Sportsman racers have had limited opportunities to take on Ocala's tricky and tough 3/8ths mile, but their next chance comes this Friday with the winner claiming a $1000 payday. These $1000 to win affairs normally attract a wide range of challengers from many different tracks, so the competition level can be quite high and the action fierce. This race will be no exception, and many racers may want to use this opportunity for some seat time as they prepare to enter points races at their respective home tracks, while shooting for a extra big payday as well. For the fans it is a chance to see how racers who normally do not compete head to head will fare against each other, and fans from other tracks will be on hand to cheer on their favorites against competition from across the state.
Mike Tovet normally does his racing at the big half mile across the forest, but last week he made the trek over to Ocala and spoiled the opening night festivities for the locals by winning the first Hobby Stock feature of 2011. Kevin Durden valiantly tried to chase down Tovet but ran out of laps and time and finished second, but the added motivation of $1000 might be just the thing that Durden needs to make sure that doesn't happen this week. Meanwhile two former Gladiator racers, Matt Shea and Devin Walker, showed that they can wheel a Hobby Stock by finishing fourth and fifth respectively. They now know that they can compete with the rest of the field, and that they have just as much chance of getting a big payday as anyone else.
The Amsoil Thunder Stocks opened their 2011 season in the same way that they closed 2010, by beating and banging their way around the track and literally fighting for a win. Throwing in extra money tends to be like throwing gasoline on a fire, and certainly Friday's $1000 to win feature will mean bent sheet metal and the free exchange of paint, plus some new scars on the track's walls as well. Perhaps the Ocala Thunder Stock racers might want to concentrate less on beating each other up and instead focus on outrunning the competition, as outsiders finished well in last weekend's event. Ray Wheeler got the win, while Richard Calmes and Wally Douglas both had top five finishes. The only two Ocala regulars in the top five were Eddie Lake and Jonathan Gillette.
When compared to the roughhousing of the Thunder Stocks, the first Gladiator race of 2011 was a very calm affair, but Sammy Dale served notice that his machine was capable of running in front except for an intermittent engine problem that slowed him in the feature. The win went to none other than Casey Feaster, who will again be out to get an Ocala championship trophy to display with the one that he collected from across the forest last season. Feaster had to outrun a determined Kyle Morse and Robert Graham in order to get to Victory Lane, so look for this week's race to feature even more side-by-side drama and tight competition.
Ocala Speedway will open the grandstand gate at 5PM on Friday evening, with heats set to begin at 8PM. Fans can get information on admission prices and view the upcoming race schedule at www.OcalaSpeedway.com, Racers or fans with questions are invited to call Ocala Speedway at 352-622-9400.