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Florida Governor's Cup

New Smyrna Speedway                            -By Jane Smith
October 31, 1998
Billy Bigley, Jr. Wins Big

Tonight at New Smyrna Speedway, on a cool and very pleasant night, we had the Governor's Cup 200 Lap Late Model race.  Although the car count was a little smaller than we had hoped for and the crowd not as big as we expected, thefans there were definitely not disappointed.  They were treated to very special guests, seeing Race Rock's limo (which everyone needs to see), autographs, Halloween candy and a very pleasant evening.  Billy Bigley, Jr. was there, Chad Dokken, Jimmy Cope, Ronnie Burkett, David Russell, Pete Orr, David Rogers, B. J. McLeod, Bobby McClelland, Morgan Hoover, and a list that goes on and on.  The drivers gladly signed autographs to the kids as they were introduced and everyone was pleased.

Bobby Moore, the founder and president of Race Rock, threw the green flag to start the race and Eddie Cheaver, the 1998 Indy 500 winner, started the race with "GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES".  And the gentlemen did just that.

Jimmy Cope in the #61 had fast time and the pole for tonight's 200 lap race. Ronnie Burkett in the #31, Ronnie drives Slim Jim AllPro, had outside pole. When the green fell, Jimmy took the lead and Ronnie ran in second.  But this was a night for a lot of the leaders to have engine or rear-end problems and eventually we lost our leader, #6l of Jimmy Cope.  We also lost Ronnie Burkett, I hope I am not his bad luck charm.  I have always liked him and as of yet, every race I go to with him in it, something always happen to his car. Sorry Ronnie if I jinxed you by yelling for you too much.  Also to fall out of the race was #16 of Bruce Lawrence; #73 of Chad Dokken; #51 of Jacob Warren; #42 of George Murphy; #92 of Todd Hicks; #8l of Bruce Everett; #09 of Rob Underwood; #36 of David Russell; #96 of Jack Cook.  All in all, at the end of the race, 9 cars were left in the field.

Pete Orr in the #30 had the lead for awhile with B. J. McLeod passing him and Billy Bigley, Jr. in the #l2 passing B.J. for the lead.  Once Billy got the lead, the race was his to win.  B. J. tried but could not take it away.  It will be Billy Bigley, Jr. who will have his name added to the Governor's Cup trophy that Race Rock will display for the next year.  Congratulations Billy - great job.

Finishing order for the Governor's Cup 200:

                     1.  #12 - Billy Bigley, Jr.
                     2.  #78 - B. J. McLeod
                     3.  #30 - Pete Orr
                     4.  #11 - David Rogers
                     5.  #37 - David Reutmann
                     6.  #43 - Danny Schoenfeld
                     7.  #28 - Dave Schwendeman
                     8.  #39 - Morgan Hoover
                     9.  #14 - Jonathan Brown

                        RACE  NOTES

Billy Bigley, Jr only led in the late stages of the race, being chased hard by 14 year old Late Model Champion B.J. McLeod.  Earlier in the race some thought young McLeod was a bit to rough with David Russell, leading to Russell's car being torn apart in a collision in the turn three wall, with a little help. McLeod had been following right on the bumper of a slower Russell for several laps prior to the incident.

David Rogers certainly appeared to either be unlucky or hurt by quick officials. During a caution the strong running #11 went into the pits to change tires, had a minor problem, and the race was restarted before Rogers get  going, putting him down a lap. His charge to get back on the lead lap was memorable.

Pete Orr's crew were sure McLeod had went a lap down on a pit stop but the official verdict stood in McLeod's favor.

23 came 9 were running when the checkered flag waved over the #12 of Billy Bigley, Jr.

The race was seen by a wider audience that ever as Sunshine Network and FOX Sports South each aired the race twice.

                                                                     -Jack Smith

         If you have a Governor's Cup story or comments on the Cup post it on the Florida Racing History Forum!  Or send it to info@karnac.org

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