Slocumb Wins Race, Choquette Wins ASA LM Southern Title, at Birmingham
Alabama 125 Closes Book on Southern Season
The 11th and final point race of the 2007 Racing Season in the ASA Late Model Series Southern Division Presented by GM Performance Parts is now complete. The 2007 ASALMS Southern Division Champion and 2007 Rookie of the Year titles have been decided and the Champion was crowned Saturday at Birmingham International Raceway (AL) in the Alabama 125.
Slocumb (C) is joined by teammate and runner-up Townley (R) and Kiwi driver Michael Pickens (L) on the podium. (ASA LM/Chuck Gonzalez Photos)
Going into the feature, Three drivers were still eligible for the 2007 Championship. When all was said and done, Beau Slcoumb won the battle by taking his Fourth ASALMS Southern Division Feature of the 2007 season, but it was Jeff Choquette, who would finish fourth, which was good enough to Win the 2007 ASALMS Southern Division Championship and Rookie of the Year titles.
Choquette joins an impressive list of drivers who have won both titles in the same season. In 2006, Kelly Bires, now running full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series, won the ASALMS Challenge Division Championship and Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year title.
Also last season, 16-year-old James Buescher accomplished the feat in the ASALMS Southern Division. In 2004, Bobby Stremme was the first to turn the trick by winning both the ASALMS Challenge Division and Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year titles in the same season.
Michael Pickens and Choquette led the field down to the green flag to begin the Alabama 125 and it would be Pickens who would beat out Choquette to the treacherous first corner to take the early lead while the rest of the field quickly settled in behind the New Zealander.
While Pickens paced the field in the opening laps, Choquette had to deal with Slocumb
who was glued to his back bumper. Several times, Slocumb would try to make the pass using the inside lane, but Choquette had the momentum on the high side and would keep Slocumb at bay in the beginning.
The first of seven cautions flew on Lap 20 as Northern invader, Bob Varney slammed head on into the turn one wall and rim rode the wall through turns one and two with his right side tires riding on top of the wall while the rest of the car was still on the track. Varney came down off the wall in turn two and came to rest at the entrance to the back stretch. The Richmond, Michigan veteran was ok, but was done for the evening.
On the restart, Pickens pulled away while Choquette and Slocumb continued their fight for second. Brandon Johnson, the third driver still mathematically eligible for the championship, caught up to the duo and the three drivers battled for second, third, and fourth.
Finally on Lap 96, Slocumb made his pass stick and immediately set his sights on Pickens. Slocumb's teammate at Brothers Racing Team, 17-year-old John Wes Townley also got by Choquette.
Slocumb applied heavy pressure to Pickens for the lead and on Lap 103, Slocumb made the pass for the lead and again his teammate Townley followed him through for second, which bumped Pickens back to third and into the grasp of Choquette.
Townley threw every trick he had in his arsenal at his teammate, but Slocumb wasn't to be denied as the Macon, Georgia driver pulled off the Birmingham sweep and in the process, drove on to his Fourth ASALMS Southern Division Feature Win of the 2007 season.
Choquette, finished in Fourth, which was good enough to win the 2007 ASALMS Southern Division Championship and Rookie of the Year titles.
For Slocumb, this was his second consecutive ASALMS Southern Division Feature win as he took the victory in the caution plagued Meet the Stars 125 on October 20, 2007 at the Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway.
Choquette didn't win the race, but he did lock up the championship.
Soon Chris Fontaine joined the lead pack and began battling with Johnson for fourth while in front of them, Slocumb threw every trick he had at Choquette in an effort to take over the second spot, but each time, Choquette would use his momentum built up on the top groove and maintained the second position. All the while, Pickens continued to lead.
On Lap 62, Johnson and Fontaine got together coming out of Turn Four resulting in Johnson slipping and sliding down the front stretch before coming to a rest in the infield in Turn One. Johnson pitted and returned to the track and would start at the rear of the field.
21 laps later, Fontaine himself had troubles as he scraped the turn four wall before coming to rest in turn one. The caution flew again and like Johnson, Fontaine pitted for a new tire and repairs and came back out and started shotgun on the field.
All the while, Pickens, who was running in his second race for the ASALMS Northern Division based Lorz Motorsports Team continued to set the mark while Choquette and Slocumb continued to battle for the runner-up spot.
The 22-year-old also won the ASALMS South's first race in Birmingham, Alabama back on July 14th when he won the Crimson 125. Slocumb's two other feature wins came in the Watermelon Bowl 125 on May 5, 2007 at his home track of the Watermelon Capital (GA) Speedway in Cordele, Georgia.
The Macon, Georgia driver, despite missing the 2007 Season Opener in Bronson, Florida finished behind the 2007 Champion Choquette by just 29 points. Choquette also won the Rookie of the Year title by 63 markers over Brandon Johnson who finished fifth after having to go to the rear of the field at the halfway point of the Alabama 125.
Slocumb won over Townley while Pickens recovered to finish on the podium again in third as the trio were the same top three from the previous weekend at the Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway. Choquette finished fourth to secure both championships while Johnson came back from the rear of the field, finished off the top five.
To wrap up the 2007 season overall in the ASALMS, the cars and stars from all three divisions will close out the 2007 season at the famed 0.596 Mile High-Banked Paved Oval of the Music City (TN) Motorplex, located on the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday and Saturday November 2-3, 2007 in the running of the Adam Petty Memorial / All-American 200.
Joining the ASALMS contingent in Music City will be the CRA Super Series, who will close out the All-American Weekend on Sunday November 4, 2007 with the Blue/Gray 100, which will be followed by the All-American 300, both of which will be conducted on Sunday Afternoon.
Beau Slocumb (Top Row-Fourth) won his Fourth ASALMS Southern Division Feature of the 2007 season. His Zaxby's Real Chicken Teammate, 17-year-old John Wes Townley (Top Row-Fifth) finished second to his teammate for the second race in a row. Here they pose with the entire Brothers Racing Team. (Chuck Gonzalez Photo)