His Right Arm Nearly Severed after Freak Job Accident, Pensacola’s Pate Stays in Hunt for PLM Title

By Chuck Corder May 24 began as a typical day for Jeremy Pate. A 20-year veteran driver of Five Flags Speedway, the 39-year-old Pate woke up that morning and arrived downtown at the Port of Pensacola to help unload ships for his family’s business, Pate Stevedore Co., Inc. But while conducting tasks he had expertly done since his teenage years, Pate slipped and had a freak accident. His right arm got caught on a forklift’s exhaust pipe and, in an instant, all the tendons and muscles in that arm were severed along with one artery and nearly another. “It was bad,” Pate harrowingly recalls. The near-death experience almost cost him his “gear-shifting arm,” as Pate put it. Two tourniquets were quickly cinched to Pate’s limb as he was rushed to the hospital. Three surgeons, more than 200 stitches and six hours later, Pate’s arm had been miraculously saved. “It looked like a spaghetti arm,” Pate said. For the [...]

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With Support of Jetts and VanDoorn, Choquette Once Again Becoming Late Model Force

By Chuck Corder It wasn’t long ago that Jeff Choquette saw his better days behind a late model steering wheel vanishing in his rearview mirror. Late model racing, these days especially, seems to be a young man’s game. When Choquette, 29, amicably parted ways with the Adrian Carriers Team a few years ago, he assumed life’s next chapter meant overseeing the family’s land development business. But after a year-and-a-half away from the sport, the West Palm Beach native got an unexpected call in April. The Jacksonville-based Jett Racing Team, owned by the father-son duo of Pat and Kurt Jett, had a scheduling issue with its then-driver and needed a replacement pronto. “Pat (Jett) called me up, and asked what I was doing, if I wanted to go race,” Choquette recalled. “I told him, ‘Heck, yeah!’ To get in equipment like (the Jetts), it's unheard of. I was ecstatic.” Choquette quickly proved he’s still quite the [...]

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PFC Brakes Presents Free Broadcast of SSS Finale at Five Flags

The excitement of the 2016 Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco season will reach its peak on Saturday, September 24 during the season finale at Five Flags Speedway (FL). While fans at the race track witness a stout group of Super Late Model stars battle for a win and a championship, those unable to attend the event will also be able to watch the side-by-side racing action. For the second straight year, PFC Brakes – the nation’s leader in brake technology – has partnered with Speed51.com and the Southern Super Series to support a free live broadcast of the race. The 150-lap season finale will air live on Speed51 TV, the online live broadcasting platform on Speed51.com powered by JEGS. "We love being a part of the Southern Super Series and we love being a part of Speed51's broadcasts and 51 TV,” said Chris Dilbeck of PFC Brakes. “Anytime that we [...]

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Aramendia Captures 2nd Mods Win on Demolition Derby Night; Babb Parties to Demo Derby Crown

By Chuck Corder At the beginning of every year, Five Flags Speedway fans near and far circle the date of the Demolition Derby. Texan Joe Aramendia has quickly become a part of that group, albeit for a different reason. The veteran Modifeds driver came to the famed half-mile asphalt oval last August and came away with a 50-lap feature win. Aramendia made a triumph return to Victory Lane on Friday night at Pensacola’s high banks almost a year to the date by winning the Modifieds of Mayhem 50 lapper in front of a near-capacity crowd. “All I had to do was ride and guide,” Aramendia said. “I don’t have a home racetrack these days, so I’m calling this my home now.” Aramendia, 53, took the lead on Lap 41 in Turn No. 1, passing Donnie Hamrac, who had led for much of the race. Hamrac finished as the runner-up. Before Hamrac, Aramendia dealt with Modifieds of [...]

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After Failures Nearly Derailed Him, Leytham Found Winning Ways Thanks to Jackson and Denmark

By Chuck Corder B.J. Leytham had drawn a line in the sand four years ago. These days, Five Flags Speedway fans are used to seeing the Mobile-area driver dominate the Butler U-Pull-It Bombers division to the tune of six wins this year and back-to-back Bombers Snowball Derby crowns (2013-2014). But in 2012, Leytham was spinning his wheels in mediocrity as a rookie on asphalt. The sport had dealt enough blows to Leytham that he and wife, Kim, were ready to leave racing behind. “I tore the transmission up in the first three races that year, and I was done,” Leytham, 36, said. Enter Darryl Jackson and Steve Denmark. The two had the resources to put a Bombers team together, and wanted Leytham to come aboard. Jackson, who had previously turned wrenches for perennial late model contender Gerald Wilkerson years ago, and Denmark came out of the stands one night at Mobile International Speedway and approached [...]

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Demolition Derby Drivers Playing Cards Close to Vest as Annual Smash-n-Crash Looms Friday at Five Flags

By Chuck Corder Kurtis Bailey got his a year ago. Terry “Killer” Keller drove all the way to Fort Worth, Texas, for his — on Valentine’s Day, no less. For all the bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolate and shoeboxes of cards, nothing says love quite like a Chrysler Newport. The point of all these timelines and romance is to understand it takes a lot of planning and TLC to hold your own in a Demolition Derby. Since the August spectacle returned to Five Flags Speedway in 2011 after a lengthy layoff, the Demo Derby has never failed to disappoint an always full house, which rivals any night during Snowball Derby week in December. The annual gathering of wildly-decorated cars that end up as tangled clumps of shrapnel and metal returns Friday to the front straightway of Five Flags Speedway. “There ain’t a free moment this close to the Demolition Derby,” said Keller, who will be [...]

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