Sunshine speedway today

On the way back from Zieglers race engines we stopped at Sunshine. I walked in the open gate, which didn’t say no trespassing, I might add.
I shot a little video when this big guy cam out and expressed the fact that I wasn’t suposed to shoot video in there. Beings he was so big and I’m gettin kinda old I didn’t argue. I gabbed a few shots from the video I shot before Godzilla acosted me. Bob…

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What a waste

Typical government waste of tax money. “Toll research”, grrr…


I went to the dragstrip last year{repaved} but did not go look at the oval .will check it out next time, Do you have any dvds of the last few years there?

No Gary, I don’t. I have , some where, some video I shot when I worked Sunshine in the late 80’s. Bob…

What a revolting display… a fully-functional speedway, with toll booth lanes.

Most tracks have the decency that when they take all your money, at least it’s at the pit entrance, not ON the track!

Frass, those guys race funny too. They go 1 at a time and they fly thru the toll booth, go around the track and get in line. They have it re-named. “Sunpass Speedway” The racing was goofy, but I wasn’t telling Godzilla that, he was kinda grumpy. Bob…

Man, you guys, I was telling you all about this stuff last year-----
Was going down to Desoto Speedway for the (I think it was called) the Icebreaker 150, last year.
Stopped in to see it, the Old Lost Raceway of Sunshine Speedway.

(ask Nancy Rowe, as she had actually commented on this-here ol’ Raceway)

How sad, she said, and I’m right there with her, yessirree.

Still looks great, the Raceway does, it’s fully intact: however, all the stands have been torn down, that the only remaining parts were the “newer” bathrooms. Nothing of old “board structures” were remaining at all.

man i wish sunshine would open back up i miss the place

send your thanks and kindest regards to the bonnie and frank hill for closing a great track.

How do I/we do that? (tear)

(not a wuss)

Its very sad they took away a good track for this kind of stuff…My dad worked for a company that was one of the first companies working on that kind of stuff in the early 90s. All they did was get permission to hang their sensors on a pole out over O.B.T. by the offices…Just glad I had to chance to see a couple TBARA races there before it closed.

Toll booth racing!

That either sounds like something Fascar would cook up, OR a new class at Desoto (they dont have enough divisions)

(only joking people, dont panic)

I raced Sunshine for 16 years before it closed. While Ive had a good time racing a lot of other tracks in the state I would be switching my car over in a heartbeat if that little bullring opened back up. By the way the only two tracks in the state that can compare to the car count and fans that place got is Citrus and East Bay.

That’s just a damn shame.

A perfectly good racetrack.

We won a lot of races there in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, even beat on ol’ Freight Train a few times :wink: (just kiddin’…LOL)…We had the Kirk Racing #12 (Super) Late Model. I think our first feature win there was with Wayne Reutimann in 1979 (it was either Reutimann or Billy Gill). Jimmy Cope got his first career Late Model ride with us that year, too, before going to the Mitton car, I believe. We had guys like Billy Gill, Jim Childers, Reutimann, Purcell, Randy Warren, Bryan Wescott, Scarborough, Pletcher, and a whole buncha other good guys in our car at Sunshine. Our biggest win there was with Childers in '82 when we won a 75-lapper, but we always ran great there even if we didn’t win.

I remember Cope sailing over the turn three plywood with a stuck throttle in 1981, I think it was.

I remember the '78 Gulf Coast Classic where Anderson beat out Trickle by a nose - probably the second-best race I ever saw. The best was the next day at Golden Gate, where a rematch ensued, and Trickle beat out Anderson by a bumper at the 200.

I remember Scotty Shelton and Rusty Haugh - and their crews - getting into a HUGE fight in the pits - during practice! - one Saturday afternoon, which resulted in about four Pinellas County Sheriff’s cars hauling off about ten people. Their class, the Thunder Cars, was “cancelled” that night. The next week, the division came back as the “Outlaws”, with some pretty wild-lookin’ sheet metal.

I remember running an All-Pro race with another team we were helping, and Balough won both nights of a double-header.

I remember coming back from the rear of the field from a hard, lap-two, turn-three crash after our throttle stuck in 1982 to run second in a 25-lap feature - that started some 25-28 cars. Childers made an AWESOME run on the outside to climb back up through the field.

Pletcher, Breakfield, Scarborough, Yow, Fenton, Childers, Purcell, Smith, Butts, Bowman, Wescott, Combast, Hasty, Cope, Alderman, Bontrager, and sooooo many other great Late Model drivers put on some FANTASTIC shows there.

