EAST, ARMSTRONG, GOESS AND PENNINGTON TAKE WINS IN PRI MOPAR CLASSIC
By Dave Westerman
Dakota Armstrong, PRI Midget winner, in winners circle with The PRI Twins
For the second year in a row, fantastic weather greeted fans and competitors alike as Orlando Speedworld played host to the third annual Performance Racing Industries Mopar Classic present by DHL.
The evening began with a 20 lap Invitational race for the RaceCeiver Legend Cars. Pole sitter Craig Goess, Jr. zipped out to an early lead only to be passed by a high-flying Kory Abbott. The three-time Speedworld Legend Car champion from Apopka, FL held on to the top spot slowed only by two quick caution flag periods, one of which was for Darin Coker who took a ride into the turn two wall ending his evening.
Following the restart, Abbott's car began to loosen up and Goess was able to slip back by for the lead. Abbott would not be able to chase the Greenville, NC driver back down as Goess took the win followed by Abbott, Blake Brown of Franksville, WI, St. Cloud FL's Brandon Thomson and Pooler, GA driver Andrew Smith.
Fast qualifier Chelsea Schillig was sixth with Christian Pahud, Duncan Molesworth, Ryan Ellis and Josh Williams rounding out the top ten.
Next up were a pair of last chance races to set the remainder of the field for both the Sprint Car and Midget features.
The 12 lap run for the Sprints was fairly uneventful until the race was actually over. Indiana's Brian Gerster led all the way to secure the 15th starting spot in the main event leading Brad Sweey, Tim Barber, Mario Marietta and Shane Butler across the stripe. Brady Bacon, Troy DeCaire, Dave Baumgardner, T.J. Winegardner and Kenny Biro also earned transfer spots although Baumgardner and Biro would be forced to make repairs to their machines after a bizarre incident on the cool-off lap.
Florida driver Daryl Smith, who had spun earlier causing him to miss a transfer spot, was apparently seeking some revenge against the driver he felt was responsible. Driving full throttle off turn four, Smith found several cars had already backed off the pace significantly. Smith's car made contact with the ones of Baumgardner and Biro and began doing a series of barrell rolls down the front stretch.
Smith's car came to rest in the entrance to turn one, upside down and leaking fuel. Smith was assisted from his machine in OK shape but was roundly booed by the crowd for his actions. Both Baumgardner and Biro were able to start the 40 lap feature after making needed repairs.
The 12 lap Midget last chance race got off to a rough start as Teddy Beach clobbered the turn one wall on the opening lap. Beach was not hurt but his chance of making the big show was over.
Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, OK took the qualifier in easy fashion leading Zach Schiff, Cole Carter, Stephanie Mockler, Darren Hagen, Brad Sweet, Mario Marietta, Tony Hunt, Adam Cramer and Chris Windom into the Midget feature.
Now it was time for the Sprint Cars to hit the track for their feature event. The SRO crowd was poised to watch some of the best drivers in the country duke it out but two heavy favorites in this race had early problems and were not a factor.
Dave Steele got booted by another car on the opening turn of lap one and slid up to the wall, just bumping it with his right front tire. Before Steele could regain his momentum, he was well back in the field. He became the first driver to drop out of the event, not because of damage from the bout with the wall, but because the left rear tire on his mount went flat. Also, Bobby Santos III went for an early spin and he was forced to play catch-up from the rear of the field the remainder of the race, eventually finishing 16th.
The race belonged to Brownsburg Indiana's Bobby East as he drove his dad's Beast house car in dominating fashion to score the win. East pulled away at will and won by several car lengths over California's Darren Hagen. Indiana drivers also filled the next two positions as Bryan Clauson and Aaron Pierce claimed third and fourth. Florida driver and TBARA rookie of the year Brian Gingras took home the fifth spot after setting quick time during Thursday's qualifying.
Rounding out the top ten were Kody Swanson, Jacob Wilson, Dakoda Armstrong, Tanner Swanson and Cole Whitt.
The Focus Midget field was smaller than the past two years but they put on quite a show with lots of side by side racing before Jordan Pennington of Mishawaka, IN took charge and won by a full straight-away. It was actually the young drivers first win of the year after several second place finishes.
