TRENTHAM LIMPS TO OGLETHORPE VICTORY Savannah, Ga. - Despite a cracked head and a sprained ankle, Tuck Trentham, driving the Kar House/Koury/Deland Truck Center Chevrolet, led every lap enroute to victory in the Independence 75,...
TRENTHAM LIMPS TO OGLETHORPE VICTORY
Savannah, Ga. - Despite a cracked head and a sprained ankle, Tuck Trentham, driving the Kar House/Koury/Deland Truck Center Chevrolet, led every lap enroute to victory in the Independence 75, National Late Model Sportsman Southern Dirt Tour event, at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, Ga.. Trentham spent the entire race fending off the constant challenges of Gene Ross, to take the win. Bert’s Transmission Rookie of the Year contender Jody Rogers finished third with Everett Phillips and another Bert’s Transmission Rookie candidate, Michael Lloyd taking fifth. Bobby Oglesby took the checkered flag in fourth place, but turned up light at the scales. The victory was the first at Oglethorpe for Trentham since 1986, and his second win of the 1998 season on the Southern Dirt Tour.
“This is one of the finest race tracks we go to,” a happy Trentham said in Victory Lane after the race. “I’ve been all over the Southeast and from back in 1986 until now the track is still the same. I’d like to thank all the fans for coming out, and you are lucky to have such a fine track in your vicinity.”
When asked about the challenge of Ross, Trentham said “He was probably running a taller gear, and he could get me on the restart, but my car was working superbly. I’d like to thank Bobby Kay and Kar House. When you’ve got a fine handling car and a Koury motor, anyone out here could win the race.”
Trentham’s weekend was not all wine and roses however, upon arriving at the track, he stepped in a hole and sprained his ankle which kept him from walking around without a pronounced limp. The next obstacle to be overcome was a cracked head in his car following his heat race, which sent the crew into a frenzied thrash to repair it and get him ready for the race. Trentham was the 27th car of the 29 on hand to make a qualifying run, and on a steadily improving track, he set fast time with a 20.982 second clocking for an average speed of 115. 842 mph around the semi-banked 5/8 mile track to take the Bert’s Transmission Fast Time Award. Trentham then went on to win his heat to capture the pole for the Independence 75. Also winning heat races and filling the first two rows of the starting grid, were Dennis Smith, Gene Maine and Gene Ross.
In front of a packed grandstand that included boys from the Georgia Sheriff’s Boys Ranch, hosted by Henry and Karen Carter and promoter Andy Stone, who were making their first ever visit to a race track, the field saluted the fans with the “Fabulous Flag-waving Four-wide” before Trentham led the field around for the start. With points leader Maine a non-starter after breaking his motor during the final practice session, Ross started third and followed Trentham into the first turn as he made his first attempt to get by with a low move that had the car nearly sideways as he fought for traction. Unable to make the pass, Ross saw Smith and Rogers fly by on the high side of turns one and two to take second and third as the first lap ended with Ross fourth and Oglesby in fifth. As the cars exited turn four on the first lap, series newcomer Wesley Hood scraped the front stretch wall, resulting in a broken panhard bar and sent him off the top off turn one on lap two. On the restart, Ross moved low and flashed under Rogers as the cars fired off turn four to move into third.
On the third lap Henry Carter and Michael Lloyd both worked their way inside Dennis Morris to move up a spot while Ross was now all over the rear of Smith. On lap nine it was Lloyd’s turn to take a look inside Carter in turn four and he made the move stick as he took the spot after the two ran side-by-side for almost an entire lap.. Johnny Collins was all over the rear deck of Jimmy Sharpe, Smith and Ross were closing in on Trentham and Steve Jones had moved past Morris to challenge Carter. On lap 16 Jones moved under Carter in turn one to take the position. On the next lap Bert’s Transmission Rookie candidate Johnny Lieupo and Scotty Nipper came up on the slower car on another series newcomer, Mark Davis, and it was three-wide coming off turn four with Nipper on the bottom.
On lap 18 Ross worked inside Smith in turn three to move into second and set off after Trentham, who had opened a three car length lead. Cecil Eunice, who had suffered from an extremely loose car in qualifying and the heat race, forcing him to run the Consolation, was beginning to move up from the rear of the field, and on lap 23 he was able to pass Carter in turns three and four to continue his move forward.
Following 23 laps of green flag racing, the caution came out on lap 24 as Kit Chappell spun off the top turn three and this allowed Ross to close right up on the rear bumper of Trentham. When the green came back out Ross headed to the inside of Trentham, but could not make the move work and dropped back into second. Smith continued in third with Rogers fourth and Oglesby fifth. Everett Phillips, Jimmy Sharpe, Collins, Jones and Lloyd made up the second five in the order. A battle was developing between Collins, Sharpe, Jones and Lloyd with Eunice coming through the field to join the battle. Collins’ race ended just a couple of laps later when he came to a stop at the top of turn four with a broken rear end. Once again Ross tried to get under Trentham on the restart to no avail.
