David Roberts Becomes 2015 Late Model Track Champion
By: Reese Fant GPS Staff Writer
When Simpsonville's David Roberts won his first Greenville-Pickens Speedway track championship, back in 2007, it took him days, maybe even weeks , for the impact of what he accomplished to hit him.
When he nailed down his second title Saturday night, Roberts had his plan all worked out, and he came within one car of having the perfect plan.
Since his major competition decided not to race Roberts was already assured of seeing 2015 painted on the Wall of Champions beneath his name. With that done, and all of the racing over, Roberts and his son were looking at the Wall as they headed back to Simpsonville. He pointed out, "There are a lot of two-time winners, but three-time winners seemed to be in a special class," Roberts said. "I told him I was never going to get to where Marty Ward and Donnie Bishop are, at six titles each, and Buddy Howard is up there with four straight.
"I laughed and told him that in order to catch up completely, all I have to do is win five straight years."
Roberts doesn't think that is going to happen. But next year he plans to have some new equipment to be ready for a full season. "I've got two cars. One for Greenville Pickens, and one for Anderson (Speedway) " Roberts said
"We are going to start next year just like every year. We are going to show up racing as hard as we can and see where we go in the points. We do that every year."
On the night of his first title, Roberts arrived at the track knowing all he had to do was start and he had the crown, but he went on to win that race.
Saturday night, 75 of the 100-lap race were complete Roberts had a plan but he just couldn't control one other car.
I was sitting last in the field when we were getting ready to finish the race," and I had it all worked out. I had been just riding, taking care of my tires, said on the restart I was all set to charge to the front for the win."
But things don't always work out. Kason Plott had taken care of his tires, too, and just after the restart he hooked Tasha Kummer and had her almost sideways, and Roberts had to wait to get around. That put Plott too far out front to catch, so Plott won and Roberts finished second.
"That's all right," Roberts said after the race. There were three bonuses awarded during the race, and I won one of them."
With Plott winning and Roberts second, Ryan Walker took third with Ralph Carnes and Tasha Kummer in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Taylor Strickland, Cody Haskins, Emilee Riley, Rodney Howard and Andrew Cordell completed the field.
For the first 75 laps, Rodney Howard had the car nobody could catch. It was like he had his own zip code. He would just jump out to sometimes as much as a straight away lead but cautions kept bunching the field back up.
But for the last 25-lap segment, Howard's tires gave up and he quickly went from the point to being just one car removed from the tail end of the field.
Jason McGrew took the victory in the Pure/Street Stock main event, and Freddy Hale, Jr., nailed down the division championship with his seventh-place finish. Spencer Darnell was second, followed by Charlie Meinders, Jimbo Mann and Jamie McCall. Michael Webster was sixth, followed by Hale, with AJ Davis, Hank Hutto, Ashley Granata, John Cordell and Ray Mullinax completing the field.
It was the 4 Cylinder division that provided the night's fireworks, as usual, with plans of swapping cars, having blockers, and planned accidents being in the wind.
Problem was, the division championship had come down to a 10-point margin, with Don Tavernia on top of Michael Cross. As soon as the race started, there was an accident. Cross had came from the rear, and ended up being disqualified for actions detrimental to stock car racing.
The event was stopped while Cross and another team car were asked to leave the track.
In the midst of all this, Danny Esco worked his way to the front and took the checkered flag for his first race win. Don Tavernia was second and Robert Hall third. Casey Burnett was forth, followed by Chris Burkett and Chad Redding. Neil Meeks, Casey Finley, Tee Pittman and Brian Messer completed the top ten.
Sandra Tavernia, Manuel Molleda Barry Gonsalves Travis Barbare and Joshua Thompson were the next five, with Jack Hooper, Travis Shelton, Chad Tavernia and Michael Cross completing the field.
It was the Sams Club show in Super Renegades, with Tim Sams nailing down his 13th victory of the season. Son Josh was second and Ricky Stephens third.
