Ocala, Florida, June 29, 1998 – Tonight race fans in North Central Florida were treated all the action from the fourth annual Powell Memorial 125 for Late Model Sportsman racecars. The weather cooperated and the track was dry and fast. The stands were packed and the fireworks show was fantastic!
The night began with a celebrity race. The drivers had a great time and the fans cheered their favorites. The drivers pushed hard enough to find the outer limits so two caution flags were thrown. Leo Smith in the 94 car led the pack for the last half of the feature and took home the checkered flag.
Time trials for the Late Models gave everyone in attendance the chance to watch each individual car and driver. Darryl Shellnut (77) of Ft. Lauderdale Florida set the fastest time trial with a 14.777. The starting order was determined by the pill drawing and Shellnut drew the number one so there was no inversion. Shellnut had the pole!
A consolation race was run for the fifteen drivers whose cars didn’t make the feature. Rob Elting (27) of Vesley Florida had the pole and Bill Mowery (73) of Largo Florida had the outside. Mowery jumped hard from the outside when the green flag dropped and the race was on. The action was slowed before the first lap could be completed when several cars piled up in turn four. Everyone regained his own starting position and a double-up restart was called. Again, Mowery was able to grab the lead and Elting slipped in behind him. Danny Pingston (99) settled into third position. The first lap was completed but the second was colored yellow again. Tate Pierce (8) of Zephyrhills Florida grabbed the bad luck ring and had to pit with a flat tire. Laps were counting under yellow, but a full fourth lap was yet uncompleted when a third caution flew. Larry Osteen (22) of Clermont got loose coming out of turn four and spun. He landed in the right side door of Scotty Crocket’s 23 car. The field was thinned out to eight cars now and laps were still counting. Mowery kept the point on the restart. A third caution came out on lap 16 when Roger Damron (76) of Chiefland and Kevin Bryant (54) of Dade City tangled in turn four. Both went to the rear but with only eight cars left in the field, they were both still eligible to move back up to the main feature if they just finished. The green flag flew one last time and the next lap saw a white flag. Billy Mowery took the checkered flag with Rob Elting on his tail for second. Danny Pingston took third while Pete Richardson of Ft. White took fourth. Mac Johnson of Newberry, Roger Damron, Kevin Bryant of Dade City and David Westrich of Old Town finished in the top eight. The top eight finishers of the consolation race were granted entry into the 125 lap feature.
Feature racing started with the Dave’s Towing Hobby Stock 25 lap, double-points race. Hank Stewart (30) had the pole and Steve West (78) sat on the outside. There was no qualifying for this feature, so starting positions were drawn. Stewart got a good start and Mike Wilson (79) quickly moved up and took second. Rusty Staines (00) had third for the first lap but by the fourth, David Baxley (64) had taken it from him and was on the move. Baxley was able to slip by both Wilson and Stewart by the third lap and start to open a lead. The first caution flag was thrown before the third lap was finished and the leaders were reshuffled back to their old positions. On the restart, Stewart was tapped coming out of turn four and he spun into the infield. Unrelated to this event, Shane Nichols was having trouble and spun into the entrance to pit road. Everyone lined back up as they were. The restart was clean and Baxley started moving again. By the finish of lap four, he was soundly in first position. By lap six, Wilson had also moved and pulled into second, leaving Stewart in third. Lap after lap was completed as drivers displayed their skills for the fans. Nichols was quietly eating up places and lap twelve saw both him and Alan McCafferty (32) get by Stewart with a gutsy move in turn one. The action was hottest for third position as McCafferty and Nichols changed places. Nichols even allowed Mike Davis (50) to get by him for one lap. Nichols quickly regained his place though. A final caution flag was thrown when Ken Asbell (89) took a spin in turn two. The cars were bunched back up and the green flag was also white. David Baxley took the win. Mike Wilson came in a strong second with Alan McCafferty finishing third. Shane Nichols and Mike Davis brought in the top five.
The big feature of the evening at Ocala Speedway was the fourth annual Powell Memorial 125 Lap race for Late Models. Darryl Shellnut (77) started the race on the pole position with Dicky Anderson (00) sitting on the outside. D. Anderson quickly took the point with Shellnut close behind. Dwayne Dempsy (70) settled into third and Wayne Anderson (84) held fourth. The drivers raised the temperature or their tires as the raced this way for six laps. A caution was thrown on lap seven when David Westrich (38) and Glenn Whitney (99) got tangled up. D. Anderson was very strong as was Shellnut and they opened up some working room. The leaders quickly encountered lapped traffic and by the twentieth lap or so, there was a quarter track spacing between the leader and fifth position. Back in third and fourth though, the fight was fierce between Dempsy and W. Anderson. W. Anderson swept by Dempsy to take third and begin an assault on Shellnut. Another caution was thrown when Chuck Burkhalter (30) took a spin in turn two. Laps were counting down even under yellow so the restarts came quickly. Soon, Wayne Anderson made his move and claimed second from Shellnut. Another yellow appeared within two laps though when Richy Carlton (48) hit a spot of bad luck and spun on the backstretch. The restart came quickly but it was disallowed as drivers jumped the gun. Then is only lasted a lap when Darryl Shellnut lost his engine on the backstretch and had to retire to the pits. During the caution period, Dempsy also had to pit because of engine trouble. With these top runners shuffled, a whole new game was underway. Three laps got counted under green with Dicky Anderson still on point and Wayne Anderson staring at his bumper. James Powell (37) was now in third and looking very strong. Mike Franklin (72) had fourth with Jimmy Britts in fifth. The race was half over by this point but nothing was settled. The restart caused a great stir when D. Anderson fired and then faded badly. He had to take the infield road out of turn four. Everyone was able to get by him without incident but the new leader was Wayne Anderson. Powell was in second and Britts was holding third. Two more laps went green but yellow was still lurking around and showed again when Roger Damron (76) lost his engine coming into turn three. He was towed. The restart came quickly thanks to the quick work of the track crew. W. Anderson was leading but Powell wasn’t giving him any slack. Britt was also under pressure and finally gave way to Herb Neumann (98). Rich Pratt was also moving strong and he was taking over fourth position. Billy Bigley Jr. (12) also got by Britt who was fading. Many, many laps went clean to the point that the leaders were contending again with lapped traffic. Some great driving skills were on display tonight as pack leaders counted down the laps. A yellow flag flew around the one hundredth and fifteenth lap when Harold Rankin (2) took a spin off the front stretch. With ten laps to go, the yellow flag laps were no longer being counted. During the period, Michael the flagman went down to inspect Rob Elting’s car for oil. He was clean but by the time he got to the backstretch he was giving off smoke under the hood. When the green flag flew again, W. Anderson had to drive hard to keep Powell at bay. With the pack bunched back up, all top five drivers had a shot at the win. Wayne Anderson of Homosassa held off all comers though and took a grand win under the checkered flag. James Powell of Astor came in a strong second with Herb Neumann of Inverness taking third. Billy Bigley Jr. of Jupiter was fourth and Jimmy Britts of Orange Park earned fifth. This was definitely another great event for the 1999 season at Ocala Speedway.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Saturday July 3rd, Ocala Speedway will be closed. Action will resume on Saturday July 10th. There will be all divisions except Late Models. The Hobby Stocks will race a 50-lap feature.