CARTERSVILLE, GA – National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductee and former NASCAR star Jeff Purvis of Clarksville, TN will be the special guest of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series when they visit Mountain Raceway Park in Maryville, TN on Saturday night, August 15 for Round 15 of the National Tour with a 50-lap $3,000-to-win race.
Purvis will meet and greet the Mountain Raceway Park race fans with a special autograph and photo session from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, August 15. There will also be Jeff Purvis collectables available during the session. Purvis raced at the track several times during the 1980s when the track was known as Smoky Mountain Speedway.
During the 1980s, Purvis was one of dirt late model racing’s brightest stars winning the prestigious World 100 race at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH three times, along with two NDRA National Championships and the 1986 Southern All-Star Dirt Late Model National Championship.
Purvis turned to the asphalt racing surfaces in the 1990s, winning the All-American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway a record three times and a pair of ARCA Daytona International Speedway wins. Purvis also began a NASCAR career that yielded four wins on the Nationwide Tour.
In 1999, Purvis had a desire to return to dirt track racing and that began a working relationship and a long-lasting friendship with the Founder and Director of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, Mike Vaughn. It was Vaughn who provided Purvis a car to race at the 1999 Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Model Series season opener in Brunswick, GA, his first dirt track race in ten years.
Purvis still had his NASCAR career going, but dirt track racing still brought Purvis national notoriety. In 2001 on the first ballot, Purvis was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.
A life-threatening crash in 2002 during a NASCAR race at Nazareth, PA all but ended Purvis’ NASCAR career. After a three-year recovery from a broken neck, Purvis and Vaughn ended up together again with a new and innovative motorsports project.
GM Performance Parts had developed a new and affordable “Crate” engine for dirt late models that was built and sealed at the factory to prohibit any expensive modifications. Purvis and Vaughn liked the idea and Purvis encouraged Vaughn to start a new series in 2005 that has become the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
Purvis returned to dirt late model racing full-time in 2005 with the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series and finished sixth in the National point standings. Purvis was once a title contender in 2006, but another crash landed him in the hospital for a second time with a life-threatening neck fracture.
The difference between this crash and the 2002 crash were the difference between day and night, and brought an eye opening outlook on life for Purvis. He was by himself strapped in a race car in the 2002 crash. In 2006, he was traveling to a race at Talladega Short Track in the race team’s hauler with his family when it blew a front tire, crashed and burned to the ground.
While his family and crew members did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Purvis was injured while he was trying to pull his son Clay out of the bunk over the top of the cab during the crash. During his fight for life at Vanderbilt Hospital for the second time in his life, Purvis decided he needed to concentrate more on providing for his family.
After he was released from the hospital, Purvis returned home to Clarksville, TN to recover from his injuries and tend to his successful business, Queen City Metals. He has not raced since the 2006 highway accident.
“Jeff Purvis has always been my hero in racing, and it has been an honor to have him drive my race car and to compete in my series,” Vaughn said. “I know Jeff is looking forward to coming to Mountain Raceway Park on August 15 because he still has a lot of fans and friends in East Tennessee. A lot of the drivers in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series today miss competing with Jeff because they were able to learn so much just being on the same track with him.”
The NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National Tour will be making its second appearance of the 2009 season at Mountain Raceway Park. Derrick Rainey of Powder Springs, GA won the first race at MRP on July 18, an event that many in attendance said it was one the best races they had ever seen at the historic 4/10-mile clay oval with abundant two and three-wide racing.
For more information about Mountain Raceway Park call 865-856-8989, or visit the track web site at www.mountainraceway.net. For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com.
From an NESmith Press Release
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