National Late Model Sportsman Series: Report and Results from Waycross Speedway
4 August 1997
Waycross Speedway - NLMS - Qualifying results for the National Late Model Sportsman Series, Walker Jones 75: Ps.No. Driver , Car Lap Time M.P.H. -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- -------- ------- 1 21 Ivedent Lloyd Jr Snow Bros/Larry Moore Chev 0:17.809 101.072 2 11 Tracy Mimbs Flexsteel/KFC/Mid-State Pools Chev 0:18.057 99.684 3 32 Wendell Durrance Bills Timber/Bennett Bros Motor Chev 0:18.091 99.497 4 28 Henry Carter Jr Mimbs Farms/Sweats Port Build Chev 0:18.111 99.387 5 22 Cecil Eunice Norman Pontiac/Ace Pole Chev 0:18.123 99.321 6 44 Ricky Brant Atlas Sand & Gravel/Compet Prod Chev 0:18.123 99.321 7 66 Chuck Chitty C&C Powerline/J&W Engine Serv Chev 0:18.197 98.917 8 24 Skip Pannell Leonard Thornton Ent/Cowart ConstChev 0:18.212 98.836 9 5 Mike Carter Pierce Auto Parts/M&M Refrig Chev 0:18.261 98.571 10 75 Andy Stewart Wendy's Auto/Jimmy Howe Realty Chev 0:18.323 98.237 11 20 Billy Godowns Jr Godowns Farm/Henderson Chev Chev 0:18.363 98.023 12 46 Everett Phillips Everett's Custom Services Chev 0:18.370 97.986 13 60 Bo Allen NCOA/Allen Brothers Welding Chev 0:18.372 97.975 14 28D Tracy Walden Lamar's Trans/Rains Build Supply Chev 0:18.377 97.949 15 10 Lee Jackson Mallard's Auto Parts/Bounty Hse Chev 0:18.405 97.800 16 53 John Rankin Rankin Const/Snow Bros/Kroury EngChev 0:18.471 97.450 17 201 Gene Maine Ives Racing/Russell Brown Racing Chev 0:18.545 97.061 18 2c DeWayne Chancey Performance Elec/Fast Trak Comm Chev 0:18.611 96.717 19 3 Mark Padgett Trident Supply/Aggressive Signs Chev 0:18.683 96.344 20 0 Steve Jones Quality Saw Works/Beardon Oil Chev 0:18.685 96.334 21 99 Gary Spivey Big K Auto parts/DP Racing Chev 0:18.705 96.231 22 33 Gene Ross Cauthan Const/Scruggs Concrete Chev 0:18.773 95.882 23 3T Mike Mishoe Little's Paints/Cork's Fabricare Chev 0:18.807 95.709 24 P21 Larry Perry Jr Snow Bros/Reeves RPM/SMC TruckingChev 0:18.835 95.567 25 91 Toby Justice Justice Motorsports Chev 0:18.997 94.752 26 128 Mack Deen Deen Enterprises Chev 0:19.001 94.732 27 721 Joe Kump A-1 Specialty/Car House Chev 0:19.121 94.137 28 45 Bryan Jenkins Paschall's Wood Service Chev 0:19.381 92.874Waycross, GA - The Walker Jones 75 at Waycross Motor Speedway developed into a duel of Champions that went right down to the final turn of the last lap. 1995 National Late Model Sportsman Series Champion Skip Pannell outdueled 1996 NLMS Series Champion Ivedent Lloyd in a thrilling finish to an action packed race. For the Albany, GA driver the win marked his return from the asphalt wars of NASCAR's Slim Jim All- Pro Series and to the Winner's Circle. Driving the Charles Cowart owned Green Flag/Twister/ Blue Lake Construction/Leonard Thornton Enterprises/Cowart Construction Chevrolet Pannell was able to withstand a furious charge by Lloyd over the closing laps and take the checkered flag for the first time in more than a year on the highly competitive Southern Dirt Tour. For Lloyd the second place finish was the culmination of a thrilling charge through the field from his ninth starting position as the Koury Racing Engines/Snow Brothers Racing Chevrolet sliced his way the front and then hounded Pannell for the last 15 laps of the race. Finishing in third spot and padding his lead in the 1997 NLMS Series Points was Valdosta, GA driver Gene Maine in the Bennett Bros/ Russell Brown/ Ives Racing Chevrolet. Not only did Pannell pick up the $4,000 winner check, but he also qualified for the $2,500 bonus to be awarded at the end of the season at the "Showdown on the Coast" at Brunswick, GA's Golden Isle Speedway on November 1st.
