NLMS: Thunderbowl Speedway 1999-05-30

COLLINS TOPS FIELD AT THUNDERBOWL SPEEDWAY By Donnie Helmly Valdosta Georgia: (May 30, 1999) Johnny Collins of Jacksonville, Florida continues to be on a roll as he claimed his third event on the ever-competitive National Late Model...

COLLINS TOPS FIELD AT THUNDERBOWL SPEEDWAY

By Donnie Helmly

Valdosta Georgia: (May 30, 1999) Johnny Collins of Jacksonville, Florida continues to be on a roll as he claimed his third event on the ever-competitive National Late Model Sportsmen series event at Thunderbowl Speedway in Valdosta, Georgia this weekend, after starting fifth in the 100 lap event.

The two-day event began on Friday night with qualifying action, which saw series veteran Gene Ross setting fast time with a time of 20.21. The track surface extremely slow and dusty, due to unseasonable dry conditions, would see one groove racing conditions for the heat events.

The three heat events would have no surprises in the final results. Ross, the fast qualifier, would win the first one, with local favorite Stevie Jones victorious in the second one, and Gene Maine as the man to beat in the third and final heat event.

The 100 lap feature event on Saturday night would have total different track conditions as track officials wet the track continuously throughout the day, only to be caught in a rain storm between 4 and 7 p.m., which would almost make the race track unraceable.

Series officials made the decision to start the event, and use the first 10 laps to walk in the track and get it in raceable condition. Series points leader Skip Pannel missed the drivers meeting, and being unaware of the plan, was caught in the pits working on mechanical problems on laps 4, 5 and 6, putting him 3 laps down when green flag conditions resumed on lap 11.

It was fast qualifier Gene Ross out front, where he would stay for 80 laps until mechanical failure put him in the pits. This put Johnny Collins up front where he would remain for the next 20 laps to claim his third win of the season. Henry Carter crossed the stripe in second, with Everett Phillips, Michael Lloyd and Chris Eusry making up the top five. The series travels to the fastest dirt track in the south next weekend as Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Georgia plays host to the series, along with their local divisions.

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