Rick Fedrizzi took home the second place finish ahead of Andre Villarreal, Ryan Osborne and Craig Haack. Completing the finishers were Chris Lamb, Kyle Bonsignore, Mike Maier, Marc Dailey, Scott Hunter, Ginny Quinones and Shane McMillan.
As the Midget feature rolled out, a yellow ribbon was tied to the roll cage of Bobby East's car. East would start 24th, scratch on the field. If he could also win the Midget feature from the last starting spot, he would earn a special Crane Cams bonus of $50,000.
The Midget feature would not start well for some. Both Mario Marietta and Tony Hunt had problems and dropped out before a lap could be completed. Then, on lap three, Adam Cramer tangled with another car going into turn three, hit the wall and flipped into the catch fence. Cramer was assisted from his car but appeared to not be hurt seriously. It would take track personnel about 15 minures to repair the fence before action could resume.
Just one lap after the restart, Brad Sweet tangled with another car in turn four. Stephanie Mockler tried to aviod the incident but ended up in the wall.
Both Sweet and Mocker were done for the night.
After the green flag came back out there was no stopping young Dakoda Armstrong as he zoomed away from the talented field to score a well-deserved victory. The Middletown, IN driver gave the Hoosier State three winners out of four races. Texan Justin Melton had a great run but was well behind Armstrong at the finish. Ron Gregory, Josh Wise and Dave Steele completed the top five with sixth through tenth going to Bryan Clauson, Chuck, Gurney, Jr., Kody Swanson, David Byrne and Dave Darland. East struggled with his engine throughout the race and wound up 15th.
OFFICIAL RESULTS ORLANDO SPEEDWORLD PRI SPRINT/MIDGET SHOW - DECEMBER 7, 2007
LEGENDS - 20 LAP FEATURE
1. #61 Craig Goess, Jr., Greenville, NC 2. #5 Kory Abbott, Apopka, FL 3. #171 Blake Brown, Franksville, WI 4. #54 Brandon Thomson, St. Cloud, FL 5. #62 Andrew Smith, Pooler, GA. 6. #75 Chelsea Schillig, Apopka, FL 7. #63 Christian Pahud, Harrisburg, NC 8. #27 Duncan Molesworth, Mooresville, NC 9. #71 Ryan Ellis, Ashburn, VA 10. #6 Josh Williams, Port Charlotte, FL 11. #2 Jimmy Norman, Lake Mary, FL 12. #77 Dylan Ames, Harvest, AL 13. #8 John Hilliker, Sheridan, MT 14. #99 Alex Kempf, Vero Beach, FL 15. #7 Mike Verhaagh, Fort Myers, FL 16. #02 Michael Bilderback, South Beloit, IL 17. #34 Shaughn McCormick, Oviedo, FL 18. #3 David Tart, Naples, FL 19. #65 Jason Powers, Goshen, OH 20. #20 Jimmy Hanson, Cedar Lake, IN 21. #165 Gary Bursey, Moncton, New Brucswick 22. #00 Darin Coker, Palm Beach Gardens, FL Not Qualified #15 Spike Schultze, Missoula, MT DQ'D
SPRINT CAR QUALIFYING RACE - 12 LAPS
1. #27 Brian Gerster, Fishers, IN 2. #9 Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA 3. #14 Tim Barber, San Francisco, CA 4. #85 Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN 5. #5 Shane Butler, Bushnell, FL 6. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK 7. #68 Troy Decaire, Tampa, FL 8. #55 Dave Baumgardner, Ottawa Lake, MI 9. #11t T.J. Winegardner, Pierson, FL 10. #22 Kenny Biro, Bargersville, IN 11. #0 Charles Ladner, Brandon, FL 12. #4d Brad Davis, Knightstown, IN 13. #63n Rex Norris III, Knightstown, IN 14. #81 Daryl Smith, Riverview, FL 15. #99x Tim Buchanon, Marblehead, OH 16. #56 Jeff Van Dusen, Otega, NY 17. #6 Zachary Martini, Hazelton, PA 18. #00 Danny Martin, Jr., Sarasota, FL
