MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Following events from Saturday night’s Pro All Stars Series Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway, David Gilliland Racing has announced they will make schedule adjustments to all of their super late model teams to avoid competing in any PASS-sanctioned events for the forseeable future.
“Unprofessional” behavior by race control and those in series management were cited as the primary reasons for the schedule change.
The incidents in question involved DGR driver Raphael Lessard and his No. 99 team, who originally crossed the line in second at the checkered flag on Saturday.
“We race all over the country and have interactions with various officials and sanctions from coast to coast,” said crew chief Seth Smith. “Never in my entire career in racing have I been treated like I was on Saturday at Hickory by the PASS president and upper management. On-track, race control decisions are one thing – sometimes it’s your day and sometimes it isn’t. But to be singled out and treated with a blatant disregard for professionalism is something our team, our sponsors, our drivers and I refuse to be associated with.”
Four distinct incidents helped to define DGR’s decision. First, during an early caution where a slower, inexperienced driver was unable to get out of the way of the No. 99 car and the rest of the leaders quick enough to avoid an accident, minor contact resulted in a spin.
Race control, led by series president Tom Mayberry, declared a $500 fine for “almost rough driving” to the No. 99 team, a penalty the team willfully accepted as they lined up to restart.
Soon thereafter, an accident occurred on a restart where Lessard was both the leader and the control car. Since the field did not complete a lap before the caution was displayed, series rules revert to the last completed lap for proper lineup.
Upon repassing of a competitor who did not slow at the same rate as Lessard, race control once again issued a $500 fine to the No. 99 car, this time for passing under yellow.
“While we weren’t happy with their decisions during the race, we respected them as competitors and abided by their wishes,” said Smith, who was also spotting for Lessard. “We still had a chance to win the race and we did not want to jeopardize that opportunity. It was during a lengthy cleanup that Mr. Mayberry sent one of his employees to the spotter stand near turn one to request I visit the tower. I complied immediately and quickly made my way to the center of the frontstretch.”
“Upon arriving in the tower, I was greeted by Mr. Mayberry in a profanity-laced tirade addressing various subjects and incidents over the course of the night,” Smith continued. “I calmly attempted to explain our position but was routinely interrupted with more profanity and threats to disqualify us if we touched another car or another car touched us. After a few minutes, I politely dismissed myself from the tower as we were nearly ready to return to racing and I had a job to do.”
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