Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

September 20, 2009

Sloan wins Thunderbowl reunion race

VALDOSTA — A group of drivers who once raced at Valdosta’s Thunderbowl Speedway reunited Saturday night to race go karts in the inaugural Tribute to Thunderbowl Speedway Celebrity Race at Valdosta Motor Speedway.

There were 16 drivers racing in the celebrity race, which lasted 50 laps.

Lavon Sloan was the winner of the race. Sloan was driving a No. 22 go kart that was painted like one of his old race cars. He led most of the race, and after taking the lead for good around lap 40, he pulled away from the rest of the field and took the checkered flag by a considerable margin.

“I enjoyed it. It was a good race. A lot of fun,” Sloan said. “We had a good kart.”

Sloan was thrilled to get back on a dirt track and compete against some of the drivers he had raced against years ago at Thunderbowl and other tracks.

“With all those guys, it was a lot of fun. There were two or three of them I raced several years with — Louie (Radney) and Gene Ross and Jason Hylton,” said Sloan, whose racing career began in the late 1970s and lasted until 1997. “The people that helped me through the years in racing, a lot of them were here. It brought back a lot of memories.

“When you race with some of these guys for years, they become some of the best friends you’ve ever had.”

Sloan won over 300 feature races in his racing career, including several at Thunderbowl Speedway. One of the highlights of his career was winning a big $10,000 race at Thunderbowl in 1993.

Hylton finished second in the celebrity race, while Gene Ross was third.

The drivers who competed in the celebrity race Saturday were Sloan, Hylton, Radney, Gene Ross, Tommy Ross, Johnny Lieupo, Walt Bazemore, Scott Hudgins, Gordon Pearce, Carl Black, Oliver Hughes, T.C. Broadway, Marty Dizmule, Neil Bennett, Randy Merwin and Alva Eason.

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