OCALA, Fla. — The Florida State Thunder Stock Championship started with a bang as the RaceCar Engineering Late Models, Buddy’s Home Furnishings Limited Late Models, and Barfield Law Group Mini Stocks joined the 1-800-ASK GARY Thunder Stocks for a wonderful night of racing.
First up were the Barfield Law Group Mini Stocks and they went before the intermission. A 1 caution race happened as Reid Christensen spun in turn 2 on lap 2. That left Buddy Pope to dominate as he won by half-a-lap over Travis Staats and Charlie Staats. Christensen would finish 4th and Fisher would round out the top 5.
Buddy’s Home Furnishings Limited Late Models put on a 15-lapper with Phillip Cobb the early leader. On lap 6 Billy Holmes’ #7 put oil down (see NASCAR Watkins Glen race) and the leaders slipped through it- Officials gave David Showers, Jr., the only man to lose position due to the oil, his spot back as the #118 literally did a 360 in the oil. On lap 8 Forrest Gough flipped his #21 as he had spun and David Showers, Jr., with nowhere to go, literally flipped the #21 over with the contact. Both were okay but their cars were not as fortunate. With 7 to go Phillip Cobb, JO Nobles, and David Showers would lead the field. On lap 12, as he fought for the lead, Nobles broke the driveshaft ending his night. That would allow “Big Chief” David Showers and Carter Stokes to battle on the podium. Phillip Cobb earned redemption while Stokes and Blaise Hetznecker completed the podium. “ Big Chief” and Christian McGillivray rounded out the top five.
RaceCar Engineering Late Models went 40-laps for a $3000 payday and it was quite intense. Christian Augspurger, quick qualifier, fell out of the lead after leading lap 1 with Tyler Ivey the new leader and Jeff Mathews in 3rd. Augspurger stole the lead back on lap 3 before Bubba Clem spun 1 lap later. With 36 to go “Cheddar” would lead Jason Fitzgerald and Mark Whitener. The major news though was Jeff Mathews as he broke the left-front ending his night prematurely. “Fitz” took the lead on the restart as Whitener and Lloyd had both found the top 7. At halfway “Fitz” still led with Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. and “Cheddar” 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Brandon DeWitt slowed in turn 4 with 17 left as Jason Fitzgerald, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., and Tyler Ivey now the top 3. Ivedent used the lap 24 restart to take the lead from Fitzgerald and he would not look back. Ivey would also have troubles with a flat tire. Up front, with 13 to go, were Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Jason Fitzgerald, and Christian Augspurger. With 10 to go Dent’s #21 started smoking but he continued to pull away. After 2 laps it was gone and “Cheddar” took the lead with “The Magic Man” in pursuit. After Augspuger took the white flag Bobby Richardson spun in turn 2. A 1 lap dash would follow- “Cheddar” held on as “Magic Man” dove in but came up short (and actually spun out after contact with “Cheddar”) by the fender lip in the greatest finish of the season. Fitzgerald, Richard Ferry, and Jack Nosbisch, Jr. completed the top 5.
The Florida State Thunder Stock Championship started with “Shady” Grady Christian up front. Alan Lane barrel rolled the #05 but was okay. On lap 5 “Shady” Grady spun out of the lead handing it over to Davey Kinsey. On lap 32, after making it through the field again, Jason Gamble spun and would retire after contact with Jeff Baer. Chad Scranton, running 2nd at the time, began to see his motor go but stayed out until it went on lap 35. The 5 lap finish saw Kinsey lead until lap 38 when Bubba Durbin used the highline to get by him. Durbin held Kinsey off to win The First Leg of the Florida State Thunder Stock Championship with Mike Tovet, Brian Mullins, and John Thorpe the top 5.