51 Leftovers: ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour James Garrison Memorial 100 By Elgin Traylor
The Rest of the Stories From the Pits
STEPHEN MCCURLEY AWAITS DAMAGE AFTER HURRICANE IKE

All season long, Stephen McCurley has been looking for the run that can get his low budget team on the right track in the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour.  Despite never having raced at Lanier, McCurley showed the rest of the field that he meant business.  He ran in the top five most of the night and came home fourth, a career best.  After the race it wasn’t so much his run that was on his mind as it was his family, friends and race shop that were right in the path of Hurricane Ike. 
“All I know is it’s going to be hot because there is no electricity and no A/C and I think it might be a little bit hotter than it was earlier in that race car. We don’t know anything. We can’t get a hold of anyone.”

Because of the storm, McCurley and his team – made up his father - was a little behind after practice.  They had to get things straightened out, which in turn, caused them to miss the drivers’ meeting.  They still managed to pull things together to score a solid finish.   

“I’m really short handed,” added McCurley.  “My dad and I are the only ones here. We had that hurricane come through Texas and it kind of messed up our program a little bit.  So we were behind and luckily the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour is well aware of it and knows how hard it is to get here and work.”
Stephen McCurley scored a career best fourth at Lanier.  (51 Photos)
JAMES GARRISON MEMORIAL A BIG HIT

James Garrison was a big part of racing at Lanier National Speedway and several drivers came out trying to win the race that was a tribute to him.  Thirty-eight Late Models took time in qualifying and 30 made the 100-lap race.  Eventual race winner Chris Whorton was impressed with the series coming together with the track to produce such a big event.

“It’s definitely nice to see something like this happening,” said Whorton. “It’s really nice to be in victory lane and on a televised race.  Micky Cain and all the guys with ASA SAT they all put together a great program with the TV coverage and Speed51.com and its just awesome.”


TRACK CHAMPION LOGS TOP FIVE RUN

The Local drivers didn’t disappoint to say the least at Lanier.  2008 Track champion Shawn Simpson had a dream season at the tricky Braselton, GA track.  Simpson won nine races and scored 16 top five finishes.  With numbers like that, Simpson was very excited for the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour coming to town.  It was a chance to run against the best in the Late Model world.  Simpson ran strong and came home fifth.
38 Late Models were on at Lanier.  (51 Photos)
“It’s a dream come true and that is what I’ve been looking forward to this all year long and it just makes me know in my head that I can run with these guys.”

Simpson was really impressed with ASA SAT, and he has had a lot of different series to compare it too as Lanier has hosted just about every major touring series in the Southeast. 

“It’s a good tour man, one of the best I have ever run.”

HOGAN’S NIGHT ENDS EARLY

Hometown favorite Jason Hogan was making noise as the race neared the halfway point.  The former Lanier winner was working his way to the front when the car just shut off on a restart.  After coasting around to the pits Hogan became a spectator for the rest of the night.

“We were just rolling along with it,” said Hogan. “I had a good car and we never really even pushed the car.  We were getting ready to make a run and get those two guys and it was halfway through the race and I was ready to lead and it just cut off coming up off the corner.”

Drivers like Hogan tend not to dwell on the past as they quickly get in the mind set for the next race.

“We came from 13th to fifth in about 18 laps and to third in 50,” explained Hogan. “We were pretty strong. You win some, you lose some. We’ll come back, we’ll get them.”

Jason Hogan will stay with the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour for the next race at Hickory Motor Speedway on September 20th.

POINT LEADER HAPPY TO BE LEAVING LANIER

Jay Middleton has had a great season and looks to be a lock for the series championship.  However his championship form was missing at Lanier.  After qualifying mid pack, Middleton slowly was working his way to the front when a blown engine by Jeremy Mullinax laid down oil right in the path of the point leader.  With nowhere to go, Middleton spun and tagged the third turn wall.  The car was damaged, but the team made laps to salvage whatever points they could.
“We lost this thing before we even got here,” said Middleton.  “Our car was just way too heavy. The only other guy who had my type of motor package didn’t even make the race.  So we did pretty good for getting as far as we did and it was just not going to work.”

With Lanier now behind him Middleton knows they can get back up on the horse at Hickory.

“We started out this season with a bad one there,” said Middleton.  “We got in a little bit of a wreck there and that’s the only time we finished outside of the top ten. We have three wins and two second-place finishes so we’ve been pretty strong.”

Jay Middleton still holds the points lead after a tough run at Lanier.  (51 Photos)
JIMMY GARMON HAPPY WITH TOP 10

Local racer Jimmy Garmon would like to race as much as he can, but times, of course, are tough with the current state of the economy.  Garmon is a former Lanier Track Champion and has been a staple to short track racing in the state of Georgia.  Running a limited number of races in 2008, Garmon finished eighth and made the best of his first ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour event.  

“Well that was 100-laps of hard racing,” said Garmon. “We got spun there around lap 30 and had to go to the back and came back up to eighth. So I’m pretty happy with it.  We just can’t seem to get the push out of this race car.”

Garmon joked about racing against the young drivers that seem to be popping up each and every week.

“I’m old enough to be a lot of their daddies. Yeah, it feels good just to race. The economy right now has everything a little tight with my car owner, but when we get to race we try to do our best.”

Garmon hopes run some of the bigger races at the end of this season, perhaps the World Crown 300 and the Snowflake 100 at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway.