According to Allan
We made our annual pilgrimage to Florida during SpeedWeek.
Our first stop was at East Bay Raceway for the third night of the Lucas Oil Late Models. East Bay is one of our favorite tracks as this nice 1/3 mile dirt track was sweeping corners which is usually conducive for close competition.
We were greeted with a great field of 50 some dirt Late Models. The night was pleasant, weather wise, as we only needed a light jacket. The main event looked like it was going to be a run-a-way with Scott Bloomquist as he started on the outside pole of the 40 lapper. He lived up to our prediction as he motored away from the rest of the field, with a number of drivers coming up to challenge for second including Don O’Neal, Dan Schlieper, and Jimmy Mars, but all eyes were on Earl Pearson who started deep in the pack. He found the bottom groove to his liking and slowly started picking off the competition. Pearson picked his way all the way up to second with about 10 laps to go, but Bloomquist had a straightaway lead and for Earl to run him down in looked impossible, then a caution tightened the field. Bloomquist grabbed the lead, but Pearson went to the bottom and pulled even in turn two on each leap, but “The Bloomer” pulled away down the back stretch. Finally with one lap left Pearson got a great jump off turn two and pulled out to a slight lead, and beat Bloomquist to the line at the finish by a car length.
The next night was a complete wash out throughout the state.
The following night we made the trek across state to Volusia Speedway Park for what supposed to be the final night of the World of Outlaw sprint cars. The first night was rained out and they postponed night one for two days. Volusia is a somewhat round 1/2 mile dirt oval.
Everything clicked as the feature started with Tim Shaffer and Donny Schatz on the front row. The two drivers traded the lead before Schatz got the upper hand. It look like it was going to be a cake walk for Schatz, until Joey Saldana came forward to challenge him. At the finish Donny held off determined Saldana with Steve Kinser in his new Tony Stewart mount coming up to grab third. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as we were bundled as the temperature was considerably colder than two nights before.
On Sunday night we headed a little south for the TBARA Sprints at New Smyrna Speedway. New Smyrna is a traditional paper clip shaped asphalt 1/2 mile oval track. The high banked track is a high speed palace. Once again it was a chilly night.
Bo Hartley had things his way in the TBARA feature as he pulled his black rocket ship out to an early lead and held for the win over Shane Butler. In the Late Model finale it was Jeff Choquette over David Rogers.
We opted not to visit any track the following night leaving our last night in Florida to a run back across state for a USAC Sprint Car race at East Bay, unfortunately mother nature had different ideas and all events in Central Florida were cancelled because at persistent rain.
So after going out to lunch with Bruce and Pat Eckel in Orlando, and stopping at their condo and visiting with their guest Ed Esser and Dale O’Brien it was time to get back on the road for the two day trip back to the frozen north.
Upon arriving at home we received the sad news that another close friend, John McKarns had died. He and
his wife Sue headed up the ARTGO series. John was a class act. He will be missed.
Well so much for now, keep ‘er slideways,