NLMS Savannah Preview

Newsgroups: Organization: MNI - Motorsport News International Approved: From: Motorsport News International <> Followup-To: Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 10:49:46...

Newsgroups: Organization: MNI - Motorsport News International Approved: From: Motorsport News International <> Followup-To: Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 10:49:46 -0500

Southeast’s Most Competitive Series heads to Savannah

Mobile, Ala. - The National Late Model Sportsman Series is living up to its reputation as the most competitive touring series in the Southeast as it heads for Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, Ga. for the first of three stops on the 1999 Southern Dirt Tour. With 7 events already in the books six different drivers have already paid a visit to Victory Lane in series action.

Now in its fifth year, the NLMS is enjoying a banner year with an average of 36 cars in the pits for the races so far, which has meant that the competition to make the field is just as tough as winning a race. The lineup for every race is dotted with big names and small and the upcomng event at Savannah will be no different. Drivers and teams will be coming from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina as well as Georgia to do battle on the fast 5/8ths mile oval of Oglethorpe Speedway Park.

Among the many top names expected to be in the pits for the race will be all four previous NLMS Champions. Skip Pannell of Albany, Ga. is the 1995 Champion and is currently leading the points in 1999. 1996 Champion Ivedent Lloyd of Ocala, Fla. has led both the last two events before mechanical failures have slowed his lightning pace. 1997 Champion Gene Maine of Quitman, Ga. has not been racing regularly this season, but the Oglethorpe surface is one of his favorites and he is a two time winner on this track. 1998 and defending Series Champion of Blackshear, Ga. is looking to the ultra-fast surface of Oglethorpe to break his winless skein of 14 races as he comes off two top five finishes in the last two events.

There will be many other top Late Model pilots in attendance including Billy Godowns Jr. of Louisville, Ga., Tuck Trentham of Deland, Fla., David Browning of Jacksonville, Fla., Gene Ross of lake Park, Ga., Michael Lloyd of Jacksonville, Fla., Henry Carter of Swainsboro, Ga. Dewayne Johnson of Columbus, Ga. and Wesley Hood of Cowpens, SC. Among the local area drivers that are expected to compete on their home track are Bobby Oglesby, Ricky Brant, Lee Jackson, Jody Rogers, Mark Davis, and Bobby Norris.

The last two races have produced some great racing, with 7 different leaders, charges from the rear and cars racing two and three wide through the corners. Savannah fans can expect more of the same as the Series makes the first of three stops in the River City, the final of which will be the “Rumble on River Street”, the 1999 finale for the Southern Dirt Tour. This event will provide race fans with 100 laps of the best racing in the country with $5,000 up for grabs for the driver who can finish the race at the front of the pack.

To date the Series has produced 70 races with 32 different winners and the latest winner came in the previous race at Waycross Motor Speedway as Johnny Collins of Jacksonville, Fla. took his first ever win in Southern Dirt Tour Action. Oglethorpe Speedway Park could well produce another first-time winner as it did last year when Chris Usry of Augusta, Ga. wheeled his Ford into Victory Lane in not only his first win, but Ford’s first as well.

A large field of the fastest Late Models in the Southeast is expected for this event as Oglethorpe Speedway Park is a popular track with almost every driver on the tour. This will be the first of three appearances for the National Late Models as they will return in June and again in November for the season finale, the “Rumble on River Street”. Fans who have followed the series know that the action is hot and heavy when these drivers hit the track and the addition of 25 laps to the race length this year has made the racing even more exciting. The Late Models will not be the only cars in action at Oglethorpe as the Street Stock division will contest a 75 lap feature event and the Mini-Stocks will race a 50 lap feature on Saturday night. The trademark ‘Parade of Flags’ is also expected to be presented prior to the NLMS 100 Lap feature event. Gates will open at Oglethorpe Speedway Park Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm for NLMS tech and practice and Grandstands will open at 6:00 pm with racing action beginning promptly at 7:30 pm with qualifying and heat races for all divisions.

1999 National Late Model Southern Dirt Tour Points

1.  Skip Pannell                782
2.  Michael Lloyd               753
3.  David Browning              743
4.  Billy Godowns               718
5.  Henry Carter                698
6.  Cecil Eunice                695
7.  Everett Phillips            691
8.  Ivedent Lloyd               644
9.  Lee Jackson                 634
10. Johnny Collins              615

John Kaiser NLMS <>

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Series Stock car
Drivers David Brown , Lee Jackson