National Late Model Sportsman Series Report: Rental Service Corporation 75
15 September 1997
Valdosta, GA - Swainsboro, GA driver Terry Lumley proved that rookies can win on the National Late Model Sportsman Series as he held off the challenge of points leader Gene Maine to take his first ever win on the Southern Dirt Tour in just his seventh race with the highly competitive series. Lumley put the Reeves RPM/Hollywood/Hadden Wrecking Chevrolet on the outside of the front row for the Rental Service Corp. 75 at Thundebowl Speedway, Valdosta, GA, by setting the second fastest time in qualifying and then winning his heat race. On the start of the race Lumley out raced pole sitter Cary Corbin into turn one and then held off all challenges to take home the $4,000 winner's check.
"This is great." an excited Lumley said afterwards. "I can't believe we did it. We had a small oil leak around the fuel pump that was throwing oil on the rear tires during those last cautions. It made the car handle funny for a couple of laps till I got it burned off. The car was getting loose at the end, but I just tried to keep it straight and not take any chances."
There were 31 cars on hand at Thunderbowl making qualifying even more important. Gene Maine of Quitman, GA set the fast time in qualifying at 19.640 secs/91.650 mph around the newly reshaped 1/2 mile oval. Times were incredibly close with the entire field timing within 1.17 seconds. In the heat races, Corbin got the jump on Maine on the start and held on for the win. Lumley, Dennis Smith and Chris Usry won the other heats to make up the front four of the 26 car starting field. Mike Becton and Johnny Lieupo won the consolation races.
The field came to the green in perfect two-abreast formation and as the green flag flew, Lumley edged ahead of Corbin as the two cars accelerated down the front straight and took the lead into turn one. Corbin fell into second with Smith third, Maine fourth, and Chris Usry fifth. The first caution of the race came out on the third lap when Billy Godowns Jr. of Louisville, GA spun out of a large pack of cars making their way through turn two.
Back under green, the tightly packed field began dicing for position as Lumley took a car length lead over Corbin. 1996 NLMS Champion Ivedent Lloyd, driving a new PeeWee Wiggins race car slipped under 1997 Thunderbowl Track Champion Charlie Harris and Smith got high in turn three allowing both Maine and Usry to slide to the low groove and make the pass. Two laps later Lloyd slipped past Wiley McDaniel to move into ninth place. Rookie contender Steve Jones slipped inside veteran driver Eddie Gainey to take sixth spot and Everett Phillips, Lieupo and Henry Carter Jr were also gaining spots back in the pack.
On lap 15 Skip Pannell worked his way past McDaniel and Corbin closed up on Lumley's rear bumper. On the next lap as the cars came through turns three and four, Corbin made a move to the inside, the left rear tire caught the inside berm and lifted the whole rear of the car into the air. Corbin fought for control, but his car skipped sideways, right into the side of leader Lumley. Corbin tried to keep the car off the leader and spun to the inside of the track at the start of the front straight. With Corbin's spin the order now had Lumley still in the lead, but now right behind him was Maine, Usry, Smith and Jones.
As the race progressed into the middle stages there were plenty of good battles all through the field to thrill the packed stands. Pannell and Gainey were running nose to tail as they battled for position, and in the process of fighting with each other they worked their way around both McDaniel and Lloyd to move into eighth and ninth place. These two would continue their battle throughout the race and soon were up to sixth and seventh.
By the mid-point of the event, Lumley was holding a three car length lead over Maine with Usry, Smith and Jones running about a car length apart. Gainey was in sixth, with Pannell seventh, McDaniel eighth, Lloyd ninth and Harris rounding out the top ten. Two other veterans, Phillips and Cecil Eunice, had hooked up together in a battle for eleventh. After going to the rear of the field on lap 3 Godowns was working his way back through the field and had made it as far as 19th.
The second half of the race was run mostly under green flag conditions with just one caution slowing the field until lap 67 when Lloyd, running in eighth, tried to get under Gainey in turn three and got in too deep and spun out. With field bunched back up and just eight laps to go, it would be a shootout to the checkers. Lumley proved to be too strong on the restart and he quickly opened a gap between himself and Maine, and the rest of the field picked up their individual battles. On lap 70 Lloyd again lost control of the car and spun off the top of turn two again slowing the field for a five lap dash to the finish.
Lumley led the single file restart to the box and jumped out to a car length lead again. The battles in the pack increased in intensity as drivers tried to improve their finishing positions. Godowns moved up to 13th after going to the rear and Joe Kump, having started 21st moved into 12th spot. Then as the white flag flew, Kump spun in the middle of turn two, causing a melee behind him as the leaders headed for the checkered flag. Corbin, Carter, Al Jones and Andy Stewart were all caught up in the last lap incident and never crossed the finish line. Kump was able to gain control and finish as the last car on the lead lap.
There were 14 cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag in a race that was slowed by only six caution flags. The race took just 42 minutes to complete and 18 cars were still running at the finish. Kump gained the most positions despite his last lap spin, but Godowns passed the most cars after going to the rear.
The next race for the National Late Model Sportsman Series will be September 27th at Lake City, FL as "Dirt meets Asphalt" for the Gaylon Roberts Memorial 50 at Columbia Motorsports Park.
