Earning Top-10 Finishes has Lambert, Mahuron Near Top of Standings for Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks
By Chuck Corder
One of the main attractions to the sport of racing is that age has always been just a number.
The infamous “bug” can deliver an infectious bite to the young and old alike. It plays no favorites when it discovers an unsuspecting victim.
The Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks is a perfect example. The new series, enjoying a prolific debut season at Five Flags Speedway, has already seen a 60-something win the opening checkered flag and has a 20-something riding high thanks to a three-feature winning streak.
What Corbitt Moseley, the former, did to begin the year and what Kody Jett, the latter, is currently doing are equally impressive feats.
But the talents of high school teenager Hunter Lambert and 67-year-old Joe Mahuron can’t be ignored.
The two Pensacola drivers, separated by 50 years, head into Friday’s 35-lap Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks feature sitting second and third, respectively, in the season standings. Milton’s Gary Sutton is atop, but only holds a two-point margin over the 17-year-old Lambert and just a 12-point cushion over Mahuron.
“The level of competition is great,” said Mahuron, who operates a construction business. “The drivers really do respect each other so much. There’s a wide span of age out there, no doubt about it. It’s amazing to me and hard to imagine sometimes that when I’m out there racing, I’m going against kids who are my grandson’s age.”
The Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks will be joined by the Southern Super Series Super Late Models, The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen and the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks on Friday at the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
The SLMs will be back at Pensacola’s high banks for the Universal Fabricators 100, the third of four Deep South Cranes Blizzard Series races and ninth of 12 SS events.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military and students; $5 for children ages 6 to 11; and free for kids 5 and under.
The Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks has quickly caught fire in its inaugural season. Its car counts have only been matched by both late model series that compete at Five Flags.
If the cars have uncanny resemblances to late models, they should. The main difference between the two is Outlaw Stocks drive on eight-inch tires.
“It’s bringing a lotta people out of the woodwork that were late model people in the past,” said Mahuron, who moved to Pensacola in 1980 from his native Indiana.
Hunter Lambert and his father, Tommy Lambert, originally planned to make the jump from The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen division to the Allen Turner Pro Late Model class this year before hearing rumblings about the Outlaw Stocks class.
The younger Lambert, who starts his senior year at Tate High School in just a few weeks, has enjoyed five top-eight finishes and settled for outside the top-10 just once in six races.
“It being a new class, it’s just really about learning,” said Lambert, whose highest Outlaw Stocks finish this season is fourth. “It teaches you a lot. There are always a bunch of cars compared to the other races.
“It’s a class that is really challenging. It’s not your average race at Five Flags. There are always different people upfront.”
No doubt an appealing trend for Lambert, who battled prolific champions Steve Buttrick and Brannon Fowler for victories the last two years in the Sportsmen class.
Lambert plans to run both races this Friday and has been making final tweaks and adjustments to both cars at the shop that sits behind the family home in Beulah.
“It’s fun,” Lambert said of working on the car with his dad and also Mike Cook, who serves as crew chief. “We enjoy it as a family. I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.
“Sportsmen has taught me a lot about car control. The Outlaw Stocks still feels a little different, but I know how to get around the track.”
Mahuron is not worried about navigating his way around the oval either. He has earned five top-10s in six races and boasts a personal-best finish of seventh, much to the delight of wife Glenda and their children Darren and Jessica, who have families of their own.
After leaving farming and construction businesses behind in the late-1970s in tiny New Pekin, Ind. — “If you blink your eyes, you’d miss it,” Mahuron joked — Mahuron came south and got interested in dirt track racing around 1992.
Luckily, Mahuron gets great support from his wife, Glenda, and their adult children.
“It’s something I always had in the back of my head,” he said, “that I wanted to do it. You have to remember, at the end of the day, it’s you and not somebody else. It’s a disease, no question. Once it gets ahold of you, it’s tough to break loose.”
Getting older makes it even tougher.