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The Love Sponge set for new season at Speedway

. Posted in Racing News

bildewww.ocala.com ZUBER — The worker circling the dirt track here on a road grader last week was none other than nationally syndicated shock jock Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem.

“This is therapeutic,” said Clem, a lifelong racing enthusiast who bought the track most recently known as Ocala Speedway last year and renamed it Ocala Bubba Raceway Park.

Clem, a racer himself, has a hands-on approach at maintenance that includes leveling the surface with heavy equipment while holding Bianca, his Yorkie pup.

Clem, who claims to be the second-most fined DJ in radio, sports a ball cap, dark glasses and black sweatshirt marked “censored” while he and Bianca later pace the track on foot, intently checking the dirt on the D-shaped oval.

Clem, 45, who hosts his five-day-per-week, talk-only radio show out of FM-102.5 in Tampa, hopes to breathe new life into the speedway with some major improvements and big draw events — including the inaugural Bubba Army Late Model Modified Winter Nationals with Hulk Hogan as grand marshall on Feb. 18.

“We put down 300 truckloads of fresh clay, widened the track by about 20 feet and increased the banking in the turns from 7 degrees to 18 degrees,” Clem said. “We added more guard rails, concrete walls and $20,000 more (in) lighting.”

Clem's big plans for the start of the season also includes visits by the UMP Open-Wheeled Modified series, the USAC Winter Dirt Games, and the All-Star 410 Winged Sprints.

Clem said the purses at the three-eighths-mile track are “double other local tracks” and the combined purse for February's planned events will be “almost $400,000.”

His ambitious plans for the 2012 season, along with his technical approach to the track, have been endorsed by racing regulars such as 2011 late model points champion Ivedent Lloyd Jr.

“He has an edge because he's (both) a driver and a track owner,” Lloyd said. “He knows how to help the drivers and keep them in balance.”

Lloyd, 45, the two-time defending champion of the track's signature Powell Memorial annual event, said Clem's attention to the track's condition has opened the door for more competitive racing by allowing lapped drivers the opportunity to fight their way back into the race.

Lloyd also praised Clem's ability to promote the track — Clem often talks about the past weekend's racing during his Monday radio broadcast.

“I once got a call from a contact with Hoosier Tire after a remark about their tires on his broadcast was heard in Indiana,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said the larger-than-life personality heard daily on Clem's radio show is “entertainment,” and not necessarily the same guy who runs the speedway.

Clem also separates his radio persona from his role as a father, businessman and racer.

“Schwarzenegger wasn't The Terminator when he was governor,” said Clem, who traces his “Love Sponge” nickname back to his football playing days at Indiana State University, where he majored in broadcast journalism.

Once at the track, he's just “Bubba” — until he returns to work on Monday. He said he prefers Marion County's solitude and “wide open spaces” to the alternative, which would be to “stay in his St. Petersburg mansion.”

“I've sort of infused myself here,” said Clem, who said he's a regular at regular-guy Ocala establishments such as Waffle House and Cody's Steakhouse. He also lauded the recent relocation of a Scorpion Racing Products facility into Ocala as a boost to the racing community.

“I love this area,” he said, adding that his dirt-track roots in Indiana, Marion County's relaxing atmosphere, and the desire to support his family racing efforts all pointed him toward buying the Marion County racetrack.

His 9-year-old son, Tyler, also factored into the decision. Tyler, Clem said, is a developmental driver with Stewart–Haas Racing — co-owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, and the track “is a natural way for him to practice.”

“We've made a go-kart track near turn one,” Clem said, “I plan to make a mud bog area nearby.”

Clem also plans to race this season in the track's late model division, which begins racing on March 3.

It's all part of a busy agenda for a famous voice who's just looking for a quiet place to pursue his passion for racing.

“I'd like to build a house in those woods,” Clem said, pointing his finger just outside the track compound, “and live right here.”