Standing-room only Saturday nights. Paying $1,000 to win a regular 25-lap feature. Weekly 28+ car fields. Nine divisions-plus some weeks. Late Models, Outlaws, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Thunder Cars, Figure-8s, Mini Stocks, Mini Stock Figure-8s, Sprint Cars…you name it, it probably ran at St. Pete at one time or 'nother.

Probably my most favorite track that I’ve ever been to, as far as the racing goes. Bathroom facilities…now that’s another story…LOLOLOL

AHH - Remember those times WELL

THOSE were the days… won’t be repeated… greatest times ever.
I remember most of the things listed… wish I could have all the bail money that collected from the action in the pits over the years.
A week after Jimmy went over the hill in #3, Rosie Sloan did the same thing, however it was not as hard and bad as Jimmy’s deal… they shut down the program when Jimmy went over and sent everyone home because it took so long to get him out of the car (he sure went airborne that night - even cleared the tree tops in that bush area).
Wish we could go back to that type of racing. Its the only thing I would ever want to go back in life for.:sport009:



There was certainly some good racing held at that little track, and it was standing room only every week. I remember the pro figure eights , as they later called them. They would run at Sunshine and load up and bust butt to Desoto and race their feature. The Miller gang, the Meyers gang, John lavale, Rodney, I can’t remember his last name. I rember when Bill miller and Clyde Cole hit in the intersection at Desoto. Man what a crash. I have a video of it some where. I don’t think Bill ever raced agin after that. Those were the days. I taped the Governors Cup there several times as part of the old Triple Crown. Probably in the mid or late 80’s. 25 plus Late Models on that little track would keep you on the edge of your seat. Thanks for the memories. Bob…

Talkin’ 'bout the Figure-8/Thunder Car/Street Stocks…

Ringheisen/Miller in the Mad Hatter Muffler cars…Grynewicz in the Century Plumbing 40…ALL of the Meyers - Denny, Charlie, J.R., and probably many more - with Elmer Sieffert (sp?) in the A-11…Ray Woosley in the 92…Bill Madlock ran there a coupla times coming over from Golden Gate I think…I remember 30+ Figure-8 cars for a 15-lap feature…

Yeah, Cope musta sailed 100 yards-plus…rumor was he was on the juice coming outta two, got on the button, and the throttle hung open.

The Governor’s Cup race was only held once at St. Pete, in 1979, I believe, and that was the year Fenton won it. There was no Governor’s Cup race in '80, and then from '81-'83 it was back at Tampa. No Cup again from '84 to '87, then it returned in '88 at New Smyrna.
The Triple Crown thing was kinda started in '82. Friday night was the Florida 200 at Golden Gate, then the Gulf Coast Classic at St. Pete on Saturday night, and then the Coca-Cola 200 at Bradenton on Sunday afternoon (which we won with Childers that year). After Tampa closed in '83, it went to a Bradenton-St. Pete-Bradenton show for '84 and '85, with Friday only being a 50-lapper. Then after that, it kinda moved around I believe, to Orlando, Lakeland, Auburndale, St. Pete, and Bradenton. We didn’t run too many of them shows in the late '80s because the Triple Crown became part of the NASCAR All-American Challenge Series (same thing as All-Pro back then), and we were running those wild outlaw-type bodies. We weren’t NASCAR-legal…LOL

Yeah Jimmy now that you mention it I do remember the Gulf Coast Classic. Maybe I’ve gotten that and the Gov Cup mixed in my memory, which isn’t very reliable any more. I had forgotten ringhausen, and Grynewich ans seifert.
We’ll never see those days agin unfortunately. What # was your car Jimmy?
Thanks Bob…

Here’s Another One

Don’t forget Lester Sloan (36)… boy did he show up with a nice/well built car every year… and it kept it pretty cleaned up all year… I remember the year he showed up with a “Short Rear End”… the rear bumper was almost under the rear windshield… (they almost flipped out over it, but he was within the rules at that time)…(he just had less a$$end to get through the intersection). I think it was about the same time he won the World Championship in Islip, NY.
Also, the flying postman (Fiegel)

Couldn’t agree more with McKinley, OSF and others above. Lots of great memories at that place. For me personally, it was mostly my involvement with the Tornado and Late Model classes.

However, as those have alluded to above, SS was also deep in Figure Eight history.

Here is a promo put out in 1971 with a shot of the very first figure eight race put on at the beginning of the season in March, 1964.

Speaking of Lester Sloan, here is a page out of the 1971 Sunshine Speedway Yearbook dedicated to his World Figure 8 Championship won in Islip, NY, in 1970.

Here is a related Cap’s Auto Parts & Machine, Inc., ad from the same time noting his accomplishment.