Ocala, FL, February 18, 2000 – Ocala Speedweek 2000 is here, and the cars are roaring out of the pits. Featured races are the Mini Cup Cars, Dwarf Cars, Pro-4 Modifieds and Classic Cars. Added features for this evening were the Pro Figure Eight and a Demolition Derby. Drivers from all up and down the eastern seaboard are here to heat up their tires and get a jump on the racing season.
The Mini Cup Cars were the first to race. Bob Stryke (33) had the pole and Dan Cotton (12) sat on the outside. The green flag was held back for several laps to start as the flag man worked to get the large field of cars packed together for a fair start. The flag flew but as the leaders were coming through turn four of the first lap, car Cotton and Josh Guy (9) tangled in the middle of the pack. Guy’s car lost the right front tire and both cars had to be towed. The drivers were quickly doubled back up for the restart. Stryke regained his pole position but Dennis Tullis (11) moved up to the outside position. The feature was fast and clean with Doug Smith (17) leading from the first lap to the finish. Casey Smith (7) drove solidly in second with Terry Tullis (31) holding third position. The excitement level was high as these cars maneuvered through heavy lap traffic. Doug Smith took the checkered flag with a handy lead. Casey Smith claimed second, and Terry Tullis took third. After battling for the top five spots, David Tullis claimed fourth, and Tommy Clark came in fifth.
The Dwarf Cars raced second on the ticket. Fred Brunson (99) had the pole, and Chic Chandler (27) sat on the outside. Brunson took a commanding lead, leaving Chandler and Shannon Buckingham (44TN) to battle for second. Buckingham overpowered Chandler for second and moved up to apply the pressure to Brunson. Shortly after lap nine was completed a caution flag was thrown. Jerry Heflin (23) and Dan Berry (44) spun and tangled through turn four. Heflin had to be towed, but Berry was able to rejoin the race. The leaders had been dealing with heavy lapped traffic, and the new start cleared that all away. Brunson continued to lead but Buckingham was turning up the heat. For a few laps, it seemed that Buckingham wouldn’t be able to get by Brunson. Lap fourteen saw it happen! Before lap fifteen could be completed though, a caution flag was thrown because Bill Burbidge (24) spun through turn four. Buckingham retained the lead on the restart. One final caution slowed the action on the last lap. Stan Hope (8) spun through turn four, so on the restart the flags were white and green. Buckingham took the checkered flag as Brunson and Tom Buckingham battled to the finish for second and third. Kelly Glass took fourth and Dennis Archinal took home fifth.
The Outlaw Pro-4 Modifieds screamed onto the track. Mike Franklin (77) sat on the pole with Steve Quick (1) sitting on the outside. Franklin jumped hard from the start. Tim Proctor (98) settled into second position and held it for several laps. Some hard fights were being waged back in the pack, and lapped traffic kept the drivers on their toes. The feature was caution free and very fast. By lap six, Randy Sands had worked his way into second position. Sands began to challenge Franklin’s hold on the lead, and the last five laps were fought very hard. Mike Franklin held off Sands to take the checkered flag. Randy Sands settled for second. Carl Cormier finished third. Tim Proctor and Steve Quick filled out the top five.
The Classic Auto Racing Series turned out in force. Rodney Eary (6) had the pole and Ed Yates (74) had the outside. Eary got a good start and took the lead. Yates slipped into second. Eddie Thornton (44), Robby Sands (17) and Bill Brown Jr (88) duked it out for their spots. The feature was caution free so lapped traffic was encountered early and had to be dealt with throughout the race. The top three spots were hotly contested. Eary was in command though and he lead the entire feature. Rodney Eary took home the win and Ed Yates crossed the line almost beside him for second. Robby Sands finished third leaving Bill Brown Jr. and Eddie Thornton to fill out the top five.
The Demolition Derby provided the fans with some great excitement. Six cars whammed and bammed each other on the front stretch in full view of the grandstands. Parts flew and metal bent. Engines smoked and tires blew. Smoke filled the air and cars became unrecognizable. When the final flag flew, Roy Bear (42) was the king of the pile. The Bulldog (301) took second.
The Pro Figure Eight racers took their turn on the track to close out the night. Jr. Myer (A3) had the pole honors to start. Gordon Brown (11) sat on the outside. Racing got underway fast and furious. The feature was only two laps down when a major T-Bone took place in the crossway. Jack Pate (69) hit Charles Myer (15) broadside and they both came to rest in the flag-side infield. Paramedics checked them both as each climbed from his car to the cheers of the fans. Both drivers were ok. Jr. Myer held his lead with determination until lap seven when Scott Knight (34) took over. Alan McCafferty (53) was running hard in third for much of the race. Lap twelve was just getting underway when another red flag stopped the race. Gary Smith (22) had claimed third position but he got loose approaching turn one and slid sideways and backwards to the traffic, landing up against the barrier in the infield. He came out of the car quickly and racing restarted. Lap fourteen was also exciting because McCafferty and John LaValle (19) got tangled going into turn one. Their momentum carried them to the outside almost into the pit gate. This did not stop the race though as each was able to regain his control. McCafferty’s car took damage though, and he was out of the race a couple of laps later. Scott Knight reigned over the chaos and took the checkered flag. Jr. Myer followed close behind for second. Gordon Brown finished third leaving John LaValle and Mark Wilkins to fill out the top five finishers.
Saturday, February 19, 2000 will be the last night of the Ocala Speedweeks 2000. Racing starts at 700 pm. Special features will be the Outlaw Winged Sprints, Dwarfs, Outlaw Pro-4 Modifieds, Classic Race Cars and Legends.
The Ocala Speedway 2000 season is starting soon. Come out every Saturday night during the regular season for the many exciting features. This is high-action racing fun for the whole family.