Jonesboro, Ga. - We're taking a brief midweek vacation from NASCAR to catch some short track racing at one of the Southeast's better tracks in Gresham Motorsports Park (Jefferson, Ga.) for the prestigious World Crown 300 Independence Day spectacular.
Considered one of the four crown jewels of super late model racing, the World Crown has a lineage dating back to 1983 and inaugural winner Dick Trickle. The race quickly made a name for itself as one of the most coveted and elusive trophies in all of racing, but has captured by some of racing's best.
[The Grand Slam of Super Late Model Racing is composed of the World Crown 300, Winchester 400, All-American 400 and the Snowball Derby.]
Past winners include Darrell Waltrip, Rick Crawford, and Rich Bickle. The entry list from over the years will reveal even more legends, including Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Bobby and Davey Allison. It's that kind of race.
The legend is sure to grow on Wednesday as the World Crown 300 will feature more contemporary names in Chase Elliott, Cale Gale, Mike Garvey, David Ragan and Max Gresham. The race even has the potential to make another driver into a ‘name attraction,' with breakout possibilities including Spencer Davis, Kenzie Ruston, and Austin Theriault. A combined twenty-nine drivers are entered into Wednesday's race.
The most fascinating thing about super late model racing is the competitive balance of established NASCAR drivers doing battle with experienced late model stars.
Everyone assumes NASCAR invaders, with their background and finances, are the instant favorites. But in reality, they have a lot working against them. Gresham is a high-banked half-mile Martinsville and resembles nothing a NASCAR driver regularly competes on. Many of the track's regulars, including Elliott, Bubba Pollard, and Kyle Benjamin have the real advantage.
This is especially true for Elliott who also has home field advantage working in his favor. Dawsonville is only an hour away and once you include his Hendrick Motorsports backing and experience at this track, he may have the winning hand.
How many super late model races do catch a year? What's your favorite local track and standout driver? Tell us in the comments section.
Practice times, race format, and a former winner's list can be found after the jump.
The 29th Annual World Crown 300 event will be open to any super late model team meeting the rules and specifications. The race will be split into three segments as follows:
- Segment 1 - 150 green flag laps, $4,000.00 to the winner.
At the end of segment 1, all cars completing segment 1 will transfer to segment 2. The first car one lap down will receive a free pass to return to the lead lap. A predetermined number of lead lap cars will be inverted. During this segment break, teams will be permitted to change tires and make adjustments to their cars without loss of position (this is NOT a hot pit stop), as long as adjustments are completed within the allotted time.
- Segment 2 - 100 green flag laps, $6,000.00 to winner.
At the end of segment 2, only the cars on the lead lap plus the first car one lap down will advance to segment 3. During the caution, cars will have the option to pit (This will be a hot pit stop). Cars choosing to pit will return to the lineup based on the order they exit pit road. Should a team choose not to pit, they will move up in the lineup accordingly.
- Segment 3 - 50 green flag laps, $10,000.00 to the winner.
This will give both racers and fans a show rarely witnessed in asphalt short track racing.
Drivers would be unable to simply log laps, but rather would have to push themselves to stay within competition for the entire event, resulting in much more excitement for the fans and racers as well.
Did you know: Gresham Motorsports Park is located within a dip in the hills, within Jefferson, Ga., with parking located all the way around the banking and backstretch. You can even order from the concessions stand via a text message service. Additionally, there isn't one bad view in the house.
