Punta Gorda, Fla. - The Myakka Brokers Southern Pro Truck Series visited the fast 3/8ths mile oval of Charlotte County Speedway in Punta Gorda, Fla. for the second race of the 1999 season. When the dust settled at the completion of the 75 lap race...
Punta Gorda, Fla. - The Myakka Brokers Southern Pro Truck Series visited the fast 3/8ths mile oval of Charlotte County Speedway in Punta Gorda, Fla. for the second race of the 1999 season. When the dust settled at the completion of the 75 lap race it was Butch Yoakam who once again stood in Victory Lane after working his way to the front of the field and leading the last half of the X1R Lubricants Challenge. The win was the second of the season for the Newport-Richie, Fla. driver and his Pasco Aluminum/Goodwin Construction/Meadowwood Homes Ford F-150. Eddie Hartin in the Bear Motorsports Chevrolet tried everything he knew to try and pass the veteran Yaokam, but was forced to settle for second. Finishing a close third was Bobby Gamache in the Bobby’s Aviation/Country Skillet/Tropica Tire Chevrolet.
“This was a tough one,” Yakam stated of his win. “Eddie (Hartin) Was all over my back bumper over the last few laps and I had to really work hard to hold him off. It was tough getting to the front, and then even tougher to stay there.”
Rusty Dixon, of Riverview, Fla. in the Myakka Brokers/Jimmy Cope Race Cars/T.C. Koon Transmission Ford set the fast time in qualifying for the second race in a row with a fast lap of 15.52 seconds, a new track record for the Late Model trucks. Rusty then drew the number 8 pill and the top four rows were inverted putting Bruce Gaskins on the pole for the start.
When the green flag flew, Gaskins was able to fend off outside pole sitter Jeff Sloan and take the lead through turn one while Sloan slotted into second with Gamache third, Hartin fourth and Yaokam fifth. Gaskins set a blistering pace and opened a quick lead while back in the pack the action was fast and furious. Scott Bramlett and Dixon were putting on a show for the crowd as they raced side by side for a number of laps as Dixon began his charge through the field.
Unfortunately for Gaskins his truck developed a fuel leak and he was forced into the pits to make repairs. With his departure Sloan inherited the lead on lap 18. Dixon continued his charge that would eventually see him as high as second place before a cut tire would force him to the pits.
Yoakam had been able to pass Hartin, and Gamache and move in on leader Sloan and began to apply the pressure. Dixon had now worked his way into the top five and began to close on the lead duo. On lap 33 Yoakam went to the outside groove and made it work as he passed Sloan in turn three to take the lead. Two laps later Dixon was able to move into second before he puntured his tire and headed to the pits for a new Hoosier. Dixon’s crew did not get him back on the track quick enough and he went a lap down during the pit stop.
Erstwhile leader Sloan would break a rear end to end his race, and on lap 49 Mark Manfredi and Bramlett spun to slow the pace. Dixon was still showing his early speed as he tried desperately to get his lap back, moving through the field seemingly at will. The most serious incident of the event came on lap 62 when Steve Smith and Jason Williamson spun and Fred Wagner slammed into the two trucks virtually destroying his Chevrolet. Wagner was unhurt in the incident.
From lap 60 to the checkered flag Hartin Battled with Yoakam for the lead. Trying outside and inside Hartin tried to make the pass, all without success as the veteran Yakam used his years of short track experience to fend off the challenges. The Rest of the top ten were just as active with positions being changed every lap as first one and then the other driver gained an edge. At the finish line Yoakam had an extremely narrow victory over Hartin with Gamache, Hubert Simmons Jr. and Tommy Caveney rounding out the top five.
The next event for the Southern Pro Truck Series will be March 20th at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, Fla. The event has been moved from DeSoto Speedway due to the ASA Race scheduled for that venue.
OFFICIAL FINISH X1R Performance Lubricants Challenge
1. 47 Butch Yoakam 2. 5 Eddie Hartin 3. 44 Mike Gamache 4. 74 Hubert Simmons Jr. 5. 46 Tommy Caveney 6. 76 Ronnie Barnett 7. 97 Rusty Dixon 8. 31 Jeff Sloan 9. 20 Mark Manfredi 10. 10 George Receveur Jr. 11. 28 Steve Smith 12. 70 Jason Williamson 13. 22 Fred Wagner 14. 7 Randy Davis 15. 12 Scott Bramlett 16. 37 Bruce Gaskins
John Kaiser, SPTS