St. Augustine Speedway Fall Brawl

"FALL BRAWL" LIVES UP TO IT'S BILLING ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -In what could only be described as a wild night of action at St. Augustine Speedway Saturday night, the "Fall Brawl" lived up to every word of it's pre-race billing....


ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -In what could only be described as a wild night of action at St. Augustine Speedway Saturday night, the "Fall Brawl" lived up to every word of it's pre-race billing. In one race after another, a steady stream of yellow and red flags filled the night sky as the racecars seemed intent on trying to dismantle themselves around the racetrack. Throughout the carnage and the used up racecar parts being strewn across the racing surface there were, fortunately, no serious injuries reported, only one possible sprained wrist suffered by Hobby Stock driver Bobby Giles of St. Augustine. The 35-lap Late Model feature got the action kicked off on the fast paved half mile. In this race the No. 6 of Tommy Rupp dominated for the first 13 circuits before being overhauled by Late Model veteran Larry Osteen of Clermont, Fla. Osteen appeared to be on his way to victory when on lap 29, an incident occurred that seemed to trigger the whole bizarre night of racing. Scott Cordon of Brandon, Fla. decided to test the strength of the St. Augustine concrete, slamming his Ford Thunderbird into the outside retaining wall in turn two. Cordon was uninjured in the incident but his No. 17 racecar was heavily damaged and required two tow trucks to remove the wreckage from the racing surface. The ensuing red flag period for clean up of the incident was also the undoing for Osteen. His Florida Auto Express No. 22 failed to fire when racing was set to resume and the popular driver was pushed to pit road to try to make repairs. The effort was in vain though, as racing quickly got back underway with the veteran still sitting silent on the sidelines. Three-time Late Model division winner and fast qualifier for the event, Scotty Lagasse Jr. of St. Augustine inherited the front spot following Osteen's retirement and held off the challenges of Lake Butler's Donnie Oden for the final six laps of the race to claim his fourth consecutive win in his Estate Title and Guarantee Monte Carlo. "I hate that Larry had that problem, " said Lagasse. "He and I have had some great races together and I think this was shaping up to be another one. I don't know if I had anything for him tonight though. I was having a tough time just trying to catch him. But we'll take it of course, it's another mark in the win column and those are pretty hard to come by." Lagasse was leading his tier in the Speedway's Top Gun Challenge series going into this event and should remain at or very near the top of those standings as a result of this run here this week. Updated Top Gun Challenge point standings will be released later in the week. The Snap-On Sportsman had even more trouble getting their 35-lap feature event in the books as nine caution flags and one red flag period took their toll on the 14-car field. Ronnie Tillman of Green Cove Springs took the early lead but was quickly chased down and passed by St. Augustine's Tiny Cline on lap 4. A lap 6 melee was triggered when Kenny Hall of St. Augustine and Nick Pilinko of Switzerland, Fla. tangled on the front straightaway collecting at least four other cars including the former leader Tillman, Jimmy Bunn of Middleburg and several other drivers who spun to avoid the pile up but wound up in the mix none the less. The incident trimmed the 14-car starting field substantially as most of the cars involved were damaged to severely to continue. When racing was able to resume, Jason Garver of Starke was able to wrestle the lead away from Cline and held on until lap 20 when former leader Tommy Rupp went back to the front. Rupp was able to fend off the challenges of Garver, Baldwin, Fla.'s Bo Allen and Cline to hold on for the apparent win. The victory celebration was short-lived though as four of the first five finishers were disqualified in the post race technical inspection. The disqualifications moved Tiny Cline from third to first and Tiny's son, Davie Cline making his first start ever in the highly competitive Sportsman division moved up from his fifth finishing position to second. David Hitchcock, Joey Parks and Les Burl rounded out the top five in the final rundown. The 25-lap Rick's Muffler Modified feature saw David Browning jump out to the early lead only to be overhauled by the No. 15 of Robert Deal on lap three. Deal, of Jacksonville was, for the most part, unchallenged for the remainder of the race although Browning and the No. 14 of Tuffy Carrigg were able to keep pace. Both, Browning's and Deal's chances for the win went totally away on lap 21 when the two tangled at the exit of turn four while battling for the second spot. The accident moved Terry Witherspoon and Josh Manning up to challenge Deal on the restart but the No 15 car was too strong and Deal went on to win his first race of the '99 season. Manning was able to move up a spot by pulling off a daring bonsai move on the last lap to pass Witherspoon for second. Loren Leuders and Lewis Lindsey, both of St. Augustine rounded out the top five. Another first time winner did a little celebrating in victory lane when Vern Rozier of St. Augustine put a last lap move on team mate Jay Farris, also of St. Augustine in the 20-lap Mini Stock feature race. Rozier pulled along side Farris as the pair of No. 33's exited turn two and ran door to door down the back straightaway and through turns three and four. As they drag raced down the front chute Rozier was able to nose his Honda Prelude in front of Farris' for the win. Randy Moody and Jake Hartley had also taken their shifts on the point earlier in the Mini main. Steve Thompson, Jared Cooper and Kevin Burkett finished third through fifth in the running order. Elkton Fla.'s Ricky Cooper wrestled the lead away from his Elkton neighbor Ron Thomas in the Thunder Truck division feature event. Cooper then held on to win by a substantial margin over Thomas and Alan Moore of St. Augustine. Wade Lynn and Robert Gorman Jr. rounded out the top five in the Truck division. St. Augustine's Chris Manucy picked up his second win in a row at the big half mile taking the lead on lap eight when all three of the leaders in front of him piled up in turn four. John Roling, divisional point leader Rodney Norman and Jody Stratton were all battling for the front spot when contact between the two leaders sent them spinning and collecting Stratton in the process. Manucy, running fourth at the time was able to drive around the incident to take the lead. Stratton recovered from the incident to finish second followed by Scooter Hicks, Randy Moody and Bart Heck. Next week the Southern Automobile Racing Association Modifieds and Sportsman cars make their second appearance this year at the St. Augustine half-mile for a big SARA Doubleheader. In addition to the SARA racing action, world famous motorcycle jump star, Sky Lungston will be on hand to attempt a new world record jump over 17 cars ramp to ground.

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Drivers David Brown