GAS Event at Watermelon Capital Providing New Take on Spring Break
Young Drivers Taking to Watermelon Capital Speedway, Not the Beach, For Their Fun
Korey Ruble hopes to be the guy that takes down Russell Fleeman at Cordele.  (51 Photos)
Russell Fleeman, who has won the first two GAS events of the year at Birmingham International Raceway (AL) and Five Flags Speedway (FL), is among the favorites at Watermelon Capital, based on his two wins already this season and his victory at the track last year.  Veterans David Elliott, Joey Senter and Fredrick Moore also plan to take down the victory, but there are plenty of GAS “young guns” ready to take down the old guard on the 24th.

Take, for instance, 21-year-old University of Alabama Junior Korey Ruble.  Instead of spending his Spring Break on the beach with his buddies, there is nowhere else he would rather be than either working on his #73 Georgia Asphalt Series machine or at Watermelon Capital Speedway.

“I think 99-percent of my friends from school are all down at the beach, either at Panama City Beach or Gulf Shores or something like that,” said Ruble.  “I just wanted

to go home and relax for my Spring Break.  I had three tests the week before Spring Break, so I wanted to just go home and work on the racecar. It doesn’t get any better than that for me.” 

But it won’t be all that relaxing for Ruble once he pulls into the pit area at Watermelon Capital on March 24th.  Ruble will instantly be one of the favorites for victory there, as he won two of the races in Cordele in 2006, giving him three GAS wins at the track overall in the last two seasons.  Even with all the success in recent races there, Ruble knows that he will have his work cut out for him on the racetrack.

“I think I’m going to be one of the favorites, but honestly I think everyone’s eyes are going to be on the #98 car of Russell Fleeman.  He’s run so strong the first two races and won them both this year, and he won the last race of the year at Cordele last year. 

“I’m definitely going to be one of the ones gunning for him, though.  If I go to the track this year, we’re going there for the win.  We’re not going for points, so we’re out to win at Cordele.”
Cancun, Panama City Beach, Myrtle Beach and South Beach are all better known as tourist hotspots than Cordele, Georgia, during this time of the year for high school and college students.  That's not going to stop a select number of school-aged racecar drivers, plus some of their more seasoned colleagues, from making their Spring Break plans at the small town in Southern Georgia on Saturday, March 24th.

Cordele may not have the surf and sun that those other places have, but when the Georgia Asphalt Series makes its first stop of three to Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele on March 24th, suddenly the 3/8-mile facility will be the wildest spot in the South for Spring Break.  Watermelon Capital will play host to the third GAS event of the season, and there are plenty of drivers excited about spending their Spring Break time at the track rather than at the beach.

Pope (#44) hopes to be a factor at his home track. but he'll have to fight off Ruble (outside) and others for the win.
While some are using the Spring Break time to go away, teenager Michael Pope is actually using this time to stay close to home.  The high-schooler currently sits fifth in Georgia Asphalt Series points standings after finishing in the top 10 in both of the first two races.  Pope has some momentum on his side, but he’ll also have the advantage of racing close to home on March 24th.

“I am really excited to get back racing at Cordele,” said Pope.  “I think that we are going to be really good there.  “The last time that we were at Watermelon Capital, we finished seventh.  This time we are planning on being up front for the win.  We’ve been good so far this year, and there is no reason for us not to be up front.”
Pope will also have the advantage of having the hometown crowd in his corner on raceday.  Instead of using the March 24th weekend to head to a vacation spot, even Pope’s classmates may be joining him at the track for a little bit of fun at the races.

“A lot of my friends from school are actually talking about getting together and heading on down, so I think that we should have a pretty good crowd.  And it always makes it a little easier and a little bit more fun to race in front of a big group of fans.”

The Georgia Asphalt Series event at Watermelon Capital Speedway is race number-three of an 18-race schedule in 2007.  Russell Fleeman has won the first two events of the season and currently leads the point standings going into Watermelon Capital.  The March 24th feature events are scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm.