Ocala, FL, September 11, 1999 – The Ocala Speedway was packed with fans and racers this Saturday night. A cool breeze blew across the track while the drivers battled their way through the high-action features.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinder Bombers filled the track tonight. Leo Kasper (74) and Gary Hotalen (113) sat on the front row after a full inversion was drawn. Chauna Johnston (43) and Brock Oglesby (88) were the heat winners tonight and they started in the rear. Terry Dunbar (72) took the early lead with Kasper tucked in to second position. Neal Durbin (33) rode in third. A yellow flag flew after the third lap but racing restarted quickly. On the restart, Oglesby made a jackrabbit start and leapt ahead several places. With the traffic in nearly single file, Oglesby was able to keep passing cars until he reached Durbin sitting in third. Tom Roberts (88z) drove up close behind Oglesby and challenged him. Neither was able to get by Durbin at first, but finally, Roberts got by Oglesby and Durbin. Oglesby also got by Durbin within the next lap. Terry Dunbar was still securely in first position and he held on to take the checkered flag. In a surprise move, Brock Oglesby got by Roberts coming out of turn four leading to the wire and took second place, pushing Tom Roberts back into third. Neil Durbin and Leo Kasper brought in the top five.
The WTRS Pure Stocks came out in full force and ready to rumble tonight. Paul Gladin (9) sat on the pole with Rick Hart (13) sitting on the outside. Gladin jumped hard and took the lead as Hart settled in behind him. Mark Mitchell (71II) got sideways in turn four but he held on and all the others got by him safely. He was able to get back underway without a caution flag being thrown. But, the second lap was in its early phase when several cars tangled in turn two, bringing out a caution flag. On the next restart, somehow the tire in between turns three and four got up and rolled its way up onto the track and came to rest in the middle of the racing lanes. A yellow flag was thrown immediately so the tow truck could return the tire to its designated spot. Gladin kept his lead on the restart but Jason Gamble (21) was now in second and hot to take the lead. Gamble took the lead from Gladin on the next lap, but an eight-car pile up in turn one brought out the third caution flag of the feature. After all the positions were figured out, Gamble was in the lead with Gladin in second. Ron Bews (14) had been moving strong and rode in third. Dave Dinehart (79) was moving hard and after a short battle, he got by Bews. Another yellow flag flew after lap seven though John Cook spun through the front stretch and into turn one with a flat tire. He took his car to the pits. It took some time though to straighten out the places and he was able to return to the track with new tires. With the pack bunched back up, Dinehart got by Gladin easily. John Betts (81) was moving up through the ranks and by lap nine, he was riding in third. Before lap ten could be completed, another caution flag came out to signal problems on the front stretch. One more lap was completed and the yellow came out again when turn one became a trap. Officials were concerned about the time now but with only two laps to go, it was decided to finish the race under green. Jason Gamble took the checkered flag well ahead of the competition. Dave Dinehart battled hard with Betts, holding on until the end to take second. John Betts took home third leaving John Ray McNeal and Larry Bowden to fill out the top five.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks had a full field tonight. The large pack was led by Alan McCafferty (32) on the pole. Shane Nichols (65) sat on the outside. McCafferty looked good tonight and jumped for an early lead. Nichols put in a good first lap but Mike Wilson, driving Glenn Baum’s 23 car was not content to be in third and he was able to get by Nichols. The fourth lap was halfway completed when Glen Adams (3) spun and lost a tire on the backstretch. On the restart, the positions held with McCafferty leading, Wilson in second, Nichols in third and Charles Kopach (53) holding his own in fourth. Laps ticked off quickly until lap thirteen. McCafferty faltered on the backstretch and Wilson thought he could get by on the inside. But, McCafferty was losing his engine and he slid softly into Wilson’s side. They appeared to lock together as they each maintained control until both cars made a straight, full stop in turn three. McCafferty’s car was smoking heavily and fluids were staining the track. Wilson was able to move on without apparent damage, but McCafferty had to be towed. The cleanup was quick as the strip to be cleaned only went from the mid-backstretch into turn three. On the restart, it was determined that Wilson played no fault in the mishap and he was given the lead. With three laps to go and Nichols back on his tail, Wilson was under pressure for the rest of the race. Mike Wilson held the aces tonight, taking the checkered flag. Shane Nichols came in second with Charles Kopach taking third. Rick Benschoter and Rusty Staines filled out the top five.
