latemodelamerica.com - March 20th - North Alabama Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

 Josh Putnam

Josh Putnam earned bragging rights to the second win on the PRO Series with his
triumph at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Ala. (Connie Putnam)
Putnam "Steams" to PRO Win at North Alabama

By Ben Shelton

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. -- March 20. Josh Putnam battled through an overheating engine and a stout field of competitors to claim the $2,500 prize on Saturday as North Alabama Speedway played host to an event co-sanctioned by the P.R.O. Late Model Series and the NeSmith Late Model Series.

  Twenty-six entries converged on the ¼-mile oval, and Putnam, of Killen, Alabama blazed to fast time with a lap of 13.393 seconds around the clay oval

Putnam - Rickman

Josh Putnam duels to the outside of leader Rick Rickman before taking control of the PRO Series event at North Alabama Speedway on March 20th. (Connie Putnam)

in his #212 Pierce Race Car/Performance Connection Racing Engines Late Model. He was joined on the front row for the 40 lap feature by Brian Rickman of Columbus, Mississippi.

  As the event got underway, Rickman narrowly led the first lap over Putnam, while Rick Rickman, Kyle Beard, and David Breazeale joined much of the field in battling two and three wide around the clay oval.

Burroughs - Rickman

As early frontrunner Brian Rickman begins to fade back, current top ten ranked Anthony Burroughs of Athens, Ala. rolls underneath to ultimately capture another top five finish. (Connie Putnam)

Eric Cooley

Young Mississippi up and comer Eric Cooley earned a hard charger award by advancing from his 16th place start to sixth at Tuscumbia. (Connie Putnam)

After a lap two caution, Rick Rickman drove past Putnam for the second position, and after one lap, Jeremy Glasgow spun with a tire going flat. The field would then endure several maore cautions before settling into a long green flag run that gave Putnam the momentum to use the high groove to rocket past the Rickman brothers and into the lead on the seventh circuit.

Things would not be coming easy for Putnam though as his car began to show evidence of smoke with an overheating engine by lap 10.

With Putnam out front, Brian and Rick Rickman battled side by side for the second position for a few laps before Breazeale joined the fray on lap 12, and ultimately moved past Brian Rickman for the third spot a few laps later. As the field approached the midway point, the leaders were closing in on lapped traffic, but the caution flew again on lap 23, and near-disaster struck for the leader, Putnam, as his over-heating car stalled on the front straightaway during the caution period. Putnam was finally able to get his car back rolling again to assume the lead over Rick Rickman, Breazeale, Brian Rickman, and Ronnie Johnson.

As the race went green for the final time, Breazeale raced past Rick Rickman for second and set his sights on the leader, chasing Putnam through the cushion and lapped traffic for the remainder of the race, but Putnam would claim his first win of the season over Breazeale, Rick Rickman, Ronnie Johnson, and Anthony Burroughs.

In victory lane an emotional Putnam thanked his crew, sponsors, and fans and expressed confidence in the direction that his program was headed in.

  Eric Cooley powered his spec motor Late Model to the American Race Tires Hard Charger Award after advancing from his 16th starting position to a 6th place finish.

Josh Putnam

Josh Putnam salutes the crowd after his first career PRO Series win at North Alabama Speedway. (Connie Putnam)

North Alabama PRO Series Finish

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