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Late Model Turkey Shootout 50 at Thunder Speedway: Report and Results

1 December 1997


Valdosta, GA - Henry Carter of Swainsboro, GA drove his Sharpe/Bennett
Mimbs Farms Chevrolet under leader Gene Ross in turn two on the final lap
to take his first ever Late Model Sportsman win in the Turkey Shootout 50
at Thunderbowl Speedway, Valdosta, GA. Carter exhibited patience as he
stayed out of trouble and near the front for most of
the race before making his move in the last 10 laps of the race that saw
four cars vying for the win over the final laps.

        Randy Ellenberg of Valdosta, GA started the race on the pole, but
spun in turn two on the fourth attempt to start the race  when he and Gene
Ross got together. Ross took over the point with Ellenberg retiring to the
pits. Ross would hold the lead until Carter passed him on the final lap,
but behind him there was plenty of action taking place. Gene Maine of
Quitman, GA started in eighth place and steadily worked his way
into second by lap 18 as he took advantage of five cautions to gain spots.
Carter started 11th and made use of attrition and some good moves as he
followed Maine towards the front. Ronnie Harrell ran second in the early
stages, but battles with Ross, Maine, and Johnny Lieupo took their toll and
he fell back. 

        Wiley McDaniel and Tracy Walden managed to stay out of trouble and
advance their positions as the race wore on with Steve Lashley also staying
in the front pack for most the race.

        With 10 laps left the running order was Ross, Maine, Carter,
McDaniel and Lashley when Carter began pressuring Maine for the second
spot. Maine in turn was all over Ross, who had suffered a broken coil
spring on the rear suspension to upset the handling of the car. Maine was
working so hard on finding a way around Ross, that on lap 45 Carter was
able to slide to the inside coming off turn 2 and move into second
down the back straight. Carter now closed on the rear bumper of the ailing
Ross, but could not find an immediate way around. The on the final lap as
the cars rocketed off turn two, Carter moved inside and alongside Ross.
Ross tried to protect the spot, carrying Carter low on the track, but
Carter kept his foot in the throttle as the two headed for turn
three. Maine, in third, went to the high side to try and sneak around both
the cars fighting for the point, but Carter had the lead as all three
headed into the turn. Ross fell in behind Carter and left Maine high and
dry on the outside where he slid in the marbles and lost 3
positions. Lashley made a last minute charge for third, but McDaniel held
the spot by the width of his bumper at the line. 

        The first win ever for Carter in the Late Model Sportsman class
comes on the heels of his winning the National Late Model Sportsman Series
Rookie of the year for 1997 and earned him $2,500 for his efforts.


1.  Henry Carter        Swainsboro, GA
2.  Gene Ross           Lake Park, GA
3.  Wiley McDaniel      Macon, GA
4.  Steve Lashley       Americus, GA
5.  Tracy Walden        Louisville, GA
6.  Gene Maine          Quitman, GA
7.  Mo Gordy            Bartow, GA
8.  Rodney Harrell      Leesburg, GA
9.  Bucky Gregory       Macon, GA
10. Cary Corbin         Valdosta, GA

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel