*Story submitted by Daniel Watkins
Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts, the I-75 Raceway in Sweetwater, Tenn. was able to get at least a portion of its racing program in on Saturday night as drivers, fans and track officials dodged rain showers throughout the evening. Unfortunately, the weather would win out in the end as the Limited Late Model class along with a couple of the support divisions fell victim to the rain.
The Crate Late Model class proved to be the Brad Coffey show as the Maryville driver earned the pole position for the feature by leading all 8 laps in his heat race over Jason Welshan and Brian Courtney. Barry Goodman would start the feature on the outside of the front row after winning the second heat race for the this class ahead of Joe Crabtree and Jimmy Elliott.
A number of cautions would slow the action in the early going of Crate Late Model feature. Brett Ashley spun before a full lap had been completed to bring out the first yellow flag of the night. A second mishap after the completion of one lap was triggered when four cars running near the tail of the field got together.
But it was on lap 4 that perhaps the most significant incident of the race occurred when top-5 runners Jimmy Elliott, Joe Crabtree and Brian Courtney tangled. All would continue.
After the lap 4 restart, several consecutive green flag laps ticked off as Coffey, Welshan and Goodman fought for position on the slippery surface. However, another yellow flag waved on lap 9 when the leading car of Coffey tagged a slower competitor, causing that machine to spin. Coffey suffered minor front end damage but was able to maintain his spot at the front of the field.
Track officials opted to call for a green/white/checkered restart after that incident due to time constraints.
On the final restart, Welshan bolted around Goodman to claim the runner-up spot and set out in pursuit of the race leader. Coming to the white flag, Welshan got under Coffey and the two raced side-by-side for the win on the final lap. As the two cars came through turns 3 and 4 for the final time, Coffey was able to beat back the challenge from the driver who had already won 30 features around the east Tennessee region in 2014 to claim the victory.
At the finish, it was Brad Coffey, Jason Welshan, Barry Goodman, Jimmy Elliott, Jordon Horton and Brian Courtney.
In other action, Nathan Adams took the lead on lap 3 of the B-Hobby feature and went on to win over Michale Boyd and Wesley Lester.
Micah Collins won out in Mod Lites over John Pitts and David Smith.
All other features were rained out.