98 Season Swings into High Gear at Auburndale Auburndale, FL (March 7, 1998) -â€” The 1998 racing season opened at full throttle Saturday night at Auburndale Speedway. The full racing program featured Top Cop Racing in addition to the Late...
98 Season Swings into High Gear at Auburndale
Auburndale, FL (March 7, 1998) -— The 1998 racing season opened at full throttle Saturday night at Auburndale Speedway. The full racing program featured Top Cop Racing in addition to the Late Model Sportsman, Street Stocks, Modified Mini Stocks and Pure Stock classes.
The Top Cop Cruiser class introduced the new season and when the sirens went silent it was Rodney Tower out gunning Phil Riles and Chris Kessler to claim victory. Dan Levy was able to capitalize on a late race spin by Rick Beasley to finish fourth and Beasley recovered to finish fifth.
Bob Hart was able to hold the early lead in the Gold Shield class of Top Cop Racing until Keith Muncey was able to blast by and go on to the win. Hart would fade to finish fifth behind Muncey, Chris Hollenbeck, Rick Penton and Chris Wagner.
The Late Model Sportsman division saw the return of several veterans of the quarter mile oval including Von Pope and Ed Howell. Ricky Scruggs took early command of the 25 lap feature with Thomas Poff and 1996 Late Model champion Pope right on the rear deck of his number 24. The trio was able to break away from the field by six car lengths and waged a spirited battle for the first 18 laps. Pope worked the outside groove repeatedly until finally completing the pass on Scruggs. Pope quickly distanced his Pontiac from Poff and Scruggs, who would spin several laps later while battling for second. Dale Poff moved into second followed by Jimmy Castleberry.
The top three remained unchanged over the closing laps with Ollie Harbin and Billy Jones rounding out the top five at the checkers. Larry Chumney dominated the Street Stock feature over Robert Hight and Travis Roland. Roland started deep in the field and worked his way to second with five laps remaining. Hight was able to get back around Roland to finish second. David Williamson and Robert Gullett completed the top five. The Modified Mini Stock feature saw defending champion Randy Storer put his Dodge out front and take the 25 lap main. Kenny Uhl moved up to challenge for the lead but could not make the pass on Storer. Trailing Storer and Uhl to the finish was Jay Kaminski who made the switch from his familiar pickup to a new Mustang. James Wood and Eugene Davidson were fourth and fifth. Gary Green put his Pinto in the Winners Circle at the conclusion of the 4 Cylinder Pure Stock feature. Green paced Wayne Weaver, Jim West, Tony Elrod Jr. and Scott Taylor to the checkers in the 15 lap main. Bob Gorsuch posted the win in the V8 Pure Stock feature over Donnie Harp and Rick Bacon. The traditional Best Appearing Car Contest was staged during intermission with the following winners: Donnie Harp, V8 Pure Stock; Billie May, 4 Cylinder Pure Stock; Jason Bennett, Street Stock; Jay Kaminski, Modified Mini Stock and Von Pope, Late Model Sportsman. The members of the Top Cop Racing Association circulated through the grandstand during intermission collecting donations to be given to the family of slain Haines City police officer Chris Horner. A total of $1166.00 was collected. Racing continues this Saturday at 7:00 PM with the full lineup of regular divisions and the Super Mini Cup cars in action. The Figure 8 cars will make their 1998 debut on March 21st and the month of March roars out with a Motorcycle Demo Derby on March 28th.