Fleeman Wins GAS Peachstate Race “Days of Thunder” Style
Fourth Win of the Season Comes After Major Wreck on Final Lap
Russell Fleeman has gotten used to GAS victory lane this season (51 Photos)
“The only thing I saw was smoke; I thought I’ll take the outside, and it was to our benefit,” said Fleeman. “That was a ‘Days of Thunder’ move for sure.
“In these longer races the fastest car is not always the winner. We were trying to save our tires early in the race, but Paul and Bubba really came on strong at the end. We’ve had an extremely good season; were still just focusing on winning races, and we hope that championship will come.”
Other drivers were not as lucky as Fleeman, however. It all started when Bubba Pollard and Paul Kelley made contact at the front of the field. Pollard had a sizable lead before a yellow came out with two laps remaining. On the restart, Kelley drove under Pollard for the lead in turn three. After driving in too deep, Pollard dove back to the bottom to pull even. The two went wheel to wheel until the final set of corners, when the two banged and started to spin.
Joey Senter tried to clear the two wrecking cars low, but Kelley’s car came down the track and clipped Senter’s #12, sending him into the wall backwards. David Elliott
would sail past for second while Senter got third place while he was parked backward just past the start-finish line.
“I didn’t think we had anything for Bubba tonight,” said Kelley. “We got under him and did a nice slide job but he came right back underneath us. We beat and banged down the backside, and then he just got in us and took us out in turn four. I was really excited about the way we came back; it just shows how strong our cars are. We had this one won, just an unfortunate last turn last lap again.”
Hollywood often scripts amazing finishes to racing movies. Who can forget Cole Trickle’s pass of Russ Wheeler to win the Daytona 500 in “Days of Thunder?” Or the wild ride that Stroker Ace took across the line to score a victory? Russell Fleeman’s trip to victory lane in the Summer Sizzler 150 Georgia Asphalt Series event at Peachstate Speedway on June 23rd may never have been shown on the big screen, but his victory could’ve come right off a Hollywood film set.
Fleeman ended up in victory lane after leaders Paul Kelley and Bubba Pollard spun in the fourth turn of the final lap. The two cars blocked the track, sending the field scrambling for a way around. Fleeman went to the high side to clear the spinning machines, just like Trickle’s move in “Days of Thunder.” He missed all the cars and came home for the victory.
“I don’t care who it is, when it’s the last lap, were going to race. Bumping and banging, that’s just racing,” said Pollard. “That was the best driving racecar I have had in a long time; it was a shame to lose it like that.”
The “Days of Thunder” finish was wild, even for the guys who had a front-row seat.
“It was a brand-new car, we just got it back last week,” said Senter. “Half a lap to go, you have to put the metal down. This is the hardest hit and wildest finish I have ever had.”
“It was like ‘Days of Thunder’ out there,” said Elliott, whose second-place finish was his season’s best. “I have never seen anything like that.”
Fleeman’s win pads his points’ lead, and it also locks him as a guaranteed starter for the World Crown 300 at Peachstate in November. Kyle Fowler equaled his career-best GAS finish with fourth at Peachstate behind Fleeman, Elliott and Senter. Joel Anderson rounded out the top-five.
The next Georgia Asphalt Series race will be in Anderson, South Carolina, on July 13th.