Ocala, FL, April 8th, 2000 – Ocala Speedway stands were packed tonight. As winds turned cool, people hunched together and watched the heated racing on the track. Fans awaited the Lawnmower Race with curiosity.
The Lawnmower Racers were given heats to race on the short course during halftime. They ran their feature later in the evening. Alan Elder (26) took the lead early and Mark Boyce settled in behind him. Bob Cleveland (16) drove along in third. One exciting crash occurred as two mowers came through the turn coming out onto the front stretch. Both mowers flipped over but each man was able to right his machine and rejoin the race. Alan Elder finished first and Mark Boyce finished second. Bob Cleveland, Billy Hurst and Yale Cole filled out the top five.
The Junior Cup Cars raced during halftime. Two races were run. Mariah Berry (24) sat on the pole for the first and Connor Baxley (64) had it for the second. Rance Damron (82) joined the field for the first time. Berry drove well and took the checkered flag for both races. Connor Baxley finished second. Rance had a minor mishap during the first feature and had to be “towed”, but he took third place for the books.
The Coca Cola Four Cylinder Bombers were first up. The field was well packed with entries. Rick Fort (2) had the pole and Bobby Valeo (8) sat on the outside. Valeo jumped well to start, making it hard for anyone to catch him. Jeff Oglesby (88x) put in a good effort from second position, but he was unsuccessful. Fort was able to hold on to third, but it wasn’t easy because Chauna Johnston (43) was keeping him on his toes. There were no yellow flags to slow the action and Bobby Valeo was running away to take the checkered flag. Jeff Oglesby took second and Rick Fort and Chauna Johnston took a distant third and fourth. Marlin Durbin finished fifth.
The WTRS Pure Stocks packed a full field. Paul Gladin (9) sat on the pole and Frank Buchanan (207) sat on the outside. Gladin jumped well but he could only hold his lead for a couple of laps. Mark Mitchell (71) had his car tuned tonight so he easily passed Gladin to take the lead. Mitchell proved his mettle and opened up a huge lead. Kenny Abney (3x) made his way up through the pack but he wasn’t able to catch Mitchell until a yellow lag repacked the field. The last five laps were hard fought. Mitchell was secure in the lead but Abney and Edward England (00) were scrapping for second. England even took second position for one lap. Mark Mitchell finished first to take the checkered flag. Kenny Abney finished second with Edward England coming in third. John Betts and Rick Hart filled out the top five.
The Dave’s Towing Street Stocks packed the track with cars. Charles Kopach (53) sat on the pole and Eddie Kilbury (71) sat on the outside. David Baxley (64) was sitting in the second row and he put his positioning to ood use. Within one lap, he was out front, and from this vantage point, Baxley is hard to catch. Mike Wilson (79) gave it a very valiant effort though and kept the pressure on Baxley for the entire feature. One yellow flag stopped the action about mid-race but cars were back underway quickly. David Baxley took the checkered flag for the win and Mike Wilson sailed in right behind him for second. Eddie Kilbury took third leaving Glenn Baum and Shane Nichols to bring in fourth and fifth.
The Dwarf Cars were in town tonight with a large field. Bill Burback (77) jumped straight out of the pack to grab the lead position. Dan Berry scooted in behind him to hold second. Matt Fetterhoff (71) quickly laid hold of third and these top three took off, leaving the pack behind. The feature was clean and quick with no yellow flags. Don Hess (28), Dennis Archinal (12), Jerry Heflin (23), and Max Howe (50) all held fourth position at one time or another. Bill Burback was the first under the checkered flag for the win. Dan Berry took home second. Matt Fetterhoff claimed third. Dennis Archinal took fourth leaving Don Hess to take fifth.
The Budweiser Modifieds came out in full force. Johnny Newsome (31) sat on the pole and Gary Sexton (41) sat on the outside. After yellow flag fell before the first lap was completed, a complete restart was called. Raymond Vann (99) jumped well, taking advantage of an early hole to gain the lead. He only held it for two laps before Red Vann (32) powered by to take the point. Kevin Spiddle (77) hit a spot of bad luck and brought out a yellow flag. Vann maintained his lead on the restart and Raymond Vann was still holding second. Sexton was putting on the pressure though and after another yellow flag and restart, he got by Raymond Vann to take second position. ewsome was also applying pressure he moved up to take third. After two more yellow flags, Red Vann took the checkered flag to win. Gary Sexton came in second and Johnny Newsome came in third. Scott Millar and Sal DeFranco finished fourth and fifth.
The Steven A. Bagen Late Models turned out well in number. Roger Damron (76) sat on the pole and Butch Dees (20) sat on the outside. Damron took off hard and David Christopher (0) roared up behind him in second. Augie Burtram (58) sat in third a little way back, fighting Jason Garver (27) for position. The feature was very fast and clean until just after the seventeenth lap. Garver and Burtram got a bit physical and spun through turn one. Butch Dees also spun but only because he was avoiding the other two. Burtram and Garver were sent to the rear and Dees moved up into third. Roger Damron took the checkered flag for the win. David Christopher took second and Butch Dees took home third. Augie Burtram and Jason Garver worked their way back up through the pack to take fourth and fifth.
The Pro Figure Eight racers were on tap tonight. Paul Gladin (9) sat on the pole and Richard McGlashen (117) sat on the outside. Before the first lap was completed, a red flag was thrown because J.W. McNeal (45) lost the left side rear axle up between turns four and three. A complete restart was called. Within seconds, Alan McCafferty (32) was holding the lead. Tom Roberts (44) was holding his own in second. Red Vann (3x) was gaining ground and by the tenth lap, he had passed Roberts. As laps ticked off, Charles Kopach (53) gained ground even though his car was smoking and seemed about to let go. In the final wash, Alan McCafferty ran away with the win to take the checkered flag. Charles Kopach smoked in for second and Red Vann raced in for third. Tom Roberts came in fourth and Jack Pate finished fifth.
The Ocala Speedway 2000 season continues with weekly racing. April 15th, will feature a full regular program with the Classic Race Cars as guests. Other special events for this night are a Powder Puff race and the Valvoline Simulator Car. Come out every Saturday night during the regular season for the many exciting features. This is high-action racing fun for the whole family.