PRA: Lakeland summary 2006-12-13

(Lakeland, Florida) - The inaugural season of the Premier Racing Association's Big Car Series ended in spectacular fashion Wednesday night at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida as Bobby Santos III won the 100 lap event, and Chet ...

(Lakeland, Florida) - The inaugural season of the Premier Racing Association's Big Car Series ended in spectacular fashion Wednesday night at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida as Bobby Santos III won the 100 lap event, and Chet Fillip was crowned champion. Santos, who earlier in the year won the Big Car race at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, beat Bobby East to the checkered flag by a little more than three seconds.

Fillip started 20th after a disappointing qualifying effort, but wound up in 4th position giving him the season-long title. His closest rival in points, Eric Gordon finished 11th. Fillip, a veteran of the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, failed to win a race in the 2006 Big Car schedule, but consistency brought him the championship.

The race was red-flagged on the 41st lap when Johnny Heydenreich and Tracy Hines toughed wheels entering turn one sending Heydenreich hard in the outside retaining wall. The impact caused a huge fire as the Pennsylvania driver scrambled to get out of his burning race car. He was alert and talking with rescue personnel but was taken to a local hospital for treatment of burns.

Two time Nascar Nextel champion Tony Stewart was in the 28 car line- up, but dropped out after 44 laps with suspension failure. Extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana made his first start in a Big Car and wound up 14th, staying on the lead lap for the entire distance. Marc Jessup was fast qualifier at over 136-miles an hour on the USA International three- quarter mile high banked oval and was the first leader of the race but suffered clutch problems and ended up 22nd. Teddy Beach had his best showing of the season with a 3rd place finish.

The 2007 PRA Big Car schedule will be announced in the near future.

-credit: pra

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Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Stewart , Travis Pastrana , Tracy Hines , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , Chet Fillip , Eric Gordon , Marc Jessup , Bobby Santos III