A dirt-track racer for more than a quarter-century, Lloyd, 43, ranks as one of Florida's top dirt Late Model drivers. His resume includes two Ocala Speedway championships (1992-1993), two O'Reilly Southern All-Stars Series titles (2007-2008), five National Late Model Series crowns and over 130 career feature wins, but he's never come close to victory in limited appearances on the nationally-renowned WoO LMS.
Lloyd would love to change that on Friday night when the nation's premier tour contests a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event at Ocala Speedway, a unique track that will join Volusia Speedway Park outside Daytona Beach as only the second facility in Florida to host a WoO LMS show. He's hoping his vast knowledge of the quirky layout benefits him against the invading Outlaws regulars, most of whom have never raced at Ocala. The track, after all, is new to the dirt scene; it operated with a dirt surface from 1952-1995, then spent more than a decade as a paved track before having clay put back down prior to the 2008 season.
"It's definitely an odd-shaped track," said Lloyd, who has won four times over the past two seasons at Ocala. "I basically describe it as being shaped like an egg. Turns one and two have a big radius and are wide, and then there's a dog-leg on the backstretch that you pretty much run through on the gas. Turns three and four are tighter, like the pointed end of the egg.
"Because of the shape, it's hard to get used to racing around there. The two ends are like two different tracks and you don't need a lot of motor – especially come feature time – because it usually slicks up, so it puts more emphasis on the driver positioning his car in the right spots.
"I feel like I've got an advantage because I have so many laps there," he continued, shifting his thoughts to Friday's program. "I absolutely love the racetrack, and I think I know what tires (compounds) to run there because I'm one of the few guys from down here in Florida who has experience with open-tire racing (the WoO LMS event does not have a tire rule).
"But I also know the guys coming (with the WoO LMS) are good for a reason. Some guys might not have run at Ocala in years – and a lot of them probably have never run there – but they'll roll up to the racetrack on Friday, take a look at it and know what to do. It won't take them long to figure the place out, so we'll have to be on top of our game."
Primarily due to commitments with his business (he operates Marion Machine & Tool in Ocala) and family (he's married with three sons), Lloyd doesn't get many chances to do battle in WoO LMS events. He's entered only nine events – all at Volusia Speedway Park – since the tour was reincarnated under the World Racing Group banner in 2004, and his three career A-Main starts show finishes of 16th (2008), 18th ('08) and 19th ('09).
But while his WoO LMS statistics are unspectacular, Lloyd is confident that his self-owned equipment (cars built by Snow Brothers Racing of Jacksonville, Fla., and Pro Power engines) has the juice to compete with the big stars – and with a little home cooking on his side, he might just have that extra magic to spring an upset.
"I've won races that have paid as much as $20,000, but nothing would mean more to me than winning a World of Outlaws race," said Lloyd, who also plans to follow the WoO LMS to the event scheduled for Saturday night (March 20) at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. "I want that trophy that says 'World of Outlaws' on it. It would be the biggest race I've ever won."
Ocala Speedway’s pit gates are scheduled to open at 1 p.m. on March 19 and the grandstands will be unlocked at 5 p.m. Racing is set to start at 8 p.m.
General admission tickets to the WoO LMS program, which will also include action for the track’s Hobby Stock and Mini-Stock divisions, will be $25 (adults), $12 (ages 6-16) and free for kids 6-and-under. Pit passes will cost $35 and $15 for children 12-and-under.
More information on Ocala Speedway is available by logging on to www.ocalaspeedway.com or calling 352-622-9400.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel) and DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award); in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis and Wrisco Aluminum.