Posted: Thursday, August 7th 2014 at 10:00am
World Crown 300 Rewind: Fleeman Rebounds For '08 Win
By Brandon Reed Staff
Russell Fleeman would come back from a cut tire to score the victory in the 2008 running of the World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park. / Photo: Brandon Reed
JEFFERSON, GA - Russell Fleeman had been very successful in 2008.
The Dacula, GA driver was the defending Georgia Asphalt Series title, and going into November, he had a second straight title in his grasp.
But there was a bigger prize that he wanted, one that would cement his place in the short track racing history books – a win in the famed World Crown 300 at his home track of Peach State Speedway (now Gresham Motorsports Park) in Jefferson, GA.
He had been trying for years to wear the crown in the classic Georgia short track event, with his best effort coming in 2007 with a fourth place finish.
But on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008, Fleeman pulled off one of the greatest come from behind victories in the 25 year history of the World Crown.
With 38 cars starting the race, it was the largest field for the World Crown since 1984. Pole sitter Brandon Johnson led the field to the green flag, and stayed on point through the first 11 laps.
The caution flag flew twice during that time, first when a flat tire sent Richard Johns spinning in the third turn, and the second when Senoia, GA driver Bubba Pollard stopped on the backstretch after experiencing a mechanical issue.
Back under green, defending World Crown champ Paul Kelley passed Johnson on lap 12 to take the lead, and would hold the top spot until the halfway break at lap 100.
Meanwhile, Commerce, GA’s Taylor Satterfield, former Jefferson native Ryan Crane and Fleeman worked their way into the top five, and were fighting for position when Fleeman slowed suddenly on lap 53, the victim of a cut tire.
He rushed to the pits, where his crew quickly made repairs and sent him back out. Fleeman lost a lap to the leader in the process.
As Fleeman roared out of the pits, Pollard made his way around Kelley to get back on the lead lap. A spin by Jimmy Weller brought out the caution again, allowing Pollard to rejoin the race at the back of the field.
The caution was a blessing for Fleeman, who now had the chance to restart alongside the leader, and on lap 69, he moved around Kelley to get back on the lead lap. When Commerce, GA’s Dennis Wilder spun on the backstretch on lap 81, Fleeman was able to rejoin the field on the lead lap.
Kelley held the lead to the halfway point, where the race was halted for a five-minute break to allow teams to work on their cars.
When the green flew again, Pollard, who had worked his way back up into the top five, apparently experienced transmission trouble, and stopped on the front stretch to bring out a caution.
Kelley, meanwhile, came under immediate attack from Johnson, and gave up the lead on lap 107. Fifteen laps later, it appeared that Kelley struck a piece of debris on the track, and the entire left side body work on his car flew up, flapping as he went by.
A caution two laps later gave the three-time World Crown champ a chance to come in and make repairs. He restarted at the back of the field.
Meanwhile, Fleeman worked his way back into contention, moving into the second spot. On lap 157, Fleeman ducked low out of the fourth turn, and took the top spot away. He would never give it back.
As Fleeman moved away for his first World Crown win, Satterfield moved to second, and Kelley roared back through the field to third. But neither could catch Fleeman, who motored to victory lane.
“We’ve been trying to win the World Crown for five or six years, and it seems like we’d either do good or have bad luck,” Fleeman said after the victory. “We tested here earlier in the year and got a game plan.
“I knew I had to get as close to the front as I could, but I didn’t want to use my tires up.” Fleeman said. “When I finally got out in the lead, I knew I had to pace myself.”
When the green flag flies on Saturday, Aug. 9, for the 31st annual World Crown 300, Fleeman will be in the field. He, along with defending champion Preston Peltier, will be looking to add their names to the list of two time World Crown champions.
For more information on the 31st annual World Crown 300, visit Gresham Motorsports Park’s website at www.racegmp.com.
World Crown 300 - Peach State Speedway
Race Results - Nov. 9, 2008
1. Russell Fleeman - Dacula, GA
2. Taylor Satterfield - Commerce, GA
3. Paul Kelley - Pendergrass, GA
4. Brandon Johnson - Longwood, FL
5. Ryan Crane - Panama City, FL
6. David Hole - Cumming, GA
7. Randy Porter - Easley, SC
8. Kyle Fowler - Smyrna, GA
9. Max Gresham - Griffin, GA
10. Bubba Pollard - Senoia, GA
11. Michael Pope - Dublin, GA
12. Bobby East - Mooresville, NC
13. Dennis Wilder - Commerce, GA
14. Jeremy Rice - Elberton, GA
15. TJ Reaid - Acworth, GA
16. Ralph Carnes - Anderson, SC
17. Trey Mitchell - Wimberley,Texas
18. Tyler Millwood - Kingston, GA
19. Shane Sieg - Tucker, GA
20. Jimmy Weller - Liberty, Ohio
21. Rebecca Kastin - Mequon, Wisconsin
22. Kyle Mitchell - Hampton, GA
23. Billy Fulson - Douglasville, GA
24. Brian Weimer - Cumming, GA
25. Scott Patton - Chattanooga, TN
26. Larry Jordan - Hoschton, GA
27. Jimmy Garmon - Hoschton, GA
28. Shane Sawyer - Canton, GA
29. Alex Garcia - Marietta, GA
30. Zac Kittle - Watkinsville, GA
31. James Nealis - Gainesville, GA
32. Jimmy Lang - Bluffton, SC
33. Bear Lynch - Denver, Colorado
34. Matt Hawkins - Canton, GA
35. Beau Slocomb - Macon, GA
36. Richard Johns - Charlotte, NC
37. John Wes Townley - Watkinsville, GA
38. Michael Lance - Lawrenceville, GA
Link: Gresham Motorsports Park
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