Ocala, FL- After losing some battles with wet weather earlier in the racing season, Colortyme Rent-To-Own Night at Ocala Speedway finally saw the Modified and Sportsman Divisions take the green flag and go racing for the first time in 2010. In addition, the Tee Pee Tire Hobby Stocks put on a wild show for the fans, and were followed by the Gladiator Division which bent plenty of sheet metal and never got settled until after most fans had headed for home.
After much hoopla surrounding the addition of the Sportsman Division at Ocala Speedway, things got off to a rocky start for two teams that had high hopes of making a good impression on their first night racing at Florida's oldest track. As soon as the green waved and Tim Dowling hit the gas during hot laps, his brand new Sportsman erupted in a cloud of smoke and deposited oil and engine shrapnel the length of the Ocala backstretch. Meanwhile, Billy Costello was having persistent carburetor issues that had his 00 car stumbling again and again. Costello would miss his heat race and have to start on the rear of the feature race, and then climbed to 3rd place before the carb problems returned.
Augie Burttram said he had something to prove by getting behind the wheel of the 58 Sportsman, and that is what he did by leading flag to flag and scoring a victory. Burttram dominated the race, and try as he might the second place finisher, Kevin Mills, could never catch him. Tim "Shaky Pudding" Powers came from Okeechobee to finish third, followed by Shane Nichols and Chad Scranton to round out the top five.
Fans might have been confused by watching the Tee Pee Tire Hobby Stock race, which took on the look of a Thunder Stock event with all of the pushing, shoving, beating, and banging, that was going on. Jody Wells jumped out to the early lead, but was muscled out of the way on a restart by Kevin Durden, who protected his lead to the checkers. Dean Jarvis also had to fight to remain in contention, and came away finishing second behind Durden, while Heath Walker placed third. Jody Wells never really managed to recover from his earlier unseating by the top three cars and finished fourth, and Mike Eubanks climbed back into the driver's seat at Ocala to register a fifth place finish.
The Colortyme Modifieds took their first green flag of 2010 at Ocala in what was dubbed as the Annual Spring Fling. The 30 lap race paid $1500 to the winner, and there was quite a scramble to see who could win it. Roger Crouse, who came to Ocala with two victories at East Bay under his belt this season, led the field to the green in his crate engine powered 9 car, but it was Devin Dixon who took early control of the race and held off all challengers to take home the big payout. Dixon liked the high line around Ocala Speedway, while Jeff Mathews stuck mostly to the bottom route, but try as he might he never could do much more but briefly get under Dixon before falling back.Dixon grabbed the win, followed by Mathews in second place. Kyle Owen nabbed a third place finish while Roger Crouse came home in the fourth spot. And arriving at the checkers in the fifth spot was Kyle Bronson.
A solid field of Gladiators went after each other as the green waved and before the race ended there was quite a bit of damage done. Daryl Veltman smacked turn one wall on the first lap, while Kyle Morse spun on lap 4 and collected two innocent bystanders. Meanwhile Casey Feaster had taken over the lead and was setting the pace as Steven Cox, Devin Walker, and Ephren Souther, all squabbled over the second spot. Walker claimed second place, but a moment of distraction caused a meeting with the backstretch wall under caution, and when the green waved again his right front tire was quickly deflating. Walker would get the tire changed and return, but was unable to get back inside the top 8.
By lap 5 the 96 of Matt Shea had entered the top five and then overpowered Steven Cox for second place on lap 13. But Casey Feaster was strong and remained out of reach in the final couple of laps, so Feaster and Shea crossed the line first and second. Steven Cox and Ephren Souther tangled in the final turn and both plowed into the front stretch wall, further confusing the final results.
After a celebration in Victory Lane, there was a date with the dreaded tech man in the pit area as both top cars were checked. Both the 20 of Casey Feaster and the 96 of Matt Shea were found to be outside of the rules, so both were disqualified. That passed the win to Steven Johnson, and moved Kody Fisher up to the second spot. Ephren Souther would nab the third place finish, followed by Matthew Kramer and Steven Cox.
On Friday, April 23rd, Ocala Speedway presents the debut of the Pepsi Wheel of Fortune where a lucky racing division and some lucky race fans will benefit from extra cash provided by the good folks at Pepsi Cola. The Late Models will be back after a week off, plus fans will see exciting action from the Amsoil Synthetic Lubricants Thunder Stocks, the Mini Stocks will be back, and the Gladiators will run their third race of 2010. For a complete schedule of events, or for ticket prices and more, visit www.OcalaSpeedway.com, or call the track at 352-622-9400.