St. Augustine SpeedFest 2000 - Day 9

February 19, St. Augustine, Fla.- Fast qualifier Rodney Childers of Mooresville, N.C. took the lead on lap 139 and went on to become the first winner ever in the inaugural ARA All Star Late Model Touring Series event at Florida Speed Park this ...

February 19, St. Augustine, Fla.- Fast qualifier Rodney Childers of Mooresville, N.C. took the lead on lap 139 and went on to become the first winner ever in the inaugural ARA All Star Late Model Touring Series event at Florida Speed Park this weekend.

"The car was awesome," said Childers. "These guys have worked so hard to get this car ready to come down here. I owe it all to them. If Steve (Mendenhall) hadn't had some problems, the outcome might have been a little different. He was real strong. We would have had our work cut out for ourselves."

Josh Richeson, who led a good portion of the middle of the event, followed Childers across the line to nail down the second spot.

"This car just kept getting better and better in the first half of the race," said the Davidson, N.C. driver. "I thought we were going to be the car to beat but then it started to fade. There at the end it was really getting to be a handful."

"Catfish" Parker of Denver, N.C. made a big charge in the second half of the race to pick up the third position followed by Frampton Ferguson and J.R. Robbs.

Steve Mendenhall of Clayton, N.C. led the first 26 laps and again from lap 54-66 but was eventually forced to retire on lap 110 with overheating problems.

In the Super Late Model event, "Big Jim" Kelly of Newport, N.C. won for the second night in a row followed by Mac Johnson and Tom McCann. Randy Fox and Greg Carby rounded out the top five for the Super Lates and Alaskan driver Corey LaCosta posted his best SpeedFest 2000 finish with a sixth.

Jimmy Britts of Orange Park, Fla. held on for the Modified win in a less than spectacular handling car over Coldwater Mich.'s John Gearhart. Kim King of Cincinnati picked up her best SpeedFest finish posting a third in the 35-lap feature and then emotionally dedicated her podium finish to her recently deceased mother.

John Raney of Ft. Wayne In. and Jon Campagnone of Orange City, Fla. finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Saturday's events brought to a close the first ever SpeedFest at Florida Speed Park and judging from the remarks made by all the drivers visiting the facility for the nine-day event, it went very well. Virtually every driver, at every opportunity praised the officiating, management and staff for a job well done.

Nine days of coordinating, feeding, teching, promoting and racing with more than 150 different teams is a daunting task to undertake. But it's safe to say that over the past nine days the short track racing world was formally introduced to Florida Speed Park and the city of St. Augustine, Fla. the first impression was a very good one.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Josh Richeson