Super Late Model racing returns to Lavonia Speedway (GA) for the first time in nearly 16 months on Friday. The 3/8-mile oval hosts the Buck Simmons Memorial on August 30, featuring the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series Southeast Region.
Scott Childress, owner of Lavonia Speedway, joined Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring” on Monday to discuss the first Super Late Model event at the venue since a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event on May 3, 2018, as well as the importance of hosting the Buck Simmons Memorial.
“First of all, we’re really excited,” Childress began. “This is a special deal. This is the Buck Simmons Memorial. He was such a legend in that area. He brought a lot to the table. He’s done a lot as far as having a successful career. His impact in dirt racing has been tremendous. We look forward to honoring him and hosting this event.”
The event pays tribute to Buck Simmons, a member of the inaugural class of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2001. The 1981 National Dirt Racing Association champion passed away in 2012, but memories of the Baldwin, Georgia native’s career live on.
“I remember watching Buck as a child, too,” Childress said. “I’d always go to the races with my dad. You always knew Buck was the guy you’d have to outrun. Him and my dad were pretty good friends. It was always fun watching him. He really is a legend.”
Several big names from the Southeastern Dirt Late Model scene are expected to compete in the $4,141-to-win event, along with the regulars of ULTIMATE Southeast.
“You may see Brandon Overton. I’ve reached out to several other people. I’m sure Rambo [Dennis Franklin] will be there, Zack Mitchell, Casey Roberts. I’m looking at a good field of cars, it will be a good event.”
Another big name planning on competing at Lavonia is arguably the hottest driver in the Southeast. Ross Bailes, competing in the Barry Wright Race Cars house car, has six wins to his credit in 2019, including two in ULTIMATE Southeast and a win in both the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Late Models.
“Ross has had a great year this year,” Childress said. “He and Barry Wright seem to make a good team. I like Ross, he is a super-nice guy to talk to on the phone. I hope he has a good run.”
Childress not only expects a great race on Friday, but a great crowd excited to see the return of Super Late Model racing to Lavonia.
“The track has been awesome this summer. It has been real racey, it blacks up quickly. It should be a great race Friday night. The crowd loves Late Models in that area. Some crowds like the stock cars. Cherokee likes the Late Models and Lavonia is in that same mindset as far as the fans. I think it’s going to be an awesome crowd.”
Pits will open at 4 p.m. Friday for the Buck Simmons Memorial, with spectator gates opening at 5 p.m. and racing starting at 8 p.m. Admission tickets will be $20, with pit passes priced at $35.
Along with the ULTIMATE Super Late Models, several local divisions will be in action, including 602 Late Models, 602 Chargers, Open Wheel Modifieds, Stock 8, Front-Wheel Drive and Stock 4.
For fans unable to make the trip, Speed51 will provide highlights, recaps and coverage of the event as the Official Video Home of the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Lavonia Speedway