Former NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeremy Mayfield snapped a 13 year dry spell on Sunday afternoon at Georgia’s Lavonia Speedway.
Mayfield led wire-to-wire en route to the win in the 602 division feature as a part of the Black Friday Shootout at the North Georgia 3/8-mile clay oval.
It marks the first win of any kind for the Owensboro, Kentucky native since August of 2005, when he scored the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Michigan International Speedway.
Mayfield has driven the Safety Plus Racing Rocket owned by Commerce, Georgia’s Taylor Griffith all season, competing at several North Georgia race tracks, including Lavonia, Toccoa Speedway, Hartwell Speedway, Winder-Barrow Speedway and on the Alpha Art Company 602 Thunder Series tour.
While the team had seen several strong runs, that first victory remained elusive.
On Sunday, it all came together for the No. 49 team, as Mayfield drove to the win and a $1,200 payday.
“It feels great to get these guys into victory lane,” said Mayfield. “We’ve come close several times, and finally we get to snap that win drought. These guys put a great car under me today, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Griffith said the car, a 2015 Rocket chassis purchased from Georgia racing veteran Clint Smith, had recently switched to Bilstein Shocks prepared by Daniel Martin with Martin Motorsports.
“That made a big difference in performance,” Griffith said. “Clint Smith has been helping us with the setup since we bought the car two months ago, and Daniel Martin was at the track with us to help get it dialed in. Today it all just came together. I’m so happy to see Jeremy Mayfield in victory lane with our car. We have been digging hard and moving closer to this win all season. This is a great way to cap off 2018, and it gives us a ton of momentum heading into 2019.”
Mayfield started out the day by winning the pole for the feature, and on the drop of the green flag, he powered out to the point. He had built up a straightaway advantage before the first caution of the race came out.
Mayfield chose the outside of the front row for the restart, and cleared Justin Sims to retake the lead as the two raced off the second turn. He again began building an advantage, leading by almost a straightway as the race entered the closing laps. That advantage evaporated when a second caution came out with about seven laps remaining.
Again choosing to restart on the outside of the front row, Mayfield came under fire from Drew Benfield as the green flag flew again. Mayfield cleared the challenge off of turn two, and quickly pulled out to a six car length advantage.
But as the final laps clicked off, the No. 49 picked up a push, allowing Sims to mount a late charge. Simms managed to cut the lead down to about three car lengths.
Mayfield kept his cool and hustled his car around the 3/8-mile ahead of the challenge, holding Sims at bay to cross under the checkered flag first and score the win. Benfield finished in third.
Other winners on the day included John Ownbey in Super Late Models, Sterling Helm in Modified Street, Chris Cape in Stock 8, Jeff Dobbs in Mini Late Models and Justin Sorrows in Front Wheel Drive.