Ocala, FL, April 17, 1999 – Winter had one last hurrah tonight, blessing us with a cool night, and dry weather. Ocala Speedway fans were treated to some great racing and special features.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinders Bombers raced in a full field tonight. Matt Connelly in the 007 car had pole honors tonight with Chaunna Johnston in the 43 car on the outside. Pete Close (86) positioned himself a quarter of the track behind the pack to start. The first lap was not completed before the first caution flag was thrown when several cars piled up going into turn two. A double up restart was called. Connelly took a commanding lead with Dave Neiswender (69) holding second for two laps before Brock Oglesby (88) was able to pass him with Terry Dunbar (72) then claiming third. Pete Close was moving steadily up through the ranks. By lap seven, Close was in second position and beginning to push Connelly. The battle for first was hard fought between the two. Matt Connelly held off every challenge and claimed the checkered flag for his first ever win. Pete Close came home second with Terry Dunbar bringing in third. Gary Hotelan and Brock Oglesby brought home the top five.
The WTRS Pure Stocks had a full field for their feature. Larry Bowden in the 77 car sat on the pole and Jason Gamble in the 21 car sat outside. The feature was caution free tonight so racing was fast and furious. Bowden quickly took the lead with Chuck Stewart (8) in second early. John Betts (81) moved into second by the third lap. Stewart seemed to lose power as he slipped back to fifth and finally sixth. Larry Bowden took another checkered flag with John Betts pushing in for second. Jason Gamble and Richard McGlashan were third and fourth. Mark Mitchell, who took a bite of the turn 4 wall and came across the finish with his hood up, came home fifth.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks saw full-field action. Keith Roberts in the 31 car had pole position. Steve Moore in the 5 car sat on the outside. The pack was very tight and positions changed dramatically the first two laps. A caution flag was thrown on lap three when Roberts and Shane Nichols (65) got tangled up. The restart was quick and by the third completed lap, Alan McCafferty (32) had taken a commanding lead. For the first time this season, McCafferty saw empty track in front of him and he immediately put it to good use. Jason Murphee (95) stayed up in second, holding off several challenges by Nichols and then David Baxley (64). Baxley and Nichols were battling hard for third and on lap seven they bumped doors in the front stretch, causing Nichols to lose his right door. A caution was thrown but only long enough to pick up the debris. Positions were retained on the restart. McCafferty regained his comfortable lead. A couple of car lengths back, Murphee and Baxley were battling it out for second. Al McCafferty took home his second checkered flag for this season. Murphee crossed the finish line in second but after tech, Baxley was awarded second place honors. Shane Nichols came in third and Mike Wilson came in fourth. Charles Kopach finished fifth.
The Dwarf Cars appeared tonight at Ocala Speedway. They brought twenty four entries and near filled the track with their hot cars. Dan Berry in the 44 car had the pole and Matt Fetterhoff in the 71 car sat on the outside. The start was furious with cars sometimes three wide. A yellow flag was thrown on lap 3 when Max Howe (50) tapped Don Hess’ bumper, causing him to spin. Mike Holland (28) landed in the middle of the mess and they both had to be towed. Howe was sent to the rear. Dick Lawrence had the lead for a few laps until Steve Tregear (18) was able to take over. Tregear opened up a huge lead and Rick Lundeen (04) moved into second to follow a few lengths back. Lawrence was able to hold onto third and they raced this way for 10 laps through lapped traffic. Steve Tregear took home the trophy after claiming the checkered flag. Rick Lundeen took home second place honors with Dick Lawrence coming in third. Dan Nyhan and Dan Berry finished fourth and fifth.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models had a short 10-lap feature tonight. There were plenty of cars to make an exciting race. Kevin Bryant in the 54 car sat on the pole to start. Rich Pratt in the 0 car had the outside. This feature was caution free although the pack was tight. Bryant (54) was strong tonight, maintaining a strong lead throughout the race. Pratt wasn’t far behind but he was unable to make any challenges for first stick. Charles Burkhalter in the 30 car moved into third by the eighth lap after passing Dave Westrich (38). Kevin Bryant won the checkered flag. Rich Pratt came in second with Charles Burkhalter taking third. Dave Westrich and Herb Neumann brought in the top five.
The Budweiser Modifieds had a 50 green-lap feature tonight and they fielded a huge pack, twenty-four cars strong. Gary Southard in the 39 car had the pole after qualifying and Scott Grossenbacher in the 09 car earned the outside. The first lap saw the yellow flag when three cars tangled up in turn 4, causing a double-up restart. The leaders were unaffected so most starting positions were retained. The asphalt was kept warm for 24 laps of high-speed action until a caution flag flew. Loren Thornton (n8) hit a spot of bad luck in turn 4 but he was soon back underway. Southard had kept his starting lead throughout the feature as the pack jostled for positions behind him. E.J. Wise (7) held off all challengers for second for the first 31 laps, with Ed Brown (1) holding tight to a close third. A yellow flag flew on lap 29 when Brown and Jamie Burroughs (72) tangled up in turn 1, both of them landing in the wall. Brown moved to retake his spot but then he had to pit before the restart and came back out to start in the rear. This turn of events put Chuck Burkhalter (92) in third position. Another yellow flag flew on lap 30 but the delay was very short. Positions shifted again on lap 32 when Burkhalter was able to take second, leaving Wise in third and Grossenbacher in fourth. A yellow flag on lap 41 was for Len Owens (04) as he spun through turn 2. During the yellow, Thornton pitted with a flat tire, as did Bob Hughes (13). Both returned to finish. The final caution came out when Shaun Kart (96) took a chunk of the turn four wall and had to be towed. Gary Southard finished this exciting feature first, taking the checkered flag. Chuck Burkhalter took home second with after holding off tough challenges from E.J. Wise who finished third. Scott Grossenbacher and Jim Alvis finished in the top five.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Ocala Speedway will feature a not-to-be-missed night of racing. The Eve of Destruction is on tap to thrill fans of all ages. There will be a Pro Figure 8, Demolition Derby, a School Bus Figure 8, and to top it off, the first 500 fans through the gate will receive FREE hats!