John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel
Thunderbowl Speedway Qualifying results for NLMS Series Blue Collar 75, Presented by Aggressive Signs Ps.No. Driver , Car Lap Time M.P.H. -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- -------- ------- 1 201 Gene Maine Ives Racing/Russell Brown Racing Chev 0:19.640 91.650 2 55 Terry Lumley Hollywood Race Cars/Hadden WrkingChev 0:19.680 91.463 3 80 Charlie Harris Economy Transmission & Garage Chev 0:19.700 91.371 4 20 Billy Godowns Jr Godowns Farm/Henderson Chev Chev 0:19.760 91.093 5 27 Cary Corbin Robert Cates Body/T&E Trucking Chev 0:19.770 91.047 6 0 Steve Jones Quality Saw Works/Beardon Oil Chev 0:19.780 91.001 7 33 Gene Ross Cauthan Const/Scruggs Concrete Chev 0:19.870 90.589 8 12 Chris Usry Washington Wood/Robinson Trking Ford 0:19.900 90.452 9 5 Wiley McDaniel Robertson Racing Chev 0:19.910 90.407 10 2 Tracy Walden Infiltrator Systems Inc Chev 0:19.910 90.407 11 D21 Dennis Smith Holliman Heat & Air/Firecheck Chev 0:19.920 90.361 12 3 Ivedent Lloyd Trident Supply/Aggressive Signs Chev 0:19.930 90.316 13 46 Everett Phillips Everett's Custom Services Chev 0:19.970 90.135 14 2c DeWayne Chancey Performance Elec/Fast Trak Comm Chev 0:20.000 90.000 15 45 Andy Stewart Paschall Wood Products Chev 0:20.010 89.955 16 28 Henry Carter Jr Mimbs Farms/Sweats Port Build Chev 0:20.020 89.910 17 15 Mike Becton J7M Diesel Repair Chev 0:20.100 89.552 18 3x Skip Pannell Seabolt & Leslie Dyno/Hollywood Chev 0:20.130 89.419 19 222 Jim Brophy Hartley's Tire/Scott's Fina Chev 0:20.130 89.419 20 22 Cecil Eunice Norman Pontiac/Ace Pole Chev 0:20.190 89.153 21 53 John Rankin Rankin Const/Snow Bros/Kroury EngChev 0:20.230 88.977 22 721 Joe Kump A-1 Specialty/Car House Chev 0:20.240 88.933 23 88 Paul George R&J Greeneries/Heather Farm Chev 0:20.280 88.757 24 112 Johnny Lieupo Lieupo Motorsports Chev 0:20.280 88.757 25 97 Carl Black Carter Rental Equipment Chev 0:20.300 88.670 26 7 Greg Rutland Webb Bros Propane/Custom Engines Chev 0:20.410 88.192 27 17 Eddie Gainey Snow Bros/VP Racing Fuel Chev 0:20.500 87.805 28 99 Bruce Durden Big K Auto parts/DP Racing Chev 0:20.530 87.677 29 37 Al Jones Team Kendall/Brown Bag Chev 0:20.990 85.755 30 3T Mike Mishoe Little's Paints/Cork's Fabricare Chev No Time 0.000 31 X15 Jeff Jacobs Crazy J's Auto Sales Ford No Time 0.000 3T light at scales=DQ, No time Track Length : 0.5000 Miles Thunderbowl Speedway -NLMS - Provisional results for the National Late Model Sportsman Series, Blue Collar 75 Presented by Aggressive Signs: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 2 55 Terry Lumley Hollywood Race Cars/Hadden WrkingChev 75 2 1 201 Gene Maine Ives Racing/Russell Brown Racing Chev 75 3 8 12 Chris Usry Washington Wood/Robinson Trking Ford 75 4 11 D21 Dennis Smith Holliman Heat & Air/Firecheck Chev 75 5 6 0 Steve Jones Quality Saw Works/Beardon Oil Chev 75 6 18 3x Skip Pannell Seabolt & Leslie Dyno/Hollywood Chev 75 7 27 17 Eddie Gainey Snow Bros/VP Racing Fuel Chev 75 8 3 80 Charlie Harris Economy Transmission & Garage Chev 75 9 20 22 Cecil Eunice Norman Pontiac/Ace Pole Chev 75 10 9 5 Wiley McDaniel Robertson Racing Chev 75 11 13 46 Everett Phillips Everett's Custom Services Chev 75 12 24 112 Johnny Lieupo Lieupo Motorsports Chev 75 13 4 20 Billy Godowns Jr Godowns Farm/Henderson Chev Chev 75 14 22 721 Joe Kump A-1 Specialty/Car House Chev 75 15 5 27 Cary Corbin Robert Cates Body/T&E Trucking Chev 74 16 16 28 Henry Carter Jr Mimbs Farms/Sweats Port Build Chev 74 17 15 45 Andy Stewart Paschall Wood Products Chev 74 18 29 37 Al Jones Team Kendall/Brown Bag Chev 73 19 12 3 Ivedent Lloyd Trident Supply/Aggressive Signs Chev 70 20 19 222 Jim Brophy Hartley's Tire/Scott's Fina Chev 51 21 30 3T Mike Mishoe Little's Paints/Cork's Fabricare Chev 47 22 14 2c DeWayne Chancey Performance Elec/Fast Trak Comm Chev 45 23 10 2 Tracy Walden Infiltrator Systems Inc Chev 45 24 23 88 Paul George R&J Greeneries/Heather Farm Chev 45 25 17 15 Mike Becton J7M Diesel Repair Chev 18 26 31 X15 Jeff Jacobs Crazy J's Auto Sales Ford 3 Time of Race : 42 mins Margin of Victory : 1 car length Lap Leaders : Lumley 1 - 75 Cautions : 6 Track Length : 0.5000 Miles