Russell Fleeman Survives and Conquers At Peachstate
Georgia Asphalt Series Points Leader Cushions Lead at Series’ Hometrack
Russell Fleeman and some of his closest friends visit victory lane at Peachstate Speedway. (51 Photo)
The blockbuster hit ‘Days of Thunder’ may not have had a sequel, but the Georgia Asphalt Series version at Peachstate Speedway sure did.
At the beginning of the race, there was no telling who the protagonist was going to be. Chris Dilbeck got out to an early lead and it looked as though the ending to this feature was going to be a first time winner in the Georgia Asphalt Series victory lane.
But by lap 22, that all changed as Joel Anderson took the lead. For awhile it looked as though this version of the movie would have a fairy tale ending for the young driver who grew up racing at Peachstate Speedway, but on lap 95 the young driver learned that just as quickly as things can go right, they can go wrong as his car headed into the wall, handing the lead to Russell Fleeman.
“When I started the race, I wanted to be conservative,” said Fleeman. “A lot of cars got by me and by the midpoint of the race I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to come back through. Then the car started to come back to me and I was able to work my way back up through the field.”
After Anderson was out of the picture, and Fleeman had the lead, he had to deal with a five lap shootout for the remainder of the race, and he had two very capable drivers behind him challenging him for the lead in the form of Jimmy Garmon and Joey Senter.
Garmon was able to challenge Fleeman for the lead in the final laps, but he soon had to worry about Senter who was able to get by him to claim the second spot, with Garmon coming home third.
“That was all I had. I crew chiefed last night for David Hole at Pensacola and I am wore out,” said Garmon. “I was real happy with this run. Boy we have had some tough luck but maybe this will turn the corner for us. I am an old man so I am out there running wit this young generation, this track is exceptional. It was great racing, high, low or in the middle, I couldn’t ask for a better race.”
“I really think we had something for him (Fleeman), but we just ran out of laps,” said Senter. “I was content running third, and I was running with Jimmy pretty hard, but we ran clean. I got lucky and was able to get by him coming out of four. I’m tickled to death with this finish.”
But when all was said and done It was Russell Fleeman who found himself standing in a very familiar victory lane. And he didn’t lead all of the laps, he didn’t even lead the most laps, but he did lead the most important lap as he cruised to victory in the US Auto Sales 100 at Peachstate Speedway.
“Something oiled the track down and I didn’t know if I could go as fast as I could go,” added Fleeman. “And those last few laps. Wow. I don’t know what to say, it is just crazy, you have to do what you can do and hope for the best. We didn’t lead the most laps, but we led the most important one, and that is what we want.”
Throughout the race, it looked as though any number of drivers could have ended up in victory lane, including Bubba Pollard. For much of the night he ran in the second position, and he was able to recover from a flat tire and work his way all the way up to the fourth spot with less than ten laps to go until contact with Paul Kelley sent both cars into the wall, also collecting Kevin Stephens and Michael Phelps.
It was a familiar scene to many at the track, as they remembered the events of just a few short weeks ago when contact with Pollard and Kelley prevented either of them from making it to victory lane, and Fleeman was the victor at that event too.
When asked about the situation out on the track, Kelley simply said “It’s just racing.”
As for the rest of the story, it was a familiar tale. For Fleeman, the scene played out just like it had a few short weeks ago, he was able to survive the wrecks, and race his way to that top spot as he continues his dominance of the Georgia Asphalt Series.
The Georgia Asphalt Series will be back in action Saturday August 4, 2007 at Lanier National Speedway.
GEORGIA ASPHALT SERIES
JULY 21, 2007
1.Russell Fleeman 2.Joey Senter 3.Jimmy Garmon 4.Greg Motes 5.David Watters 6.Frederick Moore 7.Kyle Fowler 8.Ronnie Kittle 9.Chris Dilbeck 10.Spencer Maggard 11.Larry Jordan 12.Michael Britt 13.Shane Nalley 14.Ricky Sanders 15.Billy Chancy 16.Joel Anderson 17.Mahlon Winstead 18.David Elliott 19.Bubba Pollard 20.Paul Kelley 21.Kevin Stephens 22.Michael Phelps 23.Michael Pope 24.Heath Hindman 25.Ronnie Sanders 26.Joe Click 27.Michael Massey 28.Wayne Willard 29.Mitch Cobb 30.Dakota Stroup