DQ’S GIVE VAIL DASS SERIES VICTORY AT AUBURNDALE SPEEDWAY
The weather was cool but the action was hot Saturday night at Auburndale Speedway as the DeSoto-Auburndale Sportsman Series hit the track for their season finale, a 75-lap contest with double points on the line. A nice field of 22 cars signed in and was set by qualifying times set three weeks previous when their event fell victim to rain that fell just after intermission began.
Seventeen cars were at the track on 9/24 and two of those failed to show for this race. That meant there were seven cars that did not qualify for the rained out show and they had to start from the rear of the grid.
Junior Beckner and Jason Vail led the field to green with Vail leading the opening circuit before Beckner took control for four laps only to see George Gorham, Jr. blast by him on lap six for the point. Caution flew for the first time on lap nine for Tim Sozio’s spin in turn three with Dora Thorne also spinning and Jamie Kennedy coming to a quick halt to avoid everything. Kennedy’s quick stop damaged something in the driveline and he was pushed to the pits becoming the first car to retire from the fray.
Point leader Patrick Thomas quickly moved near the front using the “restart cone rule” but his car faltered on the restart. In practice Thomas had been fighting a fuel pick-up problem and that situation began to rear its ugly head as Thomas fell back several spots before his car picked up speed once again. All the while, Gcorham began to pull away from the field.
Lap 22 saw the second yellow flag for a tangle between Thorne and Daniel Conlin, Jr. in turn one. Just after the restart Thorne’s rough night continued as she locked horns with A. J. Olender with both spinning. On the restart Thomas again began to fall back in the field as Gorham streaked away. Anthony Lapoint spun his car in turn two during lap 31 for yet another caution.
As the field came down to take the green, Thomas’ car, now running at the back of the pack, shut down completely as he was coming by the flag stand. The cars at the front of the pack had to check up with Vail going for a spin off the bumper of another car. Several cars got some type of damage, the worst being suffered by Chris Lewellen.
Gorham again began to pull away on the restart but 19th starter Sean Bass was charging, eventually moving up to third, then to second although he was far behind the leader. Bass got the caution flag he needed when Joe Gentry spun in turn one with nine laps to go. Bass did not get a good restart though and he fell back into a great side-by-side battle with Vail. Bass eventually prevailed but he was too far back to challenge Gorham who took the checker several car lengths in front of Bass. Vail crossed the stripe in third followed by Bruce Bennett and Devin McLeod.
However, tech guru Ricky Brooks was in the house and he began to check several things after the racing was over. When all was said and done, apparent first and second place finishers Gorham and Bass were disqualified for inappropriate ball joints. Fourth place Bennett was also a victim of the tech shed. Thus the win was awarded to Vail and second went to McLeod. Beckner, who had run near the front all night despite an ill-handling car, took the third spot with Colin Allman fourth and Daniel Conlin, Jr. fifth. The DASS point champion will be named as soon as the points are tallied. Colin Allman came in just one point behind Thomas who ended up finishing next to last after his problems and would Allman be champion, except… Allman did not qualify his car on 9/24 thus did not earn any points available for qualifying that night. That means that Beckner looks to have passed both Thomas and Allman and may well be champion when the final points are made official this week.
Sixth through tenth were Tim Sozio, Brooke Storer, Tom Zimmerman, Joshua Borem and Rick Reed. Completing the finishers were Anthony Lapoint, Joe Gentry, Chris Lewellen, Bobby Mobley, Adam Briggs, A. J. Olender, Dora Thorne, Thomas and Jamie Kennedy.
Nineteen V-8 Bombers were in attendance and put on a wild 30-lap feature. David Purvis led early and was looking good until James Wright III got on track and nabbed the point on lap 14 bringing fast qualifier Kyle Peters along with him. Peters was really hooked up and sped past Wright on lap 17 and never looked back as he scored the victory over Wright and point leader Aaron Holmes who survived a crazy tire-rubbing incident with Chris Narramore, Jr. to claim the final podium spot.
