LAKELAND, FLORIDA -- Jacob Warren won his second career FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series race Saturday night, making it two straight 2003 series wins, capturing the Midas Jewelers 200 at a very cloudy and sometime sprinkling USA...
LAKELAND, FLORIDA -- Jacob Warren won his second career FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series race Saturday night, making it two straight 2003 series wins, capturing the Midas Jewelers 200 at a very cloudy and sometime sprinkling USA International Speedway.
Warren of Orlando, FL, driving the South 40 Graphics Chevrolet, collected $5,000 and a diamond studded gold Florida State Super Late Model Championship ring for his skilled driving efforts.
"I'm just speechless and don't know what to say, but we had a great car tonight," said Warren. "Oh, you can believe nobody wants to be here (Victory Lane) more than me. We just had to get the monkey off our back."
"There are a couple of things I'd like to change, but I haven't been here (USA) very much and it took me until the last race to figure this place out."
Mechanical difficulties would hobble several usually quick Super Late Model machines throughout the race and change the top five running cars several times.
Warren took the point in the 24 car starting field in lap 130 when race leader Mario Gosselin of Lake Wales, FL pitted for apparent rear end adjustments.
Dwayne Dempsey of St. Petersburg, FL set fast time turning the three-quarter mile high banked paved USA oval in 20.806 seconds or 129.77 mph to take pole honors driving a Chevrolet.
James Powell III of Astor, FL took the lead after a light rain slowed the original start and he passed a pole sitting Dempsey on the opening circuit.
Defending Florida State Super Late Model champion Jimmy Cope of St. Petersburg, FL was in the pits by lap seven with mechanical difficulties and was done for the night with a twisted axle as his quick car slowed on the back straightaway.
Fain Skinner of Live Oaks, FL being passed by a leading Powell was clipped and then felt the full force of Justin Drawdy of Ft. Pierce, FL in a Chevrolet, there were no injuries, but Powell was gone for the night and a quick Drawdy also was competitively finished.
By lap 50, Dempsey was in front followed by Aric Almirola of Tampa, FL, David Rogers of Orlando, FL, Warren and B.J. McLeod of Wauchula, FL.
With Dempsey still in front in lap 84 Rogers swept by Almirola for second and Warren along with McLeod followed. Wayne Anderson of Wildwood, FL, FASCAR Sunbelt point leader also passed a still slowing Almirola during the following circuit.
During lap 86 a major pit stop changed the top five, but Rogers remaining on the track with the lead followed by Almirola, who decided also to remain on the track. Third place was held by Mike Fritts of Debary, FL. Dempsey followed in fourth and Anderson was fifth.
Anderson would finish second as he appeared to be checking all the right places to make his passes early on.
"I guess looking at the big picture towards points we've been finishing where it counts in the end and that's the top three," said Anderson. "This (USA) is a great place to race. I've been here twice and got two second place finishes,"
Rogers was still leading in lap 100 picking up Pennzoil Half Way Challenge money with Dempsey following. Mario Gosselin of Lake Wales, FL was now running third after quickly moving up in the mix. Barry Willoughby of Pt. St. Lucie, FL had his Pennzoil ride in fourth and Warren had his car back to fifth after his lap 86 pit stop.
Willoughby would finish third after staying in the hunt all evening and was more than satisfied with his finish.
"We really didn't have a third place car, but a couple of guys dropped out," said Willoughby. "So racing here at USA you've got to outrun the slow ones and keep up with the fast ones."
Rogers pitted in lap 111 for four tires and Gosselin was now in the lead after the passing of Dempsey. Gosselin was followed by Warren and Dempsey. David Froelich of Loxahatchee, FL and Willoughby followed.
Gosselin moved back into the pits in lap 130 for what appeared to be rear end work and Warren now led followed by Rogers. Almirola was back in the hunt running third. Rounding out the top five were Anderson and Willoughby.
During lap 139, Dempsey lost an axle and his strong competitive run would be finished for the night after the parts change stopped him for good.
Warren was still running strong in the lead in lap 169, but a flying Rogers held the leader within reach. Anderson was third, Willoughby fourth and Gosselin fifth. The top four drivers were all looking for a break to change running positions.
Rogers lost power in lap 186 after his hot pursuit of Warren. The running order was now Warren, Gosselin, Anderson, Froehlich and Willoughby.
In lap 194, Warren was still up front followed by Anderson, who slipped by Gosselin for second. In the following lap it was Warren, Anderson and Gosselin.
The once leading Gosselin continued to falter due to a battery problem and was passed by Willoughby and was followed by Richard Pratt of Anthony, FL.
Crossing the stripe for victory was Warren with Anderson and Willoughby following. Rounding out the top five were Pratt and Gosselin.
The next FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model race will be at New Smyrna Speedway on July 3.
FASCAR GOODYEAR CHALLENGE LATE MODELS
LAKELAND, FLORIDA -- Mike Hovis in his S&L Gearhart Chevrolet picked up a rained-shortened win in a FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Late Model Series 100 Saturday night on USA International Speedway in a starting 31 car field.
"I've got a lot of seconds and thirds here, but this is my first win," said Hovis. "When my car broke away from the pack I was comfortable and could run my own line.
Hovis of N. Ft. Myers, FL took his USA win in 58 laps when the rains finally came after he endured an exciting race battle with Jason Boyd of Orlando, FL that slowed the field in lap 48.
Martin Pierce of Sanford, FL set fast time turning the three-quarter mile track in 21.443 second or 125.92 mph in his BBM Clearing and Grading Chevrolet.
Hovis and Joe Sumasky of Lehigh, FL made contact on the back straightaway during lap three as they raced side-by-side from the opening circuit.
Hovis held the lead in lap 15 followed by a quick Sumasky and a strong running Brad May of Orlando, FL. Running fourth was Jerry Symons of New Smyrna, FL and Boyd.
In lap 35, Hovis had some new company as Symons moved into second after passing Sumasky with Boyd following, dropping Sumasky to third.
During lap 46 Symons slowed as Boyd flashed by him and Symons went behind the pit wall done for the night. The running order in lap 47 was now Hovis, Boyd, Sumasky, May and Jason Crossey of Lake Worth, FL.
Things got hectic in lap 48, when a flying Boyd made contact with a race leading Hovis on the back straightaway, and it continued out of turn four, but Boyd tried to correct his car and ended up spinning into the inside retaining wall on the front straightaway.
"He (Boyd) got a little loose and he turned right down on top of me," said Hovis.
A quick running Sumasky kept himself in contention at all times and finished second.
"Yeah, we ran here a lot and had some good runs," said Sumasky. "Unfortunately we didn't have enough car here tonight, but it was still our best finish."
Hovis held the lead followed by Sumasky, May, Crossey and Tim Russell of Longwood, FL, in the following circuit.
May ran a strong third in his effort to repeat as a two time USA winner, but was concerned about the turn four tangle of Hovis and Boyd.
"First you slow down and try to figure out how you're going to get through this," said May. "Then you've got nine ways to go and you take which ever one is best."
That would be the finishing order as the rains stopped the race.
The next FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Series 100 will be July 19 at Orlando Speedworld.