Charity Truck 200 Race Report from Auburndale Speedway - 12/12/15


It was a night to remember at Auburndale Speedway as the 10th Annual Joey
Coulter Charity 200 Truck Race was held in front of a record crowd and who
better than to come home the victor but Joey Coulter himself.
The entire race weekend was a culmination of numerous events and fundraisers
benefiting the families of three children who have battled life-threatening
illnesses; two-year old Maci Ashby, ten-year-old Skyla Monday and 13-year-old
Lucas Grigg. All three families were in attendance and thoroughly enjoyed the
festivities. The crowd total for Saturday night was a record of just over
1500 race fans. Coupled with the gate on Friday of 570 people, over 2,000
racing enthusiasts watched the action over the two nights. A new record total
was set for money collected for the families as just over $33,000 has been
raised and a few more silent auction bids and other donations are still
forthcoming that will increase the total. The previous high collected was
just over $31,000.
The weather for the 2015 version of the Charity Race Weekend could not have
been better if it had been ordered by the Auburndale Chamber of Commerce as
t-shirts were the norm in both the pits and grandstands in comparison to the
event last year when everyone had to bundle up like Nanook of the North.
Temperatures for qualifying and the Tough Truck Tug-A-War on Friday were in
the upper sixties and at race time Saturday the thermometer read a balmy 75
O’Reilly Auto Parts qualifying for the 200-lap Truck Race was held on Friday
evening with three-time race winner Steve Darvalics of Venice topping the
21-truck field with a fast lap of 14.520 seconds good for $250. That was just
a tick of the watch better than the 14.575 lap turned in by Joey Coulter and a
14.640 lap for local Lakeland driver Cody McDuffie who earned $150 and $100
respectively from O’Reilly Auto Parts. Billy Carlbert, Jr. of Pametto and
Lakeland’s Becca Monopoli were fourth and fifth quick.
Following the “happy hour” practice session on Saturday, the top ten
qualifiers from Friday drew special O’Reilly Auto Parts caps in a re-draw for
the top-ten starting positions. Fast-timer Darvalics ended up with the eight
cap with second-fast Coulter getting cap number six. The pole (or cap #1) was
claimed by young Cole Partelo of Largo who had timed seventh fastest on Friday
while Monopoli ended up on the outside pole slot after picking the #2 cap.
As the pre-race got under way featuring the Nathan Baldwin Band and an
on-track autograph session, it was already obvious that a big crowd was
gathering to watch the event from the newly renovated Auburndale Speedway
grandstands. The crowd was in a very festive mood and enjoyed meeting the
drivers on track along with spending lots of money on the various raffles,
silent auction and more with (as usual) all money raised going to the families
being helped this year. Before the race, local driver Dylan Martin presented
C. A.R.S. Racing for a Cause with a check for $12,724.77, money he and his
race team raised through contributions and local fundraising events.
Event Director Rick Bristol, who is stepping down from the Director’s post of
the charity he created ten years ago, handed out awards to several of the
event sponsors and officials along with a special award to the Nathan Baldwin
Band who played both nights as well as other fundraising events during the
year without charging a penny for their services. Kim Scheffler, who will
take over as the Event Director for the charity in 2016, introduced the
families and, following driver introductions, it was time for the big 200-lap
contest to begin.
As starter Laverne Patrick dropped the green flag it was the front row of
Partelo and Monopoli racing side-by-side for the first lap before Partelo
assumed command with Monopoli right on his tail gate. Things were pretty calm
up front as the field settled into running pretty much how they started.
Further back, last year’s race winner Danny Anderson of Bradenton, who was
frustrated by a poor qualifying effort that saw him start 18th, had already
passed four trucks in the first ten laps of competition.
Partelo continued to set the pace but the field was slowed for the first time
as North Babylon, NY visitor Brian McElearney went for a spin in turn two on
lap 18. During the caution Scott McKay brought his truck to the infield with
fire under the hood. The blaze was put out quickly but McKay would be the
first competitor to retire from the race.
Kody Jett zipped by Monopoli into second on the restart as he and Partelo,
both driving trucks carrying the #9, began to battle for the top spot. The
second caution of the night flew on lap 31 as Tyler Davis stalled just off
turn two and also had his truck catch fire (later determined to be a broken
fuel pump). Jett looked to gain the lead on the restart, but instead the
caution came back out as race officials said that Jett had jumped the start.
The next restart was cleaner but Jett was still on the charge and snared the
lead from Partelo bringing Coulter with him into second place. Behind the two
new leaders, Monopoli and Jessica Murphy locked horns briefly but it was
enough to cause Monopoli to slide all the way back to eighth in the running
Things really began to get interesting now as Cody McDuffie had worked his way
to third and had a great view as Coulter literally slammed his way underneath
Jett for the lead going into turn one. Coulter immediately began to pull away
from the field as fast qualifier Darvalics was now making his presence felt
having moved up to fourth. Meanwhile, pole sitter Partelo began to fade well
back in the field.
Darvilacs grabbed third spot from McDuffie just before Monopoli saw her
chances at victory dashed when the right front tire went down on her truck
during lap 86 and she tapped the turn three wall. Monopoli’s crew went to
work in the pits and got her back out but she lost two laps in the process, a
pair of laps she would never be able to make up. During the caution, NASCAR
Camping World Truck Series driver Ray Black, Jr., who had been struggling with
his J. R. Garcia-owned truck, got the “lucky dog” pass to get back on the lead
lap and that would prove to be very beneficial later on.
The race never actually got back under way before the half-way break was
ordered on lap 97. The top ten at 100 laps saw Coulter leading followed by
