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Clay Bedenbaugh Keeps Pace in National Late Model Series Title Chase
Mar 14, 2007 - updated Mar 14th, 2007 8:19am
Web posted by Press Release

Lake City, Florida --

2006 Golden Isles Speedway Champion Eyes Touring


(Lake City, Florida – March 13, 2007) A new challenge faces talented stock car driver Clay Bedenbaugh in 2007, as the driver of the MasterSbilt dirt late model chases the championship on the National Late Model Series’ (NLMS) Southern Dirt Tour. After being crowned the Golden Isles Speedway track champion in 2006 Bedenbaugh, a 23 year old team owner and racer from Lake City, has raised the bar on his expectations for this season, and so far is off to a solid start toward his goals. Bedenbaugh is not hesitant about his rapid ascent to racing success, as his 2006 title at Brunswick, Georgia’s Golden Isles Speedway makes him the champion of the fastest short track racing oval in the entire world.

“A lot of people have come up to me and ask me what it’s like racing at a dirt track where speeds exceed 150 miles per hour,” smiles Bedenbaugh when quizzed about his championship at Golden Isles. “I let them know that it kind of says something about how I’m approaching my racing, and that’s in an accelerated manner. I’m still young, but in this business you’ve got to move fast in order to get where you’re going, both on the track and in a business sense,” noted Bedenbaugh as he wrapped up his fifth NLMS event of 2007. “But to race at a track that is known for such mind boggling speeds is just awesome, it’s just another big reason that we are so proud of our championship there last year and it’s gained us a lot of respect from others in the racing business,” says Bedenbaugh.

Currently Clay Bedenbaugh is posted in the fifth position of the NLMS championship standings, just twenty-nine points out of the lead, and has already claimed one win and another third place finish. The win came on New Years Eve at Golden Isles when the 2007 NLMS schedule actually got under way. Since then Bedenbaugh posted his other top-five run during the SuperBowl of Racing in front of an overflowing grandstand crowd and some of the biggest names in the American short track racing industry on hand to witness his success. This past weekend, Bedenbaugh overcame problems in qualifying at the Douglas, Georgia event and thundered from the back of the field into the top-five before the halfway point of the race. The spirited effort by Bedenbaugh in his Pontiac Grand Prix was cut short late in the event with a broken wheel hub sending him to the pits as he was running in the third position.

“That’s disheartening when you come from the back of the pack and begin to challenge for the lead, but then again that’s all part of the racing business,” shrugged Bedenbaugh on his luck. “It’s just one of the freak deals that you work so hard in the shop to avoid, but it’s still gonna happen every now and then and you’ve just got to keep your chin up and get back after it. We’ve got a big money race to be ready for in less than two weeks and there’s no need in bumming out about tonight, our car was strong and it gave me a chance to again showcase my skills against a loaded field of worthy competitors,” said the Florida red-head who pilots the number six machine.

Although still in his early twenties, Bedenbaugh’s success for his Top Flight Racing program has not come overnight and has taken a lot of work into the wee hours of mornings to accomplish. Earlier racing knowledge was obtained by seat time and winning efforts in Hobby Stock and Street Stock action prior to Bedenbaugh’s transition into dirt late model competition. As a working racer, Bedenbaugh’s daily routine sees him conclude his labors in the home building industry and head straight to his modest race shop in order to keep his cars and equipment prepared for the next event.

“It’s an ongoing challenge and takes a lot of commitment, but I don’t mind it a bit because my racing career is growing and heading in the right direction,” says Bedenbaugh. “We may not have a lot of high-dollar equipment and a plush shop to work out of, but we work hard and are grateful for the support we have right now. I have a little bit of help in maintaining the cars with Bruce Fulwood and his two sons Eric and Shawn, but it’s a constant battle to stay ahead of the game so that we can be competitive and run up front week in and week out,” Bedenbaugh points out. “My dad, Greg Bedenbaugh, has always helped as much as he can and is a strong source of encouragement for our program.”

The team has limited sponsorship and funding with most of the help coming from friends and family in the Lake City and Columbia County, Florida area. In addition to his work and racing responsibilities, Clay and Alison also have a full-time home life with their two daughters and one young son.

“The clock never stops around our home and shop,” laughs Bedenbaugh, “It’s kids, school, work, race shop, kids, family and head to the races, but I love every minute of it and none of it would be worth all the time and energy if it wasn’t for family and friends.”

With his hat tossed into the ring for the 2007 NLMS Championship, the stakes have been raised and Clay Bedenbaugh Racing is constantly searching for winning combinations among businesses and products that can align their marketing programs with the race team’s efforts and travels. The help from family and friends have helped tremendously through the outset of the team’s racing activities, but now with an increased travel schedule and a heavier load of competition, Clay and the crew know that they have to make moves to absorb the added financial burden on the race team. According to some of those ‘in the know’ Bedenbaugh is expected to continue his success, even with an increased travel schedule.