"That was a tough one," Pannell commented later. "It took four or five laps for our car to hook up and get going. I knew Ivedent (Lloyd) would make that final try to get by, but we were so tight I doubt he could have spun me out. He raced me clean all night and even backed out when he touched me coming out of four on the last lap. This is a much needed win for the Blue Lake Racing Team."
The cars of Mike Carter and Wendell Durrance were eliminated from competition before a lap was officially in the books. Carter hit the backstretch wall and Durrance broke his transmission before one lap could be completed. Once the race got underway, Cecil Eunice of Blackshear, GA took the early lead from his pole position with Brant right behind him and Pannell, Maine, and Chuck Chitty all running in the top five. Lloyd immediately started picking of cars in a methodical run to the front and by the seventh lap he was into the top five. Behind the leaders there was also plenty of action as positions were being swapped at every lap and every position was being contested. Eunice was able to open a three car-length lead over Brant in the opening laps, but as Brant got his rhythm down he soon began to close the gap. Pannell was right behind Brant and looking for a way around the Pooler, GA series stalwart while at the same time fending off the charges of Maine in fourth.
Brant soon reeled Eunice in and on lap 16 he went to the inside in turn two and took the lead. Pannell was able to follow Brant through the hole and relegated the erstwhile leader to third. The front four of Brant, Pannell, Eunice and Maine now opened a three car-length lead on the pack, but the car on the move was that of Tracy Walden. Walden, who had suffered engine problems in practice, was piloting the Morris Drake owned car in attempt to maintain his position in the points. When Chitty slid high in turn four, Walden was there to dip to the inside and take the fifth spot. Lloyd, having slipped a couple of spots moved back into sixth and was challenging Walden for fifth.
Brant soon began to show signs of getting loose in the corners, and on lap 21 he slipped in turn four and Pannell shot to the inside to become the third leader of the race. A lap later Maine stuck his nose inside Eunice and took the third spot away from the veteran. Walden was the next to take advantage of Eunice's loose race car as he slipped under him on lap 26 and Lloyd quickly followed suit. The running order at the front now had Pannell in the lead with Brant second, Maine third, Walden fourth, and Lloyd fifth. Eunice was using his many years of experience to hold on to sixth with Chitty, also battling a loose condition in seventh. Henry Carter Jr, the top points man in the Rookie of the Year race, Everett Phillips and Gene Ross rounding out the top ten.
The popular viewpoint before the race was that the track would tighten up during the race, but instead it was becoming looser and many cars soon became affected by various stages of a loose race car. Walden was the next of the front-runners to suffer that malady as he began to slide high in the corners and Lloyd was pressuring him at every turn Lloyd tried to pass on the high side and then used the low line to get past and take the position on lap 31. Walden then spun on the 34th lap, which put him back to the rear of the pack. Maine now advanced into second as he got under Brant, and with Walden's spin Eunice was now back in the top five as the race approached the halfway point.