Jett, Darvalics, McDuffie, Murphy, Billy Carlbert, Jr., a,hard-charging
Anderson, Partelo, Brent Huber and McElearney. At this time only twelve
trucks were on the lead lap.
On the restart for the second 100 laps it was Darvilacs moving past Jett while
Murphy followed suit and took over third. For Murphy, who was driving a
machine owned by Florida West Coast racing veteran Dave Pletcher, it was her
first time behind the wheel of any racing vehicle in over two years and she
had her new baby daughter watching her race for the very first time.
Meanwhile, Jett’s truck became a handful and he began to slide back in the
Coulter and Darvalics began to move away from everyone else as a resurgent
McDuffie zoomed by Murphy for third on lap 110 as Murphy’s truck began to
loose the handle and she also began to fall back in the field eventually
bringing out the yellow flag on lap 124 as she spun in turn two right in front
of the leaders. Darvalics looked to get the jump on Coulter on the restart
but the caution was again displayed with Darvalics the “culprit” of jumping
the green flag.
As the green came back out McDuffie got the better of Darvalics and took over
second behind the streaking Coulter. The caution was back out on lap 133 as
McElearney and Mike Kohut tangled in turn three. McElearney pitted but
returned to action before the field took the restart. Coulter continued to
set a fast pace while Jett fell well off the pace then spun in turn two on lap
145. Jett pitted for a deflating tire and returned to the race.
Darvalics took advantage of the restart to sneak back by McDuffie for second.
Anderson had worked his way to fifth but two trucks behind him were really
starting to “come in to their own” as Huber and Black were in a big tussle for
sixth. All things came to a halt on lap 169 as debris was spotted on the race
Things really got crazy on the restart as Huber zipped into third spot closely
pursued by Black while both McDuffie and Anderson slid back several spots.
Lap 177 saw Derek Pugh go for a spin off turn four to bring out the yellow
flag. During the caution, Kim Scheffler’s truck stalled and would not
re-fire, ending her night. McDuffie also pitted, yet another flat tire
victim, but got back out quickly and became the first truck one lap down.
The crowd was going nuts as Darvalics took the point on the restart after a
wild bumping episode with Coulter. Coulter was attempting to return the favor
when McElearney spun in turn two on lap 188 to bring out what would be the
final caution flag of the night. Under the yellow, Darvalics suddenly headed
for the pits as he also fell victim to a flat tire robbing the race fans of
what was surely going to be a heated final few laps between himself and
Coulter simply ran off and hid on the restart while Black, who remember
actually fell a lap down early in the race, dove by Huber for second with two
laps to go. Coulter took the checker nearly a full second in front of Black
while Huber grabbed the final podium spot in third. McDuffie, who picked up
the final “lucky dog” of the race after his flat tire, blasted his way back to
fourth while Jett rebounded from his earlier problems to snatch fifth spot.
Rounding out the top ten (all completing 200 laps) were Murphy, Carlbert,
Jason Lester, Partelo and Anderson. Darvalics ended up 11th, one lap down
with Monopoli two laps down in 12th. The race saw it’s lowest amount of
attrition ever as only five trucks failed to finish.
Along with his first place payout, Coulter also earned the $100 Half-Way
Leader Award from Q Auto & Injury Attorneys and the “Calculated Move of the
Race” Award from Dannis & Dannis, Inc. Coulter Motorsports then donated the
entire amount - $3,850 - back to the families. All total, the race teams
donated just over $7,000 of their winnings back to the families being helped
this year.
Other awards were handed out to Kody Jett (Best Appearing Truck Award courtesy
of Speedracer Photos), Ray Black, Jr. (Q Auto & Injury Attorneys Hard Charger
Award of $100 and the $100 “Cool Move of the Race” Award provided by Jacalone
& Sons Automotive of St. Augustine. Darvalics also took home two awards, the
Q Auto & Injury Attorneys Hard Luck Award for having a flat tire while
battling for the lead and he had the Fast Lap of the Race Award sponsored by
MN Getaways. Darvalics had the fastest single lap during the race of 14.4776,
a lap faster than the one he turned in qualifying.
The Scramblers were also in action for 30 laps and a nice field of 17
four-bangers made the tow to the Auburndale “Bull Ring.” The race was pretty
tame early on but a rash of late-race fender banging resulted in numerous
caution periods that also saw three drivers disqualified, two for rough
driving and one for getting out of his car on the track which is a no-no per
Auburndale Speedway rules.
For the second year in a row, Richard Edwards came home the winner. After
passing early leader Buzz Amspaugh, Edwards stayed out front the rest of the
way despite all of the yellow flags that kept the field close to him.
Amspaugh held off all other challenges to grab second place ahead of Bobby
Fellows (who started 13th), Justine Carlbert and Frank Pelusio. Rounding out
the top ten were Nicole Green, Shane Bennett, William Hindman, Donald Smith
and Stephanie Jackson. Completing the finishers were Kyle Little, Marty
Haiflich, Donald Gatlin and Chris Larson while DQ’s were handed out to Andy
Travis, Dustin Wilson and Ryan Walters.
Event Title Sponsors were Blackwater Integration, Davenport Fights Back and
Coulter Motorsports. Other weekend sponsors included the Les & Judy Smout
Foundation (Charity 200 race sponsor), Enterprise Rental Car, Southern Air
Compressor Service, Inc., O’Reilly Auto Parts, 97 Country/Max 98.1 radio
stations, Orlando Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep & Ram, CIV Driver Optimization,
Speedway Auto Sales, Gator’s Dockside of Highland City, Harvest Meat Markets,
Foxworth Flyer Motorsports, Sunoco Race Fuels and Hoosier Racing Tires. Once
again, track owners Rex and Collette Guy donated the facilities and paid all
of the insurance cost for the event. Also a very generous donation was
presented to the foundation from Joe & Susan Coulter of Coulter Motorsports
not only to help the kids but to also to help with the costs of changing the
foundation name and transfer over to Kim Scheffler and Joey Coulter going


