Fastrack  GM $50,000 Championship


Peeples powers to victory; Thomas captures $50,000 Fastrak Racing Series 'Grand Nationals' title at Volunteer Speedway

By Robert Walden

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (Oct. 19-20) ó Kenny Peeples Jr. of Rural Retreat, Va., flexed his muscle by leading flag-to-flag en route to winning the 75-lap feature at Round 3 of the Fastrak Racing Series "Grand Nationals" presented by Marsh Petroleum and BB&T Banking Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway.

But the big winner following the event was 20-year-old William Thomas of Phenix City, Ala., who on the strength of a victory in Round 1 at Green Valley Speedway in Glencoe, Ala.; a third-place finish in Round 2 at Mountain Raceway Park in Maryville, Tenn.; and a fourth-place run at "The Gap" ... earned Thomas $50,000 from the three-race 2007 Fastrak Racing Series national championship shootout points fund of $250,000.

Thomas chauffeured the J.W. Miller Land & Timber/Ben Thomas Racing/East Alabama Motor Speedway/All-Star Graphix/PPM Racing Products/Genesis Racing Shocks/Winters/Sweet Mfg./Joe Gibbs Racing Oil/Simpson/Holley/Lunati/Wiseco/Eibach Springs/Kinser Air Filters/Goodyear Racing Tires/GRT Race Cars/No. 22 Monte Carlo to the Fastrak Racing Series national title.

"Man, to win this Fastrak Racing Series national championship is unreal," said the smiling Thomas following the race after getting back to his pit area. "Consistency is what won it for us, because you don't necessarily have to win all three national championship races in order to win the title. We were fortunate enough to win the first race, then just recorded top-five runs in the next two races and thatís what enabled us to win this $50,000 payout. I donít guess itís really hit me yet that Iíve just won a national racing championship, and especially with the field of drivers assembled here Ö it was definitely tough. Winning this title is something that Iíll never forget the rest of my life. Who knows, I might never win another national championship again in racing. But winning this championship is the accomplishment of one of my goals in motorsports, and hopefully I can parlay it into even bigger things down the road.

"With my family owning East Alabama Motor Speedway, of course Iím kind of partial to our track. But from the first time I came here to Volunteer Speedway to race, I really liked this place. My dad and my uncle, they both raced here back many years ago in the National Dirt Racing Association days and they also liked racing here. I want to thank Stan Lester with Fastrak Racing Series, General Motors and Goodyear Tires and all seriesí sponsors for allowing grassroots racers such as myself to have the opportunity to race for this kind of money. I really believe the concept of Fastrak, running crate-engines that donít cost racers a fortune to buy and having only one tire manufacture involved, this deal is only going to continue to grow. Iíd love nothing more than to come back and try to repeat as national champion next year. I guess my dad and I will have to sit down and talk things over and see what the next step in my racing career will be, though."

With the fans on their feet anxiously awaiting the start, Mays and Cooper led the stellar 24-car field to the green. But the caution would quickly wave before one lap could be completed when Cooper had a tire go down between turns three and four, resulting in him spinning in front of the entire field forcing everyone into evasive maneuvers to avoid contact. Following quick action by his crew, Cooper sped out of the pits and was forced to give up his outside front-row starting berth after having to go into the pits for the tire change.

With Peeples moving up to the outside of Mays on the front row, at the drop of the green Peeples and Mays raced side-by-side down the front straightaway into the first turn. But carrying the momentum off the high-side, Peeples, driving the Hilltop Auto Sales/AFCO Racing Shocks/PPM Racing Products/Stealth Racing Carburetors/Simpson/Weld Racing Wheels/Goodyear Tires/MasterSbilt Race Cars/No. 22p Monte Carlo powered into a lead he would never relinquish, with Mays running second followed by Champ, Llewellyn and Buckingham as the field completed the opening lap.

"I've never really ran very well here at Volunteer Speedway, but we put something (set-up) under the car following practice last night and set third fastest time in qualifying," said Peeples after climbing from his car on the front straightaway following his impressive victory. "Something I've learned over the years in racing is sometimes it's good to have a little bit of luck on your side, and we kind of caught a lucky break there on the start when the 57-car (Lee Cooper) had a tire go down, moving us up to the outside of row one for the start. My car worked very good up high in the banking, and there on the start I was just able to get a strong run up top off the corner to get past (Bobby) Mays for the lead.

