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NLMS Series Report and Results from Lake City Speedway

16 March 1998


Lake City, Fla. - In a weekend that showcased all that is good about short
track racing, The “North Georgia Dirt Farmer, Billy Godowns Jr. drove his
Godowns Farm #20 Chevrolet into Victory Lane at the end of the National
Late Model Sportsman Series second event of season at Lake City Speedway.
The Louisville, Ga. driver ran in the top five for the entire race before
taking the lead near the end and holding off a determined challenge by Lake
Park, Ga. driver Gene Ross in the Cauthan Construction/Scruggs Concrete
Chevrolet. Wendell Durrance brought the Bill's Timber/Carl's Signs
Chevrolet home in third.

The weekend got off to a cool and ominous start when both Rance Phillips
and Everett Phillips blew engines during early practice. Everett, a Lake
City resident, was able to charge to his shop, replace the engine and
return, all within two hours. Dickie Ferry and Jody Rogers also suffered
mechanical problems with broken rear ends, but both were able to make
needed repairs and both made the feature event.

In qualifying time trials it was Durrance who set fast time with a
blistering 17.90 second clocking to nab the pole position for the first
heat race. Second fast time went to the Castrol GTX/Zion Pest
Control/Consolodated Construction Chevrolet of Jacksonville, Fla’s Johnny
Collins. Godowns was third fastest with Ross fourth as each garnered a pole
for the heat races. Starting on the front row in the first heat was not the
best place to be as previous support races had left dust on the racing
surface, and both Durrance and outside front row starter Tracy Walden slid
high in the dust allowing Steve Jones to duck inside and take the lead and
eventually the win to grab the pole position for the feature event. 1997
NLMS Champion Gene Maine grabbed the lead in heat two from the outside pole
and went on to the win, while Godowns and Ross won the other two heats.

Prior to action getting underway on a beautiful sunny Saturday, racers and
officials were treated to a sumptious Bar-B-Q at Everett Phillips shop
hosted by his wife Kathy. In early racing action it was Walden and Henry
“Hurricane” Carter eho took the Consolation race wins. Phillips would
suffer Carburetor problems in the Consi race and was forced to take a
provisional to make the feature.

25 cars took the green flag on the 3/8 mile Lake City Speedway and pole
sitter Jones put his Quality Saw Chevrolet into the early lead with Rookie
contender Johnny Lieupo charging from the third row into second spot
followed by Godowns, 1995 NLMS Champion Skip Pannell and Collins. Lee
Jackson brought out the first caution of the race with a spin in turn two
and on the ensuing restart Pannell went low off turn four to edge past
Godowns on the entry to turn one. On lap 6 both Pannell and Godowns went
under Lieupo in turn two as the Blue Lake Racing car slid high. On lap 13
Ross was also to work his way inside Lieupo while further back in the field
both Randy Ellenberg and Cecil Eunice were picking off cars as they tried
to reach the front. For Ferry, who had worked feverishly the previous day
to replace the rear end, it was a case of deja-vu as once again the rear
end broke on lap 18. 

By lap 20, the order at the front had Jones still leading with Pannell
right on his back bumper, Godowns third, Collins fourth and Ross in fifth.
Lieupo, Al Jones, Cary Corbin, Durrance and Maine rounded out the top ten
when the caution once again came out as Mo Gordy slid high coming out of
turn four and slapped the front straight wall to end his race. A tremendous
battle between the cars of Eunice, Ellenberg and Phillips began to evolve
following the restart as the three cars swapped positions back and forth in
the middle of the pack, and began to work their way towards the front. 

Pannell kept looking to the outside of Jones on virtually every corner,
forcing Jones to take a lower line to protect his lead until finally he
went a little too low, caught the bumps at the bottom of turn two and slid
high allowing Pannell to take the lead on lap 29. Godowns and Collins
followed Pannell under Jones who was able to get back down in turn three
and stay in fourth place. Pannell, in the Seablot and Leslie Dyno Service
Chevrolet, and Godowns now were able to open a five car-length lead over
the field.

