FRONT ROW PREVAILS at JAX RACEWAYS By: Donnie Helmly JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, (June 9 1999) The front row was the place to start last weekend at Jax Raceway's half mile NASCAR sanctioned "D" shaped dirt track in Jacksonville, Florida. Four time...
FRONT ROW PREVAILS at JAX RACEWAYS By: Donnie Helmly
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, (June 9 1999) The front row was the place to start last weekend at Jax Raceway's half mile NASCAR sanctioned "D" shaped dirt track in Jacksonville, Florida.
Four time track champion of the NASCAR Winston Racing Series Late Model division, Steve Whitener of nearby Middleburg, Florida, set fast time in qualifying action, turning the fast surface in a 19.326, in his Draime powered Monte Carlo. Whitener's fast time placed him on the pole for the 30 lap event. Robert McCormick showed up with his best effort of the season, turning in the second fastest time of 19.348, putting him on the outside of the front row, and Rookie of the year contender Michael Murrer turning in a lap time of 19.398 for the third fastest of the night.
Whitener got the jump on McCormick at the drop of the green flag, and would never look back as he would lead in flag to flag fashion, to claim his second feature win of the '99 season. McCormick chased Whitener for the first 17 laps, until seven-time feature winner Jeff Godbee took over, and set his sights on the front spot. Godbee would come up one position short, as he was forced to settle for second, with McCormick in third. Michael Murrer turned in his best effort of the season, finishing fourth, followed by Buster Delay who rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth was made up of J.O. Nobles, Chuck Meredith, Homer Leonard, points leader Buddy Geiger and Travis Burris.
The Open Wheel Modified division held time trails, as well, to determine the starting positions for their 20 lap feature event. Donnie Higginbotham turned in the fastest time of the season for the ever popular division, with a time of 21.071, with Kenny Bayless turning in the second fastest with a time of 21.136 setting up the front row for the feature race.
Bayless out-fired Higginbotham when the green flag waved, and never relinquish it throughout the 20-lap race. Higginbotham chased Bayless for 12 laps until Steve Whitener moved up to the second spot to try to chase down the leader. Whitener's pursuit came up short as Bayless proved to be to stout, claiming his fifth feature win of the season. Whitener crossed in second with Higginbotham in third. Doodle Pipken moved in to finish fourth, with Gary Porter finishing out the top five. Sixth through tenth was Ronnie Ponce, Keny Porter, Marty Whitener, points leader Kevin Bayless and Robert Balkcom.
The Pure Stock 15 lap race was a family affair of sort, as a brother and sister team found themselves fighting it out for the win. Ray Pruett was on the front row after winning his heat race. And took off in the lead of the race when the green flag flew. Pruett would have his hands full through out the event as his sister Priscilla Yergy would apply pressure to his rear bumper, but settled for second at the stripe. Point's leader Darren Greenslet crossed the line in third with Richard Goodwin in fourth. Goodwin would fail post race inspection and be disqualified, which moved Joey Zimmermen in that spot, with Bill Burkhart making up the top five. Sixth through tenth was Hardy Jarvis, Ron Doan, Mike Mayo, James Martin and Wade McBride.
Randy Clark Sr. had been leading the Hobby Stock feature event many times in the '99 season, but something always managed to happen to keep him from winning. Clark had everything his way on this Saturday night, as he would lead the 20 lap race from start to finish to win his first event of the year. Pole sitter Lee Blackshear gave chase for the first three laps until being caught up in a incident that involved four of the top runners, which put him in the pits for the night. Joey Miller took over the second spot and would hold off Marty Kelly, and points leader Eddie Holton for the runner up spot. Kelly would finish third, with Holton in fourth, and Calvin Pike rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth was Bill Adkins, Robert McDaniel, Randy Clark Jr., Tim Hodge and John Wood.
The Powder Puff division saw few surprises as three time division champion Karen Greenslet won the 10 lap event, and continued to whittle away at Cindy Holton's point lead. Greenslet led from flag to flag to claim her second win of the season, with Julia Callaway following every lap. Belinda Horton crossed in third with Holton in fourth and Jennifer Jones finishing off the top five. Patty Duren, Kim Lester, Shelly Petteway, Robin Wilson and Tammy Stone made up the top ten. (Donnie Helmly can be heard as the host of "The Race Report" Monday Nights at 7 on 1320AM WJGR Jacksonville Florida)