“Clay Bedenbaugh is one of the most level-headed rookie campaigners I have seen in many years,” according to NLMS Director of Communications Terry Caton. “He not only has an outstanding chance of capturing the Bert Transmissions Rookie of the Year Award, there is no reason you should not consider him as a contender for the over all National Late Model Series championship in 2007”.

The attention gained by Bedenbaugh’s title run at Golden Isles Speedway in 2006 has led many others in the sport to consider him one of the brightest young up and coming stars in the sport. But Clay is still very well grounded in his thinking and the management of his racing program as he faces the new challenges. “My dad and mom, and everyone else in my family have been super supportive of my racing efforts and I couldn’t have gotten where I am now without their help,” Bedenbaugh adds. “My brother races also in his division as well as my nephew, but they have to devote most of their time directly to their own racing efforts. The Fulwoods and other people who pitched in have given me a big push and Bruce has been a big help with the engines and tuning us in at each track. Eric is a huge help at the track and also assists me in keeping things running at the shop; his brother Shawn helps us at the track when things really get hectic and the extra help is needed.”

With a twenty-plus race schedule on tap for the NLMS tour, as well as other open events Bedenbaugh presses on with a positive outlook and hopes of securing additional funding and marketing associates for the team.

“I’m extremely happy with our MasterSbilt racecars and am hoping that the Masters brothers, Keith and Tader, can continue to help us out with set-up advice and product support. That’s a company (MasterSbilt) that I believe in and I’m hoping that they believe in me as much with our championship last year and all,” Bedenbaugh reflected on his Golden Isles Speedway title. “I’m really grateful to Mike Farr of Genesis Shocks for all of the help that he been an asset so far and as it has given us a boost and I like their product. We’re in the process of setting up a new web site and are in contact with several organizations who have common business interests in the markets and locations that we will compete in. Increte Systems - ‘The Future of Concrete’ have helped us out some with Grant Denny and his business. We know that they can certainly benefit by remaining involved as a team sponsor. Right now it’s still all up in the air as far as sponsors go, but we are committed to race on and hopefully grab another championship this season.” Winning titles is no strange thing to Clay Bedenbaugh as his 2006 Championship wasn’t his first. Although a quiet and reserved personality is shown by the kid from Lake City outside the racecar, once Bedenbaugh straps into his competitive mode it’s a whole different game. Prior to moving into full-bodied stock cars, Bedenbaugh claimed over a dozen championship titles in the World Karting Association (WKA) and the Florida Karting Association (FKA). As the driver and team continue to climb their ladder of success, they approach each new step with principles that have brought past successes to the efforts. “It’s always a challenge in this sport, no different than life,” says Bedenbaugh as he loads his late model onto the trailer and prepares to head home following his most recent turn on the track. “We’re going to face challenges both inside of the car, under the hood and in our day-to-day life, but we do so with a positive attitude and a business like approach. That’s the way I’ve been brought up and that’s the way we deal with our racing. We’re hopeful that a business owner or company that holds the same philosophy sees the value of becoming part of our team, because we feel like we have a lot to offer in terms of advertising and marketing opportunities with integrity and positive results. Besides, most all sponsors like to wind up in victory lane and we’re confident that we can take them there,” concluded Bedenbaugh with a wink.

2007 National Late Model Series Schedule of Events
Date \ Location \ Market \ Results
Dec 29 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA) 16th
Dec 30 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA) WIN
Feb 1 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA) 3RD
Feb 3 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA) 12th
Feb 24 Douglas Motorsports Park (Douglas, GA) 19th
Mar 10 Waycross Motor Speedway (Waycross, GA) 24th
Apr 7 Waycross Motor Speedway (Waycross, GA)
Apr 19-21East Bay Raceway Park (Tampa, FL)
May 5 Gordon Park Speedway (Augusta, GA)
May 19 Douglas Motorsports Park (Douglas, GA)
May 25-26 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA)
Jun 8-9 TBA
Jul 6-7 Golden Isles Speedway ( Brunswick, GA)
Aug 3 Penton Speedway (Lafayette, AL)
Aug 4 East Alabama Motor Speedway (Phenix City, AL)
Aug 18 Screven Motor Speedway (Sylvania, GA)
Aug 31 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA)
Sep 1 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA)
Sep 15 Douglas Motorsports Park (Douglas, GA)
Oct 5-6 Cochran Motor Speedway (Cochran, GA)
Oct 12-13 Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Oct 25-27 Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, GA)
Nov 9-10 Douglas Motorsports Park (Douglas, GA)
Nov 22-24 Cochran Motor Speedway (Cochran, GA)


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