Ocala, FL, March 6, 1999 – Opening Night for the 1999 season at Ocala Speedway, Florida’s number one short track! The weather was perfect, and fans turned out in force to take part in all the fun Ocala Speedway has to offer.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinders were the first division out of the pits. When the full field lined up, there were many new entries and many old favorites. Cliff White in the 18 car sat on the pole and Jamie Coffman in the 3 car was on the outside. Pete Close in the 86 car quickly took the lead and held it throughout the feature. Jeff Hatcher moved into second, but except for a short time, he was unable to make the push to pass Close. A yellow caution flag came out during the seventh lap when a truck spun on the front straightaway. Another caution was thrown on lap nine when the number 3 car, who had been in fourth for most of the laps, spun in turn 4, causing several others to play dodge car. On the restart, Hatcher made a move and momentarily took the lead. Before the lap was over, another yellow flag flew and Close retook the lead on the restart. Hatcher pitted and didn’t finish the race. Pete Close took the checkered flag. After tech, it was determined the Cliff White was the winner with Todd Jolley in the 55 car coming in second. Bruce Teague was third, Matt Connelly fourth and Terry Dunbar was fifth.
The WTRS Pure Stocks brought full-field action to Ocala Speedway to open the season. Mark Mitchell in the 71 car sat the pole, and John Betts in the 81 car had the outside. Peter Portera made a quick move and took second during the first lap. By the second lap, Portera took the lead. The first four cars in the field were in constant battle. They came through turn four several times three wide and pushing Portera’s bumper. On lap 9, John Betts claimed second but he was on the outside and as the three behind Portera came through turn four again, all doorhandles touching, he was pushed back into fourth. A yellow flag come out on lap 10. The last lap, Betts spun on the backstretch as Peter Portera took the checkered flag. Mark Mitchell took second with Richard McGlashand in third across the line. After tech, the finishers were shuffled and Mark Mitchell became the winner. Richard McGlashand earned second with Paul Gladdin in third. Tom Ellis and David Walls filled out the top five.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks came out in force to start off the 1999 season at Ocala Speedway. David Baxley in the 64 car had the pole position with Rusty Staines in the 00 car beside him. This feature was riddled with yellow flags as time after time someone spun or tapped a bumper. The first yellow came out on lap 3 and during the wait, Baxley’s car started smoking and he pitted. This gave Staines the lead. Cars 95, 79 and 65 were very close behind Staines, and all four stuck together through all the yellow flags until lap 13 when the number 7 car hit the back wall and turned back down into the leaders as they were passing. Staines struck the 7 car as did Jason Murphee who was running second in the 95 car and both had to pit. Mike Wilson in the 79 car and Shane Nichols in the 65 car found themselves in first and second and Wilson claimed the checkered flag. Nichols was second with Charles Kopach in third. Moose Alderman and Glenn Baum filled out the top five.
The Mini Cup cars helped open the 1999 season tonight at Ocala Speedway. Terry Tullis in the 31 car sat pole position with Jack Martin in the 1 car on the outside. The Mini Cup cars race with 13 horsepower generator engines that are modified to make about 20 horsepower. The colorful cars ran a clean feature with no cautions. Racing stayed close until the last two laps when the field began to spread out. Chris Fontaine in the 47 car took the checkered flag. Doug Smith in the 17 car came in second with Bruce Smith in the 35 car coming home third. Terry Tullis and Casey Smith brought in the top five.
Fans were treated to a great fireworks show between the Mini Cup and Budweiser Modified feature. The sky blazed with color as fans enjoyed the cool weather and racing excitement.
The Budweiser Modifieds brought a full field tonight as the 1999 season started with a bang at Ocala Speedway. Justin Tilton in the 10 car held pole position with J.W. McNeal in the 44 car on the outside. The first lap got off to a bad start when McNeal in the 44 car hit the wall in turn 4 and then Rob Akoury in the 1A car spun and stalled in the front straight. McNeal had to take his car pit side so there was a new outside pole sitter for the double-up restart. Ed Brown in the 1 car took that honor. The drivers ran a very fast, clean race from that point on. A tight field kept fans on the edges of their seats throughout the feature. Justin Tilton in the 10 car claimed the checkered flag. Scott Grossenbacher on the 09 car brought home second with Ed Brown coming in third. Rob Akoury and Loren Thornton closed out the top five.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models made their first appearance of the 1999 season at Ocala Speedway. A full field colored the track to the fan’s delight. Chris Tedder in the 13 car sat pole position with Roy Staines in the 60 (GO) car on the outside. Staines quickly took the lead with Dave Westrich in the 38 car and Harold Rankin in the 2 car following close behind. A yellow caution stopped the action with a 5 car pile-up in turn 4 on lap 2. Staines kept his lead as the others jockeyed for the next three places. Lap 5 saw the second caution flag fall and Leo McCollough in the 86 car was sent to the rear. Lap 8 brought out the third caution as John Brennan spun on the backstretch and went to the rear. Racing kept on in earnest for many laps with Rankin taking the lead from Staines who faltered and found himself in fourth. Kevin Bryant was now in second with Herb Neumann close behind. The final caution fell in lap 16 when two cars tangled in turn 4. Rankin kept his lead and secured the checkered flag. Kevin Bryant came in second with Neumann close behind for third. Roy Staines and Rich Pratt filled out the top five.
The 1999 racing season at Ocala Speedway is off to a great start. Next Saturday, March 13th, we will have a full slate of features, and the Outlaw Winged Sprint cars will make their first appearance. Don’t miss any of the 1999 season at Ocala Speedway.