Speedway Restarts Season with School Bus Figure 8's
by Larry MacMillan
(Inverness, Fl. 3/28/09) Citrus County Speedway restarted its 54th racing season with a loaded program that had the fans on their feet and ready to go racing. After a three week hiatus the Sportsman, Street Stock, Mini Stock and 4 Cylinder Bombers were more than ready to ride. The fans also got a look at racing history as the Daytona Antique Racing Association brought in race cars from back in the day so we old folks could reminisce about the good old days. The highlight of the night were the Figure 8 School Bus Races and the Boat Trailer race which had the crowd really worked up. During intermission 8 motorcyclists put on a demonstration that just added to the excitement of a wild restart to the 2009 racing season.
A short field of Sportsmen were unable to get enough cars to run heats so they raced in a 25 lap feature race with a 9 car field. Former champion Mike Veltman is back in form after taking a year off and he set the pace from the green flag off the pole starting spot and Jo Jo Viverito gave him a side by side race for the first ten laps. Meanwhile Bobby Ervien worked his way from 6th to 3rd to join the mix for the top spot. They were 3 wide at one point when Ervien got the low groove and took the point and the win for his first of the year. Veltman had his hands full for the rest of the race to hold on to a second place finish just ahead of Joie Catarelli who worked his way from 7th in an attempt to finish 2nd for the third time this season and holds the point lead after 3 races. Rounding out the top 5 were Ernie Reed and Jo Jo Viverito.
The NAPA Auto Parts Street Stock 20 lap feature saw 16 cars take the green flag and pole sitter Steven Hise took the point from the get go and left the field in his dust for the entire race despite a couple of caution flags that took away large leads. David Foster started 7th and managed to work his way to second early in the race being chased by 15th starter Richie Smith who found his way into second when the checkered flag flew. Foster held out for third followed by 8th starter Dr. Mark Fallows and Rick Shahid rounding out the top five. Fallows took the win in the first heat race and David Foster locked down the second heat win.
Eighteen Mini Stocks came out getting prepared for a big Curry Roofing 100 lap special on April 11th. Robbie Yoakam and Clint Foley went into the 3 week break coming off top three finishes putting them at the back of the pack for the start. Mike Lawhorn and Mark Powers had a match race going for the point when the green flag flew for their 20 lap main. Powers looped his racer in the early going with Lawhorn inheriting the point.
Meanwhile Robbie Yoakam and Clint Foley worked their way through heavy traffic to put on a big run for Victory Lane in the final laps. Clint locked down the point and wouldnt give it up for his first win of the season followed by point leader Robbie Yoakam. Mark Powers maneuvered his way from the back of the pack after his spin to salvage a third place finish followed by James Ellis and Mike Lawhorn. Ironically the finishing car numbers on the score board were 7, 8 and 9 in that order. Foley and Yoakam shared the heat wins.
Twenty 4 Cylinder Bombers made the restart to the season rather interesting with the top three finishers getting a great starting position with Phil Edwards and Jeff Eberly showing a lot of muscle in what turned out to be a three car run for the checkered flag. Edwards came off the pole and was looking for his 1st win of the season while celebrating his birthday. Nathan Florian fell in behind Edwards and raced in a side by side run for the point with Eberly.
At one point the three drivers were 3 wide when Florian managed to take the point and go on to win his second feature of the young season. Edwards settled for a solid second just ahead of Jeff Eberly. Meanwhile the battle for 4th, 5th and 6th, raged on behind the front three with Chris Snow outrunning Bobby Richardson and Josh Fairchild. Chris Snow and Florian took the heat wins and Florian comes out of week four with a 15 point lead in the race for the championship.
Turning back the racing hands of time the Daytona Antique Racing Association brought in 7 Midgets, 13 Stocks and 5 Sprint Cars and brought back a lot of memories for us old timers. Myron Cost took the win in the Midget heat race and Jerry Paquin took the win in the 15 lap feature. Frank Lendhart was top shoe in the Stock division winning his heat and the 15 lap feature with Pat McNair right on his rear bumper at the finish line. Shirley Morden won the second heat. And Dave Jarrett, Jay Yanke and Roy Campbell swapped the lead between them at least 10 times in their 15 lap Sprint race with Jarrett coming up with the win followed by Campbell and Yanke.
