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J.O. Nobles Dominates Late Models at Ocala

. Posted in Racing News

ZUBER FL- Yet another night with near perfect weather greeted the racers and fans at Ocala Speedway on Friday the 13th, and a crowded grandstand got to witness five divisions of exciting racing action.  Included in the crowd were employees from Signature Brands, a local manufacturer of cake decorating supplies and seasonal goods located in Ocala.img_2490resized.jpg

If one were to go by the results of the heat races, Mark Whitener and Jason Fitzgerald had the cars to beat in the Late Model division, but as the feature race unfolded another racer quickly emerged as the dominant force.  Wayne Shugart led from the pole and was quickly passed by Rich Pratt, who led a lap before falling victim to J.O. Nobles on lap 3.  Whitener and Fitzgerald also got into the mix along with Marshall Austin, and those five cars dominated the race.  Pratt, Whitener, and Fitzgerald, took turns swapping positions throughout the race, providing plenty of excitement for the fans, but no one had an answer for the yellow number 18, which held the lead to the end.  J.O. Nobles was the race winner with Mark Whitener coming on strong to take the second spot.  Jason Fitzgerald placed third while Rich Pratt claimed the fourth spot and Wayne Shugart wrapped up the top five.

img_2405resized.jpgThe Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks again turned out in big numbers for their second race of the season, and provided plenty of fender banging action.  Donald Winne was strong at the start and made a good showing, as did Augie Burtram and Jessie Corbitt.  Jason Gamble looked to be the spoiler as he quickly advanced forward, only to stumble with a spin on lap 3 and be relegated to the rear.  From there he blasted through the field to retake second place by lap 12, but could not catch the race leader.  Chris Fontaine took the win, followed by Gamble for second place.  Jessie Corbitt placed third while Donald Winne held on for fourth.  Augie Burtam rounded out the top five finishers.

img_2352resized.jpgPaul Combast had taken the green flag in the Mini Stock feature from the middle of the pack, but quickly found ways to get his car within reach of the lead.  But a gutsy move in turn 4 resulted in a spin, and Combast was forced to make a comeback from dead last.  Meanwhile Blake Spencer was busy dominating the race, and once Combast was out of reach he had no other threats to his lead.  Blake Spencer took the win followed by William Stalnaker and Paul Combast, while Sean Babcock and Greg Bonynge finished fourth and fifth.
Grady and Bubba Christian managed another tandem finish in the Hobby Stock division this week, but this time it was not first and second as was the case a week before.  Grady had challenged for the lead early, but a spin and some contact in turn 2 sent hi to the pits foimg_2527resized.jpgr repairs ad then to the rear of the grid.  From there Grady battled back to the second spot, but could not close the gap between himself and the leader.  And Grady's misfortunes continued as the damage to his race car allowed his hood to fly up and seriously restrict his field if view.  Despite the vision problems. Grady Christian managed a second place finish behind the race leader, Dave Kinsey.  Kinsey had the car to beat, and no one could do it.  Bubba Christian finished third, followed by Mike Eubanks and Heath Walker.

The Gladiators saw a new face in Victory Lane as Tony LaPorta rocketed to the
img_2421resized.jpglead and never looked back.  Paul Hahn, who usually is a tough competitor at Ocala, had nothing for the 3T machine and was forced to watch it grow smaller and smaller in the distance.  LaPorta would claim a victory, followed by Hahn and Eddie Lentz in third place.  Mariah Berry had a strong fourth place finish with William Scott Moon finishing fifth.

Friday, March 20th, Ocala Speedway throws a special event featuring the Top Gun Sprint Car Series in their inaugural race.  The sprint cars will be bolstered by the Hobby Stocks, Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, and the Gladiators.

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