These three drivers have won every Super Renegade race this season, with Tim at 13 wins, Josh and Stephens each had three victories.
Andy Norris was fourth, followed by Steve Kelley, Stanley Pressley, Danny Gilbert and James Johnson.
In Renegades, Brad Burns took the victory and Bobby Emory was named the division champion. Shane Hill finished second in the race, followed by Alexx Brezeale, Emory, and Parker Jameson in fifth. Larry Nabors was sixth, followed by Scotty Tyner. Blake Galloway, Michael Thompson Daniel Jameson, Greg Manley, Joe Allen, Marvin Hooper and Eric Ellison.
David Roberts Takes the Checkered at GPS
Johnny Cordell started it, David Roberts kept it going, and Travis Shelton added his style to the mix. Steve Guthrie put the polish to the evening, and Josh Sams showed how to end the evening in style.
We are talking a combination of experience and domination here, race fans. The combination was so thick it may have been running out of the historic half mile oval and into Reedy River back behind the third turn wall.
Johnny Cordell, driving a Chevrolet painted to look like one of the famous Butch Lindley cars, even down to the number, worked his way to second place in the Pure/Street Stock opener and on the last lap pulled the tried and true little nudge with the chrome horn to get the car in front out of shape, then driving by to take the checkered flag.
That's what Cordell did, and he did it to another true veteran of stock car racing, Jimbo Mann.
Did we mention that Cordell's in his 70's, and has been racing at GPS off and on since the 60's when the track was dirt?
Cordell put special win number one right into the Bryan Double Aught Ramey Trial Lawyers Victory Lane, then sat back to watch David Roberts keep it going.
Roberts, a veteran who has both dirt track and asphalt track championship trophies, has been fighting, and leading, a tense battle for the 2015 Track Championship all season, and when he was on the front row, outside, to start the 50-lap main, everyone knew his Mustang was going to be strong. The green flag fell, and Roberts had command of things going into the first turn. It was that fast.
Through a number of caution flags and restarts, Roberts did the same thing, over and over, and led the race from start to finish.
While there was some very intense racing going on through the pack, Roberts just kept on moving out front, again, to lock up his second track championship. Although the actual numbers weren't in, Roberts had a good lead going into the race, and his closest competitor, Trey Gibson, finished third, with Dylan Hall finishing second.
I need to thank Lee McCall, because he helped give us a true hot rod tonight, Roberts said in the Double Aught Victory Lane. "We had a tough car and it handled like a dream."
This is Roberts' second championship. He first put his name on the Wall of Champions in 2007.
After Roberts' victory, Steve Guthrie, who had thought he was going to spend a quiet evening with the family, drove his new Monte Carlo from the back to the front to win the Renegade race.
Guthrie and his group were parked outside the second turn fence, ready to cook out and watch some racing, when he got the word from his car owner, Larry Campbell that 'strongly encouraged' him to go home, get ole number 9, and get back to the track.
By the time Guthrie got back, he had missed qualifying, the National Anthem, and was told to start shotgun on the 13-car field
That's right. Dead last.
He wasn't told to stay there, though, and by the time the field made it to the first turn of the first lap, Guthrie was running seventh. It didn't take long before Guthrie was knocking on the back door of leader Bobby Emory, who was the race leader. Then Guthrie went on by for the lead.
How's that for a cookout treat?
"I didn't feel any pressure," Guthrie said after the win. I got a good start at working through the field on the first lap and just kept moving forward."
Then it was Travis Shelton's turn to show his stuff in the 4-cylinder main. And show it he did. Shelton brought home the win, making it four wins in the last five races.
Shelton started shotgun on the field, in 15th place, and won.
The evening's nightcap had to be a blockbuster to keep things going, and Team Sams was up to the task. While father Tim Sams has been dominant all season and leading the points race, son Josh has been getting stronger and stronger as the season goes along.
Josh Sams had complete control of the race; from start to finish, while three of his best competitiors all went out on the same lap.
