Sunbelt Super Late Model Series LAKELAND, FLORIDA -- James Powell III won FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model 125 lap racing Saturday night at USA International Speedway, defeating a banner field of 31 drivers and holding off Sunbelt point leader ...
Sunbelt Super Late Model Series
LAKELAND, FLORIDA -- James Powell III won FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model 125 lap racing Saturday night at USA International Speedway, defeating a banner field of 31 drivers and holding off Sunbelt point leader Wayne Anderson.
Powell put his A Natural Difference Skin Care ride on the point in lap 37 and had just too much of a quick ride for the other competing cars. The winner built an eight second advantage at one point and his race car was well set up.
"Sometimes you get a car like this and tonight we were lucky enough to get one and we're going to savor it," said Powell of Astor, FL. "When we got out front we were able to hold on to it."
Current Sunbelt point leader and second place finisher Wayne Anderson of Wildwood, FL, driving the Pro Shocks car, came to this race after an all night trip from Nashville and recorded his fifth consecutive top five finish. Anderson also had a few mechanical problems, but wasn't short on words.
"Somewhere in the race, about 35 laps I lost a cylinder or broke a header pipe and the car lost all its power giving the 37 (Powell) a cake walk," said Anderson.
B. J. McLeod checked in third after some early problems dropping him back to ninth, but showed some key racing experience in his BJD Excavating machine making some big passes into the top five.
"We had a good car, but got shuffled back on a restart 'cause I got up in the oil dry and I didn't get it (car) clean enough," said McLeod of Wauchula, FL on his move into the top five.
Aric Almirola of Tampa, FL set fast time in his R&S Auto Body ride, turning the three-quarter mile high banked USA track in 20.727 seconds or 130.26 mph in lap two of qualifying. Almirola drew number six for inversion.
The field inversion put David Rogers of Orlando, FL on the pole, but once again at USA Int'l Speedway he would falter. The Dodge driving Rogers stalled on the back straightaway and never took the green. Rogers has either wrecked or been forced out by mechanical problems in the past.
A then pole sitting Jimmy Cope of St. Petersburg, FL was followed by Powell and Barry Willoughby of Port St. Lucie, FL on the start.
Almirola moved into third in lap 14 as speed showed early. Anderson moved into fourth by passing several cars quickly by lap 21 and was on the move after starting 10th.
Cope opened a five car advantage by lap 26 over Powell. Almirola, Anderson and Jacob Warren of Orlando, FL followed.
Powell snared the lead during lap 37 slipping by Cope. Anderson was now third with Warren following. Almirola went to the pits with early problems.
Cope went a lap down by passing the pace car in lap 43 and moved out of close competition. This moved Anderson to second behind the leading Powell.
The third caution flag of the night was thrown for a wreck involving 2002 Sunbelt champion Mike Williams of Mims, FL, who slammed into the front straightaway wall. Williams complained of arm injuries and sore ribs. There were concerns of a possible broken arm, but no further reports have been received.
When Cope came back onto the track he was in front of Powell on the restart and was given the "move over" signal from the flagman. Powell got into the back of Cope, sending him sideways, but Cope held onto his car saving a potentially huge wreck with all the leaders.
Cope retired his car for the evening leaving Powell to hold off Anderson and the best of the rest.
At halfway it was Powell, Anderson, Warren and Willoughby.
In lap 73, it was still Powell, running strong as Anderson tried to close the gap on restarts to no avail. Warren, McLeod and Willoughby followed.
The winner was six seconds ahead of Anderson in lap 80. In lap 90 a caution unfurled as four cars went into the wall between number one and two turns. The incident cost Willoughby his fifth spot as he made hard contact with the concrete.
The running order was now Powell, Anderson and Warren. McLeod was now fourth and Larry Osteen of Clermont was fifth.
McCleod moved into third passing Warren and changed the top five in lap 116 as he would garner his first top three effort at USA.
Powell easily outran Anderson for the win, tightening up the Sunbelt Series points race after five races and giving him his second Sunbelt win of the year. McLeod finished third and Warren fourth.
The next FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series race will be at Orlando Speedworld on May 2nd.
GOODYEAR CHALLENGE LATE MODEL SERIES
Brad May won the Goodyear Challenge Late Model Series 100 Saturday night at USA Int'l Speedway with the last 20 circuits seeming like an eternity for a 28 car starting field and keeping race fans guessing on every restart.
"The last 20 laps were like from lap 95 to lap 100 -- caution after caution after caution, and I was figuring how many restarts could I keep confusing the guys behind me," said May of Orlando, FL.
"Larry Osteen and Tim Russell I think really had it covered tonight and I don't know what happened to them, but we ended up first and that's what we came here for," concluded May.
Jerry Artuso of Ontario ran a strong ending race and finished second in his T.D. Thompson ride after swiftly moving through the field when it counted.
"Yeah, I mean this is a super speedway to me," said Artuso. "I come from up north -- a little quarter mile track it's a lot of fun to run down here, excellent racing and I'll be back again."
Brent O'Neill of Hollywood, FL in his ROL Gaskets ride even with a late race tangle still did the job for a third place effort after a tangle with Jason Boyd of Orlando, FL, who was hung up in lapped traffic in the 98th circuit.
"A couple of laps from the end Jason was having some problems with his car," said O'Neill. "When we came off of four and he about stopped, I got into him and I certainly didn't mean to do that."
The race leading Russell and Osteen would tangle between turn one and two after a 10 lap battle for the lead. The pair would end up out of contention after an errant attempted pass by Osteen caused a paint scraping affair in turn four.
Osteen of Clermont, FL set fast qualifying time in his Florida Auto Express ride turning the three-quarter mile USA International speedway in 21.409 seconds or 126.12 mph during his first lap qualifying effort. Osteen drew number nine for inversion.
Chris Lawrence set a quick pace pulling away from the field right from lap one and was followed by Mike Hovis, Russell and May.
Russell moved into third in lap 10 passing May and was running quickly to the front and moved into second.
Lawrence had tire problems and fell into the pits taking him out of action and leaving Russell to build up a lead while Osteen battled May for the second spot, which he took from May on lap 64.
Each lap Osteen inched closer and closer to Russell's back bumper and by lap 72 the stage was set for a showdown and the lead.
The top running duo raced side-by-side for the point, with Osteen underneath Russell. Russell controlled the lead with stronger straightaway speed. Osteen got the lead momentarily and then it was Russell back in front until lap 83. The two cars finally got together in turn four sending both to the rear after a heated 10 lap battle.
May held the lead the rest of the way with only Boyd mounting a serious challenge, but he too would depart after O'Neill made contact with him.
May crossed the stripe followed by Artuso and O'Neill. Rounding out the top five were Rich Clouser of Palm Bay, FL and Joe Sumansky of Lehigh, FL, who stayed out of the late race fracas.
The next FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Series event will be at Charlotte County Speedway on May 10th.