Brown Survives Yellow Fever to Win at Watermelon Capital by Jason Buckley
Pollard, Ragan, Haase and Stroupe All Take Shots at the PASS South Top Spot
After watching the yellow flags wave 11 times, Perry Brown finally got to hold checkered one. (51 Photos)
the long runs were going to help me. With Robert Hamke and everyone else that helped we had a setup that would work well on the long runs. Every time a caution would come out I would cringe. This PASS thing keeps you on your toes as every restart is tricky. It took about three laps for my car to get going. It would shove the nose for the first couple laps, then after that it would start setting good in the corners and I could pick up the gas sooner.”
While Brown held off challenges from Haase, Pollard was working his way up from the 10th starting position. Pollard qualified ninth and drew 10th on the top-10 redraw. A combination of his tire choice and poor draw forced him to drive harder than he wanted to get towards the front.
Circle track auto racing is a sport that rests it's reputation on fast and intense action with racers driving around in circles just inches apart and trying to get to the checkered flag first. Sometimes during these events, trouble occurs that slows the cars under a caution condition that can make the fans restless and the drivers anxious.
Perry Brown wasn't too thrilled with slowing down Saturday at the Watermelon Speedway in Coredele, Georgia for the “Watermelon 125” PASS South Super Late Model event. Multiple cautions throughout the race slowed the pace down to a crawl at times, but Brown was able to stay up front and fend off a few late challenges from Bubba Pollard to take his first career PASS South feature victory.
After timing in sixth on the field, Brown worked his way by drivers like Alex Fleming and Darryl Shelnut to get to second behind Zach Stroupe. A lap later, Brown moved around Stroupe for the lead of the event before the fifth lap.
A total of 11 cautions kept the field tight over the first half of the race, which wasn't what Brown wanted.
“Right there at the beginning the #51 car, Kyle Busch's car (Alex Haase), he was pressuring me pretty hard and was making me use up my stuff,” said Brown. “Then about midway through the race I saw I was getting a little distance on him and I knew
David Ragan (#6 - shown being practiced by Doug Stevens ) and Alex Haase (#51H) both put up a good fight for Brown.
While Pollard and Brown battled for the top spot, Ryan Sieg and David Ragan battled for the third position. The 18 cautions throughout the 125-lap event actually helped Sieg hold off Ragan for the final podium spot.
“We just stayed right there and stay up front,” said Sieg. “Towards the middle of the race it got a little free, so we came in and made an adjustment. We went out and drove it up to third.
“I kind of liked the cautions. It made my car better. I was hoping for more cautions.”
Unlike Sieg, Ragan wanted the race to have less cautions. After starting from the rear of the field since he missed qualifying due to being in Talladega (AL) for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Nationwide Series race, Ragan drove all the way up to third, but lost a spot to Sieg in the final laps.
“I have to give it to Casey Roderick, David Roderick and Doug Stevens,” said Ragan. “They did a good job preparing the car. It drove good all night. We needed a little bit more motor on the restarts, but we just never got the long run that we were looking for. If we would have had a 20-lap run I think we would have had a little bit better car.”
The cautions not only hurt his chances at a victory, but also put him in a familiar spot in the thick of things at a local short track. Ragan used his NASCAR experience and patience to work his way to the front without being caught up in any of the cautions.
“Probably three or four years ago I would have gotten in the first or second wreck out there and would have been sitting in the infield watching the rest of the race,” explained Ragan. “You just learn that these are long races and sometime throughout the race someone is going to make a mistake. You just hope you can be there to capitalize on it. I made a few mistakes myself out there tonight and that is something you have to learn from.
Bubba Pollard tried to topple Brown.
“I had a good time. It is always fun coming down here to a local short track and get to beat and bang. This was my first PASS race and my first Super Late Model race. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, but you can always learn some more.”
Except for the first handful of laps, Brown stayed in the top position for the whole race
en route to victory lane. His car was fast, but the 18 cautions and multiple laps under
yellow conditions riding slow behind the pace car almost cost him the win. Brown ran
out of gas on the way to the tech station.
“That right there is a blessing from God,” said Brown. “Right after shutting off the car,
taking victory lane pictures then going down the backstretch to come in here (to the
tech area) it run out of gas. It doesn't get any closer than that.”
PASS South Super Late Model Watermelon 125
Watermelon Capital Speedway – Cordele, GA – April 26, 2008
1) 22-Perry Brown, Riverview FL Pal-King Pallets Chev
2) 26-Bubba Pollard, Senoia GA
3) 39S-Ryan Seig,Tucker GA S&W Services Chev
4) 6 – David Ragan, Unadilla GA Watermelon Capital Speedway Ford
5) 44-Michael Pope, Dublin GA, Builders Concrete Products Chev
6) 29-Allen Gordon, Leesburg GA Gordon Electric Co.
7) 62-Mark Gibson, Winston-Salem NC Yarborough Trans Chev
8) 51H-Alex Haase,Concord NC Kyle Busch Foundation Toyota
9) 20-John Stancill,Ayden NC Stancill Farms Chev
10) 91-Heath Hindman,Signal Mountain TN Chev
11) 5-Spencer Wauters,Concord NC Victor Ford
12) 47-Corey Willians,Boothbay ME Prevost-Stuff.com Chev
13) 48-John Batten,Nashville NC Batten Ceramic Tiles Chev
14) 30-Rodney Brooks, Mooresville NC
15) 4 – Blake Lehr,Waxhaw NC Carolina Autosports Chev
16) 94-Mitch Cobb,Edwards CO JAMK LLC Ford
17) 98-Justin Wakefield, Woodstock GA Grace Mortgage Service
18) 67-Jeff Fultz, Cincinnati OH
19) 31-Tyler Millwood, Kingston GA
20) 0-Strom Altman, Charleston SC
21) 51-Zach Stroupe,Iron Station NC bdiracing.net Chev
22) 05-Alex Fleming,Raleigh NC Joyner Traffic Eng. Chev
23) 24-Brian Royalty, Cynthiana KY A&J Service Center Chev
24) 6D Devan Hall
25) 7-Darrryl Shelnut
The Brown team in victory lane at Cordele.
“We haven't run this series enough to know whether to scuff the tires or not (during qualifying),” said Pollard. “We didn't know the rule. It was our fault and we didn't know if it would make that much of a difference. We had a lot better car than we showed in qualifying. If we would have qualified up near the front we wouldn't have had to use up the car to get to the front. That was all she had right there.”
Pollard ran in the fourth spot behind Brown, Haase and Heath Hindman until contact between Haase and Hindman took them both out of the position, moving him to second with just over 25 laps left in the event. Three more cautions would slow the pace with Pollard trying to take advantage and steal the top spot away from Brown each restart. One time, Pollard had the spot on the outside coming off turn four, but he had to back out or end up in the wall.
“I guess he was just protecting,” said Pollard. “He squeezed me up into the wall. I let up and gave him the room this time. I am not going to give it to him next time.”
Brown took responsibility for the move, but said it had to do with his handling rather than a move to stuff Pollard in the wall.
“I spun the tires real hard and got into him,” said Brown. “A couple of them (the competitors) I got into on the restart in the door because they are crowding down and my car was just shoving the nose for the first couple laps. The bottom is the preferred line and for some reason these tires make the bottom greasy, so I had a hard time getting a good start down low. That is why people could stay next to me going into the corner. I knew if I could hold on there through the corner I would be ok.
“He (Pollard) congratulated me after the race. I don't know him, but he is a good racer and I see his name on the Internet a lot. All in all I think he knew it was pretty fair and clean because there were no harsh words, just congratulations. I think he knew after two or three laps I had him covered.”