"I was really glad once we got past the halfway point in the race, because I sure don't like those double-file restarts. Those things can get you in trouble quickly. But our car was so good, I could just get back into the lead quite easily. There in the mid-point of the race, I kind of had a couple anxious moments with some of the slower cars when I was lapping them. I could look up at the scoreboard as we raced down the front straightaway into the first turn and see who was behind me in positions two-through-five, and I knew I couldn't allow any of the slower cars hold me up too long or I'd have to contend with Mays and (Shannon) Buckingham, and both of those guys know how to get around this place since it's their home-track. But I'm really pleased with how well we finally ran here at 'The Gap' and was able to get a win. With the field of cars present here from all over the country, and to be able to win ... you couldn't ask for more."

Mays got around Champ for second on lap 2 racing off the fourth turn, while Nipper was roaring towards the front from his seventh-starting position, moving into fifth also on the second circuit. But he wasn't finished, as one lap later he continued riding the high-line around the corners and quickly picked off Buckingham and Llewellyn to settle into third place. Caution waved when Champ slowed with a flat tire at the end of the backstretch going into the third turn.

With the double-file restart in place for the national championship event, Peeples chose the outside of the first row with Mays dropping to the inside. Row two had Llewellyn on the inside with Nipper riding on the outside. Peeples moved back out front on the point followed by Mays, Nipper, Llewellyn and Buckingham. Buckingham passed Llewellyn racing off turn two on the sixth lap to take over fourth in the running order, and two circuits later also racing off of (turn) two he dropped low to pass Nipper and move into third place. The action slowed once again on lap 15, when the winner of the third last chance consolation, Meadows, spun in the fourth turn.


Peeples once again chose the outside of row one to restart, with Mays forced to the bottom. Buckingham dropped to the inside of the second row, with Nipper lining up outside. Peeples wasted no time in putting distance between himself, Mays, Nipper and Buckingham. Buckingham passed Nipper to go back into third on lap 18 racing off the fourth turn.

On lap 19, Thomas worked his way around Llewellyn into fifth, and two circuits later he passed Nipper to move into fourth. Now running ahead of both (Nipper and Cooper) of his closest challengers for the national title, Thomas was well on his way to earning the series championship. But the last thing he wanted to see, as well as race leader Peeples, was the caution flag waving ó which it did on lap 30 when Vic Chandler spun directly in front of Peeples in turn two as he was about to go a lap down.

Back under green, and with a clear track ahead, Peeples began to pull away from Mays, Buckingham, Thomas and Nipper. But what once was a half-straightaway advantage quickly shrunk to just a couple of car lengths when the race leader experienced difficulty in putting several cars down a lap once he reached the tail of the field.

With Mays, Buckingham, Thomas and Nipper all closing in, Peeples made a bold move to quickly overtake Greg Burchett, Chris Cantrell, Billy Thompson and Chandler between laps 58-62 to put some real estate between himself and his closest pursuers. Comfortably out front by almost a full-straightaway, Peeples saw his lead evaporate on lap 73 when Champ spun off turn two on the backstretch.

With a green-white-checkered run to the finish looming, Peeples had Mays lined-up on his rear bumper. But Peeples would not be denied his first-ever victory at "The Gap," as he held off Mays, Buckingham, Thomas and Nipper for the $2,000 victory.

Completing the top-10 finishers were Jerry Broyles, Llewellyn, Dick Barton, Alan Dellinger and Justin Hirt.


Showing Finishing Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Drive Name, Car Number, Hometown

1. (3) Kenny Peeples Jr. #22p-Rural Retreat, VA
2. (1) Bobby Mays #19m-Jonesborough, TN
3. (6) Shanon Buckingham #50-Morristown, TN
4. (9) William Thomas #22t-Phenix City, AL
5. (7) Jordy Nipper #119-Gray, GA
6. (11) Jerry Broyles #72-Jonesborough, TN
7. (4) John Llewellyn #90-Knoxville, TN
8. (8) Dick Barton #28b-Asheville, NY
9. (13) Alan Dellinger #8-Hermitage, PA
10. (10) Justin Hirt #27-Tigerton, WI
11. (14) David McCoy #187-Franklin, NC
12. (2) Lee Cooper #57-Greer, SC
13. (20) Darin Walker #10-New Haven, MO
14. (22) Ed Dixon #50x-Washington, MO
15. (18) Dale Ball #2t-Johnson City, TN
16. (5) Allen Champ #11c-Morristown, TN
17. (16) Vic Chandler #88-Weaverville, NC
18. (21) Billy Thompson #E1-Gastonia, NC
19. (23) Chris Cantrell #114-Chester, SC
20. (24) Greg Burchett #17-Church Hill, TN
21. (12) Chris Steele #2-York, SC
22. (19) Scott Morgan #4-Easley, SC
23. (17) Chris Ferguson #22f-Stanley, NC
24. (15) Anthony Meadows #31-Lanett, AL










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