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News

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Surprises Abound At Ocala Speedway Opener

. Posted in Racing News

Race fans and racers braved a frosty Florida night as they gathered to reopen the historic Ocala Speedway for another exciting season of racing, and Florida's oldest speedway did not disappoint.  The Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series was also kicking off their season as a part of the festivities at Ocala, as were Ocala's own Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, and the Mini Stocks.  The fans and racers also collected over $260 to pass along to the founder and operator of Karnac.com and Real Racin' USA, Jack Smith.  Smith has recently been undergoing extensive surgery and was diagnosed with cancer.

Much of the attention on the night went to the Sunoco United Dirt Late Models as the new and improved version of the racing series debuted.  The Ocala race officially was part of the new Southern division of the UDLMCS, but racers from the north also participated.  Also garnering plenty of attention was the newly formed team included Ocala's own Ivedent Lloyd and Darrell Padgett.  That attention to this Roush-Yates powered team would last well into the early morning hours after Ivedent Lloyd wasted no time in setting the bar high, as he set fast time in qualifying with a blistering 16.275 on his second solo lap.

Four heat races and a B-main set the field for the feature event, with Keith Nosbisch on the point for the 50 lapper.  The B-Main was a last chance for two final cars to transfer to the big race, and Dillon Wood made the cut despite earlier problems that kept him out of contention during heat racing.

As the Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series got their feature event underway, Keith Nosbisch headed to the point and took control, while all others gave chase.  Trouble came on lap 6 as Jeff Mathews and Philip Cobb tangled, creating the first caution of the race.  That incident was only the beginning of what proved to be a very frustrating night for Mathews, who found himself mired in heavy traffic.  It also sent the 26 of Dillon Wood to the pits for a quick fix and put him on the rear of the field for the restart.
 
Also dealing with traffic was 2 time and defending series champion, Johnny Collins.  Collins would start the race behind the front rows, and was picking his way forward when Mathews' rough night got a little rougher in turn 4.  Jeff Mathews' spin would cause the caution to wave again, bunching up the field behind Keith Nosbisch once more, and when the green waved Nosbisch was being chased by Brandon Dewitt, Bo Allen, Tyler Ivey, and Mark Whitener. Another fracas would erupt on lap 19 in turn 1, leading to a five car mess between turns 1 and 2 and another caution.  That incident would end the night for Jeff Mathews, and also send Darrell Padgett to the pits for the evening as well.  That caution seemed to be a signal for the front runners to make bold moves, and those moves began as soon as the green waved again.

Lurking just behind the front five for most of the race was a very confident Ivedent Lloyd, who watched for opportunities and pounced as soon as he discovered them.  Lloyd had gradually picked off the front runners until he was behind Nosbisch, with Tyler Ivey running in the third spot.  Ivey would make a bold move on the 21 machine, but ended up in a spin instead, bringing out a caution and relegating Ivey to the rear.  And meanwhile Dillon Wood was making headway back toward the front of the pack after his earlier misfortunes.

By lap 30 it became evident that Ivedent was again on the move, as he pulled up on Keith Nosbisch and cranked up the heat on the race leader.  Lloyd took advantage on lap 32 and jumped out front, then began to pull away to lead the field to the checkers.  Nosbisch followed Lloyd at the finish, as Dillon Wood managed to climb into the top three followed by Brandon Cameron and Tyler Ivey, who also had to make quick work of the remaining racers to power back to the front.

Ivedent Lloyd had displayed a cool confidence all night at Ocala, and that confidence went with him and his crew from the front stretch celebration to the Ocala Speedway tech shed.  Sunoco United Dirt Late Model tech officials poured over the top three machines as crews and some hearty fans watched, and sometime before 2 AM the cool confidence of the 21 team began to change.  Virtually no one believed that anyone on the 21 team thought that their car had any chance of failing post race tech, but it did.

The order to disassemble the power plant in the 101 of Keith Nosbisch signaled that there would be a different winner than the one that took the checkers first, as the 21 crew dejectedly pushed their car back to their hauler.  The 101 was inspected and declared the winner, which moved Dillon Wood to second place and Brandon Cameron to third.

Ocala Speedway's most competitive division also was in action on the night as the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks  hit the clay for the first time in 2010.  Austin Gamble had moved up from the ranks of the Gladiators after last season, and he wasted no time in jumping out front as things got underway.  Gamble would remain there as trouble would erupt for another former Gladiator racer, Eddie Lentz, causing the first caution.

