July 14th, St. Augustine, FL - In February of this year, near the end of an intensive nine-day SpeedFest 2000 racing program, the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association winged sprints came to town. Upon posting record-setting speeds during heats...
July 14th, St. Augustine, FL - In February of this year, near the end of an intensive nine-day SpeedFest 2000 racing program, the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association winged sprints came to town. Upon posting record-setting speeds during heats and the feature during their visit at Florida Speed Park, a swirling vortex has hung over the speedway ever since.
"These machines are so fast, it's amazing," says speedway manager Louis Sm ith. "We may have to run them in the opposite direction this time to try and stabilize the atmospheric conditions. It's hurricane season now, so there's more concern this time around than in February."
TBARA's visit in February marked the first time that winged sprint cars had come to St. Augustine since 1996's famous World of Outlaws dirt shows. Until this year, the WOO's Steve Kinser had held the speed record set from that visit.
"We didn't really know what to expect from the TBARA cars," says Smith. "Winged sprints on asphalt? What's this going to be like? Super fast, and beyond. That's what they were like. Nobody left here disappointed."
Wayne Reutimann, of the famous Florida racing family, proved the fastest of all, at speeds of over 122 mph, on his way to victory. Reutimann returns now second in points behind Jim Childers. Keith Butler, Shaun Farr and Kevin Cahill enter as the rest of the top five in points.
In stark contrast to the winged sprint cars is the 2nd annual Alpha Communications Hobby Bowl, a 50 lap, $1,000 to win event featuring the speedway's Hobby Stock division. While Brad Pilinko and Chris Manucy have been the two dominant cars in the field this year, 50 laps can add a lot of new elements to what is normally a 20 lap race.
"50 laps is a long Hobby Stock race," says Smith. "It will open doors for drivers who haven't made it up front yet. Anything can happen, and with Hobby Stocks, it usually does."
The Late Models and Sportsman will also return to action this weekend. The North Florida Caged Karts and Yamaha Karts will join the program as well.
Expected in attendance is Larry Tyler, driver of the #99 TBARA sprint car who was critically injured in the February event. This will be Tyler's first visit to the speedway since his accident coming out of Turn 4, early in the event.
Gates open at 5:00 pm, with racing beginning at 6:45 pm. Features should start at approximately 8:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and $2 for ages 7-12. Under 7 is admitted free. A special $35 Family Pack admits two adults and household children ages 18 and under.