USARacing & ASA SAT Leftovers
First Time Winners, a Feud, a Roderick
By Elgin Traylor
Lucas Ransone Gets First Win in a Thriller over Frank

Every driver remembers their first win.  When you win a race in a green-white-checkered finish, it makes it all the more special.  Lucas Ransone learned a lesson from the Langley Pro Cup race in which he was a factor at the finish, but was just a little short.  At Lanier, he made sure that didn’t happen as he muscled his way by AJ Frank for the lead in the final set of corners to score the win.

“Man I can’t believe it,” said Ransone.  “That restart right there comes from Hickory – Andy Mercer and I were racing like that for three solid weeks like that and I knew that he was going to jack me up or do something, but I jacked him up and I came away with the victory.  I drove it in three as hard as I could on the last lap and I got on the brakes and came out with the victory. I just got to thank everybody.”

Frank was upset after the race, mostly with the restart in which Ransone was pushing him to the line getting him all out of shape.

“The last lap deal was just racing,” said Frank.  “I thought we had a restart point on the front straightaway.  I guess they thought the restart was fine, but he had me all jacked up before we got to the restart markers.  Second’s good, but we should have won tonight.”  

Rogers and Holman Tangle for the Lead Late in the Race

Caleb Holman had the lead late in the race at Lanier and Clay Rogers was on a mission for a fourth-straight win in USARacing Pro Cup competition.   When the two met on the racetrack that is when the trouble began.  Going into the third turn, Rogers moved down a lane to look on the inside. He got a good run, however Holman went to block at the same time and the two made contact, sending Holman into the wall backwards.  Rogers drove away only to be sent to the rear for the contact.  After the race, the two drivers found each other in the pits and had a few words.

“Clay I’ll send you the bill,” said Holman.

“When’s the last time I wrecked someone? You changed your line,” responded Rogers.

Once the two were separated, they both told their versions of what happened.

“Clay run over us,” said Holman. “I mean, what can you say?  I’ve been running the left sides below the broken line all night and that’s where I went and he ran over me.  I mean, if he wanted the bottom, there it was.  It’s just not a classy move from a guy that has won three in a row to just wreck a man.  I would’ve taken second over that.  I just know that stuff comes around and goes around.”

Rogers didn’t think he did anything wrong.  In fact, he felt he should have not been sent to the rear for causing the caution.

“You can tell by rubber all over the right front fender that I clearly drove straight into the back of him,” said Rogers sarcastically.  “I do not agree with the call by USARacing.  I was on the inside of Caleb and he turned down on me and pinched me down.  He made the decision to change his line and by the time he had made it, I had no time to react.

“The guys on this team worked their tails off.  Caleb and his team did a good job with the pit strategy and stuff and it got him track position, but the fastest car don’t always win the race.  You can’t win them all; I’m just disappointed.  Everyone knew we had the best car here.”

Rogers still has the points lead, despite finishing outside the top five.  

JP Morgan Hangs in For Top Five

2009 has been a break-out year for JP Morgan, who had only made a handful of starts in the Pro Cup Series prior to this season.  Morgan has logged two top-five finishes in the last three events, including a fifth at Lanier.  Morgan pulled into tech with a banged up nose, but he was still thrilled about his run.

“We had that wreck on the first lap,” explained Morgan. “The guys came back and we battled all night.  The car was tight, tight, tight.  We kept putting rounds in it and then finally we started coming around in the end and we managed to get a good finish.”

Speed Shots

Bobby Gill posted a third-place finish after being involved in a lap-one wreck that really crinkled up the nose on his Ford.  That marks four-straight top-five finishes this season.

It was the first ever trip for USARacing to Lanier National Speedway (GA).  Many of the drivers liked the track and hope that Pro Cup comes back to Lanier in the future.

AJ Frank led the race until the final turn when Lucas Ransone slipped by him to score the win.  For Frank it was his second-consecutive top-five finish.

Drew Herring led over 100 laps at Lanier, but a broken rear-end ended his shot a victory. 

Kelley Wins Again at Lanier

For Paul Kelley, winning races at Lanier National Speedway (GA) is nothing new.  He has been one of the best drivers to wheel a Late Model at the 3/8ths-mile track in the past 10 years.  Despite losing the lead in the middle of the race to Russell Fleeman, Kelley came back to claim the top spot on the final restart and score the victory.

“I just pressured him (Fleeman),” said Kelley.  “I didn’t really have any intentions of getting up underneath him unless it was maybe like the last 10 or 15 laps.  I was going to try to do something, but mostly just pressure him just let him burn his stuff off.  Luckily, a caution came out and I was able to line up on the outside. That was the passing lane out here tonight and we got it done.” 

It was Kelley’s second-career win with the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour, the other coming at Five Flags Speedway earlier this season. 

“This track here has always been my home track,” said Kelley.  “I grew up racing Legends here and won some championships and a national championship here.  It feels good to come back out here and win for my hometown.”

Kelley now sits third in the overall point standings, despite missing the first race of the season at Mobile. 

First Time Winner

Paul Kelley and his wife Ginger recently had a baby boy and this was young Brody Michael Kelley’s second race - and his first trip to victory lane.   Paul was a very proud papa in the victory circle as the racing world got a look at the future of Late Model Racing.

“The first race was more exciting, but this is nice to have him in victory lane,” said Kelley.  “I hope we can do it a few more times this year.  

Roderick Stays Strong with Top-Three Finish

Anyone who has seen Pro Late Model racing in the past six months in the state of Georgia knows that Casey Roderick is the real deal.  Roderick currently lead the Georgia Asphalt Series points and at Lanier posted a podium finish with ASA SAT.  Roderick was pleased with his finishes, but he is ready to win one.

“We had a good run.  We started off real tight on the bottom and I started experimenting on the top and the car just started getting real good up off with a lot of grip,” said Roderick.  “It was a good finish for us.  We are overdue for a win.  We should have won about a month ago and did not get that one, but we’re due and were getting closer and closer.”

Speed Shots

Jason Hogan’s race really only lasted 800 feet as he was involved in a first-lap miscue that ended any shot he had at victory. He recovered to finish 18th, however he did lose the points lead.

TJ Reaid was sent to the back for spinning out Tim Russell during the race.  He then came from 19th to post a fifth-place finish.

Chase Elliott continues to impress as he took a sixth-place finish at Lanier.  It was his third top-10 finish of the season in ASA SAT.

Max Gresham kept his nose clean at Lanier and posted a fourth-place finish, which gave him the points lead in the overall standings.

Lucas Ransone after scoring his first career Pro Cup win.  (51 Sports photo)
Clay Rogers and Caleb Holman talk about the on-track incident.  (51 Sports photo)
J.P. Morgan before the race. (51 Sports photo)
Kelley winning the pole in qualifying.  (51 Sports photo)
Paul Kelley in victory an with his son Brody Michael Kelley. (51 Sports photo)
Max Gresham took the points lead at Lanier. (51 Sports photo)