Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Dirty: 2022 Lil Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell

The Headline(s)

Chris Madden kept banking big bucks on Tennessee’s high banks, scoring $21,000 in the Lil Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell Speedway Saturday night. 

How it Happened

2022 Lil Bill Corum Memorial
Where: Tazewell Speedway – Tazewell, Tenn. (streamed on Flo Racing)
Winner’s Purse: $21,000

Chris Madden proved that his prowess at Bristol wasn’t a one-track wonder, besting Brandon Overton on the start of the feature and wiring Saturday’s 75-lap Lil Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell, grabbing a $21,000 paycheck that marked his third win of over $20k in the last month.

Though Madden was untouchable out front for most of the race, it got close in the last few laps. With five to go, Ricky Weiss closed on Madden as he struggled with lapped traffic and actually got alongside him in turns 2 and 4 with four laps to go. Sadly, a caution flag with two laps to go removed lappers from the equation, leaving Madden to drive off to a win on the ensuing restart.  

2022 LIL BILL CORUM MEMORIAL RACE RESULTS

Success Stories

Scott Bloomquist’s resurgent 2022 continued at Tazewell, with Bloomquist rebounding after hitting the wall during his qualifying run to score a fourth-place finish.

Between winning hard charger honors in the Kyle Larson Late Model Challenge on Thursday night and a top-five finish in Saturday’s Tazewell feature, it was a hell of a trip to the neighbors for Ewing, Va.’s Dakotah Knuckles.

On the one hand, Brandon Overton grabbed a four-figure payday simply for taking the fast time award in qualifying and winning his heat race. Having said that…

Vexed, Villains & Victims

Overton fell from second to 15th in the final running order two laps short of the finish after cutting a tire. After stealing a last-lap victory from a dominant Jonathan Davenport at Wythe Raceway the night before, the luck ran out for Big Sexy.

Warrior Race Cars calls Tennessee home, but homecoming was anything but kind over the last few days. After William Byron proved to be in well over his head during Thursday’s race at Volunteer Speedway behind the wheel of a Warrior, house car driver Ryan King only lasted 15 laps at Tazewell Saturday night before an engine fire parked the No. 1G for good.

Tennessee-native Jimmy Owens was a top-five car for much of Saturday’s feature at Tazewell, but mid-race damage (which the booth speculated was from contact with the lapped car of Stacy Bowles but never showed a replay of) relegated Owens to a 17th-place DNF.

It may be harsh to include Jonathan Davenport here, but it’s hard to imagine “Superman” being anything but disappointed about the last 48 hours. Arriving at Tazewell having led 52 of 53 laps at Wythe Raceway the night before without winning, the defending winner of the Lil Bill Corum Memorial was relegated to a B-main after spinning in his heat race while running second after a lapped car broke down in his groove.

Davenport and crew opted to stay out of their B-main and used a provisional to start the feature, climbing from 22nd to eighth in the final running order. Davenport remains winless in 2022.

Fanning the Flames

It was a welcome relief to have this big a late model event being streamed. It’s always a crapshoot with races the Iron-Man Series sanctions, so having the Lil Bill Corum Memorial on Flo Racing was a positive thing. 

Having said that, it was far from a banner night for Flo. The telecast started more than 30 minutes late. No replays proved to be a real problem, especially given the damage that took home-state ringer Jimmy Owens from the running. 

Far more problematic though was having no scoring ticker during a 75-lap feature. Trying to take notes watching this race meant looking at the right-hand corner of the screen every time the camera was in turn 1 hoping to get a glimpse of the track scoreboard for a lap count.

And speaking of the Bailes, it didn’t prove to have any impact on the event, but it was less than optimal to have the mics broadcasting on Flo Racing pick up an exchange during the third heat race that made it sound like the scorers had lost track of Ross Bailes’s No. 79 car.

Let’s go with something positive. The folks that put together the event schedule at Tazewell Speedway followed a golden rule to the letter that the headlining class should never go more than a session or two without being on the track. Despite running a four-class program, the feature at Tazewell for the super late models was on track right around the three-hour mark. Job well done.

I’m not knocking on Davenport’s team for making an informed decision to essentially skip their B-main knowing they had a provisional into the feature in hand, but I do question whether dirt series offering provisionals need to look into a rule that should require a race team to complete a B-main, or at least give it an honest effort, to actually be able to use a provisional. The defending race winner having to battle his way through a prelim could have easily been a highlight of the evening, instead derailed by brute pragmatism.

Numbers Game

36 – super late models entered in Saturday’s Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell.

$2,100 – the prize to win fast time for the Bill Corum Memorial at Tazewell.

$250,100 – Madden’s winnings over the last month in the state of Tennessee.

Where it Rated (on a scale of one to six cans with one a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic): We’ll give the Lil Bill Corum Memorial three and a half shots of Jack. The racing surface was in great shape and the stands were packed, but Madden stunk up the show in what was a lacking streaming experience. 

Up Next: The XR Super Series returns to throw cash around this coming weekend, with the Florida Dirt Nationals taking the series to its first full-time dirt track, racing for $25,000 and $50,000-to-win Friday and Saturday. Coverage can be found on RaceXR.  

About the author

Senior Commentator at Frontstretch

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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