Willy Jude Takes First Top Gun Sprint Race
By Curtis Whalin
The Top Gun dirt car series held itís first race at Voulsia Speedway Park on Saturday, December 13, 2008. Nineteen cars were at the track for the winged sprint dirt car race which meant three heat races,
After the 00 driven by Marvin Shirley and the 38 car of Mark Ruel both opted to go to the rear at the start of the first heat race, pole position fell to Mark Ruel Jr in the 83R with Tim George in the number 1 car alongside.
It was Mark Ruel Jr. who made the better start and took the race lead. On lap 5, Mark Ruel was struggling with his 38 car and the car failed to turn coming of turn 4 and he hit the outside wall hard, bringing out the red flag.
Mark got out of the car unhurt and the car was towed off the track. While the red flag was out, the 00 car also pulled off the track and out of the heat race.
The race got back to green with Mark Ruel Jr. maintaining the lead position and taking the heat win. The second heat saw Otto Scrape in the WEE 3 car and Larry Pickett in the 32 car on the front row with the WEE 3 car taking the race lead on the first lap.
The caution flag came out on lap 6 when the 0 car driven by Phillip Pettay first starting smoking and then came to a stop between turns 3 and 4, while the 32 car also stopped on the track at turn 3. Both cars were pushed to the infield so that the race could go back to green. The WEE 3 held itís position and took the heat win.
Ryan Partin in the 14 car had the pole for the start of the third and final heat race, with Dan Pickett in the 27i on the outside. The 14 took the lead at the start of the race and held onto it to win the heat race.
With 4 cars pulling out for various mechanical reasons, 15 cars took to the track for the 25 lap feature race. After inverting the top 4 cars, Ryan Partin in the 14 car found himself on the pole for the second time that night, this time with Otto Scrape in the WEE 3 car alongside of him. Otto Scrape made a good start and took the early race lead, pulling away from the other cars early on.
The 0 car pulled off into the pits on lap 5, while only one lap later the first caution flag of the race came out when the 00 car blew a motor between turns 1 and 2.
The car was pushed off the track and the cars got back to racing, with the WEE 3 car again pulling away from the rest of the field. On lap 16, the WEE 3 made contact on the back straightaway with a backmarker that he was trying to lap and spun out at turn 3, bringing out the second caution of the race.
The WEE 3 car was towed into the pits but was unable to complete the necessary repairs before the rest of the field was ready to go back to green, handing the race lead to Willy Jude in the 1J car.
With no further cautions, Willy was able to hold onto the lead and took the race win, followed by Mark Ruel Jr. in the 83R, Matt Kurtz in the 92, Ryan Partin in the 14, with Tim George in the 1 car rounding out the top five.
PushinTheCushin.com donated money for a Hard Charger Award, and that was won by Matt Kurtz in the 92 car, who started the feature in 15th place and finished third.
1) 1J Willy Jude; 2) 83R Mark Ruel, Jr; 3) 92 Matt Kurtz; 4) 14 Ryan Partin; 5) 1 Tim George; 6) 99 Danny Jones; 7) 27 Troy Knowles; 8) 43 George Machuga; 9) 21A Amanda Ferguson; 10) 47B Alexis Beagle.; 11) 27i Dan Pickett; 12) WEE 3 Otto Scrape; 13) 44 Mike Steinruck; 14) 00 Marvin Shirley; 15) 0 Phillip Pettay
The 38 of Mark Ruel, the 15 of Rocky Sullivan, the 8J of Gene Lasker and the 32 of Larry Pickett did not start the feature race.
1) 83R Mark Ruel, Jr (Jacksonville, FL)
2) 99 Danny Jones (Land O Lakes, FL)
3) 1 Tim George (Venice, FL)
4) 21A Amanda Ferguson (Montverde, FL)
5) 44 Mike Steinruck (Lithia, FL)
6) 38 Mark Ruel (Jacksonville, FL)
7) 00 Marvin Shirley (Jacksonville, FL)
1) WEE 3 Otto Scrape (Jacksonville, FL)
2) 1J Willy Jude (Gleming Island, FL)
3) 43 George Machuga (St. Marys, GA)
4) 27 Troy Knowles (Gibsanton, FL)
5) 32 Larry Pickett (Callahan, FL)
6) 0 Phillip Pettay (Jacksonville, FL)
1) 14 Ryan Partin (Bunnell, FL)
2) 8J Gene Lasker (Tampa, FL)
3) 92 Matt Kurtz(Jacksonville, FL)
4) 47B Alexis Beagle (Apollo Beach, FL)
5) 27i Dan Pickett (Callahan, FL)
6) 15 Rocky Sullivan (Plant City, FL)
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