  1. Joey Coulter, Charlotte, NC #16 200 Laps
  2. Ray Black, Jr., Flagler Beach #13 200 Laps
  3. Brent Huber, Venice #64 200 Laps
  4. Cody McDuffie, Lakeland #25 200 Laps
  5. Kody Jett, Middleburg #9J 200 Laps
  6. Jessica Murphy, Groveland #74 200 Laps
  7. Billy Carlbert, Jr., Palmetto #11 200 Laps
  8. Jason Lester, Palmetto #7 200 Laps
  9. Cole Partelo, Largo #9P 200 Laps
  10. Danny Anderson, Bradenton #50 200 Laps
  11. Steve Darvalics, Venice #41 199 Laps
  12. Becca Monopoli, Lakeland #59x 198 Laps
  13. Michael Kohut, Lehigh Acres #11K 197 Laps
  14. Derek Pugh, west Palm Beach #3 195 Laps
  15. Kristen Clements, Lakeland #5K 194 Laps
  16. Brian McElearney, North Babylon, NY #99 187 Laps
  17. Kim Scheffler, Auburndale, #10 176 Laps
  18. Sam Scott, Naples #14 74 Laps
  19. Patrick Staropoli, Plantation #51 52 Laps
  20. Tyler Davis, Lakeland #4 31 Laps
  21. Scott McKay, Bradenton #66 18 Laps

Time of Race - 2:10:22

Photos (Courtesy Main Light Photography)

  1. O’Reilly Fast Qualifiers - Cody McDuffie (3rd), Joey Coulter (2nd) and Steve Darvalics (1st)…
  2. The families pose with Rick Bristol, Kim Scheffler and Joey Coulter before the race…
  3. Skyla Monday with the Kim Scheffler team before the race…
  4. Joey Coulter with little Macy Ashby and her dad before the race…
  5. Lucas Grigg poses with Kim Scheffler before the race… Lucas was having the time of his life!

More Photos:
6) Once again track owners Rex and Collette Guy donated the track for the event and paid all the insurance…
7) Kim Scheffler at speed… next year she takes over as Event Director for the charity race…
8) 2014 winner Danny Anderson had a rough weekend but still managed a 10th place finish on the lead lap…
9) Kody Jett gets lifted off the ground by NY visitor Brian McElearney
10) The Coulter Motorsports team celebrates in victory lane…

Damn good race and a job well done by all involved.You all deserve a standing o for the evening.Unfortunate Darvolics had the late race flat tire that ultimately wiped out what would have been a hell of a shoot out finish between he and Coulter.A much better race than any of the late model races I attended here in the state over the last several months.Hats off to everyone responsible for this event and too bad for any of you who missed it.This race deserves more support from the Florida racing community and I hope they somehow find a way to get just that.

Thanks Zerofor

Appreciate your support, we try to make the event one that the racers, crews and fans can really enjoy. The event continues to grow and your comments can help it in the future thanks !