The Budweiser Modifieds fielded a full pack. Len Owens (04) had the pole tonight with Loren Thornton (N8) on the outside. This feature started off with a bang. Coming out of turn one, Owens got loose and as he slipped sideways, Ed Brown (1) was unable to avoid a collision. Brown sailed over Owens’ nose and was completely airborne for a short time. Scott Grossenbacher (09) was also tangled up but he was able to restart under his own power. Brown and Owens landed together in the outside wall of turn two. After the track was cleared, a complete double-up restart was called. Justin Tilton (10) took the inside pole and Thornton reclaimed the outside. By lap three, Red Vann (32) had moved up to take the lead, passing first Thornton and then Tilton. A few laps later, Dennis Maples (6) and Chuck Burkhalter (30) had worked their way up, pushing Thornton back into fifth. The feature continued at a very fast pace until just after lap seventeen when Tilton got loose in turn four and spun. Burkhalter retired his car to the pits, and Tilton went to the rear. The next lap went uncompleted before another yellow flag flew for Thornton who spun in turn three. Thornton was able to restart with a push from the tow truck. One more lap and the yellow was out again. Grossenbacher and Tilton got tangled in turn four. Grossenbacher was ok but Tilton was dragging parts and making sparks. He was helped off the track. With the casualty rate rather high for this feature, the rear in front of the lapped cars was fourth position so Grossenbacher wasn’t hurt much by being sent to the back. Grossenbacher quickly passed Thornton on the last lap for an exciting finish. Red Vann took the checkered flag well ahead of Rick Brewer who finished second. Scott Grossenbacher took third with Loren Thornton taking fourth. Justin Tilton came back in fifth.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models brought out a full field of cars tonight at Ocala Speedway. Dave Westrich (38) sat on the pole with Roger Damron (76) sitting on the outside. The flag dropped and Westrich took the lead. Chuck Burkhalter (30) was on the move early and by the time the first lap was completed, he was sitting in first position. By the second lap, Rich Pratt (0) had also moved up as had Herb Neumann (98). Damron settled into fourth. This feature was extremely fast and totally caution free. The speed set by Burkhalter kept everyone on their toes as he was matched in speed by the next three followers. Pratt made several attempts to pass Burkhalter while fighting off attempts made by Neumann to take second. Damron was making the same bids for improvement from fourth. The top four were equally able as they powered around the track like a freight train. And, just like a freight car that is unable to pass the one ahead, each was unsuccessful in his attempt to better his position. Bumpers were tapped and a few times, tires came loose from the track, but the skills of the drivers kept everything together. This was racing at its best. Competition was high with the drivers displaying a high degree of skill. Lapped traffic offered a bit of spice but never really interfered with the race. Chuck Burkhalter took the checkered flag for the win. Rich Pratt came in second with Herb Neumann on his tail for third. Roger Damron flew in for fourth and Dave Westrich took home fifth.
The final feature of the night was the School Bus Figure Eight. Nine buses started the race and things got exciting quickly. Todd Jolley and Ken Asbell fought hard for first, each one claiming and the other reclaiming it. The crossroads was the hotspot as always and several near hits kept fans on the edge of their seats. One bus blew an engine and came to rest in turn two, almost in the path to the turn up to the crossroad. Jolley and Asbell were coming off the backstretch into the crossroads apparently stuck together with Jolley leading by a nose. Traffic was heavy in the cross and it was clear that a collision was imminent. Jolley did his best, but he clipped the rear of Mark Mitchell’s bus as he came through the center, causing Mitchell to turn over on his side. A red flag was thrown immediately as the track crew raced to see how Mitchell and his passenger had faired. Mitchell and his passenger emerged without a scratch, exiting the bus through the rear door. The bus was set upright by the forklift and Mitchell was game to continue, but he was unable to restart the engine. Jolley’s bus was also finished and Jolley announced that he had been without brakes anyway. Ken Asbell was now the unchallenged leader and with five laps to go, he held on to take the checkered flag. Mike Soares finished in second and Ted Visnaski came in third. Ron Bews finished fourth and Todd Jolley took fifth as the last one to drop out.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Saturday September 18th, there will be a full schedule of racing plus the popular Dwarf Cars.