Ocala, Florida, June 7, 2000 – The Fifth Annual Powell Memorial Late Model race was held under clear, breezy conditions at Ocala Speedway giving race fans an evening of first class late model racing action in the traditional Powell Memorial fashion. A full field of late model racers captured the excitement of the crowd and crews alike for a race, which will be talked about for some time.
The starting order of the event found Jack Cook of Holly Hill on the pole with James Powell on the front row outside. Behind the front row were Wayne Anderson, Mike Franklin, Rich Pratt and Mac Johnson. The field had a tough time getting through the first lap under full green conditions. Drivers were spinning in turns one and three bringing caution flags. After the second restart, which was a single file restart, the pack settled in with James Powell of Astor taking the early lead. Ocala Speedway’s 1999 late model track champion Herb Neumann Jr. had a tough night as he spun on the backstretch and into the infield. This put him at the back of the pack with the entire field ahead of him.
The first portion of the race found James Powell leading a small pack of front-runners including Wayne Anderson, Mike Franklin, Rich Pratt and David Reutimann. It seemed nothing could separate the cars from each other as they drove through the corners in single file. These front-runners continuously pulled away from the remainder of the pack. However, as it is in racing, caution flags would fall and the pack would once again bunch up giving the back runners a chance at the lead. The cautions also opened up the track for the leaders giving them clear sight of the track instead of lapped traffic.
Mike Franklin of Homestead and Wayne Anderson of Wildwood traded positions several times during the race. Whenever these two were side by side you couldn’t tell who would come out the winner. Mike was trying to overtake Wayne on both the high and low side of the track.
At the halfway point of the race it appeared that Powell, Anderson and Franklin were tied together. Bouts of slight bumping in the tight turns didn’t seem to phase any of these drivers as they maintained control of the cars and kept the throttle pressed to the firewall. Anderson and Franklin both made a dramatic move on the inside of turn 1 on about lap 75 to take the lead from James Powell and opened up a slight lead over the other lead cars. A few laps later Mike Franklin made a few swift moves on Anderson and took the lead position. The leaders, including Mike Franklin, Wayne Anderson, James Powell and David Reutimann continue to hold the lead pack together. Several caution flags were dropped for some debris on the trackand a couple of spins in the turns. Each time these caution flags dropped it once again bunched up the field and opened up the track for the leaders.
Franklin constantly felt pressure from Anderson and he knew he had to be aggressive on the restarts. Mike proved his driving ability as he pulled away from the field on each restart. However, after a few laps Anderson was right back at Franklin’s bumper. A final caution flag on lap 123 made for a dramatic two-lap dash for the trophy. Mike Franklin of Homestead claimed the win of the Fifth Annual Powell Memorial Late Model Race at Ocala Speedway followed by Wayne Anderson, James Powell, David Reutimann and MikeFritts. The remainder of the finishing order was Jimmy Cope, Lee Faulk, Jack Cook, Scott Grossenbacher, Tom McCann, Jeff Emery, Kevin Bryant, Herb Neumann Jr., John Carter, Robert Yoho, Rich Pratt, Rob Elting, Dwayne Dempsy, Kenny Vaughn and Mac Johnson.
The Ocala Speedway 2000 season continues with weekly racing. June 10th will feature all regular divisions plus the Dwarf Cars and a Roll-Over Derby. June 17th is Anniversary Night with all divisions racing, plus Fireworks (conditions permitting) and a Free Hot Dog with General Admission. Come out every Saturday night during the regular season for the many exciting features. This is high-action racing fun for the whole family.