Ocala, FL, May 15, 1999 – Florida weather at its best, happy fans and a full night of racing came together to provide an evening not to be missed at Ocala Speedway.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinder Bombers were loaded with entries tonight at Ocala Speedway. Bruce Teague (63) sat on the pole and Dave Neiswender (69) sat on the outside. Teague got off to a great start, pulling out for a good lead. Neiswender rode in behind him until lap three when Tom Posavec (01) started making his move. By lap five, Posavec had claimed the lead. A yellow flag came out on lap six when cars 66 and 33 spun out in turn four. The race was quickly back underway with Posavec leading and Teague close behind. The pack positions behind them were rotating with every lap as Neiswender slowly fell back. Tom Posavec took the checkered flag. Bruce Teague brought his car in for second place with J.R. Miller taking third. Tim Ellis and Dave Neiswender filled out the top five.
The WTRS Pure Stock cars swarmed out onto the track with a full field of entries. Larry Bowden (77) had the pole with Paul Fletcher (94) on his right. Bowden kept his advantage with a good start as Mark Mitchell powered in to take second. John Betts (81) was pushing Mitchell’s tail from third. A yellow caution flew when cars 79 and 88 slid through turn one. On the restart, Bowden maintained his lead, but now Betts had pulled into second. For the next several laps, the top three were close but by lap nine, Mitchell began to lose power, allowing Jason Gamble (21) a shot at the leaders. With no more cautions to slow the action, Bowden claimed the checkered flag. John Betts took home second with Jason Gamble coming in for third. Richard McGlashan and Paul Fletcher were fourth and fifth.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks continued to heat up the track as the air began to cool. Shane Nichols had the pole tonight with Al McCafferty on the outside. Nichols jumped for the lead with McCafferty close behind, not giving much away. David Baxley was in third and making McCafferty run for his money, but on lap three Baxley blew a tire in turn one and brought out the first caution flag. Nichols and McCafferty retained their positions on the restart and now Mike Wilson was in third. A second caution flag flew on lap twelve when one of the cars in the pack lost body parts between turns one and two. On the restart, Wilson slipped by McCafferty to take second position. One more caution flag flew when Peter Portera lost his steering in turn four and he took a bite of the front stretch wall. The restart was green and white and Shane Nichols came around to take the checkered flag. Mike Wilson took second place and Al McCafferty took third. Mike Davis and Moose Alderman came in fourth and fifth. As of closing time, the official finishing order was not posted because teardown was not yet completed.
The Dwarf Cars came to Ocala Speedway. These cars may be small, but with their motorcycle engines tuned to the max, they are 100+ mph cars. Max Howe (50) had the pole position. Jim Harrison (11) sat on the outside. Howe took a commanding lead, with Steve Tregear holding second and Bill Burbach (77) running hard in third. Burbach swooped past Tregear on lap six to take on Howe. Lap ten was when the only caution flag of the feature appeared. Howe and Burbach tangled on the backstretch and Burbach had to be towed. Howe regained his lead but something must have been wrong because he quickly faded as Tregear, Rick Lundee (04) and Don Hess (64) pulled past him. The race was over quickly as the drivers sped around the track. Steve Tregear claimed the checkered flag with Rick Lundee close behind for second. Don Hess claimed third with Jim Harrison and Dick Lawrence filling out the top five.
The Classic Race Cars put in an appearance tonight at Ocala Speedway. These great old-fashioned cars offer a nostalgic peek at racing’s past. Car 4 had the pole and car 27 had the outside position. A yellow flag appeared early in the race when car 54 was sent spinning in turn four. He recovered well and regained his spot, but not for long as car 6 moved past him. The only other caution flag came on lap four when a car lost its right rear wheel and tire coming out of turn four. The driver of car 4 maintained his lead from pole to wire with car 6 holding his bumper for most of the way. Car number 5 finished third with cars 77 and 97 bring in the top five.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models raced tonight at Ocala Speedway. Patrick Williams (18) had the pole with Harold Rankin (2) holding the outside. Williams lead for the first three laps with Chuck Burkhalter (30) in second position. On lap four, Burkhalter made a bold move and pulled past Williams. On lap six, Rich Pratt (0) had also moved up into second. Herb Neumann was also making his presence known and he took third position. The racing was clean and fast, with Burkhalter enjoying a huge lead until lap thirteen. It seemed to start with Williams in turn two, then Neumann on the backstretch, and finally Pratt in turn three as each started spinning, although each had plenty of room on the track. This curious turn of events brought out the red flag so that officials could inspect the track. It was found that Burkhalter was leaking fluid and he was sent to the pits. This put Pratt in the lead. The Ford of Ocala pace car led the drivers around the track after the clean up and then the drivers were given a couple of hot laps to re-warm the tires. As they came through turn four, two cars spun and again a red flag was thrown. The officials conferred and for safety reasons the checkered flag was thrown with the order that had been established for the restart. Rich Pratt took home the win with Herb Neumann coming in second. Patrick Williams finished third and Dave Westrich came in fourth. Chuck Burkhalter was fifth.
The Pro Figure 8s put on a great show tonight. A huge field of cars showed up to thrill spectators. Drivers didn’t lack adrenaline either! Charles Kopach (53) had the pole and Marlon Durbin (72) had the outside. Kopach held his lead through the first two laps, but Len Owens (8) was moving well and took the lead. Al McCafferty (32) was also moving well and he worked his way up into second. As always, the place to watch was the crossroad. As the cars were strung out, it became a game of guts and Peter Portera (25) showed he had plenty as he scooted through the center, passing two others who had stopped to wait for a green light. Owens came to the center and using his common sense, he decided to wait for a bigger opening but another driver coming from his left went into a skid that carried him right into Owens front end. Owens was fine but McCafferty used this event to move into first. Another pile up occurred in turn four but everyone pulled out ok. Kopach had a run of bad luck though and lost his tire in turn three. He joined the group on the backstretch. Owens was hard pressed to catch up with McCafferty and as he came out of turn two, he ran into the back of another who had stopped at the center. The hit was hard and caused his hood to fly off, smoke pouring from the engine compartment. It was quickly decided to throw a red flag and make sure that he was ok. He was allowed to get out of his car, and it was towed to the side. McCafferty was still leading a much-shortened pack but this didn’t slow the excitement. Cars continued to dare each other through the center and on the last lap, Durbin slipped off the pavement, hitting hard enough to drop car parts on the track. Al McCafferty held on for first place and Michael Soares claimed second. Rick Hart took third and Jim Carpenter earned fourth. Paul Gladin took fifth.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Saturday May 22nd, Ocala Speedway will be closed. The action will resume the following week, May 29th, with a full slate of events. The guest racers will be the Pro 4 Modifieds. This is also Driver Appreciation Night with free T-shirts to drivers.