||Behind The Camera
“The Thoughts Edition”
Salutary greetings from the mountains of East TN, the home of fast race cars and even faster women. I have taken
a sabbatical of sorts from writing this column for some time and have decided that it is time that it’s brought back to
life. In the time away from my ponderings and my opinions I have been to many tracks, seen many races and many,
many people who are only out for themselves and no one else. While it may seem that I am bitter or angry, that is
far from the case in this situation. It is an expression of concern for this great sport that so many of us love and
attend every weekend.
I will begin by speaking on the “Skyler Trull Memorial that is held to help the memory of a young girl live in hopes
of one day that no child will ever have to feel the pain and hurt that she and her family have felt from her loss. I am
a strong supporter of this race and the entire Trull family, as they are a great family that cares far more about
helping other children and the Make A Wish foundation than most people care about their own family. While
perusing the boards over at trackforums.com the day after this annual event some smartass decided to show his
true colors and say that the family was only holding this race to make money off of Skyler’s name and story, rather
than the true cause of this race. Almost $7000 was raised for the Make A Wish foundation and as the father of a
healthy child I wish it could have been triple that for those families and youngsters in need. To the patron that made
that statement I send out a big kiss off and I hope I never run into at a racetrack.
Next thing up is the Ray Cook Southern Nationals. Ray Cook is one of the finest individuals that anyone would
ever want to meet and has done some fabulous things with this series. Starting out in Rural Retreat, Va at Wythe
Raceway, the fans would see 32 super late models check in for the first event on the 2nd edition of this great event
for southern dirt fans. I come home and what do I see but people posting things that Ray and his crew did wrong. To
those people I say, IF YOU CAN DO IT BETTER, THEN HAVE YOUR OWN SERIES.” Ray has a fine purse in
every race and is fair to every competitor whether it be Brandon Kinzer or Troy Eads. I hope continued success to
Ray Cook and his gang on future “Southern Nationals”.
Now onto this past weekends racing action, that I saw take place with the O’Reilly Southern All Stars. First up was
Friday night at Crossville Raceway USA where Shane Clanton picked up his 3rd OSAS win this year in his first
ever visit to the highbank speed plant. Virtual newcomer and fast rising Ricky Arms would show the way during
qualifications setting fast time with a blistering lap. The show only drew a disappointing 24 cars, which of course is
all you need to race, I’m not sure why there was only 24 there. It could have possibly been the double file restarts
that were used all weekend or maybe it was the threat of weather. On to the race it was Clint Smith jumping out
front and completely dominating the race until a broken driveshaft knocked him out of the race and handed the win
to “Coconut Clanton”. Randy Weaver would wind up 2nd and didn’t seem to have his “A” game at his home track
that is a mere 5 minutes from his homeplace.
Saturday night found me at my favorite track, Cleveland Speedway for some door to door fast paced racing action.
Once again a low car count was to be had with only 29 super late models signing in for the nights activities. On
average for a Cleveland OSAS show there is around 40 or more…Once again I don’t know if it was the weather, the
double file restarts or just to many races in a short time frame in this region. The “Catfish” Todd Morrow would
take the fast time award home at the track where he was raised and first begin to race. The crowd was at maximum
capacity by the time the feature would roll off and they would not be shorted any action whatsoever. Morrow and
Weaver would battle for the first 10 or so laps side by side until Weaver would finally grab the lead and the win
from his 6th starting position. Clint Smith and Shane Clanton would come in 2nd and 3rd with Joe Armes out of
Petros coming home 4th after a late caution on the white flag lap would relegate what had otherwise been a stellar
During the weekend I got the chance to speak with the youngster that is turning some heads in the late model
community, G.R. Smith. While being relatively new in the late model scene G.R. has definitely turned some heads
with his wide open and balls to the walls driving style. He’s a good kid and really loves to race and one heck of a
nice dude. His qualifying effort at Crossville turned some heads as well, as he used a line around this joint that no
one else has ever used and a few after him tried to emulate only to be left looking like fools. I look for big things
from this youngster and hope only the best for him. This weekend I will be off to the “Hornets Nest” Talladega
Short Track for the Michael Head Jr Memorial. This is a lot more than a race and one of those things that people
in the southern racing community look forward to all year. Hopefully I will continue to be in the writing mood next
week so that I can recap the whole event for everyone. For those of you are in this sport for your own hidden
agendas I urge you to get the fluck out and not ruin this great spectacle that is known as Dirt Late Model Racing.
Until next time, I hope everyone’s racing is good and the road to get there is even better.
I’m out like trout!