June 25th, St. Augustine, FL â€“ Jason Garver and Joey Haslauer thrilled fans in the night's first feature with a ferocious fight to the finish in the Sportsman division. Garver, who squeezed past a game Scott Hezel on lap 9 for the lead, held off...
June 25th, St. Augustine, FL – Jason Garver and Joey Haslauer thrilled fans in the night's first feature with a ferocious fight to the finish in the Sportsman division. Garver, who squeezed past a game Scott Hezel on lap 9 for the lead, held off Joey Haslauer, who overtook Hezel on the next to last lap, by less than half a car length at the finish for his first victory of the points season at Florida Speed Park.
"I got lucky," said Garver. "I appreciate the good, clean run with everything that's gone on."
Garver and Haslauer entered the night still embroiled in controversy over last weekend's race, following which Garver protested Haslauer's car. Haslauer's carburater was ruled illegal by track officials, and Haslauer appealed the decision to the ARA, the sanctioning body for the speedway. Upon extensive review by ARA officials, a compromise between the drivers was reached, which ultimately credited Haslauer with the win.
Scott Hezel made it into Victory Lane for the first time this season, with a solid third place showing in a much improved car. Ronnie Tillman and Davey Cline rounded out the top five. Todd Ponce suffered mechanical problems for the second race in a row and fell to seventh place after looking very impressive early in the feature.
Ron Thomas scored his first win in the Thunder Truck division in more than two months, passing Brent Hobbs on lap 8 and holding off the field for the victory. Hobbs would go on to finish second, his first appearance in Victory Lane in more than a year. Les Burl took third and Robert Gorman, Jr. and Wade Lynn completed the top five.
"I ran pretty good in the heat race," said Ron Thomas. "I had some problems with Les, and I want to tell Les I'm sorry about that. But I've got to thank Bob Burton at Burton Electronics, he bought me four new tires for this week, and I tell you what, tires are what makes this thing go."
Hobbs, the 1998 division champion, has been beset with seemingly chronic mechanical problems dating back to the beginning of last year. His second place finish rejuvenated the speedway regular.
"Oh, man, we have just had anything that could possibly go wrong this year go wrong," said Hobbs. "I felt like I won the race it feels so good."
Chris Manucy held off a valiant effort by division points leader Brad Pilinko in the Alpha Communications Hobby Stock division for the win and a $100 bounty placed on Pilinko. It was the second time this season Manucy has risen to the occasion with a Pilinko bounty on the line.
The biggest cheers went to Bucky York, who finished third for his first trip to Victory Lane in his career. York, the only driver to compete in every race dating back to the beginning of last year, has steadily moved up the finishing order since the season's onset.
A much anticipated showdown between Jeremy Fitch and Scott Lagasse, Jr. faltered along with Lagasse's car in the Late Model feature. The two drivers have been involved in numerous cautions over the past several weeks, and even made contact during the evening's hot laps session, much to the dismay of track officials.
The race would belong to Larry Osteen, who made easy work cruising to his second consecutive victory. Jeremy Fitch held off Jared Allison for second. Dustin Chambers and Donnie Oden, who resumed the points lead over Osteen, completed the top five.
David Browning made his first trip to Victory Lane Saturday night in the Rick's Muffler Modifieds division, holding off teammate Robert Deal for second place and dispelling the notion that he is ineffective on asphalt.
"This is a good run getting up here to second," said Browning. "We get one more spot up in the next couple of weeks and we'll be doing good."
Neither was any contest for Robert Ham, making his first trip to the speedway of the 2000 season. Ham, who mistook the fast paved half-mile for Cape Canaveral by bringing an apparent rocket ship, converted a fourth place start into the lead by lap 7 and dominated the rest of the feature from there.
"This is a brand new car that we wanted to try out on this track," said Ham. "We haven't run that well here before. The new car's getting around there pretty good."
The Tattoo Dee's Old Rooster Mini Stocks had the night off following their 50 lap feature last week.
The speedway will be closed next Saturday and will resume July 8th with the 125 lap Florida Pro Series. Thunder Trucks, Mini Stocks and Hobby Stocks are also scheduled.
Late Models 1. Larry Osteen 2. Jeremy Fitch 3. Jared Allison 4. Dustin Chambers 5. Donnie Oden 6. Mike Williams 7. Jody Turner 8. Leo McCullough 9. Dave Hussey 10. Scotty Lagasse 11. Harold Rankin, Jr.
Sportsman 1. Jason Garver 2. Joey Haslauer 3. Scott Hezel 4. Ronnie Tillman 5. Davey Cline 6. Jeff McClary 7. Todd Ponce
Modifieds 1. Robert Ham 2. David Browning 3. Robert Deal 4. Chuck Cumby 5. Mark Bergman 6. Joshua Byrd 7. Larry Osteen 8. Mark Wortman 9. David Linquist 10. John Galbraith 11. Chester Mayes 12. Marc Kinley 13. Jason Lowe 14. Mike Batten
Thunder Trucks 1. Ron Thomas 2. Brent Hobbs 3. Les Burl 4. Robert Gorman, Jr. 5. Wade Lynn
Hobby Stocks 1. Chris Manucy 2. Brad Pilinko 3. Bucky York 4. L.H. Davis 5. Bart Heck 6. Brenda Little 7. Danny Thomas 8. John Roling 9. Grady Lundquist 10. Randy Moody 11. Shea Clay 12. Larry Anderson 13. Rodney Norman 14. Mark Whitener