June 17, 1999 ST. AUGUSTINE SPEEDWAY POINT BATTLES HEATING UP ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.-The divisional point battles at St. Augustine Speedway are getting hotter than a mid-summer afternoon in all six NASCAR racing divisions. Following last...
June 17, 1999
ST. AUGUSTINE SPEEDWAY POINT BATTLES HEATING UP
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.-The divisional point battles at St. Augustine Speedway are getting hotter than a mid-summer afternoon in all six NASCAR racing divisions. Following last weekend's racing, the point lead changed in both, the NASCAR Winston Racing Series Snap-On Sportsman Division and the Late Model Division.
Kenny Hall, of St. Augustine managed to slip ahead of Tiny Cline in the Snap-On Sportsman Division point standings by virtue of his victory in the 50-lap feature Saturday night. Cline's less than spectacular finish, (ninth) in that crucial Double Points event dropped him 20 points behind Hall in the yearlong battle. St. Augustine's Todd Ponce, who missed Saturday's action, and Less Burl, of Middleburg switched spots in the standings this week, with Burl moving up to third and Ponce dropping to fifth. Ronnie Tillman, from Green Cove Springs, Fla. remains sandwiched in between the two hot shoes in fourth.
Ponce's absence from the roster this past week, may have seriously damaged the young St. Augustinian's hopes of the 1999 Divisional Championship. The talented young driver was just recovering from a dismal season start and had put together three consecutive wins to close out the month of May when engine problems struck, leaving him on the sidelines. Although Ponce hopes to be able to return this weekend, everything will depend on whether or not the new powerplant arrives in time to go racing.
Don Halliday, of Jacksonville made the most dramatic improvement in the Snap-On Sportsman standings over his previous position, jumping from 11th to 7th with his second consecutive, second place finish.
In the Late Model Division, former point leader David Clegg, of Bunnell, who had not finished outside of the top five all year, scored a big goose egg in the point column last week when he was a no-show for the event. His place atop the leader board was taken by Larry Osteen of Clermont, Fla., who managed to survive a strange succession of events to eventually, finish second in a very used up race car. Osteen will carry a 36-point advantage over Clegg going into this week's race. The rest of the top five remained stationary with Jacksonville's Jody Turner, Donnie Oden of Lake Butler, and St. Augustine's Toby Sims rounding out those positions.
George Thrift, of Fernandina Beach managed to survive one of those, "Oh no" nights with his point lead in tact in the Muffler Man Modified Division. Thrift's night of racing came to a sudden end in a pile of sheet metal stacked up against the turn one wall at the halfway point of the 35-lap event. Thrift was one of five drivers in the stack, most, more or less, through for the evening. Jacksonville's Chuck Cumby, who had been trying to hold on to Thrift in the point battle, was another of the cars involved in the turn one melee but he was able to return, finishing seventh.
Thrift had been steadily padding a good lead in point standings up to last week and had built a 44-point spread between himself and Cumby in recent weeks. Going into this week's action, that point spread is down to 30 points. Jamie Carter, of Maxwell, Fla., drops in 10 points behind Cumby, and Jacksonville's Robert Deal and Russ Miscally from Lawtey, Fla. round out the top five.
Ricky Cooper, of Elkton, Fla. continues his mastery over the field in the Thunder Truck Division. Cooper is the only driver in the top four divisions at the Speedway this year that has yet to finish outside the top three in any event. Although it took five weeks for him to get his first win this year, Cooper has scored for wins out of the last five starts and is currently working a three-race win streak. St. Augustine's Alan Moore currently trails Cooper by 14 points, followed by Andy Waldron, of Lake City, Robert Gorman, Jr. of Callahan, and Brent Hobbs, of Fruit Cove.
In the Hobby Stock Division, Rodney Norman, of Orange Park holds a commanding lead over Scooter Hicks, of Jacksonville, followed by Chris Manucy, of St. Augustine, Seth Caudill, of MacClenny, and Bart Heck, of Middleburg. Mini Stock point leader, Kevin Burkett, of Jacksonville watched his point lead dwindle to 28 points over St. Augustine's Jay Farris this past week, while, Jacksonville's John Hopke, John Thigpen and Vern Rozier, both of St. Augustine, continue to give chase.
This Saturday, the thunder rolls on at St. Augustine Speedway with top notch racing action in all six exciting NASCAR divisions. Remember, this week only, it's Coca-Cola Night at the Speedway. Fans can bring any Winn-Dixie cash register receipt showing that they purchased any Coca-Cola product and use it to get two adults in for the price of one.
Grandstand gates will open at 4:30, qualifying at 6:00, and feature racing at 7:30.