Hialeah Speedway Ends 51 year Run
by Marty Little
Over 7000 race fans gathered at Hialeah for the last time
HIALEAH, Fla. - The final checkered flag ever waved over Hialeah Speedway Saturday night and it was veteran Joe Winchell who sped
to a popular victory in the 75 lap Jeff Dufresne Memorial for limited late models.
A late afternoon thunderstorm drenched the speedway but failed to
dampen the enthusiasm for the closing night festivities as 28 late models answered the call for action.
Fans stood in long lines for hours in the pools of water to get seats
Winchell blasted from the outside of the front row and paced all 75
laps but had a mirror full of Mike Franklin, Jr for the final dozen circuits that both drivers know so well. Brent O'Neill turned in a steady drive for third money ahead of Richie Henry and Bobby Beauchemin.
Winchell was greeted in victory lane by honored guest Herb Tillman who won the opening day feature at the track 51 years ago.
"This is a very special win for me," explained Winchell. "I began coming here as a kid in 1962 and began racing in 1973 and I just love the history of this place. I hate to see it go."
Jeff Dufresne (left) with Joe Winchell in Winners Circle
Video: Winners Circle with Joe Winchell & Herb Tillman.
Second generation speedster Tommy King paced the visiting Fastruck
75 lap feature event in wire to wire fashion hustling his Ford F-150 to a dominant score over local driver Mike Powers. George Gorham, Jr., Gary Foxworth and George Morales were next to the stripe in the 25 truck field.
The local street stock 30 lap finale fell to Cory Crisafulli as took the point on lap three then held off the advances of new division champion Buddy Ryan to the checkers. T.C. McElyea and Frank Kelliher
rounded out the top five runners.
The largest field of mini stocks in several years took the green flag in the small car 30 lapper and when the checkers flew it was many time
track champion S.C. Klinger with an apparent victory.
S.C. KLINGER: The last DQ
Post-race inspection didn't go well and point leader and new champion
Ricky Thorpe and his faithful Pinto were awarded the laurels ahead of Ken Chaiser, Bill Calder, Fred Williams and early leader Bill Miner.
The 25 lap Fast Kids truck run for the youngsters was copped by go
kart grad Patrick Staropoli with a nice drive over a pressing Spencer Taylor and Brian Blum.
Winners from the 1950s and 1960s joined winners from 2005.
The cyclone main saw 37 cars answer the call and despite some fabulous racing no one could unseat veteran Victor Leo in the accident marred 30 lap run. John Pettit collected runner-up honors
over Zane Reid, Timmy Ryan and Tony Crowder.
Special event victories went to Steve Godlewski in the 10 lap school bus figure eight and Drew Ogden topped the huge demolition derby in a Cadillac.
With the closing of Hialeah, south Florida racers and fans are now left without a short track for the first time since the late 1940s.
Hialeah Photo Gallery from Don Landers
Complete finish of Jeff Dufresne Memorial 75 at Hialeah Speedway 8-13-05 showing finishing position, driver and laps completed:
1. Joe Winchell
2. Mike Franklin, Jr.
3. Brent O'Neill
4. Richie Henry
5. Bobby Beauchemin
6. Bobby Coyle
7. Tommy Styer
8. David Weaver
9. Bob Regula
10. Ray Derry
11. Greg Kaouk
12. Richard Baer
13. Craig Seewald
15. John Garrett
16. J.R. McMickle
17. Ali Zaragarian
18. Frank Parrish
19. David Myer
20. Jimmy Crowe, Jr.
21. Charlie Coyle
22. Travis McCoy
23. Danny Maddox
24. Craig Brown
25. Dale Horne
26. Kenny Kuhn
27. Ed Leeke
28. Steve Weaver, Jr.
DNS - Chris Turner.