History was made on Friday night at Florida's oldest race track as the
World of Outlaw Late Models invaded Ocala Speedway for the first time,
and the standing room only crowd was thrilled by the extreme racing
skills of some of the best dirt late model drivers in the world. In
addition to the !0,000 to win, 50 lap late model show, fans enjoyed
fender banging excitement from Ocala's Hobby Stock division, as they
battled for $1000 in a 20 lap race. And winding up the night were
Ocala's Mini Stocks, who brought some fresh faces and provided yet
another surprise ending to their feature race.
All eyes were on the local favorite, Ivedent Lloyd, as he hit the clay with several other local names and challenged the World of Outlaw Late Models, and the visitors soon discovered that Lloyd is a force to be reckoned with. Lloyd blistered the clay in qualifying with a fast time of 15.399, and won his heat race handily, placing himself on the pole for the 50 lap A main event. Tyler Ivey and Christian Augspurger also made it to the big show through time trials and heat races.
The World of Outlaws B main saw Shane Williams transfer to the big race in the 16 car, as well as the 49 of Justin Tilton and the 26W of Dillon Wood. Jill George, who was back on dirt after her notable upside down slam into the outside wall during the Daytona ARCA event not that long ago, also made her way into the A main.
As the 50 lapper got underway Ivedent Lloyd found himself being mobbed in the opening circuits, finally settling into the 5th spot by lap 10. Darrell Lanigan's 29 car looked extra strong on the night going straight to the front and remaining there as others battled it out for the rest of the top five. Tyler Ivey made his way into the 5th spot by lap 20, passing Ivedent Lloyd along the way.
Other Florida favorites were not so lucky in the feature race, including
young upstart Christian Augsperger who held his own with the big boys
until a flat tire from contact sent him to the pits. Dillon Wood
struggled the entire night, managing to complete 38 of the 50 laps and
earning a 20th place finish. Justin Tilton also struggled, and left
when his motor expired on lap 28. After a tough battle and some
impressive moves in the B main to get to the A main race, Shane Williams
wound up there 24th place finisher after completing only 16 laps.
In the end it was Darrell Lanigan who rocketed to victory, as the Kentucky based racer collected his $10,000 payoff and some hardware to go with it. Tim McCreadie finished second, followed by Austin Hubbard in the third spot. Josh Richards and Chub Frank rounded out the top five.
Tyler Ivey finished highest of any Florida racers, crossing under the checkers in the 7th spot. Right on his tail was the 21 of Ivedent Lloyd, who came away with the 8th place finish.
Ocala Speedway fans know that when a $1000 cash carrot is dangled in front of a competitive field of Hobby Stocks that there are bound to be some yellow flags, and that prediction played out early in the race. The first five laps of the scheduled 25 lap feature were marred by cautions as racers scrambled for the cash, but once the field was whittled down by all of the contact the racers settled down to racing instead of wrecking, and provided an exciting event.
Pole sitter Trevor Gamble had battled for the early lead with Grady Christian, but spun into the turn 3 wall on lap 2 and made his exit. Grady Christian inherited the lead but spun on lap 3, allowing Brian Morgan to enjoy the view from the front. Right behind him was the 11 of Jody Wells, and Wells was making his intention of leading the race quite clear as he harassed the leader.
After a caution of lap 10, Wells took advantage on the restart and jumped under Morgan for the lead in turns 1 and 2. That pass was a race winner, as Jody Wells hung on to claim a well deserved victory and collect $1000 at the payout window. Patrick Williams battled his way through traffic and claimed the second spot, and made sure that Wells had to fight for his victory in the final laps. Grady Christian overcame all sorts of misfortunes, plus a heavily damaged race car, to nab the third spot. Kevin Durden and Brian Morgan finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Mini Stocks wrapped up the night of racing with their feature event. The 9 of Ryan Babcock earned the pole position, but opted to start in the rear, putting defending 2009 Division Champion Paul Combast at the point for the start. But Combast could not hold the lead as a hard charging Danny Vogel snatched it from him on the opening lap, but a caution reverted the field back to the original starting order putting Combast back in front. A later incident after the restart saw an incident between Vogel and Dan Kerr, which sent both cars to the rear.
Paul Combast held the lead until lap 5 when he suddenly looped the car on the backstretch, giving the lead spot to Nick Kerr. Combast later said that he hit a hole in the track which caused his feet to slip off of the pedals, and as he tried to recover he ended up losing control of the race car. No caution was thrown, and Combast returned to the race in the third spot.
Nick Kerr collected his second Mini Stock victory in 2010 as Danny Vogel Jr. battled his way back to a second place finish. Paul Combast settled for third, followed by Blake Spencer and Dan Kerr for fourth and fifth.
Next Friday Ocala Speedway's first Pepsi Wheel of Fortune night will feature the debut of the Open Wheel Modifieds after their opening race was rained out. It will also be the first outing for Ocala's new Sportsman Division, as well as the Gladiators. The Hobby Stocks will also be back.