May 27th, St. Augustine, FL -- He came. He gambled. He smoked 'em. Caesar would have been proud Saturday night as Jimmy Britts, taking a chance on a record $900 8 Ball, with a record $1,500 to win payout at stake, charged past a talent-laden...
May 27th, St. Augustine, FL -- He came. He gambled. He smoked 'em.
Caesar would have been proud Saturday night as Jimmy Britts, taking a chance on a record $900 8 Ball, with a record $1,500 to win payout at stake, charged past a talent-laden Rick's Muffler Modified field from his 8th starting position to claim victory in convincing fashion Saturday night at Florida Speed Park in the special 50 lap Mod Squad Invasion.
"Stock car racing was good to me tonight," said a smiling Britts. "Tonight it paid off."
Pole sitter Chuck Cumby took a sizeable lead early in the feature, quickly pulling out to a six car lead over David Browning before a caution came out on lap 7 after a spin by Josh Byrd. The restart sent Cumby back out front, but by lap 9 Britts had moved into second place and began closing the gap. Another caution on lap 18 again tightened the field, and three laps later Britts, driving the Fat Boys Wings #14, took a lead he would never relinquish.
Britts' victory was not without drama, though, as Robert Deal, behind the wheel of the J. Carter Trucking #15, made another spectacular run from dead last in the field, overtaking Cumby on lap 36 and settling in behind Britts in second for one last charge for victory. A caution on lap 40 involving Shannon Smith and David Linquist set the stage for a final 10 lap shootout between the two Modified heavyweights.
"The last green flag session before the last caution, I really thought I had my hands full, because Deal was catching me," said Britts. "That caution came out and I thought I was going to lose it right there. But we seemed to clean our tires off better than he did on the caution and we pulled away."
The final stretch proved to be too much for the valiant Deal, who is in the top five in the national American Racing Association points battle. Following the restart, Britts slowly gained distance on Deal and methodically ticked off the final laps for the win.
"We took a gamble, we were in good shape," said a dilapidated Deal. "Jimmy was just a little better than we were tonight. We just used up too much tire trying to catch him."
Jerry Symons, who leads the SARA Modified series in points, placed fourth, while George Thrift was fifth.
Mickey Leth took the 8 Ball Challenge in the Tattoo Dee's Old Rooster Mini Stocks, outgunning Troy Kruse and Tim Riviere to become the second 8 Ball winner of the night. Leth, who foresaw a possible $1,000 8 Ball bonus following the Mini Stock heats, gave up seven positions to points leader Jay Farris and the speedy Jake Hartley, who both wound up starting on the front row of the 20 lap feature.
By lap 7, Leth had taken the lead by a nose over Hartley, only to lose the advantage on their next trip around the fast paved half-mile. A caution brought about on a spin in turn 4 by Jared Cooper on the 9th lap brought the field back together. Following the restart, Leth and Hartley battled for the lead. Coming out of turn 2, Hartley got loose and spun into the wall, bringing out another caution and ending Hartley's bid for his third win of the season. From the restart, Leth managed to hold off Kruse and Riviere for the victory. Jay Farris would go on to turn in a fourth place finish, while Peedie Allison took fifth.
Todd Ponce made quick work of the Sportsman field, converting a fourth place start into the lead by lap 4, easily cruising to victory over Joey Haslauer and Jason Garver. Bo Allen and Scott Hezel rounded out the top five. The bounty on Todd Ponce increases to $400 heading into next Saturday's event.
Chris Manucy managed to slip by polesitter Jody Stratton on lap 12, going on to victory in the Alpha Communications Hobby Stock division. Stratton would finish third, losing the second spot to Brad Pilinko on lap 15. L.H. Davis and Glenn Nedrow completed the top five.
Ricky Cooper took home the winner's trophy in the Thunder Truck division for the second consecutive week, outdistancing the rest of the field by a comfortable margin. Ron Thomas and Les Burl battled closely over the final five laps for second, with Thomas winning out at the stripe. Mike Ponce and Alan Moore finished fourth and fifth. Wade Lynn, the division points leader, suffered substantial damage to his truck in a spinning collision with the wall along the backstretch after getting caught up in dirt kicked onto the speedway in turn 2. The driver emerged from the wreck unharmed.
Florida Speed Park hosts a full field of local divisions next Saturday night, along with the Dwarf cars and high speed karts as part of its Kids Night festivities. Children 12 and under are admitted free, and all will have the opportunity to take a lap around the speedway in race cars offered by the local drivers.
Rick's Muffler Modifieds 1 - Jimmy Britts 2 - Robert Deal 3 - Chuck Cumby 4 - Jerry Symons 5 - George Thrift, III 6 - David Browning 7 - Mark Bergman 8 - Joshua Byrd 9 - Jason Lowe 10 - David Linquist 11 - Mike Batten 12 - Shannon Smith 13 - Marc Kinley 14 - Jeremy Fitch 15 - Bobby Sheffield 16 - Justin Moore
Sportsman 1 - Todd Ponce 2 - Joey Haslauer 3 - Jason Garver 4 - Bo Allen 5 - Scott Hezel 6 - Jeff McClary 7 - Shaw Hallman
Thunder Trucks 1 - Ricky Cooper 2 - Ron Thomas 3 - Les Burl 4 - Mike Ponce 5 - Alan Moore 6 - Wade Lynn 7 - Brent Hobbs 8 - Mike McGauley
Tattoo Dee's Old Rooster Mini Stocks 1- Mickey Leth 2 - Troy Kruse 3 - Tim Riviere 4 - Jay Farris 5 - Peedie Allison 6 - Jason Miller 7 - Pat Hunter 8 - Kevin Burkett 9 - Mike Gibbs 10 - Vern Rozier 11 - Curt Messina 12 - Jake Hartley 13 - Jared Cooper
Alpha Communications Hobby Stocks 1 - Chris Manucy 2 - Brad Pilinko 3 - Jody Stratton 4 - L.H. Davis 5 - Glenn Nedrow 6 - Shea Clay 7 - Randy Wilkes 8 - Bucky York 9 - Rodney Norman 10 - Jon Torba 11 - Brenda Little 12 - Jeff Dudley 13 - Randy Moody 14 - Danny Thomas 15 - Bart Heck