Chris Meinders and Randy
Stephens both had engine problems at the same time, on lap 8, while Tim Sams was busy losing a front wheel. Josh drove right on into Victory Lane.
With Roberts, Hall and Gibson taking the top three spots in the Late-Model race, Cody Haskins took fourth and Chad McCumbee was fifth. Rodney Howard was sixth and Ryan Walker took seventh. Luke Sorrow, Ralph Carnes, and Kason Plott rounded out the top ten.
Tasha Kummer, Roger Powell, Kres Vandyke and Andrew Cordell completed the field.
With Cordell and Jimbo Mann taking the two top spots in Pure/ Street Stock, Jason McGrew was third and Jamie McCall was fourth. Fred Hale was fifth and Michael Webster took sixth. Chris Meinders, Ashley Granata, AJ Davis and Hank Hutto rounded out the top ten David Thonton and Connie Cepek completed the field.
Points leader Bobby Emory was second to Guthrie in the Renegades and Brad Burns was third. Blake Gregory was fourth and Larry Nabors was sixth. Parker Jameson, Michael Thompson, Daniel Jameson and Gregg Manley were in the top ten, and Marvin Hooper, Blake Galloway and Alelxx Brazeale followed.
With Shelton's win in the 4 Cylinders, Chris Harvell was second and Casey Burkett was third. Chad Tavernia took fourth and Derek Fowler was fifth. Danny Esco took sixth, ahead of Travis Barbare, Michael Cross, Don Tavernia and Manuel Molleda.
Barry Gonslaves was 11th, followed by Chad Redding, Sandra Tavernia, Jack Hooper and Brian Messer.
With Josh Sams being dominant, Phillip Peters was second and James Johnson was third in the Super Renegades. Danny Gilbert and TJ Johnson were fourth and fifth, respectively, while Andy Norris was sixth. Stanley Pressley, Scott Mann, Chris Meinders and Ricky Stephens completed the top ten. Tim Same was eleventh and Steve Kelley was twelfth.
Join us this Saturday for Championship night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Todd Gilliland Becomes Youngest Driver to Win LMS Event at GPS
By: Reese Fant, GPS Staff Writer
A native of Sherrill's Ford, N.C., and only 15-years-old, Todd Gilliland made big news not long ago when he became the youngest driver ever to win an ARCA race. He had been 15, and eligible to race in the series, only two days when he saw the checkered flag wave.
Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Gilliland made even bigger news.
He became the youngest driver ever to win a Late-Model Stock Main event at the historic half mile.
His victory wasn't easy, and it wasn't really apparent to the many race fans who watched the 100-lap special event.
Gilliland, who is a third-generation driver, is the son of David Gilliland, who is currently racing in NASCAR's top division, and the grandson of Butch Gilliland, who competed in both Cup and Winston West racing.
And Saturday night's victory was anything but easy. Throughout the 100-lap event, Gilliland kept his Ford right at the front of the pack, but not in front. He was running second much of the race, staying very close but unable to pass the car that eventually took the checkered flag.
But the other car's victory did not stand. The first caution flag of the race came when a race car dropped a 58-pound chunk of lead in the middle of the first turn, and at the end of the race, the winner's car was 58 pounds light.
Then, when tech officials were going to check the engines on the top three cars, that driver's car owner declined to participate in the inspection.
His disqualification put Gilliland in Victory Lane, and by winning, he replaced Trey Gibson, who had owned the title of being the youngest GPS winner.
The win by Gilliland, and his own second-place finish, gave Simpsonville's David Roberts a push towards his second GPS driving championship.
Roberts has led the points standings most of the season and with only one regular Late-Model Stock race scheduled before Championship Night, Roberts still has a strong grip on retaining the championship.
Jeremy Burns finished third, with Cody Haskins in fourth. Brandon Fox was fifth and Ryan Walker took sixth.
Emilee Riley was seventh, ahead of Dylan Hall, Kason Plott, and Dale Dove.
Jamie Tate followed Dove, with Andrew Cordell, Rodney Howard Roger Powell, Tasha Kummer and Eric Stokes completed the field.
