St/ Augustine Speedway Race Report 1999-07-24

JUICEMAN HUFFMAN, SQUEEZES THE COMPETITION AT ST. AUGUSTINE ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -It was 101 verses of a very familiar song Saturday night at St. Augustine Speedway as Robert Huffman of Clermont, N.C. led from flag to flag in the Gold Star...


ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -It was 101 verses of a very familiar song Saturday night at St. Augustine Speedway as Robert Huffman of Clermont, N.C. led from flag to flag in the Gold Star Dodge Dealers 100 presented by NAPA for the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring Division. The win was Huffman's sixth of the 1999 season to go along with his four Bud Pole Awards for the year and served to strengthen the White House Apple Juice driver's stranglehold atop the Series point standings. "The car was just perfect all day," said Huffman. "We really haven't had to touch a bolt since we got here. I could tell in the practice session earlier this afternoon that the car was going to be strong. We knew that NASCAR was going to impound all the cars after qualifying so we had to qualify on our race setup. But even with the car loosened up a little for the race, we were still within a tenth (of a second) of the track record and the car just continued to get better as the race progressed." Huffman's strongest competition throughout the race came from Winston-Salem, N.C.'s Zach Brewer who managed to keep Huffman in sight but could only close the widening gap between himself and the reigning Dash Series champion during the seven caution periods that slowed the event. Brewers runner-up finish did earn him the NAPA Filters Rookie of the Race honors and moved him into third in the yearlong rookie race. Jake Hobgood, who was celebrating his 24th birthday at this event, brought his Pontiac Sunfire home in the third spot. Doyle Boatwright, of Starke, Fla., making his first ever Goody's Dash Series start was the highest finishing driver from the local Northeast Florida region. Boatwright was able to muster a very respectable ninth place finish and kept his Pontiac on the lead lap for the entire race. Local favorites, Jimmy Britts, of Orange Park, Billy Joiner of Jacksonville could only post 18th and 21st position finishes, respectively. As a result of this event, Britts dropped to second in the Rookie standings in the Dash Series after going into the race tied for the lead in that race with Goldsboro, N.C.'s Brandon Head. Edward Howell was the highest finishing Florida driver in the field, capturing fifth place money. In the supporting events for Saturday's Gold Star Dodge Dealers 100 presented by NAPA, Fernandina Beach's George Thrift continued his domination of the Muffler Man Modified Division winning his fifth straight event in the open-wheeled class. In doing so, Thrift widened his advantage over Robert Deal to 90 points in the yearlong point battle. Deal and Tuffy Carrigg, both of Jacksonville, each led large portions of this race. Deal was forced to give way to Thrift and Carrigg at the halfway point with handling problems on the No. 15 car. Later Carrigg succumbed to engine problems while leading the event with only a handful of laps remaining. Deal was able to stave off an attack from James Pagliuca, of Archer, Fla. to garner the runner-up spot. Pagliuca eventually came home third, his best finish in his three starts to date. In the Mini Stock 20-lap feature, Steve Thompson, of Jacksonville took the lead from his outside front row starting spot and held on to pick up his first win of the 1999 season, beating out Jake Hartley, of Jacksonville and Mickey Leth, of St. Augustine. Mike Ponce dropped from his pole starting position to fourth and another St. Augustine native, Jay Farris came up from his dead last starting spot to round out the top five. The Hobby Stock Division saw Bobby Thornton, of St. Augustine notch his first win in that division over Jimmy Bunn, of Middleburg. Bunn, who was looking to pick up his fifth win in a row, struggled with a broken shift lever for the entire race allowing Thornton to get the jump on every restart. Thornton was eventually able to hold off the four-time winner and even open a gap between the two on his way to victory. Grady Lundquist, point leader, Rodney Norman and J.W. Mixon flowed Thornton and Bunn across the finish line in that order. After taking a weekend off, St. Augustine Speedway's Winston Racing Series division, the Snap-On Sportsman cars snap back in to action this Saturday night with a big double points event. Current point leaders, Kenny Hall and Tiny Cline will be going at it for 50 laps trying to put some distance between themselves and Les Burl, Ronnie Tillman, Bo Allen and the red hot, Todd Ponce in their battle for position at the head table at this year's awards banquet. Also in action on Saturday night will be the Late Models, Thunder Trucks, Muffler Man Modifieds, Minis and Hobbies. So it's a full slate of divisional events that will make up Jerry Hamm Chevrolet Night here at St. Augustine Speedway. Grandstand gates will open at 4:30, qualifying and heat races will follow at 6:00 and the feature events will roll off at 7:30. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for military and Sr. citizens (55 years young), $5 for children 6-12 years of age and as always, kids under six get in free.

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Drivers Robert Huffman