OCALA, FL- Those who ventured to Ocala Speedway on Friday night saw a variety of racing action for five different divisions, and also everything for the best to the worst as far as the races were concerned. Racers tend to be a superstitious lot, and as the summer sun set in the west, an ominous full moon rose over turn two. From that point on it was either success of failure on
the track, and while the successes were thrilling, so were some of the failures.
The Tee Pee Tire Hobby Stocks provided the first feature event of the night, and quickly set the standard to beat. Mike Eubanks had a less than wonderful starting position, but as soon as the opening green waved he was powering his way toward the front of the pack. Dean Jarvis had wasted no time in taking the lead, but later was overcome by Jody Wells, who looked like the car to beat. Bubba Christian also was strong and made his way forward to challenge Wells, but spun in turn 2 as he and Mike Eubanks battled for second place.
From that point on it was all Wells and Eubanks, as the two took a “checkers or wreckers” mentality to the finish. A last ditch move by Eubanks in the final turn was a little too aggressive, and he spun into the infield as Jody Wells blasted by the flagstand. The win was “The Outlaw” Jody Wells’ second of the season, as Daniel Miller followed for second place. Dean Jarvis settled for third, as Heath Walker and Bubba Christian claimed fourth and fifth places.
Ocala Speedway’s Sportsman Division saw another strong group of racers take to the clay for their feature race, but the full moon had gremlins hiding in every corner of the track. Jamie Dayhaw had the pole position for the race, but after a first lap spin forced a restart Dayhaw jumped three consecutive attempts to get underway, and officials put him to the rear of the field as a result. That left “Big Frog” Augie Burttram to jump into the lead, as Billy Costello chased him in second place.
Then the gremlins took over, as car after car left the race with mechanical issues. By the time the last five laps were run only three competitors were left to wrangle over the win, but that only cleared the way for John Bradley to make Augie Burttram work for it. Despite Bradley’s intense pressure that made quite a race of it, Burttram succeeded in holding off the challenge and grabbing the win as Bradley finished in second place. Billy Costello had the best seat in the house to watch Bradley and Burttram’s battle, and finished in third place.
After the gremlins had feasted on Sportsman Division racers, they had to be salivating again after four competitive heats and a B main set a field of 24 racers for the Amsoil V8 Thunder Stock feature race. But gremlins or not, the Amsoil Thunder Stocks usually do as much to each other as any gremlin could muster, and such was the case under the full moon. The race was plagued with everything from mechanical breakdowns to frightening meetings with the outside barriers, which helped make the race go into overtime and shortened it to 15 laps.
Chris Fontaine showed up in a different car this week and promptly demonstrated that it was a leader as he rocketed to the front. Scott Mooers held the second spot until Michael Stalnaker could get into the mix up front, and Stalnaker made quick work of everyone but Fontaine. But as Stalnaker began battling with the race leader he lost a wheel in turn two, ending his night. Chris Fontaine held on for the win, followed by Scott Mooers and Luke Sadler. James Erickson substituted for his father in the 66 car and placed fourth, while Eddie Kilbury Jr. battled up to the fifth spot on the night.
After the gremlins had gotten fat and happy on Thunder Stocks, the Colortyme Rentals Modifieds managed to run a lot of laps under green flag conditions, and that had the leaders weeding their way through lapped traffic in order to win. And as fate would have it, that lapped traffic would play a significant role in how things turned out.
Kyle Bronson held the early lead but Jeff Mathews was all over him after a caution on lap four. As the two battled lap after lap, traffic began to become an issue and enables Wayne Hammond to tighten up to the frontrunners. A tangle with lapped cars on lap 18 sent Bronson into an infield excursion that allowed Mathews to put a strangle hold on the lead and for Wayne Hammond to move up to second place, and the frustration showed as Bronson attempted to recover. “The Repo Man” Jeff Mathews netted the win while Wayne Hammond claimed second place and Kyle Bronson fought aggresively to salvage third place. Kyle Owen was the fourth place finisher and Jamie Carter rounded out the top five.
Fans that failed to hang around for the Gladiator feature race may have missed the most heated battle of the night, as Larry Langston and Casey Feaster brawled for lap after lap while making their way through a maze of slower cars. Casey Feaster managed to hold off a last ditch effort by Langston in the final corner and grab a win, with Langston nearly side-by-side with
him for second place. Devin Walker drove a more conservative race as Feaster and Langston battled in front of him, and came away with a third place night. Kyle Morse survived early race contact to place fourth, while Matt Shea recovered from an earlier spin to take fifth place. In the meantime, points leader Steven Johnson ended up on the wrong end of some contact and finished in the 10th spot, which leaves him a mere 2 points in front of Feaster in the season points battle.
Ocala Speedway will take a well deserved night off on July 2nd in celebration of Independence Day, and to allow fans to enjoy the action to the east at Daytona International Speedway. Florida’s oldest speedway will return to action on July 9th with the Colortyme Rentals Modifieds headlining five more hot divisions of racing, including the Sportsman, Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks,
Mini Stocks, and Gladiators.