Storm Pay Nationals






               TAMPA, FL – David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN was honored as the 2007 Dirt Late Model Series Champion on Wednesday night at the series’ Annual Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  It was also announced that NeSmith Chevrolet of Claxton, GA will be the series’ title sponsor for 2008, and it will be called the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.


               Gentry picked up his second straight Dirt Late Model Series National Championship Trophy, a check for $20,000 out of the series $50,000 National Point Fund, a GM Performance 604 Crate Engine, and a new Mastersbilt chassis from Mastersbilt Race Cars in Caruthersville, IN.


               “We didn’t have as good a year as we have had in the past, and we struggled a lot more,” Gentry said.  “We just kept working hard and it paid off for us.  This championship is special because of that hard work.  The Dirt Late Model Series is special because of all of the drivers working together and helping one another.”


               Series Director and Founder Mike Vaughn made the announcement that NeSmith Chevrolet will be the title sponsor of the series in 2008.  Joining Vaughn in making the announcement were Rodney Tapley and Tim Bland of NeSmith Chevrolet, along with Bill Martens of GM Performance Parts.


               “I first met Mike Vaughn three years ago, and right after that first meeting, I felt like this series was going to be successful,” Martens said.  “The series just continues to grow, and everybody here works together to make that happen.  This series and NeSmith Chevrolet will be a good fit for each other.”


               When Vaughn founded the series in 2005, he named it the Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series. signed on to be the title sponsor of the series for the past two seasons.  NeSmith Chevrolet has been an associate sponsor of the series since its inception by sponsoring the Hard Charger Award, and is the top selling GM Performance Crate Engine dealer in the country.


               “When we first started going to the series races, we had an old cube van with a few engines in the back to sell,” Bland said.  “We’ve come a long way since then, as we’re selling engines all over the country, and we now have a much bigger truck to bring to the races with more engines.”


               Other top award winners on Wednesday night were Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA, who picked up a $5,000 check and a new GRT Chassis from GRT Race Cars in Greenbrier, AR for the 2007 Dirt Late Model Series GRT Race Cars Rookie of the Year Award.  Brindle also finished fourth in the National point standings.


Robert Stutts of Murfreesboro, TN picked up the $1,000 NeSmith Chevrolet Hard Charger of the Year Award, along with his eighth-place trophy in the DLMS National point standings.


               Jeff Fields of Aragon, GA and Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA were recognized for being the only two drivers to compete in every series event ever held since 2005 with the Ironman Awards.


Fields is the only driver to finish in the top five of the series point standings for the past three seasons.  He was the National Championship Runner-Up in 2005, finished third last season, and was fifth in this year’s final point standings.  Turner has finished in the top ten in points for the past three seasons, with a third-place effort in 2005, seventh last year, and ninth this season.


               Lucky Keeton of Toomsuba, MS picked up his second straight Weekly Racing Series West Region Championship Trophy, plus a GM Performance 604 Engine, and a Trak-Star chassis from Boland Performance of Cuba, AL.


Logan Yates of Delta, AL was honored as the Weekly Racing Series East Region Champion, and he also received a GM Performance 604 Engine, plus a C.J. Rayburn chassis from C.J. Rayburn Race Cars in Whiteland, IN.


Frank Wilson of Milton, FL received his Weekly Racing Series South Region Championship Trophy along with a GM Performance 604 Engine, and a TNT Chassis from TNT Race Cars in Johnson City, TN.  Wilson announced he will move up to the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Tour in 2008, and compete for the Rookie of the Year Award.


Jay Blair of Angie, LA was the Dirt Late Model Series National Championship Runner-Up, and Derrick Rainey of Powder Springs, GA was honored as the third-place driver in the 2007 National points chase.  Rainey received a Warrior chassis from Goddard Performance of Knoxville, TN.


Chris Tays of Corinth, MS was honored as the sixth-place driver in the DLMS National point standings, Frank Ingram of Woodstock, GA was recognized as the seventh-place driver in the National points, and Jim Till picked up the tenth-place trophy in the National points chase.


Along with the top ten drivers in the 2007 Dirt Late Model Series National point standings, and the Weekly Racing Series West, East, and South Region Champions, the second through sixth-place drivers were also honored at the Awards Banquet.


Brandon Keeton of Toomsuba, MS finished second in the West Region, and told his Dad Lucky Keeton that he was out for the bigger trophy in 2008.  Steve Godsey of Bedford, IN took the third spot in the West Region followed by Terry Mosley of Gilbertown, AL, Larry Murphy of Meridian, MS, and Jamie Pickard of Columbus, MS.


Jimmy Elkins Jr. of Talladega, AL was the East Region Runner-Up followed by Chad Wallace of LaGrange, GA, Curtis Cline of Douglasville, GA, Adam Martin of Talladega, AL, and Dustin Stewart of Eastaboga, AL.


Josh Huss of Flomaton, AL was honored as the South Region Runner-Up, along with third-place driver James Ussery of Cottondale, FL.  Also recognized were the fourth and fifth-place South Region drivers, twin brothers Jonathan and Joshua Joiner, who finished one point apart in the standings, and the sixth-place South Region driver Donald Watson of Greenwell Springs, LA.


The 11th, 12th, and 13th-place drivers in the DLMS National points, Rusty Hoge of Ooltewah, TN, Cline, and Bill Flowers of Bremen, GA respectively were recognized at the banquet with Special Sportsman Awards.


The final event of the 2007 Dirt Late Model Series will take place this weekend in Tampa, FL with the 3rd Annual Crate Racin’ USA World Championship Race at East Bay Raceway Park on Friday and Saturday night.  This 100-lap event will pay $10,000 to the winner.


East Bay Raceway Park will host an open practice session on Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Competitors are reminded that mufflers are required for their race cars at East Bay Raceway Park. 


On Friday night, the Dirt Late Model Series will compete in qualifying and preliminary heat races to determine the first 18 starting positions for the 100-lap main event.  On Saturday night, the B-main races will fill starting spots 19 through 24, and the grand finale will be the 100-lap $10,000-to-win main event.


East Bay Raceway Park is located five miles south of I-4 on U.S. Highway 41.  For more information call 813-677-7223, or visit the East Bay Raceway Park web site at


The first event for the 2008 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series season will be on January 5-6 at the Annual Ice Bowl at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL.  The second event of the season will be at Columbus Speedway in Columbus, MS on January 27, and the series will return to East Bay Raceway Park for three complete shows on February 21, 22, and 23.


The complete 2008 NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS schedule will be announced in the next two weeks.  For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at


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