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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.”

April 06, 2014

Jeff Mathews Wins 2014 Mike Peters Open in Memory of Niokoa Johnson

by BRP Media
Winner of the 2014 Mike Peters Open in Memory of Niokoa Johnson is the #33 of Jeff Mathews!!! Congratulations to Jeff and thank you so much to all the fans who came out to support the Johnson family. The support of the entire racing community has been humbling. The entire staff of Bubba Raceway Park thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and generosity. Late Model - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 7 33 Jeff Mathews Brandon , Fl 50.00 2 6 11 Austin Kirkpatrick Ocala , Fl 48.00 3 3 12 Jack Nosbisch Riverview , Fl 46.00 4 5 46P Darrell Padgett Jacksonville , Fl 44.00 5 8 58 Mark Whitener Middleburg , Fl 42.00 6 16 1X Shane Williams Deland , Fl 40.00 7 14 14T Tyler Clem - 38.00 8 13 J17 Joe Kump Lake Helen, Fl 36.00 9 17 55 Devin Walker Mayo , Fl 34.00 10 23 17 Shane Blanchette - 32.00 11 12 33S Carter Stokes New Smyrna, Fl 30.00 12 1 21 Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. Ocala , Fl 28.00 13 15 7 Donald "billy" Holmes Groveland , Fl 27.00 14 20 1 Jeff Bagent Silver Springs, Fl 26.00 15 10 6 Kyle Bridges Moultrie , Ga 25.00 16 11 26 Greg "adam" Bedenbaugh Lake City, Fl 24.00 17 9 32 Phillip Cobb Riverview , Fl 23.00 18 2 47 Tyler Ivey Tallahassee , Fl 22.00 19 24 74 Danny Fogal - 21.00 20 19 54 Dalton Myers Riverview , Fl 20.00 21 21 10X David Ponton Lake City, Fl 20.00 22 22 51 Larry Anderson Jacksonville , Fl 20.00 23 18 09 Scott Oniel - 20.00 24 4 02 Keith Nosbisch Valrico , Fl 20.00 25 25 41K John Kellum Jacksonville , Fl 0.00 E-Mods - Feature Finish… read more
April 04, 2014

Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated, will be at Bubba's Raceway Park on Saturday, April 5th

by BRP Media
National Racing Magazine, Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated, will be at Bubba's Raceway Park on Saturday, April 5th to assist in raising donations in memory or Niokoa Johnson. Speedway Illustrated directs its focus toward hometown tracks, the… read more
March 28, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park will be holding The Mike Peters Open in Memory of Niokoa Johnson

by BRP Media
Next Saturday April 5th Bubba Raceway Park will be holding The Mike Peters Open in Memory of Niokoa Johnson who tragically lost her life after injuries she sustained while racing on March 22nd. The Gladiator class will be running a special 17 lap… read more
March 15, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park Results for 03/15/2014 (2)

by BRP Media
Modified - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 3 64 Austin Sanders Seffner , Fl 50.00 2 1 65 Billy "shane" Nichols Ocala , Fl 48.00 3 5 00B Buzzy Reutimann Zephyrhills , Fl 46.00 4 8 61 Ronald Soltis Ocala , Fl 44.00 5 4 10… read more
March 09, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park Results for 03/08/2014

by BRP Media
Bubba Army Sprints - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 2 24 Danny Martin, Jr. Sarasota , Fl 0.00 2 1 83 Mark Ruel, Jr. Jacksonville , Fl 0.00 3 3 88 Sport Allen - 0.00 4 8 52 Shane Kreidler - 0.00 5 12 38 Tony Agin Ft. Myers, Fl… read more
March 04, 2014

OPENING NIGHT HONORS TO RHOADS, STALNAKER, SNYDER, APPLEBY AND WHITENER

by BRP Media
OPENING NIGHT HONORS TO RHOADS, STALNAKER, SNYDER, APPLEBY AND WHITENER ON A BEAUTIFUL CLEAR SATURDAY NIGHT, THE 2014 SEASON OPENER WAS READY TO GO. HEAT RACE ACTION FOR THE BUBBA ARMY HOBBY STOCKS WAS WON BY MIKE STALNAKER AND SEAN MONAGHAN. THE… read more
March 02, 2014

Bubba Raceway Park Results for 03/01/2014

by BRP Media
Late Model - Feature Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Race Points 1 5 58 Mark Whitener Middleburg , Fl 50.00 2 6 32 Phillip Cobb Riverview , Fl 48.00 3 3 40B Kyle Bronson Brandon , Fl 46.00 4 7 59 Jake Perkins - 44.00 5 4 14T Tyler Clem - 42.00 6 8… read more
February 23, 2014

CLAUSON CLOSES "WINTER DIRT GAMES V" WITH OCALA WIN

by BRP Media
Winner Bryan Clauson is joined by Justin Grant and Chase Stockon on the Bubba Raceway Park podium. (Rich Forman Photo)Ocala, Florida…….Defending AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion Bryan Clauson let it be known that his title defense will be strong… read more

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