ASA Late Models wow Bronson Speedway crowd

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By Claude Lewis

BRONSON –The largest crowd of the young racing season filed into Bronson Motor Speedway on Saturday night, March 29, for the Flagship RV 100 –the 2008 lid-lifter for the ASA Late Model Southern Series.

The fans were treated to a race with many twists and turns and ultimately, a wild and crazy finish at the high-banked 1/3 mile track.

When the smoke had cleared, Jimmy Lang, a 19-year-old out of South Carolina, emerged as the winner.

Lang took his 86 car around the 75 of Dave Odell for the lead after a restart with 99 laps in the book. Odell, who is out of Georgia, had a tire go down and slipped all the way back to 10th.

Chad Pierce charged up for a second-place finish in the 57 car, while Jeremy Gerstner of Wesley Chapel took third in the 70 car.

Local favorite Travis Cope, whose father Mike was once a Busch Series drver, had a shot at taking the checkered, but a questionable call sent him to the back of the pack late in the race.

Piloting the 26 car sponsored by Bestline Lubricants, the 19-year-old Cope challenged race leader Blake Lehr, who ran up front the first 79 laps in the 3 car.

Heading into turns one and two, Cope appeared to have gained position on the inside of Lehr and made the pass. There was a little bumping, but nothing seemingly too serious. Still, Lehr spun out, causing the yellow to come out.

Officials surprisingly decided to send both cars to the back, dealing a blow to Cope's night.

"We were banging doors and he got sideways,"Cope recalled.

Once in the back, Cope tried to make it up, but spun twice before calling it a night with 95 laps down. He ended up 13th in the 19-car field.

"I was pushing myself too hard,"he said.

Cope said he will try to make the next ASA Late Model South Series race April 19 at New Senoia, Georgia, but that he needed to land a sponsor to run the 11-race series.

Colt James out of Texas finished fourth in the 15 car and Dustin Dunn of Lakeland was fifth in the 59 car.

Travis Wilson, son of former Winston Cup driver Rock Wilson, took 15th in the 62 car.

There were two other divisions of racing Saturday at Bronson.

The Sportsman cars went 30 laps with William Edwards of Gainesville takin checkers in the 08 car ahead of Trenton?s Shelton Bowers in the 32 car.

For a long time, it looked like it would be Donnie Roberts' night, as his 24 car ran up front until lap 27, when he suddenly became loose.

Matt Blum of High Sprngs took third in the 1 car.

In the Super Stock feature, Brent Cooper was first in the 97 car followed by Tommy Ausburn and Willard Driggers.