Travis Nichols held off the 16 Figure 8 School buses in the first of two races for the entire 20 laps. He battled with Mack Kersey for most of the race before Kersey lost power and parked it at the top of turn 3. Mike Gamache worked his way from 13th to hold out for a second place finish over Mike Hinde and Larry Triana.
Fifteen buses took the green flag for race number 2 with Robbie Aaron taking the point from the outside pole and looked like he was going to run away with it until slower traffic bottled up the intersection and took the front end off of Robbies bus. Following that caution Dwayne Fults and Dustin Aaron ran into each other putting Dustin on his side just off turn two.
On the restart Robbies father in law known as the Admiral was caught up in a three bus wreck and putting Pop on his side. He was able to walk away from that wreck. Only three busses were still running when Dwayne Fults took the checkered flag for the win. The only other bus in the lead lap was Gene Gamache and one lap down was Desperado Tom.
Eight of nine Boat Trailer racers took the green flag and Larry Welter Sr. left the rest of the field in his dust weaving in and out of the slower cars with only one problem when his trailer turned over, then righted itself. He had lapped all but two cars when he came off turn four looking at the checkered flag when his trailer became disconnected just 30 yards from the finish line taking him out of the race. Thomas Peak came home with his boat gone but his trailer in tact for the surprise win followed by the only other car in the lead lap Don Welter and Wayne Calkins who held out for third. What a finish to a wild night.
Next Saturday the Super Late Models get back into business for their first points race of the year. Mini Stocks, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, V8 Thunder Stocks and Mini Cup Cars round out the race card in week six of the 2009 season.
Citrus County Speedway Results 3/28/09
Sportsman Feature 25 Laps 9 Cars
1. #88 Bobby Ervien St. Petersburg 1st Season Win
2. #71 Mike Veltman Crystal River
3. #15 Joey Catterelli Pinellas Park
4. #55 Ernie Reed Lecanto
5. #72 Jo Jo Viverito Inverness
Not Heats Run
Street Stock Feature 20 Laps - 16 Cars
1. #420 Steven Hise Inverness 1st Division Win
2. #42 Richie Smith Hernando
3. #91 David Foster Bronson
4. #007 Mark Fallows Crystal River
5. # 3 Rick Shahid Floral City
1st Heat Winner - #007 Mark Fallows
2nd Heat Winner - #91 David Foster
Mini Stock Feature 20 Laps 18 Cars
1. # 7 Clint Foley Dunnellon 1st Season Win
2. # 8 Robbie Yoakam Hernando
3. # 9 Mark Powers Hernando
4. #98 James Ellis Brooksville
5. #44 Mike Lawhorn Claremont
1st Heat Winner - # 7 Clint Foley
2nd Heat Winner - # 8 Robbie Yoakam
4 Cylinder Bomber Feature 20 Laps 20 Cars
1. #26 Nathan Florian Homosassa 2nd Season Win
2. #21 Phil Edwards Crystal River
3. #01 Jeff Eberly Spring Hill
4. #29 Chris Snow Dunnellon
5. #22 Bobby Richardson Lecanto
1st Heat Winner - #29 Chris Snow
2nd Heat Winner - #26 Nathan Florian
Figure 8 School Bus Race #1 20 Laps 16 Busses
1. #6 Travis Nichols Brooksville
2. #96 Mike Gamache
3. #69 Mike Hinde Hernando
4. # 0 Larry Triana Homosassa
5. #85 Wayne Calkins
Figure 8 School Bus Race #2 15 Laps 15 Busses
1. #00 Dwayne Fults Hernando
2. #05 Gene Gamache
3. #17 Desperado Tom
Only 3 buses to finish
Boat Trailer Race 20 laps 9 Cars
1. #85X Thomas Peak
2. # 8 Don Welter
3. #05 Wayne Calkins
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