Fans and drivers gathered for an exciting night of racing to finish off the season with a bang at Ocala Speedway! The Sportsman, V-8 Thunderstocks, Gladiators, Open Wheel Modifieds, and Mini Stocks took to the track to see who would claim the final victory in 2009. In addition to these classes, the ladies got behind the wheel in a very entertaining Powder Puff race!
The Sportsman feature started off the night of action-packed racing. As soon as the green was thrown, the battle for the top spots began! The 35 of David Miller grabbed the lead on lap one, but the very quick 58 of Augie Burtram had him in his sight. Burtram moved through traffic from the fourth spot to the second spot by lap four, and was soon closing the huge gap between himself and Miller. The 56 of Tony Sansom passed the 10 of Steve Shead on lap nine to take over the fourth spot. The 80 of Paul Shead was holding down the third spot while the battles in front and behind him were happening. Burtram took the lead on lap eleven and put the petal to the metal. Steve Shead, who was running strong in the top five, found himself having problems, allowing the 65 of Shane Nichols to move into the fifth spot. A caution on lap fourteen due to the 5 of Tim Gigon crawling to a stop at the pit entrance, bunched the cars up for the restart. Nichols challenged Sansom for the fourth spot on the restart and won the battle on lap fifteen. Sansom, who was holding down the fifth position, also found himself having problems, was forced to drop back several spots and allowed the 77 of Dewey Hall to take over the fifth spot. Paul Shead also found himself under siege by Nichols for the third spot. Nichols grabbed it on the last lap. Paul Shead collided with a lap car while looking at the checkers coming out of turn four. He somehow managed to hang on, although he was barely able to skid by the flag stand with his broken right front axle. Augie Burtram’s powerful car took home the win. He was followed by David Miller in second, Shane Nichols in third, Paul Shead in fourth, and Dewey Hall in fifth.
The excitement level was kicked into high gear as the V-8 Thunderstocks took to the track! After three heats, the field of twenty-one cars were ready to go racing one last time in 2009. The battle for positions began the second the green was thrown! The field remained bunched up for the entire first lap, as no one was willing to give in. The 9D of Justin Durbin and the 72 of Terry Dunbar found themselves spinning, bringing out the first caution on lap one. The 118 of Chris Watson found himself in the fifth spot on the restart after coming from the tail end of the field. There was soon more bumper car action and fights for positions as the green flew again. Through the chaos, Watson made his way into the second spot and soon passed the 96 of Eddie Lake. The 9 of Jeff Stalnaker, Jr. was on the move from the fourth spot and soon battling for the lead. Debris on the track from the 47 of Chris Fontaine brought out another caution on lap three. Fontaine’s journey from the tail of the field ended with a trip to the pits, which relegated him back to the rear. Durbin, Dunbar, and the 17 of Jason Gamble traveled through the pack in unison, bringing all three just outside of the top five spots. Gamble and Watson found themselves spinning while battling for the second spot and were sent to the rear, allowing Dunbar to take over the fifth position. Gamble put the petal to the metal on the restart and quickly found himself in the fifth spot behind Dunbar and Fontaine. He challenged everyone in front of him and took second from Durbin on lap thirteen. Gamble then found himself getting caught in slower traffic and slipped back to fourth. He battled again and took back over the second spot and soon caught up to Stalnaker, Jr., who was the leader and virtually uncontested throughout the race. Slow traffic got in the way on the last lap coming out of turn four and both drivers gave it all they had. After review of photos and video, the race was declared a tie between Gamble and Stalnaker, Jr. They were followed by Fontaine, Durbin, and Dunbar.
Eighteen Gladiators saw the green for their feature event. The 21 of Troy Sullivan had his work cut out for him, as he started on the last row. The banging and clanging began as positions were up for the picking. The 78 of Paul Hahn and the 81 of Steve Johnson had problems with their cars as the first caution of the night brought the cars back together, and the two drivers to the pits. The 8 of Harold Lewis took the lead from the 71 of Talt Hall on the restart. Sullivan, who had been on the move from the rear of the field, passed Hall to take over the second spot and soon challenged for the lead. He won that battle on lap nine. The 88 of Steve Cox settled into the third spot. The 70 of J.R. Miller challenged the 96 of Matt Shea for the fifth spot, but Shea managed to get it back on the last lap. Troy Sullivan brought home the win to finish off the season. He was followed by Harold Lewis in second, Steve Cox in third, Talt Hall in fourth, and Matt Shea in fifth.
The Open Wheel Modifieds turned up the action on the track for their feature. The battle for real estate was on! Some moved up, while others were pushed back on the start. The 09 of Rob Underwood, the Z06 of Larry Mott, and the 1 of Chip Owen tangled together on lap two and brought out the caution. The 33 of Jeff Mathews and the 27H of Tom Hagberg battled for fourth, while the 2 of Kyle Owen held onto the lead. Wayne Hammond in the 40 machine challenged and took the lead from Owen. The 40H of Kyle Bronson went spinning in turn four, bringing out another caution and sending him to the rear of the field. Bronson soon found himself in the fourth spot behind Mathews. Owen and Mathews got tangled in their battle for real estate, bringing out another caution and sending them to the rear. This allowed Bronson to move into second, Mott to take over third, Underwood to move into fourth, and the 41 of Gary Sexton to fifth. Owen and Mathews were on the move on the restart and found themselves back in the top five. Bronson found himself tangled with lap cars on lap nineteen and was forced to the pits, but returned under caution to start at the rear yet again. Mathews challenged Owen for the second spot, but clipped the front stretch wall and could not continue the race. While Bronson was on the move for the lead, Owen found himself with a flat tire, giving up the second spot to Underwood. He returned to the field under caution and was soon on the move again. Hammond, who was the leader, found himself in trouble while Underwood and Bronson took advantage and moved into first and second on lap twenty. Bronson challenged for the lead and got it while looking at the white flag coming out of turn four. Owen was still on the move and advanced to second. Overcoming obstacles and coming from the rear several times, Bronson took home the win. He was followed by Kyle Owen in second, Rob Underwood in third, Gene Owen in fourth, and Chip Owen in fifth.
The Mini Stocks were the last regular season class to get the green for their feature. After not being able to make the heat race, the 81 of Buddy Pope went spinning on turn two when the green was flown and was not able to continue in the race. The 11Z of Johnny Zackery and the 19C of Paul Combast went at it for the lead. Zackery held off Combast in this dogfight for ten laps until a lap car got in the way. At that point, it was who was going to let up first? Combast kept on the gas and passed Zackery to take the lead. Positions were held throughout the race. Paul Combast brought home another win. He was followed by Johnny Zackery in second, Sean Babcock in third, David Miller in fourth, and Miguel Hernandez in fifth.
The night of racing wasn’t over just yet! Twelve ladies took to the track and showed what they had for a Powder Puff race! The 17 of Mariah Berry took an early lead and left everyone behind her in the dust! The 83 of Kathy Fisher took over the second spot and never looked back! The 11Z of Jessica Zackery held down the third spot. While some crept along, the top three were on the move! Berry raced strong and hard and passed everyone on the track except for Fisher! The crowd was on their feet for this very entertaining race. Mariah Berry took home the win. She was followed by Kathy Fisher in second, Jessica Zackery in third, Romaine Hake in fourth, and Melony Shea in fifth.
Ocala Speedway would like to thank all of the drivers and fans for your support this year! Please come and join us at our banquet on January 9, 2010 as the champions are crowned. The banquet is at Barbazons Sports Bar and Grill in Ocala. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the speedway office at 352-622-9400.
Open Wheel Modified