Purvis held on for fourth trailed by Carl Thompson, Jr. Rounding out the top ten were Danny Burchfield, Matt McCrary, Narramore, Jamie Kennedy and Adam Briggs. The remaining finishers were Glen Swanson, Brandon Martin, Zach Briggs, Ricky Norman, Bobby Mobley, Bubba Healey, Preston Davis and Josh Hall. Mike Bruno did not start.
Again the Legend Cars put on a heck of a show in their 30-lap contest as Mitch Verhaagh led the first pair of laps only to give way to Alan Hiefnar for three laps. Devin McLeod took over on lap six and held on until lap 14 when Seth Adams took over. Adams was driving a different car than he normally drives as his regular #5 was being driven by Michael Cherry who ended up with fast time in qualifying after Donovan Ponder’s car was light across the scales.
Ponder was forced to start scratch on the field and he worked his way to fourth at the finish ahead of Alan Hiefnar, Bobby Diestler and Cherry who never seemed to get a good handle on his car during the feature. Completing the finishers were Mitch Verhaagh, Bob Wilson, Cale Nolen, Mike Verhaagh and John Inman.
After setting quick time, Chris Narramore, Sr. had to start well back on the grid for the Mini Stock feature but it didn’t faze the 2016 champion as Narramore zipped by Tony Davidson on lap 12 then went on to score yet another victory. Bruce Cozad and Chuck Frazier also led in the early going but Cozad fell out after a lap three caution while Frazier came home in third over Boogs Fellows, and Donald Gatlin. Fred Martin was sixth and was followed to the checker by David Meyers, Jr., Danny Leet, Colt Cecil, Dillon Canova, Cozad and John Cummins, Jr.
Anthony Carroll stayed out front of the Scrambler feature for seven laps before giving way to point leader Kyle Little. Little soon found himself in a big battle with Dustin Wilson who got by for the lead on lap 22, then went on to score his second consecutive win. Little finished second ahead of fast qualifier Nicole Green and William Kerns. Andy Travis, Carroll, Josh Clouse and Shane Bennett rounded out the finishers.
Top qualifier Russell Bush dominated the Mini Cup feature after passing Adam Briggs on lap 11. This race ran green to checker although Briggs spun out of second place on the last lap. Clay Samuels wound up second ahead of Brey Holmes, Doug Higbie, Briggs and Bill Rychel.
The Super Late Models qualified 19 cars for Sunday’s Sunoco 100 with Jesse Dutilly setting the quick lap at 13.404 seconds. Nick Neri was second fast followed by George Gorham, Jr., Joe Boyd and Jonathan Guy.
OFFICIAL RESULTS - DASS SPORTSMAN - AUBURNDALE SPEEDWAY - 10/22/16:
- Jason Vail, Clermont #407
- Devin McLeod, Zephyrhills #5
- Junior Beckner, Apopka #71
- Colin Allman, Plant City #67
- Daniel Conlin, Jr., St. Cloud #11
- Tim Sozio, Debary #16
- Brooke Storer, Zephyrhills #9
- Tom Zimmerman, Clearwater #01
- Joshua Borem, Lakeland #111B
- Rick Reed, Punta Gorda #4
- Anthony Lapoint, Zephyrhills #21
- Joe Gentry, Punta Gorda #93
- Chris Lewellen, Lakeland #19
- Bobby Mobley, Eagle Lake #29
- Adam Briggs, Lakeland #36
- A. J. Olender, Lakeland #32
- Dora Thorne, Floral City #48
- Patrick Thomas, Oviedo #111
- Jamie Kennedy, Lakeland #99
DQ George Gorham, Jr., Auburndale #03
DQ Sean Bass, Lake Hamilton #28
DQ Bruce Bennett, Orlando #24
Photo: DASS Sportsman winner Jason Vail (SpeedRacer Photo)