Meanwhile Michael Stalnaker was back at Ocala and out to prove that he is tough whether it is on clay or asphalt.  Stalnaker battled his way to the front and took control, while Harold Erickson followed in the second spot.  Austin Gamble slipped to third and was under attack from the Amsoil sponsored 12 of Jarrod Bennett.

The Amsoil V8 Thunder Stock machines are tough, and the racers are not afraid to go all out even if it means contact with other cars or the wall.  And while that makes it an exciting division to watch, it also means that sometimes too many cautions cause too many delays.  Time expired on the race during a caution on lap 16, so the racers battled to a green/white/checkered finish.

Michael Stalnaker took a convincing win to earn a visit to Victory Lane, while Harold Erickson held on to second place.  Jarrod Bennett placed third followed by Brian Shea and Mike Tyre.

Mini Stock racers wrapped up the feature races with an exciting event that saw all sorts of unexpected surprises in the final laps.  Keith Briggs was behind the wheel of the 19T despite a recent hospitalization thanks to back problems, and despite being in pain he battled Nick and Dan Kerr almost to the end.  Also in the mix was 2009 division champion, Paul Combast, who tangled with Briggs on lap 4 and banged hard into the front stretch wall at the exit of turn 4.

Combast would battle back from that misfortune to earn a third place finish as more drama played out in front of him.  Keith Briggs had fought hard with both Dan and Nick Kerr who were running first and second, with Briggs finally passing the 75 of Nick Kerr for second.  Briggs was about to make a move in turn four in the final laps when the 73 machine suddenly spun in front of him, bringing out a caution and putting Briggs in front.

As the green flag waved the crowd looked on in shock as Keith Briggs waved out of his window and pulled aside, allowing the field to pass as he headed off to the pits.  Although it was unclear if a mechanical issue happened or if Briggs' pain proved too much, Nick Kerr held off the rest of the field for the win while Dan Kerr followed in second place.  Paul Combast settled for third while Mike Oglesby and Buddy Pope rounded out the top five.

Racing returns to Ocala Speedway next Friday night as the Open Wheel Modifieds go at it for the first time in 2010.  Also on the card is the debut of the Sportsman cars as a regular division at Ocala.  For more information, visit www.OcalaSpeedway.com.

Ocala Speedway Official Results for 3/5/10

 
Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series (50 laps/$3000 to win)

1- 101 Keith Nosbisch
2- 26W Dillon Wood
3- 22B Brandon Cameron
4- 47 Tyler Ivey
5- Brandon Dewitt
6- 6 Clay Bendenbaugh
7- 5C Johnny Collins
8- 5K John Kellum
9- 17J Joe Kump
10- 71 Bo Allen
11- 35 Christian Augspurger
12- 66 Chuck Chitty
13- 17 Richard Ferry
14- 58 Mark Whitener
15- 16 Shane Williams
16- 07 David Clegg
17- 32P Jeff Phipps
18- 24 Dennis Williams
19- 33 Jeff Mathews
20- 46P Darrell Padgett
21- 88 David Pollen Jr.
22- 32 Phillip Cobb
23- 26B Adam Bedenbaugh
DQ (tech) 21 Ivedent Lloyd Jr.

Amsoil V8 Thunder Stock

1- 8 Michael Stalnaker
2- 66 Harold Erickson
3- 12 Jarrod Bennett
4- 19 Brian Shea
5- 31 Mike Tyre
6- 34 Kyle Pendarvis
7- 3W Vaughn Woodall
8- 96 Eddie Lake
9- 1 Austin Gamble
10- 18 Chris Watson
11- 77 Dan Cobb
12- 72 Joey Durbin
13- X Corey Howard
14- 5W Jeff Campbell
15- 17K Eddie Kilbury Jr.
16- 96W Eddie Lentz
17- 17 Mariah Berry

Mini Stock

1- 75 Nick Kerr
2- 73 Dan Kerr
3- 19C Paul Combast
4- 31 Mike Oglesby
5- 81 Buddy Pope
6- 75B Stephen Hohlbaugh
7- 7M Mike Goss
8- 9 Ryan Babcock
9- 19T Keith Briggs
10- 11Z Johnny Zackery
11- 3D Ron Kinsey

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