There was one other unexpected disqualification during the evening's races. The car that took the checkered flag in the renegade main event were deemed to have an undersized torque converter . This DQ vaulted Parker Jameson into the winner's circle. Shane Hill was second and Brad Burns took third. Alexx Brazeale and Bobby Emory were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Larry Nabors, Colt Smith, Wendell Smith, Daniel Jameson and Greg Manley completed positions sixth through 10 and Matt Hale, Black Gregory, Eddie Ray, Roger Ellison and Terry Hawthorne rounded out the field.
The Super Renegade main turned back into the Sams Show, as Tim Sams took his 12th checkered flag of the season in 17 starts. Son Josh Sams, finished third as Joe Satterfield was second. Phillip Peters was fourth, Danny Gilbert fifth and Chris Meinders sixth.
Jason McGrew collected his seventh victory of the year in Pure/Street Stock and Michael Mote finished second. Chris Harvell was third and Michael Webster was fourth. Freddy Hale, Jr., finished fifth as Ray Mullinax, Hank Hutto, Charlie Meinders, Ashley Granata and AJ Davis rounded out the field.
In Four Cylinders, Travis Shelton grabbed the victory with Michael Cross in second. Danny Esco, Chad Tavernia were third and fourth, respectively and Don Tavernia was fifth.
Isaac Powell, Chad Redding, Manuel Molleda, Barry Gonsalves,Sandra Tavernia and Casey Finley completed the field.
Greenville-Pickens Speedway's next event is scheduled for September 12th, 2015.
Southeast Super Truck at Greenville-Pickens Speedway
By Reese Fant, GPS Staff Writer
The innovations, the completely new aspects of stock car racing, Greenville-Pickens Speedway style, continue to come wave after wave. Race fans at the historic half mile NASCAR oval show up week after week, never knowing what near promoter Anthony Anders has planned to make each race program both a surprise and a success.
Saturday night the Southeast Super Truck Series visited and while fans came expecting to see a good show, they had to be especially thrilled at several unusual things that happened during the evening.
The Southeast Super Truck Series is a traveling division in racing, going from one track to another to establish a series winner at the end of the season. While there are always drivers entered from throughout the country, it's usually the local drivers, the standout veterans of years and years, that put on the show for the fans.
Saturday night, it was local driver and former track champion Randy Porter who showed the quick way to get around the track. But while Porter was proving he was the class of the field, there were plenty of complications.
With the Southeast Trucks, according to the qualifying times, a top driver with good equipment can complete three laps in just a few seconds over a minute. That's THREE LAPS in just over ONE MINUTE.
Break that down, and it comes to something like a 90 mile per hour average.
A 75 lap race without a caution period, should be completed in something like 30 minutes.
Such was not to be for this race.
While Porter was flexing his muscle, several other local guys, both with considerable power, were battling for the top spot.
Another former track champion, Kenneth Headen, was also right there at the front, along with Tim Lollis.
The caution flag flew two-thirds of the way through the race, and fans were stunned to see Kenneth Headen, who was not involved in the accident, to go roaring into the garage area, At the same time, Headen's support team was desperately trying to get the attention of the ambulance, as hard as they could.
Headen had spent most of last week in the hospital with blood pressure problems, and while friends and fans were asking him not to race, he was right there in the car. As one huge fan of racing said, "Racers are going to race, no matter what. That's what we love about them."
While EMS technicians were working with Headen, another driver suddenly collapsed. It was exhaust fumes that overcame this driver, and the race was on hold until the situations were resolved. Headen was not able to continue the race.
Porter had started the race on the pole, with Headen directly behind him, and Lollis right there too.
At the end, it was Porter in Victory Lane, and Lollis placing second. Lee Tissot was third, and area driver Jamie Tate was fourth. Kevin Leight took fifth.
