Auburndale Speedway was back in action Saturday night and a big crowd enjoyed some beautiful breezy weather along with some very intense racing.
Headlining the bill were the Sunoco/WPCV-97 Country Super Late Models for 100 laps of competition. Thirteen teams were on hand and it was local favorite Jon Guy, driving a brand new car, who set quick time at 13.582 seconds. Auburndale’s own Chris Fontaine was second quick but his time was disallowed as his machine came up light on the scales relegating him to the rear of the grid for the start. That handed second quick time to Joe Boyd over Chase Lovelady, new daddy Matt McCrary and Daniel Webster.
The invert was a three placing Lovelady and Boyd on row one for the start. Boyd set sail at the drop of the green and began to rocket away from everybody. Boyd, Lovelady, Guy, Webster and McCrary ran 1-5 with Boyd building up over a half lap advantage by lap 40 when a “competition caution” was thrown per track rules for races of 100 laps or more. At this point Webster pitted but did not return due to what was described as a “minor part failure.” Harold Crooms, Nick Neri (driving for Bryan Dorer) and Alexa Anderson also pitted and returned.
Lovelady had been doing an outstanding job holding off Guy for second but the restart proved his undoing as Guy slid into second behind Boyd while McCrary backslid all the way to sixth. Fontaine was now on the charge as he took fourth from Roger Blevins on lap 48 then third from Lovelady three laps later.
Lap 65 saw the first “actual” caution of the race as Lovelady went for a slide on the back stretch off the front end of Blevins with both continuing. Boyd continued to lead Guy and Fontaine following the restart but Fontaine was showing his speed as he passed Guy for second on the outside lane just as lap 77 was completed then reeled in Boyd with 15 laps to go. The final caution came out on lap 88 for Alexa Anderson’s spin in turn two.
On this restart both Fontaine and Guy powered by Boyd into the front spots and that’s the way it finished with Fontaine pulling away for his second straight win here with Guy and Boyd chasing from several car lengths back. Lovelady was fourth just ahead of McCrary with Roger Blevins sixth, Alexa Anderson seventh and Nick Neri eighth and the last car running. Charles Kopach was credited with ninth trailed by Brandon Anderson, Crooms, Webster and Kendall Anderson.
Seventeen Legend Cars were in attendance for their 30-lap feature with Jarrett Wagman leading the way through several cautions. That allowed Noah Cornman to close in and grab the point on lap 26. Cornman looked to be on his way to a fourth victory on the year but he got hooked up with some lapped traffic in turn four on the final lap allowing Wagman to sneak back by and score his first career win here.
Cornman held on for second ahead of his younger brother Sam Cornman with Brandon Taylor fourth and Steve Carpenter fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Chris Stansbury, Dorsey Strickland, Ashton Chilton, Mike Verhaagh and Bryton Horner. Completing the finishers were Chase Lloyd, Jason Carpenter, Brandon Hershey, Sherri Miles, Dylan Brewer and Lee Miles. Stephen Hartley did not start.
The Modified Mini Stock feature got off to a rocky start as some three wide action going into turn one saw Bruce Cozad go hard into the wall while most recent winner Mike Rudder was eliminated as well. It was a tough break for nice guy Cozad who is moving into the class driving the car that was steered to last year’s championship by Chris Spring. Cozad should be back and will be a factor in the Mod Minis the rest of the year.
Once the race got going it turned into a two car battle between Mike Kerrivan and Rachelle Rudolph. Clint Holmes was reeling the two in by lap 16 when Rudolph looped her mount coming off turn four. Mike Prevatt was trailing not far behind and smashed into Rudolph’s car nearly head-on. Prevatt was OK but Rudolph exited her car slowly complaining of pain in her back, leg and foot. She was later taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays but appeared to be only badly bruised up.
The race was called official at that point with Kerrivan scoring his first win of the year over Holmes as they were the only two cars left in competition. Rudolph was awarded third ahead of Prevatt, Richard Brown, Rudder and Cozad.
The V-8 Bomber feature was a wild one that produced some awesome racing and a bit of a controversial finish. Jimmy McLeod led the opening seven laps before Ronnie Abney took the point for one circuit. James Wright III then powered to the front on lap nine and looked to be on his way to yet another win but Brandon Love had other ideas. Love tried an inside move in turn two during lap 24 and both cars half spun as no caution was needed. With Abney and Bubba Healey now in the mix, Wright stormed back out front only to see Love come flying back to pass him on the final lap as all heck broke loose coming to the checker with one of Healey’s tires riding along the catch fence at the end.
As the dust settled Love had his second win of the year with Wright second and the three-wheeling Healey third. Victory lane resembled a boxing ring after a close match with plenty of shouting and a bit of shoving but cooler heads finally prevailed. Fourth place went to Abney followed by Jimmy Castleberry, Jason Sopczak, Dave Canfield, McLeod, Walt Kirk and Jammie Dunnahoe, Sr.
Veteran Mini Cup racer Russell Bush topped the field for the second time this year and halted a six race win streak by Wilson Martins, Jr. Martins would come home third behind older sister Maria Martins in this one with their cousin Leandro Martins fourth ahead of Bill Rychell, Hunter Strickland and Rick Kase.
Tav Gary became a first time winner in the Mini Stocks as he out-ran Chris Narramore, Jr., David McCaig and Freddy Martin to the checker.
Guy Kolmel won his fourth Scrambler feature of the year ahead of Chuckie Harrison and Guy Kolmel, Sr.