BUBBA RACEWAY PARK NEWStHE LATEST NEWS, RESULTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

December 06, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park Results for 12/06/2014

by BRP Media
Modified - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 5 64JR Billy Workman Jr - 50.00 2 7 9 Roger Crouse Plant City, Fl 48.00 3 13 61 Ronald Soltis Ocala , Fl 46.00 4 11 64B Bryan Bernhardt Versailes, In, Fl 44.00 5 6 00B Emil "buzzy" Reutimann Zephyrhills , Fl 42.00 6 1 54 Paul Snyder Deland , Fl 40.00 7 10 83 Shawn Taylor Trenton , Fl 38.00 8 8 9S Slater Blickensderfer - 36.00 9 4 122 Ron Burgess Inverness , Fl 34.00 10 14 64 Austin Sanders Seffner , Fl 32.00 11 3 Z06 Larry Mott Leesburg , Fl 30.00 12 9 53 Jerome Dippel Ocala , Fl 28.00 13 12 18 Chris Rutherford Niceville , Fl 27.00 14 2 27 B Rick Buchanan - 26.00 15 15 11 Charlie Phillips Minneola , Fl 0.00 E-Mods - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 11 11N Nevin Gainey Ft. White, Fl 50.00 2 5 15 Austin Stroshal - 48.00 3 9 82 Shane Taylor Trenton , Fl 46.00 4 8 71 Roy Crain Live Oak, Fl 44.00 5 4 10T Dustin Thayer - 42.00 6 15 8 Michael Stalnaker Ocala , Fl 40.00 7 2 18M Dave Markham Jr. - 38.00 8 3 59 William Stalnaker Ocala , Fl 36.00 9 16 5A Anthony Altiere Lecanto , Fl 34.00 10 17 111 James Antis - 32.00 11 7 7 Charles Howard Jr. Gainesville , Fl 30.00 12 6 2 Ray Durrence Jr. Jacksonville , Fl 28.00 13 12 65 Billy "shane" Nichols Ocala , Fl 27.00 14 14 11 Jason Gamble - 26.00 15 1 20 Sheldon Kinser - 25.00 16 10 86 Sean Babcock Ocala , Fl 24.00 17 13 75 Tom Sheehan Belleview , Fl 23.00 V-8 Thunderstock - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 4 56 Gene Posey Jr. - 50.00… read more
December 02, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park Results for 11-30-2014

by BRP Media
Florida Mini Sprints - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 8 77 Robbie Smith - 0.00 2 2 12 Robby Hoffman - 0.00 3 9 29T Gavin Thomas - 0.00 4 10 23 Eddie Moss - 0.00 5 12 17 Austin Craddock - 0.00 6 4 67 David Hall - 0.00 7 11 24X… read more
November 22, 2014

Attention Race Fans

by Scott McAllister
After consulting with drivers and teams, Bubba Raceway Park and NeSmith Late Model Officials have cancelled tonight's event due to inclement weather. The $10,000 to Win NeSmith Crate Late Model show has been rescheduled for January 31st, 2015. Join… read more
November 22, 2014

LANIGAN EARNS POLE FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE AT BUBBA RACEWAY PARK

by NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
Darrell Lanigan of Union, KY drove the #1L Darrell Lanigan Racing Special to victory in the first 15-lap Heat Race on Friday night to earn the pole position for the $10,000-to-win 100-lap 10th Annual Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race on… read more
November 21, 2014

10th annual Chevrolet Performance Nesmith Crate Late Model Series World Championships

by BRP Media
Ocala Fl. 10th annual Chevrolet Performance Nesmith Crate Late Model Series World Championships As 45 of some of the best Dirt Late model drivers in the country took qualifying laps Friday night to set the 4 individual heat races lineups at Bubba… read more
November 19, 2014

ALL-STAR DRIVER LINE-UP GIVES HIGH ANTICIPATION FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE

by Scott McAllister
CARTERSVILLE, GA – The anticipation is high for the $10,000-to-win 100-lap 10th Annual Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race for the NeSmith Late Models this Thursday through Saturday at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL. This is due to the… read more

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9050 N.W. Gainesville Rd.
Ocala, Florida 34482
Telephone: 352.622.9400
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