February 17, St. Augustine, Fla.- The Tampa Bay Area Racing Association Winged Sprint Cars thundered into Florida Speed Park Friday night as part of the SpeedFest 2000 racing program and immediately set themselves to the task of dismantling the...
February 17, St. Augustine, Fla.- The Tampa Bay Area Racing Association Winged Sprint Cars thundered into Florida Speed Park Friday night as part of the SpeedFest 2000 racing program and immediately set themselves to the task of dismantling the track records.
Wayne Reutimann of Zephyrhills, Fla. personally broke the record set by Steve Kinser in 1996 three times in one night. Reutimann turned laps of 14.854 in practice, 14.712 in his heat race and 14.700 in the 35-lap main, all three laps bettering the 14.944 record by Kinser.
Reutimann put a little more frosting on his own cake by winning the 35-lap feature for the winged wonders, just edging out the father and son driving team of Stan and Keith Butler.
Larry Tyler of Tampa stunned the near capacity house into silence after a scary incident in turn four on the second lap. Tyler's car slammed the outside retaining wall at nearly full speed and came to an immediate stop. Tyler was airlifted to University Hospital in Jacksonville conscious, stable and was later diagnosed with a broken scapula.
Dude Teate and Tracy Heims rounded out the top five for the TBARA Sprinters.
In the Super Late Model event, "Big Jim" Kelly finally made his way to victory lane after beating on that door all week. Kelly was locked up in a classic battle with young Jeremy Rice of Royston, Ga. and Randy Fox of Lehigh Acres, Florida. After leading much of the first half, Kelly was forced to relinquish the lead to Fox, but the Newport, N.C. native came storming back to reclaim the top spot just before the checkers.
Jeremy Fitch made the trip up from Edgewater, Fla. to take on the Florida Speed Park regulars in the Limited Late Model division and drove away with the winner's hardware, beating out Clermont, Florida's Larry Osteen and Donnie Oden of Lake Butler, Fla.
In the FSP Sportsman division, Jason Garver, Joey Haslauer and Nick Pilinko all took a turn at the point before Garver finally settled the issue by picking up his second win during this nine-day celebration of speed. Garver was followed across the line by Haslauer, Pilinko, Kenny Hall and Ronnie Tillman, in that order.
The Modified division went to John Gearhart of Coldwater, Mich. in a flag to flag affair over Jeff Lane of Knightstown, In. and Robert Deal of Jacksonville. Cincinnati's Kim King posted her best finish of SpeedFest 2000 with a fourth and John Raney of Ft. Wayne, In. rounded out the top five.
The Thunder Truck event went to visitor Eddie Van Meter of Indianapolis ahead of Mark Lento of Palm Coast, Fla., Ron Thomas of Elkton, Fla., Wade Lynn of Jacksonville and St. Augustine's own Mike Lowe.
Mickey Leth, sporting a brand new No. 9 racecar, captured the Tattoo Dee's Old Rooster Mini Stock feature over 1999 Top Gun Challenge champion Jay "Mayday" Ferris of St. Augustine and Matt Hartley of Jacksonville.
The Alpha Communications 20-lap Hobby Stock main event went to Jody Stratton in a hard fought battle with fellow St. Augustine native Bobby Thornton. Teammates Shea Clay, Rodney Norman and Bart Heck lined up to follow Stratton and Thornton across the line.
The full night of racing action also included two 10-lap events for the Daytona Antique Auto Club's divisions. The nostalgic flair of the old style racecars circling this modern facility was in stark contrast of the eras represented by each.
Saturday's grand finale for the SpeedFest 2000 activities will spotlight the inaugural appearance of the American Racing Association's Late Model All Star Tour featuring the best of the best of the Late Model Stock drivers and cars from the heart of Late Model Stock country in a 200 lap no-holds-barred feature.
Grandstand gates will open at 4pm, qualifying will start at 6 and the feature events will roll off at 7:30pm.