Campi Grabs Two Wins in Trucks, Morris Gets Late Model Victory
Three Champions, Travis Roland, Spencer Taylor and Anthony Campi
Yes, Virginia, it is all about entertainment. And that's what the estimated crowd of 800 race fans got this past Saturday night at Charlotte County Speedway in Punta Gorda, Fl.
From the side by side fender banging of Anthony Campi and John Kidwell to the amazing side show performance by a half dozen "drifters" to the controversial wreck of Dustin Breeden and Travis Roland and a ten year old youngster winning their hearts, the fans certainly got their money's worth.
On the line this night was the three championships of the Fast Series, the Pro division, the Fastkids and the Late Models. The Late Models was a one point difference between Cody Pitts in the #1 and Spencer Taylor in the #46.
When race time rolled around there were fifteen Fastkids, fifteen Late Models and twenty-three Fastruck Pros. In addition there were eight Mini Cups and a half dozen 'drifters' ready to roll.
The excitement started for the early comers during qualifying. Bradenton's Danny Anderson had been having problems all weekend getting his race truck ready for the 100 lap Fastruck Pro race. A new transmission had been shipped down in the afternoon, only to burn up in the Charlotte infield. Anderson Still managed to make the race.
After qualifying was said and done there was one big story already developing. Anthony Campi, the youngster from Sarasota, Fl, had just set fast time for not only the Fastkids but the the Fastruck Pros as well. Campi came into the weekend with a comfortable lead in the Fastkids points race.
The first eight laps of the Fastkids race was a match race as Campi and John Kidwell in the #7 truck raced side by side, each trying to get the lead. Campi eventually settled in the front spot followed by Kidwell and Brian Blum in his number 31 truck.
The race continued green with three minor incidents causing caution flags through the first 30 laps of the 50 lap race. On the lap 30 restart Kidwell got a good jump from his second position and got beside Campi and the two went at it again side by side, each taking turns nosing ahead as they navigated the 3/8 mile oval.
Too bad for Kidwell and Blum as they had position on the low side with Kidwell nosing ahead of Campi by lap 37, and it appeared both would pass the #81, just as the #46 piloted by Matt Cohen spun, away from the action for the second time of the night.
The last 10 laps were interrupted by two more cautions, but each time Campi got such a good jump at the line, Kidwell had no chance to catch him. The most exciting race move of the Fastkids feature was pulled off by 12 year old Casey Caudill, running the best race of his young career. The youngster in the #33 from Daytona, Fl. had been running in fourth most of the event, with three laps to go decided he wanted better than that and made it three wide off turn four and down the front straight and muscled his way through turn one to grab third place. Jessica Green also made up a lot of ground in the closing laps, pushing his number 40 by 5 trucks to get in the top five, only to spin out as the checkered was flying, ending up at the rear of the field.
Campi had used the high side of Charlotte County Speedway to hold off several tough challenges, not an easy feat. "It was pretty good in the beginning, and at first I was going to drop in behind him, but then I started getting a good run, I pinched him down a little bit and I just made it happen." Campi said from the Winners Circle.
Kidwell said afterwards, "I thought we had him after a couple of restarts we had him underneath, and it was good side by side racing, it was fun, I loved the 2006 season with Fastkids and I am looking forward to next year with the Fastrucks."
Kidwell races with support of Bobby McKnight and the the Boggy Creek Gang. Kidwell finished third in overall points with the Fastkids and will be a regular on the truck circuits in 2007.
Casey Caudill, Fastkids Rookie of the Year, and his dad Kelly were ecstatic with the third place finish for the #33 team. Casey described the last few laps, "Blum is a pretty tough competitor, you know. It is just tough to get around people that have been racing trucks for a year or two more than you, and it is just tough here to get around these guys." He added with more professionalism than you could expect from a 12 year old, "It was crazy, I didn't know where I was going to go, when I was going to go, so I stayed back and waited and we came home with a third place finish."
The Mini Cup race, though only eight cars deep, proved to be entertaining due in large part to a ten year old driver from Ocala. Daniel Miller, recently a guest on Short Track America, was a big hit during the on track autograph session. The diminutive racer with the big heart started on the pole, but was passed early by Bret Jamison in the number 70 machine.
By lap ten Daniel was all over the 70 wanting to get his lead back, which he did momentarily on lap 11 as he went into turn three but unfortunately carried too much speed into four and spun, sending the #00 to the rear.
J.R. Garcia with Melon One Watermelon Queen Katie Grantham of Arcadia..Daniel Miller interviewed by Charlotte announcer
The crowd cheered the youngster on as he tried to come back but could only get 5th. J.R. Garcia, one of Daniel's mentors won the race in a car he had just bought the day before.
The fans were treated to a pretty good demonstration of the sport of "drifting", while the youngsters were entertained by race sponsor Melon One with what else but a seed spitting contest. This was the best "drifting" show we have seen as a half dozen cars seemed to slide around the track in unison at times.