The battle between Sharpe, Jones and Eunice was renewed with increased vigor as Jones continually tried to get in side Sharpe in every corner. Sharpe was using every bit of his experience to hold off his younger challenger with Eunice sitting right on Jones’ bumper waiting for a mistake to take advantage of. Lap after laps the war continued, and then on lap 48 as the cars exited turn four, Sharpe lost a cylinder and when he slowed slightly, Jones, under full power hit him in the rear turning him sideways. Eunice tried to go inside to miss the wreck happening in front of him and was tapped and sent spinning to the inside and hit the inside wall a glancing blow. Shape also spun to the inside and hit the wall, ending his race. Jones, after removal of damaged sheet metal from the right front of the car was able to continue, while Eunice went to the pits and lost several laps repairing a broken left front suspension.
On lap 56, Tracy Walden, victim of a blown motor in practice, blew another powerplant and came to a halt in turn four. On the restart it was Ross once again trying to make a move on Trentham faking high and then diving low. Although able to get a fender inside the Deland. Fla. driver, Ross was forced to back off and settle back in second. Smith cut a tire down on debris and on the restart went off the top of the back straight, then cam back across the track hitting Mo Gordy and sending him off the top of turn three. Both cars were able to continue, with Smith heading to the pits for new rubber on the right rear.
The order at the front was now Trentham still fending off the challenges of Ross, Rogers up to third with Smith’s excursion, Oglesby fourth and Phillips up to fifth. Jones, running with a hood that was flapping around finally had it come off, and then the brake compartment cover flew open blinding him and causing him to spin in turn two. Smith was coming hard from the rear of the lead lap as he went inside Lieupo and then outside Morris. On lap 64 Rogers got a good run on Ross and tried to make a move to the inside out of turn four, but could not get the needed traction to complete the move. One late caution with five laps to go gave Ross one more shot at Trentham, but once again he could not complete the move. Trentham pulled away to a three car-length margin at the checkers. Ross came home second and Rogers took third.
James Norris was the hard charger of the race as he came from 18th starting position to claim the seventh finishing spot while Jody Rogers was the Bert’s Transmissions Rookie of the Race with his third place finish. Nine cars finished the 75 lap event on the lead lap and the race was slowed by nine caution flags.
The next event for the National Late Model Sportsman Series will be held July 10th and 11th at Penton Raceway, Alabama as the series makes its sole trip of the season to the Heart of Dixie.
Oglethorpe Speedway Pk. - NLMS - Official results for the National Late Model Sportsman Southern Dirt Tour, Independence 75: Ps. No. Driver , Car Laps -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 01 Tuck Trentham, Deland, FL Kar House/Koury Chev 75 2 33 Gene Ross, Lake Park GA Valdosta Power/Scruggs Chev 75 3 71 Jody Rogers, Statesboro GA Y-Delta Electric Chev 75 4 46 Everett Phillips, Lake City FL Everett Custom SrvChev 75 5 18 Michael Lloyd, Jacksonville FL Lumber Unlimited Chev 75 6 28 Henry Carter, Swainsboro GA Mimbs Farms Chev 75 7 8 James Norris, Bloomingdale GA Bloomingdale LP GasChev 75 8 D21 Dennis Smith, Thomson, GA CMR Land/2 State Const Chev 75 9 1 Scotty Nipper, Macon GA Scotty's Muffler Chev 74 10 3t Mike Mishoe, Nahunta, GA Little's Paints Chev 74 11 44 Dennis Morris, Eden GA Lakeside Water Co Chev 74 12 00 Mo Gordy, Bartow GA C & L Farms Chev 71 13 12 Johnny Lieupo, Valdosta, GA Lieupo Motorsports Chev 70 14 0 Steve Jones, Milan GA Quality Saw Bearden Oil Chev 69 15 22 Cecil Eunice, Blackshear GA Norman Pont/Ace Pole Chev 65 16 88 Jimmy Sharp , Vidalia GA Hodges Body/McGowen CnstChev 61 17 99 Kit Chappell, Jacksonville FL Gators Dockside Chev 56 18 2 Tracy Walden, Louisville GA Infiltrator Systems Chev 55 19 2x4 Johnny Collins, Jacksonville FL Castrol GTX Chev 31 20 20 Billy Godowns, Louisville GA Godowns Farm Chev 27 21 41m Mark Davis, Savannah GA L.J.N. Motorsports Ford 18 22 57 Wesley Hood, Cowpens, SC Clary Hood Inc. Chev 1 23 201 Gene Maine, Quitman GA Ives Racing/JSD Trucking Chev DNS 24 37 Bobby Oglesby, Bloomingdale GA T E Hughes Chev DQ Track Length : 0.6750 Miles