and tier-parking gates opening at 12 p.m. (noon).

Practice will begin at 10:30 a.m. Qualifying is set for 1 p.m. and the season-opening green flag scheduled to wave at 2 p.m.

Adult grandstand admission $10, with kids 12-and-under admitted free. Adult tier-parking admission $10 per person (plus a $10 vehicle parking spot fee). Pit passes are $25 with a NASCAR license, $35 without a license. NASCAR license forms are available at the track office during the week, and they will also be available at pit sign-in the day of event.

Tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers all about the exciting, action-packed weekly racing programs at Kingsport Speedway. You don't want to miss it!

Kingsport Speedway is located at 2961 North John B. Dennis Highway. For more information, call the office at (423) 288-5992, track promoter Karen Tunnell at (276) 393-9594, or visit the website atwww.NewKingsportSpeedway.com