Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One More From The Archives

I found this is the files and figured I'd share it here. Jimmy Lavell got a win out at Altamont this year with the NCMA and is an NCMA Asphalt Champion as well, if I'm not mistaken. Well, "Gentleman" Jimmy Lavell got his first taste of carbureted Sprint Car racing with the Wingless Spec Sprints. It's amazing how many drivers can say that, and I'm proud of what Don O'Keefe Jr. and I were able to do to kelp make that possible.

Anyway, Lavell had already earned a few accomplishments prior to the Spec Sprints, and here's an old DCRR article that talks about that as Jimmy was making his move up to the open wheel division.

Wingless Spec Sprints A Dream Come True For Lavell

Look for former Altamont Pure Stock champion Jimmy Lavell to be in action at Antioch. It is racers like Lavell who are joining the Wingless Spec Sprint division that make it the fastest growing class at Antioch Speedway. "This is a dream come true to own my own Sprint Car and go out, " Lavell admitted. "It's competitive. It looks nice. Like I said, this is something I have dreamed about ever since I was a little kid. These guys, they made it happen. Mikey put the motor together. Danny's been helping me get the chassis and everything squared away. I have them to thank a whole bunch for helping me make a dream come true. That and John and everybody else who has made this class happen. You look at pictures of these cars and they look so cool. They're out there sideways. It's a rush. I think it's one of the best things that has happened to Sprint Car racing anywhere in the United States."

Affordability is the key to Lavell, who lists "Lots Of Overtime" as one of his sponsors. In fact, lack of funds probably kept him in a Pure Stock longer than he needed to be. "Say I wanted to go down south and run, excluding the NCMA. You're looking at $20-25.000 a motor. I'm just a working stiff. I paid for this thing by myself. How many guys can afford to spend 25 grand on a motor and another 10 on a roller chassis deal? It's just tough to do. This is such a sweet, sweet deal for us to be able to come out and run with these cars. It's good racing. You don't have guys coming out and walking away from everybody. Everybody is in the thick of it. I'm looking forward to it.

Lavell's debut in the second race of the season saw him struggle in his heat race, before coming out of the B Main and into a top five feature finish. He is quick to give the credit for his night's success where it's due. "The guy that set the distributor evidently had done a Ford distributor before, " Jimmy explained. "They rotate in the opposite direction. He put the advance weights backwards. That's what was wrong. It was retarding the timing instead of advancing. Danny and Josh were sitting here trying to get this thing to run, because we were barely getting it to start. Danny says, 'Hey man, this is not right. The weights are on upsidedown. It's got to be that.' They were calling us up for the B Main. I said, 'Hey, change it.' They jumped on it and changed it. Last week, our accomplishments were because of Danny. He's the one that solved the problem. I got into it and it was so easy to drive. They're easy to drive when they run good and they're a handful when they don't."

Coming from the back of the pack, patience is the key. Many people weren't expecting him to have the top five success so quickly. "Neither was I, but if you stay out of the carnage, it makes a big difference, " said Lavell, who won three Pure Stock features last season before selling that car to Brian Davis to get the Sprint Car. "You can get in way over your head real quick with these cars. A lot of guys are going out there kamikaze, Hey, give it a couple laps and let everybody get spread out. Then start going for it. I'd like to see Don O'Keefe out here keeping things settled like he did last year. It was a good run last week. I was this high off the ground when I got out of the car."

The former top five Baylands Raceway Park Pure Stock competitor is now ranked top ten and the second rookie on the Antioch WSS point list, but he insists he's not concerned with that. "We come out here to run for fun, " claimed Lavell "We're not chasing points or anything like that. We want to go home every night with the car in one piece and a smile on our face. Last week, we were all smiling."