Pannell had now opened up a six car-length lead over Maine, but Lloyd was coming fast as he slid below Brant on lap 35 and began to pressure Maine. As the race headed into the second half, battles were taking place all around the track. Billy Godowns Jr saw his run towards the leaders stopped when he slid high in turn three allowing Gene Ross and Tracy Mimbs to make the pass. Lloyd was able to make the pass on Maine on lap 57 and took off after Pannell. He quickly closed the gap, dragging Maine with him and by lap 70 he was right on the rear bumper of the leader. Catching Pannell and passing him are two different things, and Pannell was up to the challenge. Lloyd looked high and low, then with just a few laps left he backed off slightly, and cooled his tire for a final charge. As the cars took the white flag Lloyd again tried to dive low going into turn one, and again looked low coming out of turn two. The two cars roared down the back straight nose-to-tail, and Lloyd drove hard into turn three and held the low line, as the cars began to exit turn four he punched the gas and tried once again to get inside the leader, His car slid up the track slightly and Lloyd's nose contacted the left rear of Pannell causing Lloyd to lift slightly and giving Pannell the impetus down the front stretch and to the checkered flag.
The weekend got off to a fast start with Lloyd blistering the track in 17.809 seconds for an average speed of 101.072 mph around the 1/2 mile semi banked oval to set the fast time in qualifying. Of the 28 cars that made qualifying attempts during time trials, 23 of them were within one second of Lloyd's time. In the heat races, wins went to Cecil Eunice, Ricky Brant, Wendell Durrance and Pannell. Mark Padgett and Andy Stewart captured wins in the Consolation races. Of the 25 cars that started the race, seventeen of them were still running at the checkered flag, 16 of those on the lead lap. The race was marred by eight cautions for 39 laps.
John Kaiser -- The Autochannel
Waycross Speedway - NLMS - Provisional results for the National Late Model Sportsman Series, Walker Jones 75: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 8 24 Skip Pannell Leonard Thornton Ent/Cowart ConstChev 75 2 1 21 Ivedent Lloyd Jr Snow Bros/Larry Moore Chev 75 3 17 201 Gene Maine Ives Racing/Russell Brown Racing Chev 75 4 6 44 Ricky Brant Atlas Sand & Gravel/Compet Prod Chev 75 5 5 22 Cecil Eunice Norman Pontiac/Ace Pole Chev 75 6 14 28D Tracy Walden Lamar's Trans/Rains Build Supply Chev 75 7 4 28 Henry Carter Jr Mimbs Farms/Sweats Port Build Chev 75 8 12 46 Everett Phillips Everett's Custom Services Chev 75 9 7 66 Chuck Chitty C&C Powerline/J&W Engine Serv Chev 75 10 15 10 Lee Jackson Mallard's Auto Parts/Bounty Hse Chev 75 11 27 721 Joe Kump A-1 Specialty/Car House Chev 75 12 22 33 Gene Ross Cauthan Const/Scruggs Concrete Chev 75 13 2 11 Tracy Mimbs Flexsteel/KFC/Mid-State Pools Chev 75 14 10 75 Andy Stewart Wendy's Auto/Jimmy Howe Realty Chev 75 15 11 20 Billy Godowns Jr Godowns Farm/Henderson Chev Chev 75 16 13 60 Bo Allen NCOA/Allen Brothers Welding Chev 75 17 28 45 Bryan Jenkins Paschall's Wood Service Chev 73 18 21 99 Gary Spivey Big K Auto parts/DP Racing Chev 68 19 16 53 John Rankin Rankin Const/Snow Bros/Kroury EngChev 57 20 18 2c DeWayne Chancey Performance Elec/Fast Trak Comm Chev 57 21 26 128 Mack Deen Deen Enterprises Chev 56 22 19 3 Mark Padgett Trident Supply/Aggressive Signs Chev 28 23 24 P21 Larry Perry Jr Snow Bros/Reeves RPM/SMC TruckingChev 14 24 3 32 Wendell Durrance Bills Timber/Bennett Bros Motor Chev 0 25 9 5 Mike Carter Pierce Auto Parts/M&M Refrig Chev 0 Time of Race : 1hr 22 min 37 secs Margin of Victory : 1/2 car length Lap Leaders : Eunice, Brant, Pannell Cautions : 8 for 39 laps Track Length : 0.5000 Miles