May 20th, St. Augustine, FL â€“ Robert Deal showed the Florida Speed Park faithful Saturday night that this Deal is for real, starting at the tail end of a loaded Rickâ€™s Muffler Modified field and charging past the past two division...
May 20th, St. Augustine, FL – Robert Deal showed the Florida Speed Park faithful Saturday night that this Deal is for real, starting at the tail end of a loaded Rick’s Muffler Modified field and charging past the past two division champions plus three-time race winner Jimmy Britts and last week’s winner Chuck Cumby to claim his third win of the season.
“All the credit’s got to go to my crew,” said a mesmerized Deal. “Those guys worked all week trying to put this car back together from when we wrecked it. If it wasn’t for (car owner) Jackie Carter, this wouldn’t have happened. Bright and early Monday morning Jackie was working on it... my hat’s off to the whole crew. Thanks a million.”
Early on, it looked as if Jimmy Britts would spoil Deal’s effort, quickly getting past outside pole sitter “King” George Thrift, III and building a healthy lead on the field while Deal picked his way through traffic. Britts’ car experienced motor troubles on lap 19, though, forcing his exit from the race.
Following the restart, Russ Miscally, running strong in the lead pack, blew his motor, leaving Thrift, Cumby and Deal occupying the top three spots. Deal made a quick move past Cumby on the inside, setting up the showdown with Thrift with 10 laps to go. Contact between the two cars on lap 24 forced Thrift outside, allowing both Deal and Cumby to sneak ahead of the race leader, where they would finish the race.
“I don’t like running third,” said Thrift to a vocal crowd, who witnessed an impressive string of victories in 1999 by the driver of the No. 44 car, on his way to a NASCAR Winston ShorTrack Series Sunbelt Region championship. “Yeah, I’m going to cry about it, because I don’t like it a bit, so y’all like it while you can.”
The Modifieds are gearing up for a special 50 lap $1,500 to win feature next weekend, capping off the speedway’s Motor MAYhem calendar. The 8 Ball, which has reached a record $900 entering next Saturday’s event, pushes the potential payout to $2,400 if the winner should start from the eighth position. Todd Ponce continued his remarkable run in the Sportsman division with his fifth consecutive win, battling back from a late race altercation with then leader Jason Garver to overtake Bo Allen with five laps to go for the victory and another perfect 10 score. Joey Haslauer, who has been very impressive since his move up from Mini Stocks this year, finished third.
The Thunder Truck division provided fans with a thriller as Ricky Cooper, in his first race of the 2000 season, outdueled points leader Wade Lynn over the last half of the race, including a furious last lep effort by the determined driver of the Wynn’s No. 28, to claim a hard fought victory. Lynn, who started last, stretched his points advantage over Les Burl and Ron Thomas with the effort. Thomas, who finished third, challenged Lynn and Cooper over the final laps as the three crossed the finish line with less than four lengths separating them all.
Brad Pilinko, starting third, quickly dispatched of pole sitter and rookie driver Glenn Nedrow and defending champion Rodney Norman to gain the lead by the second lap, cruising to victory in the Alpha Communications Hobby Stock division. Pilinko, who has accumulated five victories in seven events, outpaced a strong outing by Shea Clay and Chris Manucy, who finished second and third.
Larry Osteen posted his first victory of the 2000 season in the Late Model division, but only after being able to track down a speedy Jeremy Fitch, who earlier in the event lead the field by a full straightaway before a caution on lap 16 bunched the field together for the restart. Points leader Donnie Oden, who kept pace with Osteen and Fitch over the final ten laps of the event, managed to maintain his slim points lead in the division.
Art Souther claimed the title in the Demolition Derby, out-smashing Tony Wishard over the final five minutes of event, during which the two drivers traded blows while avoiding the carnage of the events earlier casualties. An honorable mention was awarded to John Kinlaw and the speedway push jeep, which was able to free most of the remaining vehicles from being trapped in the sandy soil during a red flag period, thrown midway during the event.
Florida Speed Park returns to action next Saturday with the Mod Squad Invasion, plus four other local division races. The Classic Auto Racing Series will also visit the speedway for the first time in over a year. <pre> Race Results:
Late Models 1- Larry Osteen 2 - Jeremy Fitch 3 - Donnie Oden 4 - Tommy Denton 5 - Jared Allison 6 - Jody Turner 7 - Matt Weaver 8 - Dave Hussey 9 - Scott Lagasse, Jr. 10 - Paul Petersen
Sportsman 1 - Todd Ponce 2 - Bo Allen 3 - Joey Haslauer 4 - Ronnie Tillman 5 - Scott Hezel 6 - Jason Garver 7 - Jeff McClarey
Rick’s Muffler Modifieds 1 - Robert Deal 2 - Chuck Cumby 3 - George Thrift, III 4 - Josh Byrd 5 - Jason Lowe 6 - Marc Kinley 7 - Gary Fultz 8 - David Linquist 9 - Justin Moore 10 - Mark Wortman 11 - Jimmy Britts 12 - Russ Miscally 13 - Wesley Moore 14 - George Michaels 15 - John Galbraith
Thunder Trucks 1 - Ricky Cooper 2 - Wade Lynn 3 - Ron Thomas 4 - Les Burl 5 - Johnny Cooper 6 - Mike McGauley 7 - Robert Gorman, Jr. 8 - Brent Hobbs
Alpha Communications Hobby Stocks 1 - Brad Pilinko 2 - Shea Clay 3 - Chris Manucy 4 - L.H. Davis 5 - Jody Stratton 6 - Rodney Norman 7 - Randy Wilkes 8 - Glenn Nedrow 9 - Grady Lundquist 10 - Bart Heck 11 - Brad Paulsen 12 - Bucky York 13 - Jon Torba 14 - Brenda Little 15 - Jeff Dudley 16 - Jim Reynolds