USA Sprints Winternationals summary 2004-02-20

Feb 20 USA Sprints 2004 Winternationals from Orange County Raceway "Tiny" Tim George Stakes His Claim on Opening Night in Bithlo Florida! There were 3 qualifying heats on friday night.The Track was very hard and slick and all the USA Sprints ...

Feb 20 USA Sprints 2004 Winternationals from Orange County Raceway
"Tiny" Tim George Stakes His Claim on Opening Night in Bithlo Florida!

There were 3 qualifying heats on friday night.The Track was very hard and slick and all the USA Sprints drivers knew that this would be a big challenge for sure.Each Team contemplated thier set-ups because this was the very first race ever @ OCS and the Track surface wasn't cooperating.Traveling from all parts of the Country the USA Teams & Drivers were poised and ready for this battle royale to commence!

Heat Race 1- Bob "Thundefoot" Schaeffer #22 from Colorado pick up on his Winning ways from Hendry County Speedway to blow away the field using the high groove.He was followed home by the # 6 of Mike "Hollywood" Schroeder from Boyten Beach.Danny "The Missle" Martin #00 in from the 360 Nationals was impressive in his first outing to bring home 3rd.Mike Davis Jr. followed Martin across the line in fourth driving the # 3.

Heat Race 2- The # 1 of "Tiny" Tim George and # 11 Andy "Hammer Down" Kelly locked in the first 2 rows pursued by Ron "Happy" Armstrong's # 56 and RC Roper "The Racin Cowboy" in the 92 from Fort Myers on the second row.George shot out to a early lead and was followed by Kelly and Roper.Kelly went high and Roper shot by on the low side on lap 3."Tiny" was real strong and easily won the 10 lap heat over Roper,Kelly and Armstrong in fine fashion and gave the fans a hint of what was in store from the Venice veteran.

Heat Race 3 -David "Skeeter" Kelly started on the pole and made a statement that he was definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with as his car blasted off the corners."Skeeter" was never headed but Bruce "Rocketman" Durden in his beautifully prepared # 17 gave close chase with John "Party Time" Cickota's # 45 coming home 3rd and Travis Bleimeister from Englewood driving his # 3b in fourth.

The Crowd was in anticipation as the USA Stars and Cars were jockeying into position before the start.Bruce Durden would bring the field to the green flanked by RC Roper with Mike Schroeder and "Skeeter" Kelly close behind in row 2.It would take a couple restarts for the field to settle down to get a clean green.Durden powered past Roper from the pole with RC right on his heels in second.The Track was extremely slick due to all the different classes that were racing earlier.Roper and Durden were waging a awesome battle just when durden's # 17 spun collecting the 92 of Roper.Both drivers went to the rear.Each re-start brought another as all of the drivers had thier hands plum-full of steering wheel trying to maintain a smooth line around the tight 1/4 mile speedplant in traffic.

The front was not the place to be as the line became even more trecherous to hold.Skeeter Kelly inherited the lead but then was caught up with Bob Schaeffer in turn 2 & 3.They went to the rear.This moved up Mike "Hollywood" Schroeder and Tiny Tim George.Tim followed Schroeder until finally after severe pressure Mike hit a rut in turn 2 which sent his car towards the wall momentarily allowing George to slip past.Another caution flew for Andy Kelly and Danny Martin.The "Missle" as he is now known sliced his way thru traffic beautifully until he shot for a gap which at the same time Andy "Hammer Down" Kelly was pursuing.The result was contact which caused young Martin to get airborn and flip over twice in turn 2.The race was red-flagged.

The re-start saw the experienced George do what he does best and that's run his consistant and steady line.Tim was determined to make his run for 2 consecutive Winternationals Championships.The rest of the field were waging fierce battles of thier own jockeying for positions from 3rd thru 8th."Hollywood" Schroeder continually tried George but to no avail could not get the needed forward bite to get under Tim.Tim wasn't about to give up the bottom."Rocketman" Durden and RC Roper "The Racin Cowboy" were hooked nose to tail and made thier way back up thru the pack passing on the high side.This was to no avail as Tim wasn't going to be denied his first Winternationals Victory.This was Tim's big jump to claiming his 2nd Title in 2 years.George was followed across the line by Schroeder,Durden,Roper and a fine run by John Cickota in fifth.Travis Bleimeister notched his first ever USA Sprints "hard charger" award by starting next to last and finishing a solid 6th.

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