Shelnut makes it two in a row
It was a great night of racing, after having to cancel a few races due to nowhere to park the fans, due to flooded parking. Mother Nature was kind this week and the fans were treated to great side by side, door to door racing action at the Punt Gorda Speedway.
T.Q. Midget were the first feature of the night, the 63 of Mike Bleusar jumped out to the lead and never looked back. The T.Q.’s ran their twenty five lap feature, caution free, Bleusar stayed on the gas while being chased by Rob “the cowboy” Kohler. David Patterson from Port Charlotte had a fast car coming in second in the heat but adjusted on the car for the feature and had to settle for fifth while Jamie Barnum came home third.
Legends also ran caution free and saw the 7 of Mike Verhaagh out of Fort Myers run start to finish while being chased down by Tony Steinbuck of Tamarac. Carl Haag of Port St Lucie would finish third.
Cowboy Cadillac gave the fans some action as they always do, running bumper to bumper and door to door. Mike Bialecki of Arcadia had a fast truck and was dominating till eight to go, when a caution came out and trucks got tangled, sending Bialecki to the pits to change a flat tire. Bialecki pitting gave the lead over to John Pummell Jr. and it took Bialecki one lap to get back to second and fight for the win with Pummell. It was John Pummell Jr from Arcadia that came home first, Mike Bialecki second and Trey Almand of Port Charlotte third.
Street Stocks pulled out next for a crazy feature that saw some first time to the track drivers and some “which lane do I pick when given the move over flag” drivers, that made it interesting to say the least. This race was twenty five caution free laps, that saw Jeff Dufresne of Bradenton start on the pole and never had to lift till he saw the checkers fly. Richard Nelson of Port Charlotte was on Dufrense bumper and at his door at times, while Shane Leonard was fighting him for the same spot. Good hard racing, weaving high and low, around cars that could not pick a lane. Leonard made a move on Nelson who slipped just enough to get by him for second and had his sights on Dufrense while Bobby Fischer of Naples followed Leonard pushing Nelson back to fourth. White flag is out, something broke on the 18 of Leonard as they come down the front to take the checkers, it was Dufresne that took the win. Fischer and Nelson got by Leonard on that last lap for second and third while Leonard was able to bring the car to a stop just short of the winners circle wall, but crossed the line in fourth place.
Speedway owner Kevin Williams was asked from track announcer Racin Jason Beckner on the front stretch in front of the fans about his son Josh Williams that finished 9th in points in the Arca racing series. Williams took that opportunity to thank the fans, drivers and crews for all their support and how much the track has meant to him and his entire family that has put many hours and money into getting the speedway up to the standards it is now. Williams said it is not about the money for him, it is about saving the Punta Gorda Speedway and his passion for the place that he also raced at for many years when it first opened. He concluded in saying he will not give up the speedway without a fight, which had the entire crowd on their feet cheering as he left the track.
The best of the best super late model drivers were at Punta Gorda Speedway to race for 100 laps, were you race your way into the winners circle and they did just that.
Thirteen, top notch drivers were here to race and it was Daryl Shelnut that set fast time but Wayne Anderson would start on the pole with Richie Anderson outside. This race was 100 laps of real hard racing that ran start to finish with no cautions, no wrecks and just an ill handling car of Steve Gill was the only car not to finish, that took thirty minutes to run. Wayne Anderson ran in the first position while Richie Anderson had his car running well and right on his bumper. Shelnut didn’t start in the rear this time but fourth row back inside and by lap twelve had his sights on Richie Anderson for that second spot was while Wayne Anderson knew he was coming. Good, clean, hard racing as they started lapping cars by lap twenty nine, as it was still Anderson, Anderson and Shelnut weaving in and out of cars and still everyone racing hard with no cautions. Lap fifty two Shelnut made the move on Richie Anderson for second, passing him on the outside clean and had his sights on Wayne for that first place as they continue to lap more cars. Lap fifty six Shelnut made his outside move on Wayne Anderson to take over the first spot and would continue to lap the field while cars behind them were racing for position and trying to stay ahead of the leader. When the checkered flags flew, it was Shelnut that had his car on a rail again for the second race in a row and Wayne Anderson was second and Richie Anderson had a strong run coming home in the third spot. Randy Anderson would finish fourth, Bobby Shelton fifth both would be the only other cars to finish on the lead lap. Shelnut came up to the fan side after he passed tech to award his first place trophy to a lucky six year old fan named Caden.
If you were waiting for beating, banging, wrecking, and hot tempers flaring then you needed to stick around for the fifty lap Road Warrior race. This race was in memory of Dan Benoit and from before the first lap was in the books with Derrick Horton almost flipping in turn four, to 50 laps full of racing excitement till the end. Speedway owner Kevin Williams had to go out on the track and calm some drivers down before someone got hurt and let them know, that is not how we race here. Racing is one thing and you can count on great excitement but when it becomes unsafe for the other drivers that’s when Williams steps in. Speedway owner Kevin Williams prides himself in having a fun, family oriented track that is most of all, safe and fair for all those that race at Punta Gorda Speedway. After all the fenders were beat in and tires replaced and ten cautions filled this race for fifty laps, Chris Scott was leading all the laps, would this race see the checkers. Billy Benoit gave it his all trying to run the entire 50 laps in honor of his dad driving the 20 car which was in and out of the pits the entire race. Cody Benoit was doing whatever it took to get to the front and not making any friends along the way till he finally had to retire to the pits on lap thirty seven. Chris Scott won the featured race with Rick Reed second, Randy Kile third while Jason Miller and Richard Nelson survived for fourth and fifth.
The last race of the night was Perfect Pest Control Pro 4 that once again came to race and ran all twenty five laps caution free and it took just ten minutes. It was a great battle for the lead between brothers Dan and Ryan Collver till the 61 of Paul Richards Jr. came into the mix and broke up the fun. Richards got by Dan Collver on lap nine and then made the move on brother Ryan for the lead on lap eleven. Paul Richards Jr went on to win the feature with Ryan Collver second. Kris Bridges just ran out of time and with no cautions and starting in the rear battled through the field for a third place finish.
Next week you do not want to miss Trick or Treat the drivers night, kids dress up and go race car to race car for candy, treats and signed photos. