“The car really wasn’t that good,” said Moore who was happy about wrapping up his season as the champion. “It was a new car with no testing on it, probably not the best thing to do. When we pit early like that we just have to make sure we have the car to do it.”
Moore went on to finish the event 14th.
Ruble seemed to have the field covered, but a restart on lap 155 was the advantage that Kelley needed to get back to the front. Ruble’s car could not hook up down low in turn one and that allowed Kelley to work his way into the lead. Ruble would seem to pull back up to Kelley after a few laps, but a late yellow flag left the race in the hands of a green white-checkered finish. Kelley got the win by five car lengths over Ruble.
PAUL KELLEY TAKES WORLD CROWN NUMBER TWO by Elgin Traylor
Cautions Play Into Winner's Favor at Peach State
To say Paul Kelley has had a long season is an understatement. Only running a few races due to back surgery put Kelley’s name near the bottom of the “potential winners” list of this year’s World Crown event. But the 2001 winner of the event drove his name right into the record books by holding off Korey Ruble over a series of restarts to win the Rob Joyce Memorial World Crown 200 at Peach State Speedway on Sunday.
Kelley first got the lead on lap 15 when he wrestled it away from Bubba Pollard who had won the last two Late Model races at Peach State. It was another two-time Peach State winner that would return the favor before halfway as Matt Hawkins found his way to the front. When the yellow flew at the mid-race point, Hawkins was the leader with Ruble in second, followed by Greg Motes, Paul Kelley and Bubba Pollard in fifth.
The one driver that did not take part in the half time stop led them to the green, and that was 2006 GAS champion Fredrick Moore. The run up front didn’t last long for Moore as Ruble took the top spot on lap 114 after quickly pushing Hawkins back to third a few laps earlier. The strategy of getting tires early worked for Moore last year, but not on Sunday.
“We have been struggling all year,” said a beer and champagne drenched Kelley in victory lane. “We only got to run about six or seven races. This one is a really big one for us and we’re really happy.”
The Snellville, Georgia driver who pilots the number #23 Lakeshore Drywall Chevy led 115 laps on the way to his second World Crown win. Kelley joins Georgia Asphalt Series director Micky Cain as the two drivers who have worn the crown more then once. Other one time winners include Dick Trickle, Darrell Waltrip, Mike Eddy and Freddie Query.
“In that first hundred laps the car was fast, but it started getting to loose for me and that’s why we backed up a few spots. We came in and made some adjustments and it was hooked up for me there on out.”
Paul Kelley was the one wearing the crown after all was said and done. (51 Photos)
Ruble was fast but the cautions prevented him from getting up front.
“On every restart it seemed like the car just wouldn’t go,” said Ruble. “It was really quick after about five laps but the yellow kept coming out. We had a mid-season slump, but to come here, have the fast time and run second is good, but we came to win.”
Hawkins had to watch the final restarts from fourth, the same place he would finish, as he could not get around Greg Motes who took home the show money.
“We had a long run after halfway,” said Hawkins. “I was two tenths quicker then Ruble, but the yellows kept coming out and my car was so tight on short runs, we couldn’t do anything with them.”
The race was full of cautions, a total of fifteen yellow flags slowed the race, mostly which were for spins. But the yellow flags didn’t stop Kelley from getting back up front, and being the one in victory lane wearing the prestigious World Crown.