Kingsport Speedway sees strong turnout for opening test

Published 10:15 am Monday, March 4, 2024

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KINGSPORT — There was plenty of excitement as racers ended their long winter layoff Saturday with the first laps of the season at Kingsport Speedway.

 It was the first of four Saturday practice sessions at the 3/8-mile concrete oval leading into the season-opening race Saturday, March 30 at the only NASCAR Advance Auto Weekly Racing Series track in Tennessee.

 Drivers from multiple classes including Late Model, Mod 4, Pure 4, Street Stock and Beginner Front Wheel Drive all participated in the test. Some fans took advantage of the free test session and watched from the stands and the hill above turns 3 and 4.

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 Overall, 20 drivers and crews took part in the open test. They included reigning Mod 4 champion Chris Amburgey and his white No. 17 Ford Mustang and Street Stock contender Rob Austin in his No. 25 Chevrolet Camaro.

 Braxton Dean, a 15-year-old from Abingdon, made memories of a lifetime when he drove his No. 14 Chevrolet Cavalier on the track at the same time as his grandfather, Sammy Ferguson, in the No. 41 Cavalier and later his grandmother, Pam Ferguson, in the No. 41 car.

 “To be able to do this is a blast,” said Sammy, who will race a No. 41 Nova in Street Stock this season. “He was out here racing the Beginner class last year and I looked at her and said, ‘That would be a good thing for you to do.’ So we did it.”

 Rogersville racer Brandon Crawford will again race the No. 44 Honda in the Pure 4 class. He started racing go-karts at 16 years old, but took time off from the sport when his kids were younger. He returned to racing six years ago and was a winner at the Volunteer Speedway dirt track before coming to Kingsport Speedway.

 Saturday’s practice was a good chance to test the durability of his car. Crawford’s goals for the 2024 season includes finishing every race in the competitive Pure 4 class.

 “We had a good year last year and I’d like to finish in the top five in points this year,” Crawford said. “I’d like to be in the top 25 in the national points. I was in the top 10 at one point last year so I’ve like to finish in the top 25 this year.”

 As the excitement builds towards the opener, fans are encouraged to make plans to visit Saturday, March 30 and other times throughout the season. Check out the Kingsport Speedway website for a schedule of 2024 races.