A Few Questions And A Little History

My first, is the book about Bobby 5X5 Day still available? I’ve kept up with most of the racing down there since moving back to Va. but Im curious, what happened to Jimmy and Mike Cope? there are several drivers that seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. Shane Sawyer? Anyone know what Balough is up to these days?

Since I’m sorta a newb here, I did belong to the forum of old on Karnac back during the 90’s,man was that a strange time. I moved to Clearwater in 87, seen the wedge style cars race and the next year they we’re gone! My first big race down there was the old All American Challenge Series ( which became All Pro) run at Sunshine, man there were like 60 to 70 Late Models in that place that night, I hadn’t been to allot of asphalt racing at that time other than crapcar, I grew up around dirt late models, but after that night I was hooked forever. The old USA series, later to become Hooters Supercup, Florida Pro Series, the old Bud twin 50’s at Desoto, all the big name races around the state, dirt and asphalt, the Cope/Warren feud, Tom Stimus, man back then racing in Florida was off the hook and I ate it up like candy, I even at one poiny helped the LaWarre bunch in Titusville when Jimmy Cope and later Mike Garvey drove for them, I was even the gasman for Ken Schrader when we loaned him a car to run the old Holeshot 400 at Charlotte County back in the day. I have plenty of pictures, I’ll share them with you guys as soon as I get them all scanned in.

Another of my good friends was Bruce Everette and ol chocolate thunder, pulled that old car with a 70’s Monte Carlo and always had his dog with him. Nobody knew how fast that old car was!!

I was also a good friend with Kenny Vaughn, I have several stories about that guy, I think he was a green beret or special forces, something along those lines, I just knew he was a bad dude! One night down at punta gorda for a big LM race, he came rolling in late and by himself as usual, I was giving Wendall Overstreet a hand, well Kenny started scratch because he was late and Wendall had been in a wreck and put to the rear of the field,well then it started, those two beat the damn fenders off each other, and after the race was over Wendall and another guy helping thought they might go down to Kenny’s trailer and have a talk with the old dude and they were thinking I would come along, I said hell no I ain’t going down there, you guys go ahead, you might walk down there but you won’t be coming back, I told those guys don’t think because he’s by himself he’s easy prey, he’ll wipe the track with your hides! I talked them out of it thank god. Kenny always seemed to be an underdog, that’s kinda why I became a fan, plus I always thought he was a cool dude, again, you never knew just how fast some of those cars were. I got allot more to tell later, glad I found this place again.

On the All-American and All-Pro thing…they were two separate divisions, albeit with just about the same rules, different schedules. All-American was run by NASCAR; All-Pro was not (at the time). All-Pro ran a coupla times at St. Pete ('86 and '87); we were running with Donnie Strickland and his bunch back then (blue #57 in '86, white #57 the following year) out of Vero Beach.

We considered Sunshine our home track; we were also running one of them wedge cars there; it was the silver #III with Bryan Wescott in '85, then the red #12 in '86. Bryan got hurt in our car in August of that year; we didn’t get back until the following summer (if I recall), again with the red #12, but this time, Jim Childers was in our car.

Mike Cope’s kid, Travis, is currently running a Super Late Model; he was at the Governor’s Cup at New Smyrna last week. Mike was running the track at Bronson; not sure what he’s up to these days. Haven’t heard from Jimmy in a while; he’s probably still running his shop over there (I wanna say it’s in Pinellas Park).

Jimmy Cope is still active building racecars but has pretty much retired from driving…
Shane Sawyer lives in Georgia and still races from time to time…
Unfortunately both Bruce Everett, a great friend of mine, and Kenny Vaughn have passed away in recent years…
Great Kenny Vaughn story: Kenny ran with the Florida Pro Series and would tow up to Columbia Motorsports Park from Naples - a really long haul. One Saturday, just after practice, a big storm rolled in and it was a couple of hours before it stopped and the track dried out… Subsequently, qualifying was canceled and the cars lined up by points. During the storm Kenny got up in his truck to take a nap… When the cars came on the track to line up for the race and start the parade lap, Kenny’s car was still in the pits behind the trailer… He was still asleep!!