After just two stand-alone events were held, the Southern Pro Late Model Series has suspended their racing schedule.
The series was born prior to this season as an alternative to several other Pro Late Model Tours such as the Georgia Asphalt Series and the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour. The force behind the creation of the SPLMS was Vince Whitmire, who had previously been involved with the GAS Series before a change of ownership and resulting dispute late last season [click here to revisit that story].
However, Whitmire's idea never really got a chance to get far off the ground in 2009. With only so many cars willing to enter races of any sanction, car counts for the SPLMS have been weak. Only two stand alone SPLMS events were held - with 11 cars starting in the season opener at New Senoia Raceway and 14 cars that starting a second race at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL) last month. Both events were won by Russell Fleeman.
A brighter spot was when the series partnered up with the ASA Late Model South Series to co-sanction races at South Georgia Motorsports Park, New Senoia Speedway (GA) and Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA). The number of starters for those races stood at 26, 19 and 16.
The suspension of the SPLMS, which organizers publicly hope will resume in future seasons, was confirmed by a statement issued by the sanctioning body this weekend. The statement read -
"Much to the regret of the Southern Pro Late Model Series officials, the series will suspend the remaining 2009 season.
"We hate it has come to this but with the economy the way it is and race fans losing their jobs and without as much money to spend on entertainment and race teams being short on cash we feel we have no other option," said Southern Pro Late Model Series owner Vince Whitmire. "We want to thank the race teams, drivers and fans who supported the series."
Whitmire plans to resume the series when the economy picks up.
"Car counts and fan counts are down everywhere and everyone is having a tough time right now," adds Whitmire.
The co-sanctioned events scheduled with the ASA Late Model South Series will keep their dated but under the ASA Late Model South banner."
Stand alone SPLMS races that will be cancelled are a June 6th race at Concord Speedway (NC), a June 20th race at Newport Speedway (TN), a July 25th race at New Senoia, an August 8th race at Montgomery, a September 5th race at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC), a September. 19th at Concord Motorsports Park (NC) and an October 24 event at South Georgia.