When Carter and another car got together in turn three, resulting in Carter
taking a wild splash through the trackside pool of water left from recent
heavy rain, the entire turn four area was covered in the wet stuff. As the
cars dried the surface out, Durrance, riding in sixth, decided that he
would try and dry out a little higher line than the others to give himself
better grip on the restart. Durrance took the high line as the green came
out, unfortunately, so did the other front runners and “The Lumberjack” was
hung out to dry as the freight train went under him through turns one and
two. Luckily for the series points leader, Corbin, coming out of the pits
late after making a quick stop and trying to catch up to the tail of the
field, spun in turn one bringing the caution back out and Durrance was able
to return to his spot in the running order.

By the time lap 50 came around it was still Pannell in front followed by
Godowns, with Ross now in third, Durrance up to fourth, and Jones running
fifth. Lieupo, Maine, Eunice, Collins and Phillips rounded out the top ten.

Pannell seemed able to hold a car length lead over Godowns as the race
progressed while Ross was searching high and low for a way to take second.
Then on lap 64 as he came past the grandstands, Pannell's ride showed a
puff of smoke from the exhaust, and within a lap he slowed and pulled into
the pits with a burnt piston handing the race lead to Godowns. Ross was now
second and Durrance third. 

The final laps saw Ross trying hard to gain an edge on Godowns but was
unable to, and with both cars running out of what little brakes they had
left, it was Godowns who took the checkered flag with Ross finishing
second, Durrance taking third and Jones and Lieupo rounding out the top
five. Finishing in sixth through tenth were Maine, Eunice, Collins,
Phillips and Rogers.

The next event for the National Late Model Sportsman Series will be March
27 - 28 at Waycross (Ga.) Motor Speedway.  In addition to the 75 lap
Southern Dirt Tour event there will be a full slate of support divisions on
hand to provide plenty of racing excitement on the fast half mile.

Lake City Speedway - RIS - Provisional results for the 
National Late Model Sportsman Series, 
Lake City 75:

Ps.   No.  Driver , Car                                          Laps  
--    ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 
 1     20  Billy Godowns, Louisville GA Godowns Farm        Chev  75          
 2     33  Gene Ross, Lake Park GA Cauthan Const/Scruggs    Chev  75          
 3     32  Wendell Durrance, Gainesville FL Bill's Timber   Chev  75          
 4      0  Steve Jones, Milan GA   Quality Saw Bearden Oil  Chev  75          
 5     12  Johnny Lieupo, Valdosta, GA Lieupo Motorsports   Chev  75          
 6    201  Gene Maine, Quitman GA Ives Racing               Chev  75          
 7     22  Cecil Eunice, Blackshear GA Norman Pont/Ace Pole Chev  75          
 8    2x4  Johnny Collins, Jacksonville FL Castrol GTX      Chev  75          
 9     46  Everett Phillips, Lake City FL Everett Custom SrvChev  75          
10     71  Jody Rogers, Statesboro GA Y-Delta Electric      Chev  75          
11     28  Henry Carter, Swainsboro GA Mimbs Farms          Chev  75          
12     37  Al Jones, Jasper FL Cribbs Racing                Chev  71          
13    HP3  Skip Pannell, Albany GA Seabolt & Leslie Dyno    Chev  64          
14     35  Randy Ellenberg, Valdosta, GA Voight's Steel Sup Chev  51          
15     27  Cary Corbin, Valdosta GA                         Chev  34          
16    721  Joe Kump, Hollywood FL A-1 Specialty             Chev  30          
17     99  Kit Chappell, Jacksonville FL Gators Dockside    Chev  29          
18      5  Mark Carter, Blackshear GA Pierce Auto/M&M RefrigChev  29          
19    D21  Dennis Smith, Thomaston GA CMR Land/2 State ConstChev  28          
20      2  Tracy Walden, Louisville GA Infiltrator Systems  Chev  23          
21     10  Lee Jackson, Brooklet GA Mallard Auto/Bounty HousChev  20          
22     00  Mo Gordy, Bartow GA C & L Farms                  Chev  20          
23     17  Dickie Ferry, Chiltenswitch, GA Ray Miller Ent   Chev  17          
24     18  Michael Lloyd, Jacksonville FL Lumber Unlimited  Chev   3          
25     53  John Rankin, Ocala FL Rankin Construction        Chev   0          


Track Length      :  0.3750 Miles

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel