Leftovers: GAS at Lanier and Senoia by Elgin Traylor
Engine Bans, Rookie Meetings and a "Confusion" at the Track
Bubba Pollard hit his local track at Senoia and finished second in a backup motor after he had to pull the primary due to the engine ban.
ENGINE BAN LEAVES SOME TEAMS SCRAMBLING

About the only way that one of the Georgia Asphalt Series drivers could’ve gotten a good night’s sleep the night before the GAS event at Senoia Speedway on April 28th would be if he drove anything but a McGunegill Ford sealed engine.   Earlier in the week leading up to the Senoia event, GAS officials announced a ban on the McGunegill Ford motor. 
While only a handful of GAS competitors ran the banned motor in previous races, all of them were left scrambling to put together backup plans in order to compete at Senoia. 

“We were very fortunate that we had another Ford motor that was with in the rules,” said two-time GAS winner this year Russell Fleeman, who won both races using the McGunegill Ford.  “Micky (Cain, GAS Director) is a good person.  I think he’s trying to make a good decision for all the racers.”

The Georgia Asphalt Series pulled the motor from competition after Ford drivers won the first four races of the season.  The three drivers that won the races all had the McGunegill power plant under their hoods. 

Racers could have taken their McGunegill Ford motors to a Ford-approved builder to have new parts put on the motor or switch to another legal motor.  Three former McGunegill Ford drivers, Fleeman, Taylor Satterfield and Bubba Pollard, all made their way to Senoia with approved engines.
“Finically we lost a whole motor,” said Fleeman.  “There is still a discrepancy in the heads if we get that taken care of we might be able to run it.  If not we could see if an ASA team needs a spare.”         

Looking back at 2006 several drivers including GAS regulars learned that you play by the rules or you go home empty handed. Greg Motes, Richie Etheridge and Steven Davis all had victories taken away for rule infractions. The simple fact is out the GAS tour, you play by the rules.

Those rules are made to ensure equality and fairness for all GAS competitors.  As Cain pointed out when the engine ban was announced, it was all done in fairness.

“Unfortunately there was no real way to make a change with out some people having to spend some money,” said defending GAS Champion Fredrick Moore.  “That’s the bad thing, but all in all a few weeks down the road it will be better for everybody.”

LOW CAR COUNT NOT CAUSED BY ENGINE BAN

The GAS tour’s return to the 3/8th’s of a mile track was a little disappointing to say the least. Only 17 cars were on hand for the event, which is the lowest number all season.  Looking back at the previous races held at Senoia, finds that they don’t really draw a real big car count.  A total of 26 car was the most back in 2005, the last time GAS ran at the track. 

Perhaps with the new engine rules some drivers will now roll out their cars for the first time this season. 


ROOKIE MEETINGS GOING WELL

Each week, the GAS rookies have their own meeting before the full drivers meeting.  Led by Jimmy Garmon and Fredrick Moore at Peach State, the younger drivers were informed about the track set-up, such as where the cautions lights are and about getting in and out of pit road.  Plus, valuable veteran advice on how to work lap traffic and being courteous to the leaders was also offered to the rookies.

“We have a few ask a question here or there and I think we give them some good information,” said Moore.  “It’s a good idea overall.  Even if they come to after the meeting with questions, what good for them is good for all.”

STEPHENS HONORS VT; HAS BEST RUN OF YEAR AT LANIER

If you saw Kevin Stephens race last year, you saw his number 52 with a big University of Georgia logo next to his number at every race.  It would be fair to assume that he is a big UGA Bulldogs fan, right?
Actually, Stephens is a big Georgia Tech Yellowjackets fan.  So how did he end up with the UGA logo on his car?

“I lost a bet,” explained Stephens.
As hard as it was on several of the teams, Cain still found the bright side to it all the motor controversy going into the Senoia race.

“They’re all here aren’t they?” said Cain with a smile.  “I talked to some of the guys who have changed them and they say it’s a big difference.  Once all the decisions were made, guys were saying ‘we enjoyed our advantage while we had it.’”

The disallowed engines are not going to just sit in the shops as some teams are already looking at ways to use them. 
“Finically we lost a whole motor,” said Fleeman.  “There is still a discrepancy in the heads if we get that taken care of we might be able to run it.  If not we could see if an ASA team needs a spare.”         

Looking back at 2006 several drivers including GAS regulars learned that you play by the rules or you go home empty handed. Greg Motes, Richie Etheridge and Steven Davis all had victories taken away for rule infractions. The simple fact is out the GAS tour, you play by the rules.

Those rules are made to ensure equality and fairness for all GAS competitors.  As Cain pointed out when the engine ban was announced, it was all done in fairness.

“Unfortunately there was no real way to make a change with out some people having to spend some money,” said defending GAS Champion Fredrick Moore.  “That’s the bad thing, but all in all a few weeks down the road it will be better for everybody.”
Taylor Satterfield won one race with the McGunegill motor before it was banned, then had a different package beneath his hood when he won at Senoia.  (51 Photos)
Fredrick Moore has been helping guide the GAS rookies
But it was another College team the he wear on his head at Senoia.  Like much of the country, Stephens was deeply affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, so he paid tribute to the VT community with a Virginia Tech hat that he wore throughout the pit area.

“My wife is really the die hard Virginia tech fan. This hat is more so for the 32 people who got killed,” said Stephens.  It’s hard to wear another teams hat when they are in your division, but when it comes to life and death, that’s more important than sports.”  

Stephens, who won a pair of GAS races in 2005 ran a great race as he charged from 12th to score a 4th place finish at Lanier, his best run of the season so far. After not even posting a top-10 finish in 2006, Stephens has finished 11th or better in each of the first five races, including four straight top-10’s.

“This is a whole new car it’s got some different geometry in the front,” said Stephens after the Lanier race.  “We have struggled with it a little, but I think we are finally hitting on something now.”

Kevin Stephens
CONFUSION WORKS FOR FLEEMAN

There are some hard facts associated with Russell Fleeman.  He won the first race of the year at Birmingham.  He won the second race of the year at Five Flags in Pensacola, FL.  He is from Dacula, Georgia. 

Fleeman also drives a Ford.  Or is it a Chevy?  Just what on Earth is a Confusion? 

The front bumper of Fleeman’s car, pre-McGunegill engine ban at Senoia, had the word “Confusion” across it, where “Fusion” on a Ford body or “Monte Carlo” on a Chevy body would be.  But since Fleeman’s car is actually a hybrid Ford and Chevy, a Confusion it is.

“When we started the GAS series there are many different types of engine combinations that you can run.” explained Fleeman. “We have always been Chevy guys, butWe decided to run the McGunegill sealed Engine in a Chevy body so we came up with the name Confusion.”