GOESS, HAIR, SCHILLIG, STOVER
AND BUNNELL WAIT OUT THE RAIN
AND TAKE WINS AS SPEEDWORLD WINTERNATIONALS CONTINUE
The INEX/600 Racing portion of the 4th Annual Winternationals got under
Tuesday at Orlando Speedworld in what would turn out to be a long day thanks
to Central Florida's wacky Winter weather.
Heat races were concluded just before the leading edge of a cold front
in bringing about an hour of heavy thunderstorms that thoroughly soaked
everything. However, in less that 15 minutes time, the weather went from
pouring rain to bright sunshine and the show was back on.
Two air boats and a blower truck were summoned to help track crews dry
things up and after about an hour and a half, the main track was race ready.
The newly paved Bandelero track was deemed to wet to run on, so the
features were canceled and moved to the Wednesday program.
First up was the Legends Car Semi-Pro feature. After two false starts,
front row was moved back two rows to see if things could be done better by a
new pair of pole sitters. That would last only to turn one as the new
front row car of Bryan Silas got turned around and was hit by the car of
Travis Baer. Both were out of the race.
The field was re-aligned in single file order from the original line-up
putting Chelsea Schillig at the point for the start. The local high school
student from Apopka, FL, who has to rush here each day from school just to
make her heat race, had won her heat earlier and took off like a rocket at
drop of the green.
John Stancill quickly reeled in Schillig and was giving the young lady a
for her money when the caution flew on lap 10 for Tony Sansom's stalled car
With the race time limit of 25 minutes quickly ticking away, Schillig
out to a good lead on the restart. Four laps later, Josh Williams had
going into turn three with several other cars also doing solo spins.
That set up a green-white-checker finish and Schillig was not to be denied
as she took her second career Legends Car feature win and first-ever at her
home track of Speedworld. Stancill ran a solid second with Pistone Racing
teammate J.R. Allen third, Oregon driver Zach Zimmer fourth and Luke Fleming
fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Shaughn McCormick, Jimmy Norman, Ty
Dillon, Zach Stroupe and Gene Kirila.
Completing the finishing field were Parker Hammons, Corey Smith, Tanner
Berryhill, Darrell Vance, Williams, Greg Frye, Ryan Moore, Chad Hackenbracht,
Sansom, Silas and Baer.
Stancill won the second heat while Silas was the victor in heat three.
The Legend Car Chargers class for less-experienced drivers was up next and
they did a great job going all the way green to checker although it was a
tough finish for local driver Dalton Bergman who had engine problems on the
final lap while running third.
The race was totally dominated by Gastonia, NC driver Matthew Stover as he
led all the way and was never challenged. R.S. Senter came home a distant
second over George Cushman, Jamie Smith, Bergman and Phillip Bell. Stover
also won the heat race.
The Legends Car Pro Division feature saw first heat winner and initial
sitter Nick Pistone have to go to the back of the field for the start after
having to switch to a back-up car. The opening lap also produced the
hit of the night as Kyle LaPier and Paddy Rodenbeck tangled sending
Rodenbeck's car smashing into the turn four wall. Fortunately Paddy was OK,
but his team has to be glad they brought a second car.
With Pistone relegated to the rear, Craig Goess, Jr. inherited the pole
and made the most of it leading every lap to post a big win. The only thing
that slowed Goess was a lap seven caution for a tangle between Thomas Van
Wingerden and Roger Austin. Austin was a little "hot under the collar" and
rammed Van Wingerden's machine as they lined back up earning Austin a DQ for
Goess, who hails from Greenville, NC, sped off with an easy win ahead of
Jason Dunn who had several car lengths on third finisher Kory Abbott.
had the drive of the night but ran out of laps and settled for fourth at the
checker while Cole Miktuk was fifth. Completing the top ten were Rette
(up from 17th at the start), Scott Knox, Jesse Bunnell, Kyle Beattie and
The second heat for the Pro class went to Miktuk.
When Clay Hair has the pole for a Legends Car Masters Division feature,
probably have a pretty good idea what the outcome will be... yet another
feature win for the veteran driver from Mt. Pleasant, NC. Hair would go
to wire for the win in a race slowed just twice. The second incident
a red flag after Brian Weimer and Bruce Little tangled and crashed hard into
the turn one wall. Both drivers were fine but the cars were not.
Hair led easily to the checker ahead of Tim Brockhouse, Canadian Cy
2007 Florida Masters Division Champion Andy Logan and veteran Cotton Spry
ran second much of the race until his engine started running sour. Rounding
out the top ten were Mike Verhaagh, Jimmy Rodriguez, Larry Friddle, Scotty
Edwards and Gary Bursey with the remainder of the finishing field consisting
of Ronnie Poland, Sr., Mike Beebe, Frank Johnston, Tom Clarke, Rick
Bob Wilson, Little and Weimer.
Heat races for the Masters went to Hair, Spry, and Brockhouse.
In Thunder Roadster action, Jesse Bunnell grabbed the early feature lead
from heat winner Thomas Van Wingerden until Van Wingerden took the top spot
away on lap ten. However, his mount suffered engine problems and he
surrendered the top spot back to Bunnell on lap 18 as Van Wingerden pulled
the track. Bunnell claimed the win well ahead of second and third place
Carter and Tom Clarke.
Bandelero heat races were held before the storms hit with Bandit wins
to Bodie Blackburn and Zach Stroupe. The Young Gun heat went to Ronnie
Bassett, Jr. while Christopher McKinney was the Outlaw heat winner.