Jimmy Lang "Three-Peats" With a Convincing ASALM South Win at WCS From ASALM PR
Lang Takes Third-Straight Victory Over Hometown Favorite Slocumb
There are several cliches that can accurately describe the winning streak that Jimmy Lang is on; You can call him Butter, since he's on a roll. He's so hot, he burns himself.
There's more, but we think you get the idea!
The Bluffton, South Carolina driver won his third consecutive ASA Late Model Series Southern Division Presented by GM Performance Parts Feature in three starts as the 19-year-old in his Performance Concepts/Chevrolet took the lead from pole-sitter, Justin Larson on Lap 17 of the Watermelon Bowl 100 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia.
Second-place Beau Slocumb (left) congratulates Jimmy Lang (right) on his victory at Cordele. (ASALM/Chuck Gonzalez Photos)
Florida-based Rookies, Justin Larson, who turned 20 the day before, and 17-year-old Michael Pilla led the field to chief starter, Tim Sharp's green flag to begin the 100-lap feature at the 4/10s mile semi-banked d-shaped paved oval under those very threatening skies.
Larson and Pilla stayed side by side through the first two corners when 17-year-old Dustin Dunn attempted to pass both drivers on the inside before thinking better of it. Larson and Pilla touched sending the outside pole-sitter around and forcing a complete restart.
On the restart, Larson beat Pilla to the first corner to take the lead and the weather getting ever so closer, the entire field took no chances and clicked off laps in a hurry. Jimmy Lang, who started sixth for the third consecutive race, quickly worked his way to second and began reeling in Larson, who had a half a straight away lead on the rest of the pack.
"I don't know what to say! This is so awesome, this was for my Mom, Happy Mothers Day!" Exclaimed the happy driver in victory lane. "I knew we had to try and get to the front early, we didn't know what this weather was going to do, so I just tried to get to the front as quick as I could."
"I knew once Beau (Slocumb) got through there, we were going to have a fight on our hands, so I never let up the whole race." Continued Lang as his jubilant crew surrounded him on the front stretch. "If you would've told me we'd start the South season by winning three in a row, I'd have told you that you were crazy!" He added.
Prior to the start of the Watermelon Bowl 100, a severe thunderstorm had developed just south of the Cordele, Georgia speed plant during the support divisions Features causing concern to ASALMS Officials.
In an effort to get the race to Lap 51 making the event official, ASALMS Officials cancelled Pre-Race Ceremonies and determined that caution flag laps would count up to Lap 51!
Jimmy Lang is getting used to the view in ASALM victory lane.
Lang quickly reeled in the Clearwater, Florida rookie and made the pass for the lead on Lap 17 with a smooth pass to the inside coming out of Turn two.
From their, Lang began pulling away from the rest of the pack until a caution on Lap 45 when GAS Series regular, Billy Chancy flew off the backstretch and into the Watermelon patch behind Turns 3-4.
Chancy was ok and was actually able to continue on. As the field reached the coveted Lap 51 mark, making the race official in the event of weather that had since passed by, Lang built up a huge lead and even with numerous cautions for spins and more drivers flying off the backstretch, Lang would quickly build up a big lead on the field!
In the meantime, hometown favorite, Beau Slocumb, who started fifth had worked his way up to second, but had fallen back too as far as sixth, began coming back through the lead pack and found himself back in the runner-up spot with 25 laps to go but a good distance behind Lang.
Slocumb got a caution he desperately needed on Lap 77 when Pilla became the fourth driver of the night to visit the Watermelon patches outside of Turn 3, which brought Slocumb back to Lang's back bumper. Another quick caution on the restart for a spinning Rob Partelo would set up the last restart with Lang and Slocumb running 1-2.
The partisan Watermelon Capital fans in the grandstands were licking their chops at the prospect of their hometown driver, Slocumb stopping Lang's winning streak at Two (2) as the all-time wins leader in ASALMS South competition stayed glued to Lang's backside under the final caution flag to let the South Carolina teenager know he was there!
On that final restart however, Lang again pulled away from Slocumb and the rest of the field and with 10 laps to go, began negotiating through some lapped traffic while putting distance and other cars between him and Slocumb.
Lang safely went around the lapped cars and the Bluffton, South Carolina driver would walk away with his third consecutive ASALMS Southern Division Feature Win in three starts to begin the 2008 South season! By winning his third straight South Feature, Lang has built up a 62-point lead
(Unofficially) in the 2008 ASALMS Southern Division Points Standings!
"We're running all the South shows and the Challenge Division races too, so we'll be at Iowa Speedway next weekend." Added Lang. "Now our goal is to bring our success we've had in South and hope it carries over to the Challenge races! I think we'll have something for those guys there!" "He ended.
The Hometown favorite from near-by Macon, Georgia Beau Slocumb had nothing for Lang and finished in the runner-up spot after a lengthy battle with third place finisher and new Rookie of the Year Points Leader, David Odell, who matched his career high finish with his second straight third place showing.
"Man Jimmy was real tough tonight! We couldn't do anything with him!" Stated Slocumb during post-race ceremonies. "My brakes started going away real early in the race and we lost a couple of spots. Once they (The Brakes) came back, we were able to get up to second and we had some chances at getting the lead, but Jimmy was in a world of his own!" He added.
"We'll take it though! A second place is good for us. We're concentrating on the Hooters Pro Cup Series this season and there's a few weekends off in between races so it's nice to get back in this car!" Slocumb continued. "I think the next time we come to an ASALMS South race later on this year, we may have a little something for Jimmy!" He smiled.
"We needed this big time, for the crew and myself." New Rookie Points Leader, Odell said on the front stretch after tying a career high finish with a third and a second straight trip to the podium. "We know we can run with these guys and tonight proved that. That was a lot of fun battling with Beau! This is his house and to be able to hang with him all night is a good thing!"
"We're in this for the long haul and I was worried about Beau for a while, he's here too win and we're here running for a championship." Continued the 21-year-old from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
"We gave him room there with 20 laps to go and he got by us cleanly and that's all I could ask for. We'll go to New Smyrna and see if we can keep up with the Fountain boys on their home turf!" Odell ended as he referred to Blake Lehr and Chad Pierce, both of whom he's battling with for the freshman title.
ARP Bodies / Aluminum Racing Products Fast Qualifier, Colt James came home a solid fourth to continue his streak of three straight Top Four finishes in three starts while 17-year-old Dustin Dunn matched his career high finish by rounding out the Top Five.
15-year-old Max Gresham finished a career high sixth ahead of front row starter, Larson who slipped to seventh. 17-year-old Blake Lehr finished eighth as another 15-year-old, Gene Kirila scored his first career Top 10 with a ninth placed showing. Jeremy Gerstner completed the Top 10.
Earlier in the afternoon, James won his first ARP Bodies / Aluminum Racing Products Fast Qualifier Award of the season as the Buda, Texas driver turned in a 16.289 which measures out to 88.403 MPH.
The ASALMS Southern Division will now take several weeks off before resuming their 2008 racing season on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at the famed ½ mile high-banks of New Smyrna Speedway, located West of New Smyrna Beach in Samsula, Florida for the running of the Florida 100.