Ocala, Fl- An almost perfect night greeted racers and fans at the
historic Ocala Speedway on Friday as four racing divisions kicked off
their championship points seasons. Meanwhile back in the pit area the
Mini Stock racers in attendance all met privately with Ocala Speedway
owner, Mike Peters, to discuss rule changes that could possibly help
that division grow stronger. Several options were voted on, and
everyone came away from the meeting feeling confident with the results.
And it was with that in mind that the Mini Stocks opened the night of racing with defending 2009 points champion Paul Combast leading the way. Combast was looking for a measure of success on the night as his 2010 performance had not yet been up to championship standards, so a heat race win and the pole position for the feature race was a good start. The only problem was Combast had Keith Briggs, plus Nick and Dan Kerr, all right on his tail, and none of those three like to follow anyone.
Paul Combast got his much needed win, but Keith Briggs and Dan Kerr both made him work for it as one or the other challenged him periodically throughout the race. Dan Kerr got past Briggs to take the second spot, while Nick Kerr Placed right behind Briggs in the fourth spot. Ray Ethridge took the fifth spot in his first outing of 2010.
Fans know that when the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks hit the clay that there is probably going to be collateral damage done before it is over. Those who are into bent sheet metal saw their fantasies come true as 23 cars started the feature event, and 20 laps later more than half of those cars were in the pit area in various states of disrepair. Jason Gamble climbed back behind the wheel of the 17 car and looked to be the early favorite, only to falter on lap 3 and head for the pits. Gamble returned to the race only to be collected in a five car fracas in turn 4, then returned one more time to end up the victim of another's mishap yet again.Gamble's problems left Michael Stalnaker and Augie Burttram in front, and those two spent most of the rest of the race trading paint, position, and probably a few choice words and gestures as well. Both drivers dominated the race, and while Burttram maintained the upper hand early, Stalnaker managed to swipe the lead later on. Meanwhile a string of cautions for this and that behind them only added to their frustrations with each other, and their battle finally ended when Michael Stalnaker spun on the front stretch and wound up on the rear of the field.
It was all Augie Burttram from that point as he cruised to a victory, followed by Eddie Lentz for the second spot. Sean Babcock placed third and Brian Shea wound up fourth, with Jerrid Bennett overcoming all sorts of misfortunes to take the fifth position at the checkers.
A strong field of late models took the green with Shane Williams leading the way, but Keith Nosbisch had the car to beat on the night. Nosbisch drove the 101 machine out front and dominated the race while everyone else battled for position behind him, including Ivedent Lloyd Jr. Lloyd started in the 5th position and picked his way up to the second spot by lap 8, then began stalking Keith Nosbisch lap after lap.
Despite the best efforts of the hometown favorite, Ivedent Lloyd, it looked as if Keith Nosbisch was simply too tough to tame. Lloyd made several attempts to pass, but each time was rebuffed by the race leader. But in the final laps as the two frontrunners began lapping some stragglers, both cars ended up nose to tail with traffic, and on the white flag lap Ivedent Lloyd used a slower car as a sort of rolling pick to steal the lead from Nosbisch and win the race. Mark Whitener also managed to sneak past the 101 car and grab the second spot as Keith Nosbisch settled for third. Joe Kump and Christian Augspurger rounded out the top five.
The Gladiators were the final division to race and inherited a dry-slick track from the late models. Casey Feaster pounced on pole sitter Ann Moon at the start and grabbed the lead, as a determined Tony LaPorta fell in behind him. Feaster and LaPorta had quite a battle, albeit a civil one with next to no pushing and shoving, as LaPorta tried continually to make his way around the 20 car. But Feaster's Ford focus proved to be more than LaPorta could manage and Casey Feaster placed himself as the division points leader with a win. LaPorta earned second place, followed by the 55 of Devin Walker in the third spot. Troy Sullivan and Steve Johnson were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Next Friday night Ocala Speedway presents a special event, featuring action from the Top Gun Sprint Car Series. The Top Guns feature a competitive field of top 360 sprint cars and are respected as the top dirt sprint car touring series in the region. In addition to the sprint cars, fans will also be treated to action from Tee Pee Tire Hobby Stocks, The Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, and the Mini Stocks. Visit www.OcalaSpeedway.com for more details, or call the speedway at 352-622-9400.