Next up twenty-three Fastrucks took to the track in what turned out to be a wild 100 lap affair with a surprise ending. Though Anthony Campi won the pole award he had to start eighth. Number 83 Tom North started up front alongside Barry Bartlett in the #71. The first lap saw #50 Danny Anderson continue to struggle, having to fix a flat right out of the gate.
Racing quickly settled in to a single file train, but a preview of things to come happened on lap 19 when strong contact was made between the #25 of Gary Foxworth and the #33, driven by Dustin Breeden of Auburndale. It was amazing that no one wrecked as the contact appeared to be hard. Breeden, starting from the fifth spot was racing for his first time in this truck and his first time ever at Charlotte.
Breeden drove into the second position after the contact with Foxworth. Travis Roland, also from Auburndale followed Breeden into third, setting up a set of circumstances that would result in some very torn up race cars, flaring tempers and a serious black flag from officials.
Meanwhile Campi was moving quietly up through the field and by lap 25 was in fourth. Breeden was putting a lot of pressure on the #83 and finally the truck driven by North spun giving the lead to Breeden with points leader Roland in second and Campi now in third with 70 laps left.
The race was slowed by several cautions during its middle stages and lots of trucks were 'battle scarred'. At one point several trucks made hard contact with the front straight wall sending pieces of concrete flying.
Things got real interesting for the fans about lap 78 when Travis Roland decided he wanted the top spot from Breeden. With Campi breathing down on him Roland got beside Breeden down the back straight and as the two tangled, with lots of door to door contact, Campi moved to the outside.
In the middle of turn 3 and 4 the inevitable wreck happened between the #33 and the #01 and both cars then got into Campi coming around the high side, and the yellow stopped the action.
Though all the cars showed a lot of damage, the Breeden truck, owned by Tommy King and driven in the Fastkids race by Caudill, had to go for extensive repair.
Shortly after another caution with restart at lap 87, and with Campi all over Roland for the lead, and with John Kidwell and several others racing hard for the top positions, the #33 flew out of the turn 3 pit exit onto the track and made what could only be described as "deliberate attempt" wreck the Roland machine.
Which he did. The announcer called it "crazy" over the speaker system.
Several other trucks were wrecked as a result, one sliding all the way from just off turn two into the infield light pole in turn three and four.
After things settled down and officials got the race back to green, Campi had the lead and before long the familiar number 7 of John Kidwell was once again side by side racing with Campi for the lead. The youngsters, now dominating the adult feature were door handle to door handle lap after lap, with Kidwell clearly getting the advantage at one point, but Campi refusing to give in and the two squared off until they wrecked coming off turn two at lap 96.
In what can mildly be described as "unpopular" by the fans, Fastruck Officials sent Kidwell to the rear. A shame really as the fans were being treated to racing "as good as it gets".
Campi of course rolled on in to take the checkered flag uncontested after that. In the winners circle, he seemed as stunned by the double win as did his competitors. Quite a performance for Campi who heads to the ASA Late Models next year, after winning the 2006 Fastkids Championship.
Travis Roland had enough points to win the Fastruck Pro Championship for 2006.
In the 125 Late Model race Wayne Morris lead the whole way, but not without some anxious moment with local star and veteran of the short track wars Randy Fox giving him all he could handle, especially in the late going.
Cody Pitts had no car to compete with Spencer Taylor this night. Pitts could only ride around the track and manage a 10th spot while Taylor took fourth for the Championhip.
While some may scoff at the "Extravaganza" title and Barnum and Bailey aspects of promotion of the Fastruck shows, they do bring a show for the fans, and in the end deliver what they want. And that is simply, family entertainment.
That is what the fans at Charlotte, including this one, got plenty of on this Saturday night.
FASTKIDS 81 Anthony Campi 7NY John Kidwell 33 Casey Caudill 36 Ross Chastain 31 Brian Blum 92 Michael Cenzi 71 Barry Bartlett 111 28 T.J Duke 4 Patrick Fox 46 Matt Cohen 50 Tyler Lau 69 Steven Nasse 8 Jason Vail 40 Jessica Green 1 Max Bennett
FASTPRO TRUCKS 81 Anthony Campi 53 James Green Jr. 2 Joe Coulter 141 Travis Hanson 83 Tom North 51 Stuart Robertson 03 Charlie Worth 07 Kyle Musselman 25 Gary Foxworth 13 Rich Pellerito 4 Al Neumann 7ny John Kidwell 9 Glenn Bidwell 50 Danny Anderson 15 Jerry Maxson 3 Brad Stevens 01 Travis Roland 31 Dennis Rockenhaus 8 Jason Vail 71 Barry Bartlett 92 Michael Cenzi 05 Mike Powers 33 Dustin Breeden BF DQ
LATE MODEL RESULTS 98 Wayne Morris 4 Randy Fox 19 Kevin Macy 46 Spencer Taylor 119 JR McMickel 59 Dustin Dunn 48 John Kay 83 Mike Wilson 33 Tommy King 1 Cody Pitts 34 Bobby Shelton 36 Gary Padur 23 Joey Collens 01 Todd Bontrager 56 James Wright 111