The historic Ocala Speedway has one more week of fast paced action this Friday night before the scheduled summer break, with the Late Models, the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, the Mini Stocks, and the Gladiators, set to do battle on the southeast's toughest 3/8ths mile. The summer break means that the racers will have at least three weeks off to prepare their machines and themselves for the remainder of the 2010 racing season, and this weekend's races will be the final chance to make some moves before that happens.
After a long break that was dictated by scheduling and weather, the Late Model Division hit the clay at Ocala on July 23 as the 2009 Late Model Champion, J.O. Nobles, held off Ivedent Lloyd to grab an impressive win. But despite those heroics that had the crowd cheering loudly for the yellow number 18, Nobles is still playing second fiddle in the points standings while Mark Whitener retains the top spot. Whitener drove the Dave's Towing number 58 to a third place finish on the 23rd, and will certainly be a factor this Friday night. And while Nobles lacks only 27 points in his effort to unseat Whitener, the 2010 Powell Memorial winner, Phillip Cobb, is only six points in back of Nobles going into this week's feature event.
Michael Stalnaker has returned to the top ranks of the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, and made a statement of his own last Friday by clawing his way from a 14th starting position to battle it out with Scott Mooers for a well deserved win. That makes two victories in a row for Stalnaker, who now has a 20 point advantage over Jerrid Bennett in the 2010 points standings. Bennett has fought his way through adversity lately just as Stalnaker did earlier in the season, and came away with a fifth place finish on Friday night which padded a 50 point advantage over EBD Racing's Chris Shea, who also has had a run of misfortune lately. So as the summer break looms the question is whether Jerrid Bennett can fight his way back toward the top, and if he can, will Mike Stalnaker be able to continue his recent domination of the division?
After repeated setbacks, injuries, and other calamities that never allowed Keith Briggs to finish a Mini Stock race in 2010, the 19T machine rolled onto the clay at Ocala Speedway on July 23rd and put all of that in the past. Briggs not only finished the race, he won it convincingly, and served notice that while he may not be a threat to win a championship this season, he certainly can win any race that he enters no matter who controls the points. The 2009 Mini Stock Champion, Paul Combast, holds a 14 point advantage over Dan Kerr going into this week's race, and hopes to build on that lead by finishing in front of the Kerr machines each week. But in order to do that he must also deal with Briggs, as the 19T will factor into the remaining races on the schedule.
Steven Johnson was on top of the Ocala Speedway Gladiator Division just a few weeks ago, but lousy luck and great racing from Casey Feaster ended his time at the top as Feaster had a week as the points leader at two top Florida dirt tracks. But last Friday Casey Feaster was missing from the field as a mechanical issue with his personal car left him stranded, and that allowed young Devin Walker to scramble his way into the top spot with a third place finish. Meanwhile Matt Shea was awarded the win last Friday after technical violations disqualified two finishers, and trails Walker by a mere 6 points going into this week's race while Feaster plummeted to 50 points out of first. So will we have the third different points leader in three weeks of action? Not if Devin Walker can help it, but Matt Shea may have something to say about that as well.
The grandstand gates will open this Friday at 5PM, with heat racing scheduled for 8PM. For more information, please visit www.OcalaSpeedway.com, where the updated schedule should be posted within the next two to three weeks.