CARTERSVILLE, GA – Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange of Cartersville, GA will sponsor Dirt Late Model Young Gun Tyler Clem of Ocala, FL in the Southern Nationals Dirt Late Model Series. The 16-year-old driver will be running for Rookie of the Year honors driving car #58T for Big Frog Motorsports.
Clem stepped on the National stage of dirt late model racing at the age of 12 on May 2, 2015 during NASCAR weekend at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL. After starting sixth for the 50-lap Durrence Layne Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series race, Clem took the lead of the race on lap six.
By lap 22, Clem had a challenge for the point by a National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame legend. Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN pulled alongside the youngster and took the lead on lap 23. Clem right back and reclaimed the top spot from Johnson on the next lap. The crowd roared their approval to the point they drowned out the sounds the race cars.
The 12-year-old Clem and the 59-year-old Johnson raced side-by-side for the lead for the next ten laps. The veteran Johnson threw everything he had at Clem before he took command of the race on lap 33.
Johnson went on to win the race, but Victory Lane was empty when Johnson climbed out. All of the noise from applause and cheering fans took place further down the race track. Clem parked at the end of the front straightaway, and the crowd was climbing the fences to get a look at this kid.
Johnson said he might have won the race, but Tyler Clem was the show. That was high praise from one of the most respected dirt late model race car drivers in the history of the sport. The next morning across the street at Talladega Super Speedway, the buzz word in the Garage Area was Tyler Clem.
The Southern Nationals is an 11-race series that begins on July 13 and runs through July 27 at 11 different tracks in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. Clem will have plenty of tough competition from the top dirt late model drivers in the country.
“Tyler Clem was so impressive and showed so much poise in the race with Ronnie Johnson at Talladega Short Track, it left a lasting impression on me,” Mike Vaughn said. “We’re proud to have Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange on Tyler’s race car for the Southern Nationals, and we’re confident he will be successful.”
Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange has been a sponsor of some of the top dirt late model racers for over 25 years. The list of drivers that have carried the Mike Vaughn’s Auto Exchange logo on their race cars include Johnson, Hall of Famer driver Jeff Purvis, Mike Head, Marshall Green, and Sprint Car Hall of Fame driver Danny Lasoski.
In addition to Dirt Late Models, Clem has also had racing experience in 410 and 360 Sprint Cars, plus Open-Wheel Modifieds in his young racing career that began at the age of 11. Not only has Clem had experience in the afore mentioned racing equipment, he has won races in each of them. Big Frog Motorsports has won many races and National Championship that include the 2017 Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series.