Gresham Motorsports Park – Jefferson, GA
World Crown 300 Entries (as of July 1, 2012)
|29||Spencer Davis||Dawsonville, GA|
|29||Russell Fleeman||Dacula, GA|
|26||Johnny Henderson||Conyers, GA|
|9||Chase Elliott||Dawsonville, GA|
|36||Rodney Benefield||Flowery Branch, GA|
|23||Dalton Grindle||Flowery Branch, GA|
|112||Augie Grill||Hayden, AL|
|41||T. J. Reaid||Acworth, GA|
|92||Max Gresham||Griffin, GA|
|10||Paul Kelley||Pendergrass, GA|
|39||Kenzie Ruston||Mooresville, NC|
|71||Kyle Benjamin||Easley, SC|
|51||Stephen Nasse||Pinellas Park, FL|
|33||Brandon Jones||Atlanta, GA|
|98||Ryan Blaney||Woodstock, GA|
|2||Donnie Wilson||Okalhoma City, OK|
|77||David Ragan||Unadilla, GA|
|83||Cale Gale||Mobile, AL|
|AK47||Allen Karnes||Sharpsburg, GA|
|2||Brady Boswell||Watkinsville, GA|
|4||Erik Jones||Byron, MI|
|84||Clay Alexander||Franklin, TN|
|1||Mike Garvey||Pensacola, FL|
|75||David Odell||Winder, GA|
|26||Bubba Pollard||Senoia, GA|
|99||Casey Smith||Austin, TX|
|89||Matt Tifft||Hinckley, OH|
|29||Austin Theriault||Mooresville, NC|
|55||Mason Mitchell||West Des Moines, IA|
Did you know: Gresham Motorsports Park hosted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 1968 and 1969. Nationwide Series races were held there in 1986 and 1987. The track is currently a fixture on the K&N Pro East Series schedule.
Stephen Nasse turned in the fastest overall lap in five practice sessions on Tuesday for Wednesday's World Crown 300. Nasse completed the pace-setting lap in the final session with a lap time on 16.703. Nasse was fastest in three-of-five sessions.
Practice Four - Lap Times
1. 99 - Tifft 16.753
2. 77 - Ragan 16.853
3. 51 - Nasse 16.883
4. 83 - Gale 16.965
5. 98 - Blaney 16.980
6. 55 - Mitchell 16.994
7. 29 - Theriault 16.996
8. 10 - Kelley 16.997
9. 26 - Pollard 17.030
10. 71 - Benjamin 17.031
11. 41 - Reaid 17.043
12. 9 - Elliott 17.043
13. 4 - Jones 17.047
14. 1 - Garvey 17.055
15. 29 - Davis 17.068
16. 99 - Smith 17.127
17. 84 - Alexander 17.147
18. 33 - Jones 17.165
19.118 - Henderson 17.182
20. 39 - Ruston 17.197
21. 92 - Gresham 17.215
22. 75 - Odell 17.222
23. 2 - Wilson17.318
24. 36 - Benefield 17.355
25. 47 - Karnes 17.448
World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park (via yhctower)
1983 Dick Trickle - Wisconsin Rapids, WI
1984 Gary Balough - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
1985 Mike Eddy - Midland, MI
1986 Darrell Waltrip - Franklin, TN
1987 Darrell Waltrip - Franklin, TN
1988 Event Not Held
1989 Event Not Held
1990 Rich Bickle - Edgerton, WI
1992 Rich Bickle - Edgerton, WI
1993 Billy Bigley, Jr. - Naples, FL
1994 Rick Crawford - Mobile, AL
1995 Mike Cope - Pinellas Park, FL
1996 Freddy Query - Mooresville, NC
1997 Bobby Gill - Bradenton, FL
1998 Jimmy Garmon - Braselton, GA
1999 Freddy Query - Mooresville, NC
2000 Micky Cain - Cleveland, GA
2001 Paul Kelley - Pendergrass, GA
2002 Event Not Held
2003 Clay Dale - Jefferson, GA
2004 Fredrick Moore - Gainesville, GA
2005 Ronnie Sanders - Fayetteville, GA
2006 Paul Kelley - Pendergrass, GA
2007 Paul Kelley - Pendergrass, GA
2008 Russell Fleeman – Dacula, GA
2009 Paul Kelley – Pendergrass, GA
2010 Justin Wakefield - Adairsville, GA
2011 Chris Wimmer - Wausau, WI