Ocala Speedway will present another night of top notch dirt racing action this Friday, July 23rd, as the Late Model Division returns after a lengthy layoff. In addition to the Late Models, fans will be treated to more fender banging action from the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, plus the only Mini Stock Division on dirt in Florida, and the highly competitive Gladiator Division will be back with a new 2010 points leader.
Fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of the Late Model Division as the last feature race was back on June 4th when Phillip Cobb became the latest winner of the Annual Powell Memorial. And as the Late Models return to the southeast's toughest 3/8ths mile, the 2010 points battle is still up for grabs. Mark Whitener holds onto the top spot, but 10 other racers are all within 98 points of first place. Phillip Cobb is just 22 points back, J.O. Nobles is only 29 points shy of the top spot, and young Christian Augspurger is a mere 41 points short of first place. Needless to say, any mistakes or misfortunes in the top tier of the points chart could spell trouble and let gravity take over, so the leaders will be watching their backs while those who are chasing them are beginning to salivate for their own taste of the top. That makes for exciting and tough racing this Friday night, and a strong group of top late model racers will be on hand to take part in the feeding frenzy at the top.
The Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks have the reputation of being the toughest division racing at Ocala Speedway, and with good reason. On any given Friday night, it is likely that as many as half of the 20 or so cars that begin the feature will not finish it, and those that do make it to the finish rarely arrive unscathed. And seven racers are within reach of unseating the top dogs in the season points battle going into Friday's feature race, as Jerrid Bennett maintains a toe hold on first place. Michael Stalnaker is lurking just 12 behind him, and EBD Racing's Brian and Chris Shea are 40 and 42 points out of first place. Meanwhile Scott Mooers continues to score solid finishes at Ocala in his quest to remain in the top three of the UMP DIRTcar national rankings.
The adventures of the Ocala Speedway Mini Stocks continued two weeks ago when yet another dramatic chapter was written in their up and down season. Defending Mini Stock Champion Paul Combast collected a win when a protest caused a tear down in post race tech that led to a DQ, and everyone else bumped up the finisher's bracket one notch as a result. The DQ also helped Combast feel a bit more secure at the top of this season's points heap as Dan Kerr now trails by 27, and Nick Kerr is 63 points shy of first place. So as the Mini Stocks return this Friday, there might be a hint of resentment hanging around which could translate into more action on the track.
The Gladiator Division saw their points leader take a tumble last Friday as Steven Johnson failed to finish the race and Casey Feaster passed him on his way to the top of the points. Feaster's new position as Gladiator points leader gives him the unique distinction of leading the 2010 points totals at Ocala Speedway and at Volusia Speedway Park as well, but his grip on the top at Ocala is tenuous at best. Feaster leads Steven Johnson by a mere 5 points, and Devin Walker is just one point behind Johnson. And all of the above might do well to watch Matt Shea, as he is only 19 points out of first place and very capable of beating all of them on any given Friday.
The pit gate will open at 2PM this Friday at Ocala Speedway with the grandstand opening at 5PM. Early arrivers will be treated to hot laps before the heat races begin at 8PM. For more information, please visit www.OcalaSpeedway.com.