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Lanigan Repeats At Ocala Speedway

. Posted in Racing News

OCALA, FL-  A banner crowd of excited races fans flooded the grandstands and pit area of Ocala Speedway on Friday night as the World of Outlaws Late Models made their final appearance in Florida for the 2011 season.  And that crowd took full advantage of the new "all access pass" that allowed all grandstand ticket holders full access to the pit area, as they spent much of their time getting an up close look at the racers, the machines, and the crews, as they worked to prep for the various races.  They also got a close look at the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks, Ocala's hard nosed pure stock division, as they banged out the dents then proceeded to the track and created more.

With $10,000 going to the winner of the World of Outlaws Sunshine 50 feature race, the drivers wasted no time in hooking up on an all but perfectly prepared track and set an amazing six track records during qualifying.  The fastest of those times, and therefore the new standing track record, goes to Austin Hubbard as he posted a blistering 14.873 lap around the oddly shaped track.

By the time that the three heat races and the B-main had been completed, the track had taken quite a bit of rubber and had changed dramatically from what it was in earlier qualifying.  That had teams scrambling to adapt, but dramatic changes over the course of an evening are part of why Ocala is known as the southeast's toughest 3/8ths mile, and teams had to deal with the conditions at hand.  And when the green flew to begin the Sunshine 50, those who had failed to adapt quickly found themselves in trouble.  But young sensation Christian Augspurger found himself driving a race car that didn't want to handle no matter what the conditions were, and that left him as a fan in the stands for the feature event this time, after finishing 22nd last year's event.

Jonathan Davenport had been impressive earlier in the night, and he wasted zero time jumping into the lead and dominating the early laps of the race.  But just behind him was last year's winner, Darrell Lanigan, and Lanigan was coming in Davenport's direction.  Meanwhile Austin Hubbard, who had blistered the track in qualifying, found himself in reverse and losing positions as the race progressed.

Lanigan muscled his way around Josh Richards and began working on Davenport by lap 13, and on lap 17 he slipped inside of Davenport to steal the lead.  A caution just after the pass bunched up the field again, and Lanigan took full advantage by using clear track ahead to open up his lead when the green flew again. But within 9 more laps the leaders were once more lapping the cars at the tail of the field, and as Lanigan picked his way through the traffic that lead was whittled down just a bit.

Ocala's Ivedent Lloyd Jr. had wound up in a dismal starting position on the 9th row in 18th place, but had patiently worked his way up to 12th by lap 10.  And the 21 car was still pecking away at the cars in front of him as the laps ran down, eventually finishing in 8th place on the night.  Meanwhile Tyler Ivey had started strong in a better position than Lloyd, but struggled in traffic and succumbed to worn out tires late in the race, dropping out in the waning laps and watching from the infield.

Darrell Lanigan proved to be too much for anyone to handle on the night and drove to his second World of Outlaws Late Model win in as many years at Florida's oldest speedway.  Josh Richards fought hard to hang onto second place, while Jonathan Davenport claimed the third spot.  Jason Feger and Chub Frank rounded out the top five finishers.

When Ocala's Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks hit the track the fans know that chances are that they will hit each other as well, and that process began early in heat racing on Friday night.  One particularly violent incident involved Jon Layerd and Tim Matthieu, who hooked up in turn 4 and together plowed into the outside wall head on.  That incident destroyed both race cars and heavily damaged both the wall and the guardrail, but after a stoppage for some patchwork repairs the heat race was able to continue.  And thankfully both racers walked away from the extremely hard hit.

Another red flag resulted from Justin Tillander's frontstretch tangle with the concrete wall that rolled his car onto its roof.  That incident happened just short of the flagstand directly in front of the majority of the crowd and quickly brought all of them to their feet.  Tillander walked away as the track crew righted the car, and after a slight delay to patch up the hole dug into the clay by Tillander's car, the racing resumed.

As for the 20 lap, $500 to win feature event, the race was dominated by Ray Wheeler, who fought off a hard charging Jason Gamble to grab his third consecutive Amsoil V8 Thunder Stock victory at Ocala Speedway.  Nevertheless, Gamble refused to allow Wheeler to win with ease, and even got himself side by side with the red 27 machine more than once, yet could not quite seal the deal with a pass.  So Gamble would settle for second while Chris Fontaine took a weekend off from Camping world Truck Series racing to place third at Ocala.  Jonathan Appleby was impressive behind the wheel of the 55W as he placed fourth, and Scooter Bare was the fifth place finisher.

Ocala Speedway is back in action next Friday night as the action packed Florida Mini Sprint Association comes to visit.  The Modifieds will headline the regular divisions and will be joined by the Amsoil Thunder Stocks, the Mini Stocks, and the Gladiators.  The gates will open at 5PM with racing at 8PM, and for more information fans can go to www.OcalaSpeedway.com.


Ocala Speedway Results for 3/26/11

World of Outlaws Late Models (50 laps/$10,000 to win)

1- 29 Darrell Lanigan
2- 1 Josh Richards
3- 49 Jonathan Davenport
4- 25F Jason Feger
5- 1* Chub Frank
6- 24 Rick Eckert
7- 25 Shane Clanton
8- 21L Ivedent Lloyd Jr.
9- 15 Steve Francis
10- 39 Tim McCreadie
11- 32C Vic Coffey
12- 3 Brent Robinson
13- 11D Pat Doar
14- 71D Ron Davies
15- 19 Tim Fuller
16- 44 Clint Smith
17- 1L John Lobb
18- 33 Brian Reese
19- 19H Austin Hubbard
20- 21M Billy Moyer
21- 22 Jill George
22- 47 Tyler Ivey
23- 21B Chip Brendle
24- 54 David Breazeale

Amsoil V8 Thunder Stock (20 laps/$500 to win)

1- 27W Ray Wheeler
2- 27 Jason Gamble
3- 84 Chris Fontaine
4- 55W Jonathan Appleby
5- 42 Scooter Bare
6- 19 Brian Shea
7- X Bubba Christian
8- 39 Jason Blackmer
9- 18 Chris Watson
10- 86 Eddie Lentz
11- 1 Austin Gamble
12- 3W Vaughn Woodall
13- 121 Gordon Cade
14- 4C Richard Calmes
15- 64 Jonathan Gillette
16- 15 Luke Sadler
17- 31 Mike Tyre
18- 44 Todd Roberts
19- 76 Chris Shea
20- 14 Tim Matthieu
DNS- 20 Jon Layerd
DNS- 73 Justin Tillander
DNS- 66 Harold Erickson

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