Lake City Speedway Racing Recap for 11/8-9/14


After sitting all season with no racing action, Lake City Speedway roared back
into action this weekend with a pair of programs on Saturday and Sunday
afternoon. Saturday was cloudy and cool, yet comfortable while Sunday’s
action was head under mostly sunny and warm conditions.
Saturday’s headliner was a 50-lap event for the Sportsman cars which would
turn out to be a benefit race for Orlando’s Patrick Thomas as he led all 50
circuits for a dominating victory. Thomas grabbed the lead at the drop of the
green only to see the red flag out for Greg Talley who pounded the turn one
wall after tangling with Daniel Conlin, Jr. on lap three. Talley was unhurt
but he was eliminated for further competition for the weekend. Conlin would
be forced to pit with a flat right front tire shortly after the restart and he
lost five laps while making the tire change.
Thomas continued to lead at will and was slowed just one final time on lap 35
when Mike Soukup’s engine blew up big time going into turn one to bring out a
second red flag to clean up the fluid on the track. After the restart, Thomas
again pulled away to score an easy victory over Wesley Keller, Scott “Suds”
Garrity, and Derrick Wood who ran as high as second place before a fuel feed
problem slowed him late in the running. Conlin was the only car still running
at the end and he took fifth, five laps in arrears. Sixth through ninth, all
DNF’s, were Soukup, Jeff Prescott, Talley and Robert Ford. Brian Hull did not
start the feature after blowing an engine in warm-ups.
“Diamond” Jim Higginbotham of Summerfield scored a popular win in the 25-lap
E-Modified feature race that produced great racing from start to finish. The
only problem to occur in this race would be going into turn three on the
initial lap as several cars got jammed up. When the dust settled, both Matt
Bosowski and Matt Darden were out of the event before it even actually got
The second start proved better and the race would go green to checker with no
yellow flags needed. Mike Soukup led the opening lap before Jon Compagnone
took over for a pair of laps. Higginbotham snared the top spot on lap four
and stayed out front through lap 15 before Junior Beckner drove under him.
Beckner looked to have the car to beat but, after leading just two circuits,
his car began to slow quite a bit on the straights and Higginbotham reclaimed
the lead on lap 19 and led the rest of the way although Beckner did keep it
close in the late laps. “We broke two rockers in the engine and that slowed
us up a bunch.” said Beckner after the race. “I didn’t want to cause a wreck,
so I moved up and let Jim go by although I gave him a good run on that last
lap,” he said.
For Higginbotham, a 65-year-old Vietnam Veteran and two-time cancer survivor,
it was his first feature win in a little over five years and he was receiving
congratulations from everyone after the event. Higginbotham was quick to
credit fellow racer Wayne Anderson who had been making some needed changes to
Higginbotham’s car at his Wildwood shop and the winner said he had never had a
better handling car than the one he had Saturday afternoon.
Beckner finished a close second in front of Compagnone, Gino Tuminello,
Soukup, Darden and Bosowski. Beckner won the heat race.
Pete Close of Ocala led the first lap of the Pure Stock/Super Stock feature
before Josh Wise took over through lap 11 before local veteran Charles Seroki
took over to easily lead the remaining distance as he proved he’d not lost his
touch on the fast banked half mile. Wise took second but was set down for an
infraction in tech moving Cody Clark up to second place at the end of the
25-lap contest. Tim Alldredge was third ahead of Close and Preston Hunt.
Rounding out the finishers were Tony Kuhr, Adam Soukup, heat winner Bucky York
and Andy Nichols.
Five Hornets showed up to race but three were done for the day after the heat
race leaving a feature match race of 10 laps that was won by John Windham over
Robert O’Neal. O’Neal was the heat race winner.
Sunday it was the E-Modifieds turn at going 50 laps and it would prove to be a
run-away win for Orange Park driver Kurt Jett who started on the outside pole
and led every lap, clearly the fastest car on the track. The race was slowed
three times before the half way mark for minor incidents but Jett drove away
with the lead easily on each restart. Junior Beckner again had a strong car
early but the same engine woes from Saturday reared up again and he eventually
became part of a great four-way battle for second that ended when Beckner got
loose and spun coming off turn four on lap 27. Beckner’s car clipped the
front stretch wall and he was forced out of action. From that point it was
all Jett out front as Derrick Wood made an impressive run to a second place
finish that was unexpected earlier in the day.
Car owner Donnie Lewis made a late decision to bring his car to the track but
he did not have a driver. In the meantime, Wood had the engine expire in his
Sportsman car during that division’s heat race. That left the young Orlando
driver available to drive Lewis’ Modified and he made the best of it with his
runner-up finish.
Third place went to Mike Soukup while Pete Close drove Saturday winner Jim
Higginbotham’s car to fourth despite some late race mechanical problems. Gino
Tuminello took fifth while Jon Compagnone had a great run going before
suffering an ignition problem that dropped him to sixth. Beckner and Matthew
Green were DNF’s in seventh and eighth.
Jeff Prescott led the first three laps of the 25-lap Sportsman feature but his
car slowed abruptly and he headed for the pits handing the lead over to
Patrick Thomas who would lead the rest of the way to score a double for the
weekend. Wesley Keller took second for the second day in a row trailed by
Daniel Conlin, Jr., Robert Ford and Prescott. Thomas also won the heat race.
Saturday Pure Stock/Super Stock winner Charles Seroki was a no-show on Sunday
leaving things wide open for the rest of the field. Walter Grimes of Quincy,
driving the only truck-bodied machine in the field, led the first 17 laps
before having to spin as Preston Hunt and Cody Clark had tangled in turn four.
Grimes missed the caution light coming on and nearly ran into the stalled
During the ensuing caution period both leader Grimes and second place Bucky
York pitted. Grimes never did stop in the pits while York had to fix a rear
brake issue that was smoking heavily. Both made it back out for the restart
but had to start from the back of the field. Clark also had to pit with a
flat right rear tire.
Pete Close took over the lead but it took just three circuits for Grimes to
get back to the point and he led the rest of the way to take the victory.
York made his way back to second at the end with Close taking third in front
of Hunt, Tony Kuhr, Adam Soukup and Clark. York won the heat race for the
second day in a row.
John Windham swept the Hornet racing for the weekend as he took his second win
topping Robert O’Neal, Wayne Risner and Zach Harmon. Windham also won the

Great write-up! Thanks!

Thanks Dave…

Yes, great write up Dave… Your check is in the mail… lol :teufel021:
Great weekend at one of my favorite tracks. Hope it can see more action in 2015.

Great right up Dave, and congrats to Walter Grimes on his first ever win in a stock car. I was there for your first race, and I happened to be there for your first win too. Congrats bud.

Great being back at the home track, still as quirky as ever, the line hasn’t changed, the bumps are a little bumpier, but still very fast, with plenty of grip.
Love it.

Patrick Thomas 25

Patrick, you made it look easy out there both days…bet you didn’t even break a sweat…you sure were comfortable at your old stomping grounds…OSF

Thanks OSF, nice to meet you up there. I got to see a lot of old friends and racers last weekend. I got to meet a hard working one man team that busted his butt and came home second in the street stock class on Sunday also. Bucky York was there by his self, he had some motor issues Saturday, fixed them himself, prepped his car himself, a real throwback racer. When he had a problem 3 different Sportsman teams got his oil leak fixed so he could go out and drive back through the field.

It was a great weekend except for the blowout on my F150 on the way home which blew up so bad it tore the right rear side of the bed all to hell.

Can’t wait till this track is up and running again more regularly.

Patrick Thomas 25