Ocala, FL, April 3, 1999 – There was standing room only tonight at Ocala Speedway. The crowd was treated to a great night of racing.
The Mini-Cup cars started off the night’s features with a great field of these colorful, miniature cars. Doug Smith in the 17 car had the pole with Bob Struyk in the 33 car on the outside. Doug Smith had the lead the first lap, but Bruce Smith in the 35 car took over by lap two. Drivers were settling in with Chris Fontaine in the 47 car running second and Doug Smith holding third. With 5 laps down, the first caution flag flew and quickly turned red as Doug Smith took a bite out of the backstretch wall and turned upside down. Doug signaled that he was ok, and the rescue crew flipped the car back upright. He waved to the crowd after he climbed out. Doug took his car to the pits using its own power. The rest of the feature was incident free with Bruce Smith holding the lead until the checkered flag. Chris Fontaine came in second with Bob Struyk taking third. Josh Hermann and Terry Tullis filled out the top five.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinders filled their feature tonight. Tim Ellis in the 12 car sat the pole with Brock Oglesby in the 88 car sitting outside. Pete Close in the 86 car started this feature in the rear by his own choice. The first lap wasn’t completed when the 66 car spun in turn 1 and brought out the first caution. A double-up restart put everyone except the 66 car back in their original positions. Ellis held his lead with Oglesby right behind him in second for the first two laps. The number 312 car spun in turn 4 on lap 3, bringing out the second caution flag. Close had quickly worked his way into fourth by this time. Ellis was still in first with Oglesby close behind but coming through turn 4, the very tight pack got even tighter and Oglesby was squeezed out, causing him to fall back to fifth. By lap 4, Close was leading the race. Pete Close of Ocala, held first position through out the rest of the caution free race. Tim Ellis of Belleview came in second with Jamie Coffman bringing home third. Todd Jolley and Matt Connelly closed out the top five.
The WTRS Pure Stocks had a full field for the feature. John Betts in the 81 car had pole honors, and Mark Mitchell in the 79 car sat beside him. Betts was able to maintain the lead for the first four laps, although Mitchell was pushing him hard. Chuck Stewart in the 8 car and Larry Bowden in the 77 car were very near the leaders, watching for opportunity. Mitchell got his chance on lap 5 and he pulled around Betts. Bowden had moved into third, passing Stewart. A yellow flag flew during lap 6, but only long enough to pick up some debris that was spotted in turn 4. The race restarted, but another yellow flag came out on lap 8 when the 88 car spun in turn one. The next restart wasn’t much luckier. The 21 car slammed into the wall in turn 4 very hard. The 24 car was black-flagged and sent to the pits before racing restarted. Mark Mitchell of Anthony took the checkered flag with Larry Bowden of Umatilla pushing his bumper very hard for second. Chuck Stewart came in third with John Betts in fourth. Paul Gladin brought home fifth.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks came out with a large field of cars. David Baxley in the 64 car sat on the pole and Glenn Baum sat on the outside. The first start went sour when a large pile up of cars congested turn one. At least five cars were involved but it was quickly straightened out. A double-up restart was called for since the first lap hadn’t been completed. This start only went one lap better before the second caution flag was flown. This time turns 3 and 4 were the corners to watch. Seems the second lap was jinxed because the third caution flew on the next restart also, again because of spins in turn one. Racing started with Baxley leading the way. Baum still had second, but the yellow flag popped out again when the 5 car spun in turn two. Finally racing started in earnest and Mike Wilson saw an opening that allowed him to take over second position. Baum wasn’t able to hold third for long though because Alan McCafferty in the 32 car was pushing hard and made good on his bid. Shane Nichols, one of the drivers caught in turn one in the first pile-up, had been making his way steadily through the pack. He was now solidly in fourth position. A final caution flag flew during lap 9, but the restart came quickly. David Baxley of Anthony won the checkered flag with Mike Wilson of Dade City coming in second. Alan McCafferty took home third with Shane Nichols coming in fourth. Moose Alderman led the pack for fifth place.
The Florida Pro Series held a 125 lap feature here tonight at Ocala Speedway. Although several cars got into trouble during the heat laps, there was still a full field to start this race. Jeff Williams started on the pole. Darryl Shelnut was on the outside. A yellow flag flew on lap 3, the first of several during this feature. With yellow laps counting off the total number of laps for the feature, the race was never slow. Williams, Shelnut, James Powell and Johnny Kay were the pack leaders for much of the race. At one point, the Williams spun coming out of turn 4 and he, Shelnut and Kay were sent to the rear. This put the Glenn Whitney in the 99 car in the lead with the Rick Carlton in the 48 car close behind. Another caution flag came out when the 70 car lost body parts and slammed into the wall out of turn 4. There was a bit of clean up to do after this. Whitney was still in the lead and he managed to hold this to the checkered flag. John Carter in the 21 car came in second with Wayne Anderson coming in third. Billy Bigley and James Powell brought in the top five.
The Budweiser Modifieds turned out in force tonight. Red Vann in the 32 car had pole honors. Shawn Kart in the 96 car sat on the outside. Races were hard to get started tonight. But, this feature only saw one yellow flag fall, this on lap two. Vann held the lead with Kart close behind for the first 16 laps. Dennis Maples in the 6 car and Rob Akoury in the 1A car were very close. The leaders were all packed very tightly and coming through turn 2 there was a major shift in positions. Vann and Kart got bunched up and found themselves in the infield, trying to hang on. There was no yellow flag because some great driving skills kept things from falling apart completely. But, Maples now found himself leading with Akoury in second. The sudden shift allowed Dennis Maples to earn the checkered flag with Rob Akoury a close second. Ed Brown came in third with Justin Tilton pushing his bumper for fourth. Shawn Kart held on for fifth.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Ocala Speedway will feature all the regular divisions except Modifieds. Turn out early to cheer on your favorite drivers.