Ocala, FL, October 9, 1999 – There was a definite hint of fall in the air tonight at Ocala Speedway. Fans came to enjoy a great night of racing and they were not disappointed.
The Coca-Cola 4-Cylinder Bombers filled the track tonight. Ricky Cox (26) sat on the pole and Matt Connelly (007) sat on the outside. Cox jumped for the lead but quickly found himself looking at Brock Oglesby’s (88) rear bumper. Brock held a solid lead for a few laps. The first caution flag dropped when Rick Cox smacked the turn 4 wall. On the restart Terry Dunbar (72) gave the front row spectators an up front display of hitting the wall and losing a bumper. This brought out another caution flag. Yet another restart attempting to get this race completed found Carl Thomas (19) and Chauna Johnston (43) tangling in turn 4. Chauna’s car was dripping fluid on the track surface and she had to be pushed into the infield. The cleanup was extensive and a red light was called until the track was ready for racing to resume. On lap eleven, Tom Roberts (88z) spun and stalled in turn 2 bringing out the final caution flag. On the final restart Jamie Portera (77) spun on the front straight. When the checkered flag finally fell Bobby Valeo (8) was the winner. Dave Neiswender, Neil Durbin, Brock Oglesby and Matt Connelly rounded out the top five finishers.
The WTRS Pure Stocks came out in full force. This very competitive division was being lead by Peter Portera (24) on the pole and Richard McGlashan (113) on the outside. Portera got off to a great start and took a strong lead. Jason Gamble (21) quickly moved into second and Larry Bowden took third position. Portera and Gamble were in a tight door-handle to door-handle battle for the lead and coming out of turn four, they slid outside and Gamble scraped the wall. Portera scraped Gamble’s left side and sparks flew as they fought to control their cars. They managed well Portera kept his lead for a bit longer. By lap five, Gamble asserted himself enough to take the lead from Portera. Bowden was in third at this time, but John Betts (81) was coming on hard. Betts got by Bowden on lap eight but a mix-up was brewing. Gamble took his car wide and into turn three and Portera regained the lead. Bowden got past Betts in the turn and took over second. Betts was followed by Dave Dinehart (79) in fourth. Gamble took his car to the pits. On the next lap, Bowden found what he needed to get by Portera and took the lead. One lap later the one and only caution of the feature was thrown when Pete Close (8) and Paul Fletcher (94) got tangled in turn four. Larry Bowden was strong and held the lead to take the checkered flag. Peter Portera followed closely for second and John Betts came in third. Dave Dinehart and John Ray McNeal filled out the top five.
The Dave’s Towing Hobby Stocks had a full field tonight. Shane Nichols (64) sat on the pole with David Baxley (65), his father-in-law on the outside. These two never give each other and inch and they both fired hard as the green flag flew. The formation was tight for the first lap, and Alan McCafferty (32) was close behind in third. After crossing the line for the first lap, Nichols and Baxley got a little to close in turn one and spun, bringing out the yellow flag. The start/finish line must be crossed by every car in the field for the first lap to count, and many cars were still in turn four when the yellow light came on. Nichols and Baxley were given a second chance because a full double-up restart was called and McCafferty had to give up his lead. The battle was still heated between Nichols and Baxley but there was no contact this time. Baxley took the lead from Nichols on the second lap, but Nichols regained it one lap later. After lap four, a caution flag flew when Tim Wright (12) took a very hard bite out of the wall coming out of turn four. Nichols still lead the pack but Baxley and McCafferty were making him run for it. Mike Wilson (79) was back in the pack but making up ground every lap and by lap eight he was solidly in fourth. A third caution flew after lap eleven when car thirteen spun in turn four. The last four laps were tense as Nichols, Baxley and McCafferty gave it all they had. Shane Nichols took the checkered flag for the second week in a row and David Baxley took second. Alan McCafferty took third and Dave Dinehart took fourth. Rusty Staines filled out the top five.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models brought out a full field of cars tonight. This feature ran before the Budweiser Modifieds. Ricky Carlton (34) sat on the pole and Rich Pratt (0) sat on the outside. The start came off in an odd fashion when Carlton failed to fire when the green flag fell. Pratt quickly jumped out front but the whole pack piled up behind Carlton and a full restart was called. This time Carlton’s car jumped well but Pratt again claimed the lead. Carlton never let up on Pratt’s bumper and after eight very fast laps, he took the lead. By this time, Herb Neumann (98) had found his way through the pack and was sitting in third with Kevin Bryant (54) running fourth. Laps were being ticked off quickly as this order held. Another yellow caution appeared after lap nineteen when the number six car took a piece out of the wall in turn one. Carlton put in a commanding performance and held the lead all the way to the checkered flag. Rich Pratt came in second with Herb Neumann a close third. Kevin Bryant and John Lovelady filled out the top five finishers.
The Budweiser Modifieds fielded a full pack tonight to run this special 50-lap feature. Wayne Reutimann (00) had the pole and Red Vann (32) sat on the outside. Reutimann had a great start and took the lead. Vann sat in second but Scott Grossenbacher overtook him on lap three. Vann didn’t give up though and reclaimed second position on lap five. The two front runners opened up some working room, leaving Grossenbacher and Rick Hall (15) to battle for third. On lap sixteen, Vann took advantage of a hole left by Reutimann and raced into the lead. By lap twenty-four, the two leaders were running a half-track ahead of the field. Grossenbacher and Hall were still contending for third in a heated battle and on lap twenty-seven, Hall got his break. Hall tried to make up ground on the leaders but even if he ran as fast as Vann and Reutimann did, he had little hope of catching them. Luck runs two ways and after lap 35, Rick Brewer lost a bit of his luck and Hall found his. Brewer spun through turn four, bringing out the first caution flag. The restart placed Hall on Vann’s bumper. Vann jumped well as the green flag fell, and Hall immediately put the pressure on Reutimann. As Hall came up the outside, Reutimann got under Vann in turn four, causing Vann to spin. Vann maintained his lead on the restart, but Reutimann found himself in the rear. Hall had a hot car tonight and Vann was unable to shake him or open up some room. For eleven of the last twelve laps, Hall put Vann in a pressure cooker and turned up the heat. Reutimann was stuck for many laps behind competitors and it wasn’t until lap forty-three that he was able to regain a top five position. The finish brought fans to the their feet as Rick Hall slipped by Vann to take the checkered flag. Red Vann settled for second. Scott Grossenbacher took third by holding off Wayne Reutimann who took fourth. Scott Millar took home fifth.
Don’t miss any of the Ocala Speedway racing season. Next week, Saturday October 16, there will be a full schedule of racing plus the Outlaw Winged Sprints and the Dwarf cars.