posted April 15, 2001 08:56 PM
ROSS EARNS CLOSE VICTORY
Article by Harvey Simpson April 14, 2001
CORDELE, GA - Visiting promoters of Saturday night's "National Late Model
Sportsman Series" race at Cordele Motor Speedway referred to it as their
continuation of "Asphalt April." Local track officials preferred to refer
to the 50-lapper that began with a whopping 30 entries as "The Easter Bunny
Nationals." By whatever name you choose to call it, the duel was a
thrilling one that had fans standing on their feet for the exciting finish.
Gene Ross of Lake Park emerged as the winner by almost the barest of margins
when the strong finishing kick he put on in the final seconds enabled him to
pass and nip Mike Franklin of West Palm Beach, Fla., at the wire. Ross, who
started on the pole after turning in the night's top time trial of 15.7 and
then winning the first of four heat races, had earlier led the first 33
laps. When Ross got caught up in lapped traffic, though, Franklin, who
started on the inside second row after winning the third heat race in the
class, forged ahead. "I kind of get penned up by the slower cars and when I
did he (Franklin) got by me," Ross said in reflecting upon the battle the
two put on over the final 16 laps. "He wasn't quite as good as me through
the corners which let him get away from me on the re-starts and then he
started blocking me toward the end." Just when it looked like Franklin had
enough to hold Ross at bay, the eventual winner who makes his living as an
automobile salesman in Valdosta stumbled upon the strategy that allowed him
to claim the win at the end. "I really didn't plan that, it just happened,"
Ross said of the move that helped him get past Franklin to claim the $3,000
first place purse. "I went into the corner (on turn four) a little too hard
but when I saw the car was going to stick I mashed the gas and passed him on
the high side which, I think, surprised him." Ross, who's been racing since
1974, said his car 0 ran well all night as he posted his third win since the
series began. "It was slow taking off on the restarts, though, but that was
because we didn't have it geared right. "We've got a good crew that really
works hard, though, and it was those guys that put us up there in front at
the finish." Another pit crew had much to do with series points leader
Ivadent Lloyd of Ocala, Fla., finishing fourth just a car length behind
Franklin as they finished replacing the engine in that car just before time
trials began. Third place went to Tuck Trentham of Deland, Fla. He came in
just a car length behind Franklin and the same margin in front of Lloyd.
Rounding out the top five was Moultrie's Charles Sealy who was just a car
length or so behind Lloyd at the finish.
Talley rules super street
A four-time winner here last year, Fitzgerald's Troy Talley recorded his
first victory of the 2001 campaign after becoming the last of three
different leaders in the 20-lap super street race. Talley forged ahead on
lap 10 after several cars were involved in a front straight away collision
that sent Eastman's Chuck Williams to a hospital for treatment. As it
turned out, he was not seriously hurt. Talley only finished 2-3 car lengths
in front of Doerun's Tal Etheridge who had taken second place on lap 11.
Dennis McDaniel of Macon came in third, Daniel Mullis of Hawkinsville took
fourth and Wayne Duckworth of Cordele placed fifth.
Childs gets first stock win
En route to his first win of 2001 after posting five triumphs here in the
abbreviated 2000 campaign, Sylvester's Leon Childs handed Tal Etheridge his
first loss of the season. Childs took the lead from Etheridge, a five-time
victor thus far, on lap five after both of them had earlier passed Warwick's
Craig Shiver on lap four. Childs won by 8-10 car lengths over Etheridge who
finished about that same margin ahead of Byron's Wayne Barfield. Shiver
wound up fourth and Macon's Pam Bird finished fifth.
Day repeats in enduro
In posting a second straight win and a third overall this season, Macon's
Wayne Day wrestled the lead from Pavo's Myron Chastain on lap six and went
on to finish 10-12 car lengths in front of apparent runner-up Arty Bird of
Macon. A routine post-race inspection resulted in Bird's disqualification
for a carburetor violation, however. That gave second place to Chastain who
had finished a couple of car lengths behind Bird. The remainder of the
revised top five included, in order, Kenneth Weaver of Sylvester, Billy
Nipper of Cordele and Steven Garnto of Warner Robins.
Icard rolls on in mini-stock.
After filing a successful protest against Ft. Valley's Justin Edwards seven
days earlier for his fourth win of the year, Bonaire's Josh Icard recorded
his fifth victory on the track itself. It was an extremely slim one as just
inches separated the top two finishers when the checkers waved. Completing
the top five were Banks Perdue of Dahlonega, Jason Richardson of Cordele and
Steve Raper of Locust Grove.
Odell prevails in legends
Giving fans still another thrilling finish on the long racing night,
Lawrenceville's David Odell became the legends class' fifth different winner
in as many races. In doing so, he beat Suwanee's Dwight Pilgram to the
checkers by two car lengths. Those two drivers were the only leaders of the
evening as Odell ran out front from laps 1-12 and 17-20 and Pilgram set the
pace from laps 13-16. Walt Brannen of Unadilla, Randy Howell of Lake Park
and Delacy Peavy of Havanna, Fla., placed third, fourth and fifth,
Tanner rules roadsters
Making only their second appearance of the season here, the Thunder
Roadsters put on a crowd-pleasing show. The battle featuring replicas of
the old open-cockpit, Indy-type cars ended with Leesburg's Scott Tanner
finishing a couple of car lengths in front of Griffin's Lloyd Wittenburg,
who had won the season-opening race on March 10. Robert and Will Monette of
Dunwoody came in third and fourth and Don Snyder of Knoxville, Tenn., took
the fifth spot.
Bradley breezes in hobby
The field in the hobby class was again off and when three attempts to start
the scheduled 20-lap race in the normal two abreast fashion failed, a single
file start and 15-lap duel was ordered for the three entries. Sylvester's
Wayne Bradley led throughout, holding off Albany's Greg Henry for the final
10 laps after Henry had grabbed the runner-up spot from Vienna's Shan Akin
on lap six. The win was Bradley's fourth in six races thus far this
Special program planned
This Saturday's racing card will offer a special 50-lap enduro feature
paying $1,000 to win. Its sponsor is Southwestern Chevrolet of Americus.
Heat and feature races are also on tap in all other classes except legends
and Thunder Roadsters.