St. Augustine Speedway Race Report 1999-08-21

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -George Thrift III of Fernandina Beach grabbed the lead on lap two from pole sitter Robert Ham and led the remaining 49 laps to claim his eighth win in a row in the Rick's Muffler Man Modified 50-lap double point main event...

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA -George Thrift III of Fernandina Beach grabbed the lead on lap two from pole sitter Robert Ham and led the remaining 49 laps to claim his eighth win in a row in the Rick's Muffler Man Modified 50-lap double point main event Saturday night at St. Augustine Speedway. "Things are really just going our way right now," said Thrift who had just learned earlier this week that he had also taken over the top spot in the tough Sunbelt Region of the Winston Racing Series ShorTrack Series by NASCAR. "We come to the racetrack expecting to win every race. It doesn't always work out that way, but we always feel like we have a chance. Robert raced me hard but we were strong tonight, a lot stronger than last week." Next week the bounty that has been placed on Thrift goes to $500 for anyone who can beat him on the racetrack, however, if Thrift wins again next week he will collect the $500 bounty himself. Ham was able to maintain Thrift's blistering pace through most of the feature, only giving up the second spot briefly ¾ of the way into the race when his No. 52 slid up the racetrack just enough to let Justin Moore and Russ Miscally slip by. Ham eventually fought his way back around both cars only to be passed again by Miscally with just three laps remaining in the event and finishing the evening in the third spot. Justin Moore and Jamie Carter rounded out the top five in the feature event of the evening. Todd Ponce of St. Augustine held off a hard charging Nick Pilinko to chalk up his fourth consecutive win in Saturday night's Winston Racing Series Snap-On Sportsman division. Ponce's win streak nearly came to an end just before the midway point of this event when Pilinko was able to work his way past the No. 007 in turn four only to see his lead go back to Ponce at the other end of the racetrack in turn two. "We ran into some oil down there in turn three and almost lost it," said Ponce. "It was a good race though. "I don't know that I could have done anything with Todd," said runner-up Pilinko. "But we were handling good, this is a brand new engine and it ran good. We worked on this thing late last night trying to get it ready and everything just worked out good tonight." Point leader Kenny Hall finished third in the fifty-lap feature followed by Tiny Cline and Bo Allen. Starting on the pole after posting the fastest time in qualifying, St. Augustine's Scotty Lagasse Jr. jumped to the early lead and went on to pick up his first win in only his third start in the extremely competitive Late Model division. Lagasse had a serious battle on his hands trying to hold off divisional point leader Larry Osteen during the early laps but had managed to stretch his advantage by midway through the race. A late caution, however, bunched the field and once again put Osteen right back on Lagasse's rear bumper. The last few laps amounted to a driving clinic as Osteen threw everything he had at Lagasse, but the young college freshman refused to be shaken and held off the wily veteran for the win. "We finally beat him," said Lagasse in victory lane. "He's tough. He's beat us the last couple of times out but we finally got him." Behind Lagasse and Osteen, Richard Ferry, John Crawford and Donnie Oden filled out the list of top five finishers in the Late Model division. Alan Moore came from his third starting spot to pick up his fifth win in a row in the Thunder Truck division over Ron Thomas and Ricky Cooper who had to come from his last starting position to take home the third place money. Andy Waldron and Wade Lynn drove home in fourth and fifth respectively. Moore's win added a bit more cushion to his slim, 42-point lead over Cooper in the yearlong point standings with much of the season still left to run. In the Mini Stock division, Steve Thompson rebounded from a tough accident two weeks ago to post his second feature win of the season. Mike Ponce, who led much of this race, found himself in a fierce battle with the No. 30 car of point leader Kevin Burkett. The battle took a turned ugly for both the leaders when the pair tangled in turn 2 while dicing for the lead on lap17. Thompson, who had been running third since the halfway mark, inherited the lead at that point and went on to win. Jody Miller, Vern Rozier and Kurt Messina followed Thompson across the line on the track. Mike Ponce was not around at the finish but managed to pick up the fifth spot by virtue of his total laps completed. The Hobby Stock race saw Seth Caudill pick up his second win this season in a race that had excitement written all over it right from the start. Bobby Thornton became the meat in a Hobby Stock sandwich while going for the lead on the first lap as the front row starters, Caudill and Bart Heck were racing door to door through turn three. The ensuing melee collected many but eliminated few. The No. 33 car of J.W. Mixon received the most serious damage in the incident, but even he was able to make repairs and return. In the end, it was Rodney Norman following Caudill across the line with Heck, Jody Stratton and Grady Lundquist in hot pursuit. The next event at St. Augustine Speedway is Saturday, August 28 when all six divisions return for American Diabetes Night. Advance tickets are on sale from any American Diabetes Association member. Fifty percent of the $10 adult admission costs collected through the advance sales will go to the A.D.A. for research.

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Drivers Jody Miller , John Crawford