Garvey Puts a Familiar Car in Victory Lane *Update

A broken transmission in practice. No problem. Starting last in the field. No problem. Pro Late Model driver Mike Garvey had no problem working his way through the pack to win the opening race of the Allen Turner Series 100 on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway. “The car was awesome,” he said in Victory Lane. “It was right on the money.” D.J. Vanderley was second, followed by T.J. Reaid, Dwayne Buggay and Kyle Benjamin. Pensacola’s Johanna Long, driving Tommy Rollins’ car, finished sixth. Garvey’s win prompted a jubilant celebration with his pit crew and car owner Tracy Goodson of Pensacola. “We’ve been close for a long time,” Garvey said. “It’s nice to finally break the ice and win.” What broke in practice was his transmission. He still managed the second-fastest time in qualifying, but had to change it before the race. He borrowed a transmission from fellow driver Anderson Bowen and the change relegated him to [...]

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Still Looking for First 100-Lap Victory, VanderLey Hopes to Steer Allen Turner PLM Win

Chuck Corder It appears D.J. VanderLey has added a new member to his late model team. If it was up to him, though, the two-time defending Pro Late Model champion at Five Flags Speedway would fire it in a second. A 1,000-pound gorilla has taken up residence in VanderLey’s hauler and it seems to travel to every track VanderLey pulls into. The Auburn honors college sophomore hopes to leave it somewhere on the shoulder of Pine Forest Road before the Pro Late Models open their season with the Allen Turner 100 on Friday at Pensacola’s high banks. “We’ve had some, pretty rough luck,” VanderLey said. “We went to Opp (and South Alabama Speedway), had a real strong car. Then, in Mobile, in my Pro car and we had the best one there before a wreck. Five Flags, we had a great car there last week. “We keep on putting a strong piece out there. We [...]

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Long Gets Back to Racing Roots this Friday with Allen Turner Pro Late Models 100

Chuck Corder Johanna Long just couldn’t take it anymore. The Nationwide Series rookie last suited up for a race March 17 at famed Bristol Motor Speedway. That was all Long could stand. And what better way for her to end that void than in her backyard. Long will make a triumphant return to Pro Late Models in the Allen Turner 100 on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway. It will be the first time she has driven a PLM since the 2010 Snowflake 100, the night before her career’s crowning achievement in winning the 43rd annual Snowball Derby. “(It has) been a couple of years,” Long said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to it. It has been so long since I have been in pro car. It’ll be a lotta fun.” A week after defending Snowball Derby champion Chase Elliott raced to victory in the Pepsi Next 100 against a full Blizzard Series [...]

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ROAD TO THE SNOWFLAKE STARTS FRIDAY NITE

After a record breaking entry list for the 2011 Allen Turner Snowflake 100 last December, there is little reason to be surprised if the opening race of the 2012 Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series offers up more of the same competition. Snowflake Champion Augie Grill will roll into Pensacola as the favorite. Fresh off a 3rd place finish in the Buddy’s Home Furnishing Blizzard Series opener last weekend for Super Late Models, Grill will be sure to have his Ford Fusion in top form once again. He better. South Carolina standout Kyle Benjamin, Texas big gun Zach Hausler, Georgia veteran Dwayne Buggay, and a long list of others, including defending 5 Flags Champion D.J. VanderLey and former Track Champion Johanna Long, will all be at the top of their game this Friday Night at 5 Flags Speedway. The 100 Lap event will be the first of 5 races leading [...]

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Elliott Withstands Day of Unexpecteds, Makes Late Push to Capture Pepsi Next 100

      By Chuck Corder Beads of sweat trickling off his chin, Chase Elliott was out of breath. “That’s about as hard as I’ve worked to catch somebody,” the 16-year-old defending Snowball Derby champion said Sunday. “I’m glad it paid off.” The 16 year old etched another unthinkable victory into the asphalt at Five Flags Speedway, running down Jeff Choquette in the final 15 laps to win the Pepsi Next 100. The season opener was postponed to Sunday because of rain Friday. The change in schedule didn’t dampen another memorable performance from Elliott, who passed Choquette on Lap 97 to take his Super Late Model to Victory Lane for the second time in as many races. Choquette had a comfortable lead for the last third of the race until lapped traffic cost him. Pensacola’s Jeremy Pate was force to check up on the back stretch with 10 laps remaining, allowing Elliott to close the gap. “I thought I had [...]

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BUDDYS BLIZZARD MOVED TO SUNDAY Click for Schedule

The opening Blizzard of the 2012 season has been postponed to Sunday afternoon. Drivers and crews were ready to race Friday, when a steady rain started, and is forecast thru Saturday morning. Sunday, March 25th 9:00am Pit Gate Opens 10:00am Grandstand Gate Opens 11:00am Drivers Meeting 12:00 - 12:45 Blizzard Series Practice 12:45 - 1:30 Super Stock, Sportsman, & Bomber Practice Blizzard Pre-Qualifying Tech 1:30PM Pepsi Next 100 Qualifying 2:15PM Pre-Race Ceremonies 2:30PM Pepsi Next 100 Super Stock Feature (25 Laps) Sportsman Feature (20 Laps) Bomber Feature (20 Laps) See ya at the track on Sunday.

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With Targets on Their Backs, Defending Local Track Champions Eager to Get Season Under Way

By Chuck Corder Brannon Fowler and Bubba Winslow have wasted little time in picking up where their championship seasons of 2011 left off. While the Five Flags Speedway season opens Friday night, both Fowler and Winslow have already pulled their rides into Victory Lane this year. Both Pensacola-area drivers captured feature races at Mobile International Speedway last weekend. This week, Fowler and Winslow are both ready to defend their Sportsmen and Super Stocks track titles, respectively, when the green flag drops at America’s Favorite Home Track. “We’re more excited than ever than to defend our title,” said Winslow, who won the Super Stocks crown as a rookie last year. “Everybody’s looking at us. On the other hand, we’ve gotta step it up, because they are gunning for us. I feel like we’re pretty prepared. I think we’ll have the car to beat Friday.” Fowler added: “This is our home track and with the history of [...]

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Reigning Snowball Champ Elliott Headlines Five Flags Season Opener on Friday

By Chuck Corder It’s good to be king. The crown seems to sit perfectly steady atop Chase Elliott’s 16-year-old head. Three months after his dramatic win at the 44th annual Snowball Derby, Elliott is enjoying the spoils of being champion of short-track’s most prestigious race. No question the teenager’s star was already bright. Any track the wunderkind’s hauler pulls into, his last name and eye-popping skills as a wheelman make him an instant celebrity. Winning the Snowball, though, has taken his fame to unprecedented heights. “It’s really cool,” said Elliott, the son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott. “No matter where you go — even in Phoenix and Bristol — drivers and fans come up to you and say, ‘Congrats on the Snowball.’ “We were fortunate to have success there last year and it’s always cool for folks to recognize that.” Young Elliott returns to the scene of his proudest moment in racing Friday as Five Flags Speedway [...]

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