Teacher shows the way for Sunbelt Super Late Models at Ocala Speedway Ocala, Fla. (April 9, 2005) Not too hot, not too cold, blue skies and smiling faces greeted the racers and fans Saturday night at Ocala Speedway. Twenty one of the finest ...
Teacher shows the way for Sunbelt Super Late Models at Ocala Speedway
Ocala, Fla. (April 9, 2005) Not too hot, not too cold, blue skies and smiling faces greeted the racers and fans Saturday night at Ocala Speedway. Twenty one of the finest Super Late Model drivers in Florida and Georgia were in the pits for the 125 lap Sunbelt Super Late Model 125 feature.
Only one car was not able to qualify for the feature which was Patrick Conrad of Clermont. Conrad had just bought the car and was having problems with handling when the rear-end began acting funny. Parts were needed but Conrad and his crew decided it was better to not race and take a chance on damaging the car further and instead get it ready for Lakeland in two weeks.
Brian Finney of Merritt Island, driving the Merritt Island Air and Heat/Bob Steele Chevrolet. was 12th out in line to qualify and 12 was the lucky number of the evening as Finney ran a fast lap of 14.750. Fain Skinner of Live Oak was second fastest with a 14.864 followed by Wayne Anderson of Wildwood with a 14.902, Jason Boyd of Orlando with a 14.960 and Jay Middleton of Lake City with a 14.971.
The cars were teched, the top five stood, and Finney pulled the 5 pill for the inversion putting Jay Middleton on the pole.
The crowd sent the racers off to the green flag with a huge wave and the race was on. On the green Boyd jumped out to the lead over Middleton but it did not take Middleton long to gain back control and lead the pack followed by Boyd, Wayne Anderson, Fain Skinner and Brian Finney.
A caution on lap 3 rebunched the field and the race goes back green on lap 8 as Middleton leads the way over Boyd, Anderson, Skinner and Finney. Lap 20 sees Kevin Bryant of Dade City retire his ride to the pits with mechanical problems followed by James Powell of Astor two laps later retiring his ride into the pits for the night. Eighteen were now left in the feature.
By lap 27, Finney who was running fifth as passed both Anderson, Boyd and Skinner for second and is setting his eyes on Middeleton for the lead. Top ten are Middleton, Finney, Anderson, Boyd, Skinner, Pratt, Jonny Kay, Jeff Choquette, Scott Grossenbacher and Scotty Crockett.
Finney continues to reel in Middleton for the most wanted spot "the lead" as it is evident that Travis Kittleson of Merritt Island, not driving his famous Bob Steele Chevy but the Armstrong No. 57 Super Late, is having problems with the 57. Kittleson, whose engine was not ready for the Ocala race was offered the Armstrong ride for the night, Kittleson tried but went a lap down on lap 41 and gave up the ghost on lap 49.
Ryan Foster brings out the caution on lap 48 as he spins. Foster quickly corrects the car and the race goes back to green as Middleton still holds the lead over Finney, Anderson, Boyd, Pratt, Kay, Skinner, Choquette, Grossenbacher and Crockett.
Choquette puts the heat on Skinner and takes over seventh as Crockett follows thru in eighth and Skinner slides back to ninth. Lap 62 sees the yellow as Jeff Scofield retires to the pits for some crew attention. Just as the green flag is shown to restart the race, Scofield returns to the racing groove causing the leaders, Middleton and Finney, to spin wildly to avoid Scofield's car.
Middleton rips off a tire and breaks an A-arm and is done for the night after leading for over half the race. Finney has a little sheet metal dents but is fine to go and Scofield is sent to the pits for the night since drivers were told at the driver's meeting that they could not return to the track under green since it is too dangerous. They have to wait for a yellow flag to return.
The race goes back green on lap- 79 with Finney, Anderson, Boyd, Pratt, Kay, Crockett, Johnson, Choquette, Webster and Grossenbacher in the top ten. Johnson puts the heat on and takes over fifth as Kay slides back to seventh. But Crockett then finds some muscle taking over fifth from Johnson. Now it is Finney, Anderson, Boyd, Pratt, Crockett, Johnson, Choquette, Webster, Grossenbacher, Skinner and Kay.
The track is heating up and the action is getting very tight as Scott Grossenbacher spins on lap 94. The race is red flagged since one of the cars is dripping oil and the track needs some crew attention. The okay is given that "all oil is up" but on the restart, it is evident that oil is still on the track as the leader first gets in it followed by Anderson. The cars are slipping in turns 1 and 2 and the race is red flagged for the second time to inspect the cars and the track.
Ryan Foster definitely is dripping oil and is sent into the pits for some crew attention. The track is once again given the okay to race as Wayne Anderson leads the way over Boyd, Pratt, Finney, and Crockett.
Anderosn and Boyd are getting hot and heavy at each other for the lead and over in turns 1 and 2, Finney makes a big move seeing this action and passes both cars and sails away in the lead. No one was paying attention to Finney but watching Anderson and Boyd going hot and heave. Once again, Brian Finney has taken back the lead with Anderson, Pratt, Boyd and Crockett in hot pursuit. Lap 113 sees the caution as Jonny Kay and Mac Johnson get together coming off 4 sending Kay hard into the frontstretch wall. This was Kay's first race for the 2005 season with a really outstanding new paint scheme and Kay was not happy. Kay was towed off the field after giving Johnson a few "why's".
No more caution laps are counted and we are down to the last 10 green flag laps. The race goes back green on lap 115 as Finney maintains the point over Anderson, Pratt, Boyd and Crockett.
Pratt finds the pedal and pushes it to the metal and passes Anderson taking over second. Pratt is fast but not fast enough to catch Finney who takes the checkered for his first win in the Sunbelt Super Late Model Series.
Finney, who is an elementary school teacher at Tropical Elementary on Merritt Island, was joined in Winner's Circle by his family and crew but also by one of the students at Tropical who was all smiles. This was the moment both Finney and the student had wanted for some time.
The Sunbelt Super Late Models return to action April 30th at USA International in Lakeland, Florida.
OFFICIAL FINISH SUNBELT SUPER LATE MODEL 125 - OCALA SPEEDWAY APRIL 9, 2005
1. #80 Brian Finney, Merritt Island
2. #0 Rich Pratt, Anthony
3. #84 Wayne Anderson, Wildwood
4. #92 Jason Boyd, Orlando
5. #28 Scotty Crockett, Land O'Lakes
6. #70 Jeff Choquette, West Palm Beach
7. #1x Daniel Webster, Brooksville
8. #1 Fain Skinner, Live Oak
9. #88 Brock Oglesby, Ocala
10. #09 Scott Groseenbacher, San Antonio
11. #47x Keith Zavrel, Brooksville
12. #01 Robbie Smith, Ocala
13. #10 Ryan Foster, Lowell, Arkansas
14. #8 Joe Rankin, St. Mary's, Georgia
15. #48 Jonny Kay, Deerfield Beach
16. #74 Jay Middleton, Lake City
17. #57 Travis Kittleson, Merritt Island
18. #17 James Powell III, Astor
19. #54 Kevin Bryant, Dade City
20. #2 Patrick Conrad, Clermont DNS
21. #07 Jeff Scofield, Plant City DQ'D