(By Scott Lockwood) Desoto Speedway – LJ Grimm grew up watching Dave Steele dominate sprint car racing throughout the state of Florida. On a night where Desoto Speedway returned to action for the first time since the tragic accident that claimed Steele’s life, fans and drivers alike honored their fallen hero during the evening. When the dust settled on the night’s main event – Triple Crown Race no. 1 for the JD Byrider Open Wheel Modifieds, it was Grimm parking it in the winner’s circle with a dedication to the Steele family.
Cody Stickler charged from the rear of the field to the lead just a handful of laps into the 50-lap Modified feature. As Stickler completed the 12th lap, his car suddenly slowed and was eliminated from contention with a mechanical failure.
Bobby Baldwin inherited the lead with Grimm directly in tow. Grimm passed Baldwin for the lead with a crossover move on Baldwin just prior to the halfway point. Grimm was on cruise control out front when the third place car of Ryan Walters spin with nine laps to go. Baldwin couldn’t capitalize on the final restart, and Grimm drove on to the victory. (more…)
By SCOTT LOCKWOOD, Desoto Speedway – Brooke Storer and Roger Welch knew heading into Saturday night’s 50-lap Sportsman feature that whoever finished in front of the other would claim the track’s 2016 championship and get a jump on their competiiton for the new season. While no one had an answer for Aaron Williamson, Welch held the early advantage – but it was Storer who walked away with the big trophy at the end of Saturday night’s action at Desoto Speedway. Welch grabbed the lead at the green flag with James Wright and Brooke Storer in tow. A fire erupted from the back of Rick Reed’s car after just two laps, which brought out a brief red flag. Storer got by Wright for second and wasted no time getting to Welch’s rear bumper. Storer took the lead after slight contact with Welch on lap 8 and was joined at the front of the field by Aaron Williamson just before Wright spun to bring out another caution a couple of laps later. Williamson used the high line on the restart to get the lead from Storer and set sail from the rest of the field. He went unchallenged the rest of the way on his way to the victory. Storer claimed the 2016 Sportsman championship with her second place finish. “I can’t thank my team enough. It was an amazing 2016 season,” Storer said. “We had a lot of help and I thank my family for standing by me through our racing endeavors.” Cody Allen, Welch and Tom Zimmerman rounded out the top five. (more…)
Bradenton, FL – On a night that the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series presented by BG Products and TrueFuel honored one of Florida’s late sprint car racing legends, it seemed fitting that another legend would finish the night on top of the podium. Dave Steele, a two-time Little 500 champion who has several championships on his resume, rocketed from the back of the field and crushed the competition on his way to a victory in Saturday night’s Larry Brazil Memorial at Desoto Speedway.
After winning the first heat race of the evening, Steele took the BG Challenge and started at the rear of the 17-car field. He passed 11 cars in the first three laps, passed Johnny Gilbertson for third on the sixth lap and just passed Troy DeCaire for the second spot when the red flag flew for a hard crash by Jeff Firestine just prior to the halfway point. Steele blasted by Jason Kimball on the restart and immediately set sail from the rest of the field. Not even the lapped traffic would slow down Steele, who was clocking laps in the 108 MPH range in the final half of the race. He would beat DeCaire by nearly half a lap at the checkered flag.
“This is a great honor,” Steele said in victory lane. “Larry Brazil was definitely a hero of mine on the local scene growing up here. It’s tough outrunning these guys.” (more…)
Scott Lookwood – When the Sunoco Challenge Super Series Late Models last raced at Desoto Speedway earlier this summer, Bradenton’s Jesse Dutilly led the final 89 laps of the 100-lap main event on his way to a victory. He one-upped that feat in Saturday night’s return engagement, rocketing up from his fourth starting spot and leading the final 90 laps on his way to another victory against the largest Late Model field of the season on his home track.
Dutilly and early leader George Gorham were battling for the lead when a caution flew for a spin involving Michael Atwell and Billy Bigley just seven laps into the event. On the restart. Dutilly and Gorham spent a couple of laps battling side-by-side for the lead after the restart. Dutilly led at the line at lap 10, cleared Gorham on a lap later and set sail from the rest of the field. Gorham, Winchell, Chris Fontaine and Devin McLeod staged a tight battle for the top five spots while Dutilly built up a three-second lead over the next 40 laps.
As Dutilly continued pulling away, Gorham settled comfortably in second half while Winchell, Fontaine and McLeod continued their fight toward the front of the pack. Anthony Sergi and Nick Neri were also in a position battle, with Sergi coming out with sixth place just prior to the halfway point. (more…)
SCOTT LOCKWOOD – Kenny Gibson and Sean Bass outlasted the competition – and the sweltering heat – to take victories in the main events on an action-packed night at Desoto Speedway on Saturday.
