DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A NASCAR championship-producing Virginia short track rejoins the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this year. The addition creates a two track, two state circuit for area drivers and fans.
Lonesome Pine Raceway, a .375-mile banked paved oval in Coeburn, Va., returns to NASCAR sanction this year. The track operates every-other Saturday night and features Late Model Stock Cars.
Lonesome Pine is now partnered with Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway. Kingsport, a .375-mile banked concrete oval, will continue weekly Friday night racing. Both tracks are now operated by Keith Stiltner. He appointed veteran Kingsport general manager Karen Tunnell as GM and promoter for both facilities. Stiltner was a two-time Late Model track champion at Kingsport 1998-99.
“The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ return to Lonesome Pine Raceway is exciting news,” said Bob Duvall, NASCAR senior director, business development. “There are so many great drivers and NASCAR enthusiasts in the region. Our partnership with Keith, Karen, Lonesome Pine and Kingsport is an ideal opportunity for competitors and fans alike.”
Stiltner has combined the tracks’ operations under one umbrella.
“This is the first time Lonesome Pine and Kingsport have combined efforts,” Tunnell said. “The tracks will share the same divisions, rules, officials and race director. Because of the uniformity and just 40 miles between them, drivers and teams can now easily cross-over between the two. We think the fans will follow. This is what we’ve needed here for some time.”
Tunnell said she’s heard a lot of support from the area’s Late Model drivers. She noted that 2011-12 Kingsport track and Tennessee champion Nate Monteith, and defending track and state champion Chad Finchum plan to race at both tracks. Lonesome Pine’s 2013 Late Model champion Ryan Stiltner has committed to run at both tracks.
“There are six championships our Late Model drivers can race for now: two track championships, two state championships, the national championship, and an overall championship covering both tracks,” Tunnell said.
Lonesome Pine was previously sanctioned 1990-99, 2002-04.
NASCAR Late Models are NASCAR Division I at both tracks. Other shared divisions include Street Stocks, Pure Fours and Rookie Fours. Other Lonesome Pine divisions that will appear in rotation at Kingsport include Modified Fours, Iron Warriors, Pure Streets and Legends. Twin 35-lap Late Model features dot Lonesome Pine’s schedule.
In addition to Ryan Stiltner, Lonesome Pine’s 2013 divisional champions include Rob Austin, Super Street; Dan Hall, Pure 4; Rusty Ratliff, Pure Street; Lori Meadows, Powder Puff; Kirby Gobble, Mod 4; and Emory Ratliff, Iron Warriors.
Open practice days are scheduled for April 5 and 10. Opening day is April 12
In the past, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers who ran full schedules at both tracks have exceled. Wade Day won track championships at Kingsport (2000) and Lonesome Pine (2002) along with NASCAR regional championships in those years. Most recently, Steve Blackburn’s 2004 Lonesome Pine track championship was accompanied by a regional title. Earlier era NASCAR Late Model stars included Johnny Rumley who won a regional c