After a myriad of weather related issues this spring, 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn. finally kicked off its 2018 season on Saturday night. Among the classes in competition was the Crate Late Model division and the winner in that class was two-time and defending United Crate Racing Alliance champion Rusty Ballenger.
Trevor Sise was fastest in qualifying for the division when he turned a lap in 14.152 seconds around the 3/8 mile clay oval. That effort beat out Ballenger, Jesse Lowe, Josh Henry, Eli Beets, Kyle Courtney, Greg Martin, Jason Manley, Ruben Mayfield and John Llewellyn.
The starting grid for the main event was set entirely from time-trial results as there were no heat races for the 14-car field.
At the start of the 25-lap feature it was Sise who bolted to the lead with Ballenger, Lowe, Henry and Martin following. Beets, Courtney and Manley immediately engaged in a fierce three-wide battle for the sixth position just behind the top-5 runners.
Sise looked dominant early on as he pulled away from the pack until a lap 4 caution reigned in the early leader and brought the pack back into play. The incident that brought out the yellow flag was a big one as Manley slipped high in turn four and bounced off the outside wall which sent his car down the track. Llewellyn and Mayfield were also collected in the incident with Llewellyn’s machine suffering heavy right side damage.
Just after the ensuing restart it was Henry who made a move forward when he passed by Lowe to take third. Contact between those two cars also allowed Martin and Courtney to pass by Lowe to grab fourth and fifth respectively.
Sise had initially pulled away again but Ballenger and Henry closed the gap. On lap 10, Ballenger made a brief move to the inside in an attempt to wrest the lead away but Sise was able to hold the spot. Eventually the No. 73 machine would again pull away.
However, Sise’s night would come to an early end on lap 19 when his car erupted in smoke as he entered turn three. A trail of fluid and a brief fire under the hood confirmed that the driver who looked to be on his way to a win was done for the night.
On the restart following Sise’s misfortune, Lowe moved around Courtney to take fourth with Danny Yoder following along to seize fifth. However, Courtney would retake that position on the final lap.
However, it was Ballenger who beat the pack to the checkered flag to earn the feature victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Rusty Ballenger, 2. Josh Henry, 3. Greg Martin, 4. Jesse Lowe, 5. Kyle Courtney, 6. Danny Yoder, 7. Greg Huskey, 8. Eli Beets, 9. Trevor Sise, 10. James Cole, 11. Ryan Carey, 12. Ruben Mayfield, 13. Jason Manley, 14. John Llewllyn