Gibson and Jeff Firestine, who set the third and fastest times in qualifying respectively, started 10th and 12th in the 21-car field after a 12-car inversion. The pair wasted no time charging to the front of the field and were both in the top five by the time the caution flew for Joe Gerard’s fire on lap seven. After a rash of caution flags and a restart on lap 17, Firestine went from fifth to first by passing Gibson and then with a dramatic three-wide pass of early leader Travis Barfield and Mike Rowland. He was pulling away from the field when a debris caution flew on lap 24.
James Nanney used a series of cautions and restarts to work his way up to second place. He spent several laps on Firestine’s rear bumper before losing a little ground to the leader. Firestine was starting to catch the back of the field when a rear tire flew off Danny Daniels’ car right in front of the leaders to bring out another caution. Nanney was in position to challenge Firestine for the lead in the final laps before nearly spinning off turn four. Nanney’s misfortune moved Gibson up to second behind Firestine, who crossed the line first for an apparent victory. However, Firestine’s car failed post-race technical inspection, which handed the victory to Gibson – his first win of the season in the Street Stocks. (more…)
SCOTT LOCKWOOD – Not even a two-month break could slow down Richard Campbell out of Sarasota for most of Saturday night’s action at Desoto Speedway.
If not for a broken axle, Campbell may have swept all three events in Desoto Speedway’s Enduro-style classes. Duane Campbell made sure that things would remain in the family, capping off a night of mayhem and destruction in Desoto Speedway’s summer Kid’s Night Out.
The Enduro cars kicked off the night with a 35-lap feature. Richard Campbell, driving a new car for the series, grabbed the lead at the standing start and took command of the race. He would dodge backmarkers – and crashed and broken down race cars – on his way to a flag-to-flag victory. Duane Campbell finished second, with Nick Draganov taking third. (more…)
Demolition Derby returns this week to Desoto Speedway June 25th and not just one derby but two different derbys. Big car derby will be one you do not want to miss along with a smaller car derby. We also will have the kids Power Wheels derby for ages 4 to 9, it is free to enter you just bring your own Power Wheels.
When you think of school buses, you think of those bright yellow buses hauling your children to school. These buses are a little bit faster and a whole lotta crazy. Come on out this week and check out the always exciting SCHOOL BUS FIGURE 8. You’re sure to be impressed and that’s not all. There will be a Enduro, Road Course and Flagpole race. . All this excitement in one night and it’s only $15 for Adults, $13 for Seniors, Children (6-10) $5 and 5 and under always FREE!
Grab the kids, Grandma and the whole family and come on to Desoto Speedway for Kid’s Night Out. Nothing but Excitement!
Grandstands open @ 4:30 and racing gets underway at 7pm.
As a field of two dozen of the state’s best pro truck drivers took the green flag for the inaugural Florida Pro Truck Invitational Saturday night at Desoto Speedway, they knew they had to top two things: a stout truck driven by Cody McDuffie and Mother Nature.
The drivers may have bested Nature’s fury by a matter of moments, but they couldn’t stop McDuffie from driving into the winner’s circle in Desoto’s biggest Pro Truck race of the 2016 season that capped off a rare Father’s Day weekend doubleheader.
Brent Huber started on the pole of the scheduled 75-lap main event and would hold off a fierce series of challenges from J.R. Garcia, McDuffie and Nick Hernandez over the first 20 laps. (more…)
By Scott Lockwood, Desoto Speedway – When Colin Allman spun into the infield just a few laps into Saturday night’s 100-lap Sunoco Challenge Super Series Late Model feature event at Desoto Speedway, he figured his chances of a decent finish went up in smoke. But when the smoke and carnage ended, it was Allman who was left holding the trophy in victory lane after beating several of the state’s top drivers in his first-ever win in a Super Late Model – part of a night that saw all sorts of madness under a full moon in eastern Manatee County.
Polesitter Joe Boyd and third place starter Michael Atwell got the jump on Tyler Scofield and Jesse Dutilly on the start. The pair needed just a handful of laps to build a sizable lead, which was erased with Allman’s spin on lap 9. Dylan Bigley went from fourth to second on the restart. Dutilly eventually got by Atwell for third, quickly ran down Bigley and was battling for the runner-up spot when he got loose and spun coming out of turn two on the 28th lap.
As Boyd controlled the race, all eyes were on Dutilly to see if he could drive his way through the field. After battling Nick Neri for several laps, he got to sixth at the halfway point, was fourth eight laps later and caught the Atwell/Bigley battle for second on lap 70. Dutilly dispatched Atwell for third as the field completed the 73rd lap and would stage a side-by-side battle with Bigley for second. Bigley was just ahead of Dutilly when the yellow flag came out for John Coffman’s spin with 20 laps to go. (more…)