A new season will begin Friday night for the Allen Turner Pro Late Models at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Our resident “Stat Boy” Elgin Traylor gets you ready for the season in Pensacola, FL in this edition of “By the Numbers” on Speed51.com.
5: Jeff Choquette went on a tear in 2016 and won five Pro Late Model races at Five Flags Speedway including the season finale, the Allen Turner Tune-Up 100. Choquette has been strong at Five Flags Speedway in both the Pro and Super Late Model in recent years.
7: The Pro Late Model class has gone six seasons without a repeat champion. In recent years, the Pro Late Model champion has used the title as a stepping stone to the next level. Bret Holmes was the champ in 2016 and now runs primarily an ARCA schedule. Garrett Jones is a former track title holder and now run the Southern Super Series.
18: Casey Roderick won all four races last year in the Pro Late Model division, but he was denied in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Snowball derby weekend.
100: The feature event is 100 laps for the Pro Late Models on Friday night. All of the Pro Late Model Races this year are again 100 laps.
1997: Track owner and General Manager Tim Bryant was the track champion in the Late Model class back in 1997.
2007: Sammy McMullen won the track championship in the Pro Late Model class back in 2007. He stepped out of the seat to work with Johanna Long and is now a regular around the pit area.
2011: Thus far, DJ VanderLey is the only driver to win back-to-back Pro Late Model track championships at Five Flags Speedway. Casey Roderick has the potential to become the second driver this season.
2014: Johanna Long returned to Five Flags Speedway to win the Pro Late Model track championship in 2014. It was her third overall championship at the track.
East Coast Standout: Cole Anderson won five times this past February at the World Series of Asphalt of Stock Car racing. That won him the week-long Pro Late Model title and now he heads west to attempt to master the Five Flags Speedway circuit. Anderson was swept up in a multi-car wreck at the Snowflake 100 in December.
What’s on the Line?: The champion of the series will get an automatic starting spot in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Snowball Derby weekend. That could go a long way at season’s end due to the unknowns of how many cars will show up or what awaits a driver on that weekend. Those who finish in the top 10 in points will have a chance to get a provisional at the Snowflake if needed.
Heavy Hitters: We hope to see some upstart young talent take on Five Flags this summer, but the heavy hitters like Casey Roderick, Jeff Choquette and Justin South will likely be the favorites.
Former Champions: Before the Pro Late Models came along, the track champions were handed out over a series of races, similar to the Blizzard Series that currently competes at the track. Those yesteryear days saw drivers like Red Farmer, Junior Niedecken, Rick Crawford, Bubba Gale. Gerald Wilkerson and several others earn the honor. Track owner and operator Tim Bryant was the 1997 Track Champion
Five Flags Speedway Pro Late Model Champions
2017 Casey Roderick
2016 Bret Holmes
2015 Ryan Luza
2014 Johanna Long
2013 Garrett Jones
2012 Mike Garvey
2011 DJ VanderLey
2010 DJ VanderLey
2009 Ronnie Smith
2008 Johanna Long
2007 Sammy McMullen
2006 Steve Davis
2005 Brandon Carlson
*Prior to 2005, the top weekly class was Super Late Models
2018 Pro Late Model Schedule
March 30 – Race #1 – 100 laps
July 6 – Race #2 – 100 laps
August 17 – Race #3 – 100 laps
September 22 – Allen Turner Tune-Up – 100 laps
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com