MIDGET QUALIFYING RACE - 12 LAPS
1. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK 2. #5 Zach Schiff, Dublin, OH 3. #7 Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN 4. #6 Stephanie Mockler, Westfield, IN 5. #67 Darren Hagen, Riverside, CA 6. #79 Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA 7. #85 Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN 8. #175 Tony Hunt, Lincoln, CA 9. #32 Adam Cramer, Shelbyville, IN 10. #17 Chris Windom, Canton, IL 11. #15 Dave Baumgardner, Ottawa Lake, MI 12. #92 Brandon Wager, Lafayette, IN 13. #93 Nick Wagner, Lafayette, IN 14. #90 Chase Barber, Morgan Hill, CA 15. #60 Laura Poorter, Amsterdan, Holland 16. #22 Ben Petter, Kirkland, WA 17. #125 Teddy Beach, Donnelsville, OH
SPRINT CAR FEATURE - 40 LAPS
1. #5 Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN 2. #67 Darrwen Hagen, Riverside, CA 3. #67x Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN 4. #26 Aaron Pierce, Muncie, IN 5. #50m Brian Gingras, Winter Haven, FL 6. #75 Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA 7. #11 Jacob Wilson, Crawfordsville, IN 8. #7a Dakoda Armstrong, Middletown, IN 9. #17 Tanner Swanson, Kingsbury, CA 10. #29w Cole Whitt, Alpine, CA 11. #9 Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA 12. #14 Tim Barber, San Francisco, CA 13. #27 Brian Gerster, Fishers, IN 14. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK 15. #85 Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN 16. #98 Bobby Santos, Frankin, MA 17. #68 Troy Decaire, Tampa, FL 18. #22 Kenny Biro, Bragersville, IN 19. #4 Shane Cottle, Kohomo, IN 20. #11t T.J. Winegardner, Pierson, FL 21. #55 Dave Baumgardner, Ottawa Lake, MI 22. #5 Shane Butler, Bushnell, FL 23. #67k Chris Windom, Canton, IL 24. #91 Dave Steele, Tampa, FL
FOCUS MIDGET FEATURE RACE - 20 LAPS
1. #55 Jordon Penningont, Mishawaka, IN 2. #43 Rick Fedrizzi, Concord, NC 3. #6 Andrew Villarreal, Miami, FL 4. #38 Ryan Osborne, Milford, NJ 5. #8 Craig Haack, Lewisburg, TN 6. #19 Chris Lamb, Greensboro, NC 7. #72 Kyle Bonsignore, Bayshore, NY 8. #32 Mike Maier, Livermore, CA 9. #14 Marc Dailey, Concord, NC 10. #44 Scott Hunter, Walled Lake, MI 11. #00 Ginny Quinones, Pen Argyl, PA 12. #45 Shaen McMillan, Concord, NC
MIDGET FEATURE - 40 LAPS
1. #7A Dakoda Armstrong, Middletown, IN 2. #11d Justin Melton, Flower Mound, TX 3. #22 Ron Gregory, Noblesville, IN 4. #75 Josh Wise, Riverside, CA 5. #91 Dave Steele, Tampa, FL 6. #71 Brian Clauson 7. #61 Chuck Gurney, Jr., Livermore, CA 8. #19 Kody Swanson, Kingsburg, CA 9. #20d David Byrne, Shullsburg, WI 10. #9 Dave Darland, Walton, IN 11. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK 12. #5 Zach Schiff, Dublin, OH 13. #7 Cole Carter, Brownsburg, IN 14. #98 Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA 15. #4 Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN 16. #10 Ricky Ehrgott, Riverview, FL 17. #67 Darren Hagen, Riverside, CA 18. #112 Brent Beuchamp, Fairland, IN 19. #17 Chris Windom, Canton, IL 20. #6 Stephanie Mockler, Westfield, IN 21. #79 Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA 22. #32 Adam Cramer, Shelbyville, IN 23. #175 Tony Hunt, Lincoln, CA 24. #85 Mario Marietta, Clinton, IN