Ocala, FL, February 13, 1999 – Mother Nature put a chill in the air tonight. The Ocala Speedway action kept fans from thinking about the cold. This was the last night of Speedweek 1999, and the asphalt never cooled as feature after feature took to Florida’s Number One Short Track!
The Mini-Cup cars were at Ocala Speedway for the last night of Speedweek 1999. Terry Lee Tullis in the 98 car had pole position. Chris Fontaine in the 47 car was on the outside. After a false start, these brightly painted miniature cars were off and running. Tullis quickly took the lead and Bruce Smith in the 35 car grabbed second. The first of two yellow flags came out in lap 4. The restart was quick and on the next lap, Fontaine in the 47 car moved up and took second position. The battle was close throughout the feature and the second caution was called on lap 14. Terry Lee Tullis took the checkered flag. Chris Fontaine, who had won the heat laps, came across the line for second and Bruce Smith took home third. Terry Tullis (31) and Doug Smith rounded out the top five.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinders were the second group to hit the pavement tonight. Gary Hotalen in the 312 car got pole position and Joseph Alphonso in the 66 car started outside. Several cars had switched positions even as they approached turn 1 for the first time and it proved to be too much. Pete Close in the 86 car and Tom Posivic in the 5 car bumped and spun. The field was doubled back up and restarted, this time with Posivic in the rear. Very quickly, Close regained the lead and opened up a sizable space. The field behind him was in constant flux as drivers battled for places. Posivic was making his way back to the front but he was still far back in third and it seemed impossible that he would ever catch Close. A caution was called in lap 8 and this was one small break Posivic needed. The bigger break came at Pete Close’s expense. Close went to the pit under yellow, his car broken. Tom Posivic came in first and Jerry Loe brought his car in for second. Matt Connelley, Terry Dunbar and Gary Hotalen rounded out the top five.
The WTRS Pure Stocks brought full-field action to Ocala Speedway tonight. John Betts in the 81 car had the pole and John Mamph in the 94x car sat beside him. After swapping places, these guys ran a swift, clean race. There was one minor caution when a car came out of turn 2 into the infield, smoking under the hood. The feature was quickly back underway. John Betts grabbed the checkered flag. John Mamph took second with Mark Mitchell coming in third. Larry Bowden and Dave Dinehart filled out the top five.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks turned out in force. J.D. King in the 3 car had the pole and Mike Wilson in the 79 car had the outside. After two early caution periods, racing began in earnest. Mike Wilson took control early and held on for the first half of the race. Eddie Kilbury in the 71 car had been waiting for a break and when it came, he was ready. Kilbury lead for the rest of the race and claimed the checkered flag. Mike Wilson came in a strong second with David Baxley, Alan McCafferty and Mike Davis filling out the top five.
The Dwarf cars screamed out onto the track once again. Tom Buckingham in the 22 car sat the pole and J.Herschel Cromin in the 26 car sat outside. Cromin quickly took the lead and held it for the first part of the feature. Lots of bumper riding was taking place in the pack and the second of three cautions came out because of simultaneous pileups in turns 1 and 4. Finally on lap 10, Kelly Rass in the 01 car took first away from Cromin. Kelly Rass came under the checkered flag first with Fred Brunson in the 99 car not far behind for second. Shannon Buckingham took third, and J.Herschel Cromin and Rick Lundeen rounded out the top five.
Pro 4 Modifieds made their final showing of Speedweek 1999 here at Ocala Speedway. Jerry Adkins in the 66 car sat pole position and John E. in the 14 car had the outside. Carl Cornier in the 22 car quickly made his bid for first place and ran from there to the wire. Tim Procter in the 18vt car made a run for the money and the battle was hard fought. The feature had one caution, running an otherwise clean, fast race. Carl Cornier crossed the finish line first with Tom Procter close behind for second. Cliff Hodgkinson, Randy Sands and Julian Gorman rounded out the top five.
The Classic cars made a great showing tonight. Bill Brown Sr. in the 112 car started on the pole with Bill Brown II in the 88 car on the outside. One minor caution affected this otherwise clean fast feature. The two Browns made up for the problems earlier this week by fending off all comers to take the checkered flag along with second place honors. Josh Freeman, Russ Myers and Rodney Eary filled out the top five.
The Action American Trucks made their final appearance of Speedweek 1999 at Ocala Speedway. Todd Bontrager in the 8t truck started on the pole and Eddie Van Meter in the 23 truck was on the outside. The first start ended in yellow before the field had cleared turn 4. A double-up restart was called. Van Meter quickly took the lead and held it for the entire feature. He was constantly being pushed by Andy Carroll in the 98 car and they both were feeling the heat of the following pack. There were three more cautions during the feature; one because of twin pile-ups in turns 1 and 4. The last half of the race was clean and very fast. Eddie Van Meter claimed the checkered flag and Andy Carroll took second. Todd Bontrager, Zach McLin and Robert Yoho rounded out the top five.
The Budweiser Modifieds were the main feature tonight, closing out Speedweek 1999 at Ocala Speedway with a 100-lap feature. Several familiar faces were driving, some of them having come up from the Hobby Stock ranks. Chuck Burkhalter, the 1998 Modified Champion started from the pole. Scott Grossenbacher sat on the outside. The feature saw eight minor cautions that were quickly cleared away. Burkhalter, driving a new car for this race, surprised no one by taking a commanding lead and running away from the field. Grossenbacher did a great job of keeping up, but he was never able to pass for first. Grossenbacher eventually gave way to Kelly Lawrence in the number 11b car. Lawrence began to push Burkhalter but even with caution periods tightening up the field, he was unable to find a clear path. Chuck Burkhalter took the checkered flag with Kelly Lawrence coming in for second. Scott Grossenbacher held on for third and Steve Christmas took fourth Alan McCafferty, starting this new season as a rookie in Modifieds, filled out the top five.
The 1999 racing season at Ocala Speedway officially starts on March 6th. A full slate of features will start at 6:30 and a grand fireworks display will close out the evening. Be sure to come and enjoy the start of a great season.