St. Augustine Race Report

TEMPERATURES AND TEMPERS TESTED AT ST. AUGUSTINE ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -The tempers were as hot as the temperatures at Saturday night's NASCAR Winston Racing Series Snap-On Sportsman double points show at St. Augustine Speedway. But beyond...


ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -The tempers were as hot as the temperatures at Saturday night's NASCAR Winston Racing Series Snap-On Sportsman double points show at St. Augustine Speedway. But beyond the heat, the disqualifications and the fines and suspensions, what was left was a great evening of racing with plenty of action in all divisions. St. Augustine's Todd Ponce came home the eventual winner in the 50-lap double point race for the Snap-On Sportsman division, a race that was almost overshadowed in the end by a combination of the action on the track and the antics of a handful of competitors. Ronnie Tillman, of Green Cove Springs, Fla., brought an audible gasp from the crowd and a short red flag period when his No. 17 erupted into a spectacular, but short lived oil fire through turns one and two, the result of an engine detonation at the end of the front straightaway. Middleburg, Fla.'s Les Burl brought the fans to their feet a second time when his No. 58 performed an incredible two-wheeled "wall ballet" in the same turn one area just a few laps later. Neither driver was injured in either of the two incidents, and Burl was actually able to make repairs to his Chevrolet and rejoin the race, eventually finishing eighth. Driver Kenny Hall of St. Augustine was disqualified from the event and fined an unspecified amount following a bizarre series of events that were triggered when Hall was black flagged for an illegal pass on one of the numerous restarts. A crew member was also disciplined as a result of the same incident. Hall's zero points in the double points event dropped him from the lead in the Sportsman Division and struck a blow to his quest for the track championship in that Division. Hall now trails new points leader Tiny Cline by 30 points with plenty of time to make up the deficit. Eleven races still remain in the St. Augustine Speedway track points battle with another double points race on tap August 28. NASCAR Winston Racing Series points however, are accumulated only until Sept.11. Bo Allen, of Baldwin, Fla. overcame some serious handling problems to slip and slide his way to second in this event, and Phil Williams picked up his best finish to date, coming home third. David Hitchcock and Scott Smith rounded out the top five. New points leader Tiny Cline recovered from his own black flag incident, fighting his way back to finish sixth. Larry Osteen of Clermont picked up his second win in a row in the 35-lap Late Model Division feature to strengthen his grip on the lead of the point standings in that division. Donnie Oden of Lake Butler, Harold Rankin, Dustin Chambers and Jody Turner rounded out the final finishing order in this event. Shane Sawyer, the apparent second place finisher in the Late Model feature was DQ'd in the post-race inspection for a weight violation. In the Rick's Muffler Modified Division 35-lapper, George Thrift III of Fernandina Beach fought his way back after a bad start to eventually win his sixth race in a row. Thrift was aided in that attempt by attrition among the early leaders, Robert Ham and Larry Martin, two SARA regulars who were at the Speedway tuning up for the upcoming SARA Modified event there on August 7. Thrift's strength in the modifieds, winning nine out of the last ten events, finally prompted a bounty to be placed on his head which will now go to $200 for the next regular Rick's Muffler Modified event in two weeks. Justin Moore, Robert Deal and two more SARA regulars, Tom Symons and Frank Polly followed Thrift across the line in that order. The Thunder Truck Division saw divisional points leader Alan Moore of St. Augustine pick up his seventh win this season and his third in a row as he edged out his good friend and strongest competitor, Ricky Cooper. Andy Waldron, Brent Hobbs and Jared Cooper rounded out the top five in that division. Mickey Leth showed his strength in the Mini Stocks beating out Jake Hartley and Mike Ponce for the top spot. John Thigpen and current points leader Kevin Burkett finished behind the leaders. In the Hobby Stock feature, Bobby Thornton won his second 20-lap feature in a row beating out points leader Rodney Norman, Jimmy Bunn, Seth Caudill and Scooter Hicks. Next Saturday, the Sunbelt Super Late Models come to town for a 125 lap main event, featuring the top Late Model drivers in the state as they vie for supremacy on the fast, St. Augustine half mile. A 50-lap SARA AT&T Construction Modified race will follow the Late Model show that same evening. Also on tap for the Aug. 7 date will be the Minis and Hobbies. Grandstand gates will open at 2:00 for this special event with qualifying at 6 and the feature events rolling off at 7:30.

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Drivers Scott Smith
Teams Williams