FASCAR USA Lakeland race report

POWELL MAKES ENGINE WORK LAKELAND, FLORIDA - James Powell did everything to his race car and then some in winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series 97 Country WPCV 125 Saturday night at USA International Speedway. It was Powell's...

POWELL MAKES ENGINE WORK

LAKELAND, FLORIDA - James Powell did everything to his race car and then some in winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series 97 Country WPCV 125 Saturday night at USA International Speedway.

It was Powell's second straight 2002 FASCAR Sunbelt win. Powell also posted a road race victory at Sebring International Raceway three weeks ago.

"I really appreciate the win, because it's always good to get it here (USA)- all drivers know that," said Powell of Astor, FL in his A Natural Difference Chevrolet.

Powell had hoped to run just several laps for a few FASCAR series points after finding his engine had a bad oil leak, but just a minute here comes his crew.

"We had to rebuild a hole in the intake of this motor -- people wouldn't believe what they (crew) did -- we've got Coke cans and JB Weld and all kinds of thing so it would run just a few laps," Powell said.

Mike Fritts of Debary, FL set fast time turning the three-quarter mile USA track in 20.761 seconds or 130.05 mph, driving the Briar Corporation ride. There was a 26 car Super Late Model qualifying field.

Dick Anderson of Wildwood, FL in #00 Jimmy Harris owned car took the point in lapped traffic during lap 25 with Aric Almirola of Tampa, FL driving the R&S Auto ride, David Rogers of Orlando, FL in his TM Ranch Dodge and Fritts following.

At halfway it was still Anderson, but fast company was getting real close.

During lap 87, Powell moved to second slipping by Fritts using a lapped car to take the spot.

The top four cars were Anderson, Powell, Fritts and Rogers, but an alert Fritts slipped by Powell for second during circuit 94 setting the stage for what appeared a showdown of sorts.

Fritts pressured Anderson hard and made contact sending the leader toward the wall between turn one and two, but it was Fritts sent to the rear for bringing out the caution.

"I hope they remember it when I'm behind them," said Anderson in Victory Lane during post race.

Anderson's car just wasn't the same after that and he looked in handling trouble after taking the bump. Powell jumped to the point in lap 105 going by Anderson out of turn two and looked real quick, but most eyes were on Anderson to see if he could make another charge.

In lap 110 during a restart Powell's car broke loose slipping on the track coming out of turn four and Anderson got by him on the inside, but before the circuit was complete Powell was back in front.

"Somebody dumped some rear-end grease on the number four corner," said Powell "I got into it and thought -- oh my God, here we go -- but luckily we were able to get it together and get back in front."

Rogers then got by Anderson for second on the low side of the track during lap 116.

"The last restart there was oil all over the track," said Rogers. "I guess James (Powell) and Dickie (Anderson) were a little tougher than me -- they just drove through it."

It was now Powell, Rogers, Anderson and Almirola The stout Almirola had given Sunbelt point leader Michael Williams of Mims all he could handle even earlier in the race for control of the fourth spot.

Powell and Rogers opened a 20 car lead several laps before the finish.

Powell crossed the stripe followed by Rogers and Anderson. Rounding out the top five were Almirola and Williams.

The final FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series race will be at New Smyrna Speedway on Nov. 9th during the Governors Cup and final leg of the Triple Crown.

OSTEEN SECURES FIRST USA WIN

Larry Osteen driving the Windsor Stone ride captured race two of Late Model racing at USA Int'l Speedway by winning FASCAR's Goodyear Late Model Challenge Series 100 with a perfect race car.

"I've been waiting a long time -- ever since this track opened up I've been running second and third, but not tonight," said Osteen.

"We've been working hard the last three or four weeks just trying everything we could think of," Osteen said. "We were a little off during the final practice, but we were afraid to change anything so we just rolled the dice."

There was just no catching Osteen as he held the dice after lap 11 as the USA track chased him the rest of the race.

Brad May of Orlando, FL appeared to set fast time turning USA in 21.510 seconds or 125.52 mph driving a Chevrolet, but was disqualified.

Tim Russell of Apopka, FL driving a Hamke Race Cars Late Model with second fast time then took pole honors with a time of 21.575 seconds or 125.14 mph. There were 22 Late Models that took qualifying times.

Osteen of Clermont, FL went out front early when a leading Russell lost power going into turn one in lap 11 sending him behind the pit road wall with mechanical problems.

With Osteen on the point it was Jerry Symons of New Smyrna, FL, Wayne Morris of Mulberry, FL following.

Morris used a lapped car in lap 26 to move to second passing Goodyear Series point leader Symons and started to position his car for a race lead.

At 50 laps, Osteen was still in control with Morris driving the Crenshaw Motorsports owned Michael Holley Chevrolet still trying to dial the leader in. Morris had at least one shot, but came up short.

"My car was real good earlier, but got a touch tight at the end," said Morris, who finished second. "I actually caught him (Osteen) then we had a caution and I don't know what happened, but the car got a little tight I guess."

In lap 75, Osteen looked firmly in charge with Morris, Symons and a smooth driving Doug Moff of Ft. Myers in his GPC Staffing ride ready to try Symons for third.

A lap later Moff went by the Gene Kelly Roofing ride of Symons on the back straightaway.

"We used our tires up a little bit trying to get up to the front, because we started 13th," said Moff.

Morris tried one more time to dial in the leading Osteen, but once again fell short.

Osteen crossed the stripe followed by Morris and Moff. Rounding out the top five were Symons and Sean Murphy of Ft. Lauderdale.

The final Goodyear Challenge Series 100 lap race will be Nov. 23 at New Smyrna Speedway.

-fascar-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Michael Ho , Sean Murphy , Aric Almirola , Tim Russell , Jimmy Harris
Teams Williams