By- Jim Rouse, BRP Media, 7-23-12
Ocala, FL - After the Florida State Modified Championship saw the rain win the Second Half we return with the Twisted Tea Top Gun Sprint Cars, RaceCar Engineering Late Models, Hobby Stocks, 1-800-ASK GARY Thunderstocks, and the Rent-N-Roll Gladiators. These 5 divisions know how to put on a show on the 1/3 mile of Bubba Raceway Park.
Mark Ruel, Jr. took a big win last time out to extend his points lead and get the monkey off of his back. "The Peruvian Outlaw" will have to work hard as Matt Kurtz and Ryan Partin are chasing and both know how to get to Coors Light Victory Lane. Andrew Griffin and Tony Agin have shown strength throughout the season and a top 5 points position is their reward. Danny Martin, Jr. has won already this season and is always a favorite. Gene Lasker, Robbie Smith, and AJ Maddox have been fast all season and could break into Coors Light Victory Lane at any time.
Mark Whitener and the Big Frog Motorsports Team have a massive 74 point lead over "The Grim Reaper" Bo Allen. Many say Bo Allen is the next to break into Coors Light Victory Lane and after his dominant performance last week (before the motor failed) he deserves the support. "Cheddar" Christian Augspurger continues to change set-ups between his 2 chassis and 2 different motors and it has him in 3rd so far. Last time out he had his Crate motor in the Longhorn chassis but luck was not on his side. He'll try to rebound and keep Richard Ferry and Bryan Bernhardt at bay. Ferry may have gotten back on track with a quiet run last week while Bernhardt has been very loud (and fast) in his Bubba Army Performance Engine powered #B69. With 2 drivers taking wins for the first time since the reconfiguration it seems it's anybody's game more than ever. Never count those 2 (Jason Fitzgerald and Jeff Mathews) out and Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. is always a favorite.
So, after nearly 5 months of action it's pretty much a tie in the Hobby Stocks. "Sheriff" Trevor Gamble leads "Ragin" Rodney Wright by all of 9 points and the main separation is just 1 heat race win. And 1 DQ. These 2 are trying to pull away but Mike Stalnaker is stubbornly holding on. Though over 100 points out he has been slicing and dicing through the field. Even with an underpowered machine he has actually been disappointed with 3rd place finishes recently. Many say he will break through next while Mark Maresca and Brian Shea will try to steal his spotlight. Maresca has a fast car but has had troubles getting up front; Shea is rusty after over a month out of the racecar. Tim Gay, Josh Byrd, Josh Bedenabugh, and Kevin Durden have stolen wins from the full-time drivers and it's gonna be a shoot-out.
Points leader Brian Mullins watched his teammate "IceMan" Chad Scranton take his 6th win of 2012 while he is still winless. "Flash" Jonathan Appleby saw his streak of wins ended but took home big points home in the Appleby-Winne #69A to close the gap to 53. "The Closer" Jason Gamble hasn't won in a while but the Certified Automotive Repair Team has the #21 flying again. Eddie Tillander has told Gamble 3 things to join the title fight- win, win, win! Bubba Durbin fell out of the lead fight after missing a few weeks of action but he still holds onto 4th. Bubba's luck has been, well, not good luck- he's led a lap 20 that didn't count and he's twice had the fastest car and not been able to race it. The #12 is fast and many will be relieved when he finally gets into Coors Light Victory Lane. Brandon Elwood and John Thorpe are in a tight battle for the top 5 in a division that has nearly 15 full-time drivers. Anyone could get into Coors Light Victory Lane and join the 8 that have already in 2012.
You're leading the points, have the fastest car almost every week, but have to leave for a month and a half to visit family. You're name is Tony LaPorta. Driver #3T has said he will be out for 6-8 weeks starting this Saturday. He'll hope to hold onto his lead over "Scooby-Doo" Steve Johnson. After the 2 "Old Dogs" comes the Youth Movement of Jordan McMillon, Brandon Haseleu, and Billy Holmes. McMillon has 1 win, late in 2011, and would like to add another in his #68. Haseleu has never won on the 1/3 mile while Holmes, already a winner, is far behind only due to missing a few events early on. "Rockin" Reid Christensen is always fast and with no points on the line it's all for glory for driver #17D. Anything could happen but the question is this- Who wins, Old Dogs or Youth?
Bubba's Pit Stop opens at 1, pits at 4, and grandstands at 5. Racing starts at 7. For more information you can check out www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway at 352-622-9400! You won't want to miss an all out tussle for points, cash, and glory!