Round #2 of the 2012 USLMRA STA-BIL Lawn and Garden Mower Racing Series is in the books. The 28th of April brought 103 mowers to the STA-BIL Southern Shootout in McDonough, Georgia. To say the racing action was exciting would be a definite understatement. The new track layout made for much better racing than we saw last year. The Georgia clay was thirsty though and the need for almost constant watering in the afternoon made for some interesting challenges on the track!
Last year’s JP championship runner up Wyatt Sullivan put his Rocket Man Racing ride into the winners circle for round 1, holding off Georgia’s Jacob Dean. Bailey Woodall & Blain Parr finished 3rd & 4th proving that finishing does count when Maryland’s Lauren Filos dropped out on lap 16. In round 2 Wyatt turned his day into a 1200 point sweep taking back to back checkered flags. Lauren kept it together for 2nd place and Jacob brought home 3rd.
Wally Bender seems to be starting a troublesome year in IMOW. The Iron Man may soon be known as Triple D as he followed his Florida DNF with a DQ and a DNS in Ga, end of the day. Wally did not win! Lewis Parrot followed Wally to the sod of shame with a round 1 DQ and a lap 12 crash sent John Brewer to the pits and Georgia’s Kevin Watkins to the Hospital with what later was rumored to be a bad case of “I’m fine, but the EMT is pretty cute, put me in the wagon!” Maryland’s Keith Beacom finished in front of fellow club member Lou Filos in both rounds, Chris Cupp posted a 3rd in round 1 but Brewer kept it on the track in round 2 pushing Chupp to 4th.
Rocket Man racing dominated the top spots in the A/P class, with Mike Pacione winning in his first foray into the little engine class defeating Team mate Pete Sullivan in round one but then followed him to the checkers in round 2. Jackie Andrews ran 3rd in the first race but let fellow Marylander Lou Filos put her in fourth for round 2. Wally Bender continued to follow his tradition of consistent inconsistency by posting a true trifecta, adding a DNF to his IMOW DQ and DNS!
Racin’ Jason Brown showed his Championship style not only pulling a pair of wins but posting the fastest lap time of the prepared classes in round 1 on his S/P beating Jon Lewman’s C/P time by .01 seconds! (You just have to love electronic scoring!) Ohio’s Matt Strine took a second and holy Wallies; Bender finished a race besting Mike Paccione for third. Georgia’s Brantley Bell rounded out the top 5 in round 1. In round 2 Wilson Davis pushed Strine into third and Michigan’s Kelsey Van Epps showed that neither gender nor age makes a racer holding off hard charges from Mike Paccione for fourth.
Tennessee’s Jacob Blackburn took top honors in what turned into a marathon round for C/P, the 16 plus minute round one feature included several accidents and a water break for the track. Three time Champion Pete Sullivan showed how a veteran does it, avoiding the Malay to pull in second place. Home town hero Jamie Maurice held off Keith Beacom for third and Rick Eichenberger rounded out the top 5. In the shortened round 2 feature Kevin Ferguson took the green and never looked back with a flag to flag victory. After round 1 carb troubles Chris Cox found the fuel and second place points. Mitchell Dean took third and Pete Sullivan drove from his deep in the field starting place to take fourth away from round one winner Jacob Blackburn.
B/P BC is back! Sharp new STA-BIL Ethanol Treatment colors are obviously not the only thing fresh for Bobby Cleveland; a strong new mill rolled out of the big blue truck and put the series vet all over sophomore Jamie Maurice’s rocket for most of the race. Bobby found his way around J-Mow at the end in lapped traffic leaving standing champion Ron Rollman all alone in 3rd. Jason Brown showed USLMRA local veteran but STA-BIL Series new comer Arkansas’ Marty Callentine how to finish in the points. Round 2 found Tennessee’s Ron Rollman earning an extra lap and Jason Brown coming from his wide out starting position to a tight end 2nd place finish. Bobby Cleveland Had a hard charge into third holding off Glenn Van Epps and Jamie Maurice for 3rd. Kody Bennett earned hard hit of the day with his pounding lap 7 flip that ended his weekend hard.
In F/X Dixie Outlaw Tony Hinson swapped 2nd and 3rd place finishes for the twin features with Wally Bender, though in round 2 “Wally” seemed a little “not himself”? The Doctor was in for the Southern Shootout; Kenny Holder posted a pair of 4th place finishes. The class belonged to Kevin Nipper as his orange & white Huffy sped off from the field in both races.
The G/P class has enticed both former IMOW champions to drop their gear ratios and prepared class drivers to strap on governed stock engines and join the budget fun. Jason Brown dipped into the 12 second range in Round#1 and earned himself a DQ doing it, but kept it legal in round#2 for the win! The Rocket Man Pat Sullivan took 1st and 2nd consecutively in his first outing in the class Maryland’s Scott Beacom posted a 2nd and a 4th , Isaac Green bettered his round 1 4th with a 3rd in round 2 and Kevin Nipper stayed in the points with a 3rd and a 5th. The mixed finishes proved that the new class will be one full of racing action!
In F/Xs the Wiley veteran from the Sunshine State Proved too much for the youngster as Pat Sullivan showed Windy Hill home town racer Drew Maurice the fast line around his own track! Pat had a 1200 point weekend in the Rocket Man Racing Mowchine! Drew took Pats bumper in both races and Tennessee Child Prodigy Jacob Herrin posted a pair of third place finishes. Manny Torres drove his Camowchine into 4th in the first round, but let Thomas “Tommy Gunn” Flynn put him in 5th for round #2!
In F/XT Ryker Racing was the name of the day! Richard Webb held off the Bandit in Round #1, but followed Ryan Kerr to the checkers in Round #2 giving Team Ryker Gold and Silver both ways for the day. Wes Pyburm finished the first race in 3rd holding Off Glenn “Double Nutz” Van Epps; they too switched places in the second race when Van Epps found his way to third! In round 2 yet another Ryker Badged Mowchine finished in the top5 as Wild Bill Campbell rounded out the points finishers!
John Michael Bell hung up his Championship J/P gears and his Nic Name,”Shorty”! “Hollywood” went GP/K racing, and the star of stage and screen pulled a win off in round #1 but fell to Lauren Filos in #2 when she borrowed a better ride from Jason Brown and parked her 3rd place mowchine!. (I think she is still smiling) Mirah Peeler followed Shorty, err uhh, “Hollywood” for a 2nd in round 1 but fell to 3rd in #2.
In its second year of running the Southern Shootout at Windy Hill Mower Speedway proved to be a place to bring your best bullets! It takes a mowchine with power and a driver with talent and nerve to stare down the barrels of champions and mow tall in Georgia!