Three names come to mind when you talk about the Top Gun Sprint Car Series at Bubba Raceway Park: Danny Martin, Tyler Godwin, and Gene Lasker. Of course, 2 of those 3 flipped their race cars while the other, Martin, went to victory lane. Godwin won the first feature earlier in 2011. Matt Kurtz and Robbie Smith also proved their worth with top 3 runs last week. Maybe a new winner will visit victory lane and the points will certainly be shaken up again, especially with Double Points.
The RaceCar Engineering Late Models are coming off of a caution free feature last time out in which Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. took another flag to flag victory. Lloyd is also the points leader by 42 over young Dillon Wood. Wood has shown flashes of brilliance with his masterful consistency on the clay. Of course, another big story is the return of 2 drivers from suspension: Mark Whitener and Bo Allen. Whitener will most likely be back in the 58 and he'll do his best to get Big Frog Motorsports back to the front. Another young gun at the front is Christian Augspurger in his 35. Augspurger has hit his stride in recent weeks with top 5s all around, including an impressive 3rd last time out at Bubba Raceway Park. Bo Allen's 71 is in 5th. Allen will start the chase on Augspurger and can only hope for some help if he wants to take a title now. In 6th is Austin Kirkpatrick. "The IceMan" hasproven that he can hold 'em off for a win and that he can chase down some of the best. Tyler Ivey and Johnny Collins are 7th and 8th, respectively, and will look for wins now. Both are capable and could make it real exciting. JO Nobles is coming off of a big win in his Sportsman and now looks for a win in his Late Model. The 2009 champion has constantly gone forward this season and it seems that 18 likes the new banking. Shan Smith is 10th in the 99W.
Amsoil V-8 Thunderstocks competition is some of the best, especially when all 7 drivers with a mathematical shot at the points lead finish. Jason Gamble has held the points lead almost all season long. Gamble, with 3 wins, could build a buffer with another win and would really help his Certified Automotive Repair Team. Brian Shea has his Bullseye RaceCars 19 just 6 behind points leader Gamble. Shea continues to get closer to that 1st win and he hopes it's sooner rather than later. Chad Scranton of Cheater Racing and Gordon Cade of Bullseye RaceCars are both 3rd, 21 points behind. Scranton has won; Cade has not and he would love to change that. Vaughn Woodall of Woodall Racing is 5th. Woodall has 24 points to make up and wins wouldn't hurt. Jonathan Gillette, in the Speedy Motorsports 64, has used consistency to actually hold onto the points lead at once, but has fallen back and is now 41 out. It's not impossible but he'll have to work now. John Thorpe of Father & Son Racing is 7th. Thorpe is 54 out and it will take a few weeks, but if he runs like he has the past 2 races it won't be too difficult. In 8th is the Watson Racing driver, Chris Watson. Watson is coming off of a heat race win 2 weeks ago and he wouldn't mind making it a feature win. Tim Mathieu is 86 points back so it isn't impossible but it will be tough. Mathieu has shown that his 14 is fast but bad luck has plagued him throughout 2011. Mathieu could forget about it with a win, however. Jonathan Appleby, much like Watson and Mathieu, will look for wins and consistency to gain back the 107 points he needs to make up.
In the Gladiators division you never know who's going to take a win. "The Dominator" Steve Cox hasn't won in quite some time and wouldn't mind getting win #8 of the season. Reid Christensen is 37 points back and has 10 races to get it done. Christensen, or "The New Dominator," has 3 wins, but 37 points won't be easy by any means. Brandon Haseleu is searching for win #1 and hopes to celebrate in victory lane soon. Jerry Taylor and Richard Todd are in an intense battle for 4th with Taylor up just 1 point now. Both, like Haseleu, still search for win #1. Steve Johnson continues to inch closer to the battle for 4th and he also inches closer to a feature win. Kody Fisher, Matt Kramer, Robert Graham, and Stephen Frankland have missed some races and that has put them at the back half of the top 10. All 4 have done a fantastic job in 2011 and hope to contend for wins next season. In the Gladiators you never know who could take a win, but 1 thing is certain- these guys like win streaks.
The Florida Mini Sprints Association is back and some intense racing will follow. David Pleaugh, Gavin Thomas, Jesse Teed, Justin Kolves, and Eddie Moss, Jr. have all taken wins and no one has repeated yet. This division is very intense and we could see 1 of the best battles of 2011 this very week-end.
Gates open at 4:30 with racing scheduled for 7. The early bird gets the worm and the best choice of seating. For more information you can go to www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway hotline at 352-622-9400.