Porter, always gracious in Victory Lane, talked about how good the race was at the start, when everyone was fighting hard for position, "The last time we raced here, I started eighth, and tonight I had an amazing truck. I have to thank the people who work on it, constantly, to make it what it is. Kenneth and Lollis were both up on the wheel and it really was a good race.." Porter said he was having leg cramps near the end, and was glad it was just 75 laps instead of a longer race. And he ended his comments with heartfelt concern that Kenneth was going to be OK.
Luke Sorrow was sixth and Tal Davidson seventh. Cole Glasson took eighth, and Austin Northcott as ninth, Ricky Bowers was tenth.
The next five finishers were Dakota Slagle, Bennie Davis, Houston Sullivan, Ed Surrett, and Tony Black.
Shawn McIntyre was 16th, in front of Headen, with Terry Seay, Keith Norville, Jamie Alton and Pete Porter completed the field.
Although the Southeast Super Truck travel with their own supporting divisions, the Legends race was also dominated by a local driver.
Greg Porter, a popular GPS veteran, brought out his Candy-Apple Red Chevelle and drove it right into Victory Lane. "I won 36 races in '77 and '76 with a car identical to this one, and then I sold it to Jimbo Mann, who won 16 or 18 races with it. He sold it to Doug Noe, who also made regular trips to Victory Lane driving that car," Porter said.
It was the Renegades race that was really drawing all of the pre-race attention, as promoter Anthony Anders had posted a terrific purse for the top three positions.
Through 35 laps of intense racing, Eddie Ray took the checkered flag with Greg Darnell in second and Brad Burns in third. Points-leader Bobby Emory finished fourth and Alexx Brezeale in fifth.
Parker Jameson was sixth and James Johnson was seventh. Jackie Foster, Colt Smith and Blake Gregory rounded out the top ten.
Larry Nabors, Wendell Smith, Daniel Jameson, Roger Ellison and Greg Manley completed the top 15, and Steve Guthrie Shane Hill, Dale Stancil, Shawn Campbell, Brad Davis and Joe Allen completed the field.
For much of the race, Steve Guthrie, who had debuted a completely new car, was the class of the field, jumping out front and racing along without any problems whatsoever. But, two-thirds of the way through the event, there was a planned caution period where crews would have two minutes to make adjustments for the final dash at the money.
When it came time to restart the race, Guthrie's car would not start, and since it had an automatic transmission, it was not possible to push him off. So Guthrie, instead of continuing with his dominating performance, had to be pushed into the pits, where he praised the efforts of the GPS employees for their efforts at trying to get his car restarted.
In Victory Lane, Eddie Ray said, "I saw the name Travelers Rest on a map, and I told myself I had to live there. I do, too, and tonight is my greatest race, ever. I need to thank my dad and Rabbit, for helping me get the car where it is right now. This is my very first victory, and I will never, ever forget it."
Spencer Darnell was the winner in the Pure Street Stock division, and Freddy Hale, Jr. placed second. Michael Webster was third, with Hank Hutto, Ashley Granata, and Jason McGrew rounding out the field.
Jason Leatherwood was the winner in the Southeast Super Trucks support division, with Fredy Sawyer second. Steve Carver was third, and TJ Lollis fourth. Scott Franklin was fifth, Clint Watkins sixth, and Nick Thunder seventh. Gregory Burgess Danny Gilbert and Greg Bohanan rounded out the division.
Regular Late-Model Stock racing returns to Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday, the 15th, with a 150-lap program scheduled.
After this race, only two Late-Model Stock races are scheduled. They are on Saturday Sept. 12th, and Championship Night on Sept 19, when the 2015 Track Champion will be crowned.
Former champion David Roberts took the point lead early and has maintained it all season. He has a slim lead over Trey Gibson as the season rapidly winds down. Crowning the champion, complete with the wall painting ceremony, is one of the highlights of the season.
Friday August 7th, 2015
Greenville-Pickens Speedway Presents
$20 Advance Ticket
$25 General Admission day of the event
Cover bands for Journey, AC/DC, and Guns & Roses
Gates open at 6pm. Concert starts at 7pm.
Get your tickets here: