The inaugural event of the Southeast Limited Late Model Series, sponsored by Orion Motorsports, Tri-Star Racewear, and Riders Wholesale, kicked off with a bang at Florence Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 4, as 17-year-old Ryan Glenski fought through 16 cautions to claim the very first win.
Qualifying on Saturday saw the field of 25 cars separated by less than one half second. Gary Ledbetter, of Lexington, N.C., took the pole with a qualifying time of 17.777 seconds. Close behind were Chris Chapman in second, Ryan Glenski in third, Scott Hall in fourth, and JJ June in fifth.
As the green flag dropped on Sunday, Ledbetter quickly jumped to the front of the pack. After seven laps, contact between Waylon Flynn and Cory Joyce brought out the day's first caution.
When the race restarted it was Ledbetter who continued to be the car to beat. Through the first 23 laps, and two cautions, he led a very determined Scott Hall. However contact between Ledbetter and Hall on lap 24 sent Ledbetter sideways and moved Hall into the lead. Ledbetter fell back three positions by lap 29.
With Ledbetter back in the pack it was Hall and Glenski who took over the battle for the lead. The two fought side-by-side through several laps until Cory Joyce brought out the caution on lap 32.
More carnage followed under the caution as one car stayed at speed and wrecked into the slowing field. Five cars were involved including John Whaley and Jimmy Rice who were both running in the top-five.
After a red flag, the race got back underway at lap 32 with Hall and Glenski continuing their fight for the lead. Another caution and restart on lap 33 gave Glenski the opportunity he needed to get around Hall. The two fought through the first lap, with Glenski the victor across the start-finish line.
At the halfway mark Glenski led Hall, Chris Chapman, Christian Pahud, and Averitt Lucas.
On lap 59, Gary Ledbetter, who had been on the move through the field since getting spun and then caught up in a wreck, turned the No. 31 of Scott Hall - earlier contact between Hall and Ledbetter forced Ledbetter out of the lead. Ledbetter was sent to the back of the field for rough driving.
It was Glenski's show though as he continued his dominating performance through four more cautions and challenges from Averitt Lucas.
After 14 cautions only 12 cars remained on track for the restart with 25 laps to go. Despite spinning his tires, it was still Glenski in the lead as the cars crossed the line.
A caution came out with five to go - Glenski led Averitt Lucas, Ben Stanton, Chris Chapman, and Jason Cochran.
After leading the majority of the race, and fighting off advances from Scott Hall and Averitt Lucas, it was Glenski who took the checkered flag for the inaugural SLLMS event.
"I just want to thank my mom and dad...everybody," Glenski said in his post race interview. "I'm looking forward to the next race...it's a great series."
Series co-founder Ed Cox said he was happy with the way the weekend went.
"With a decent field of cars for an inaugural event, I think the weekend was a success," Cox said. "I want to thank Goodyear, Sunoco, Tri-Star Racewear, and Riders Wholesale for supporting the event, and RacersReunionRadio and Race22 for providing fans with live internet and radio updates of our inaugural race."
The Southeast Limited Late Model Series returns to the track the weekend of September 23 at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C.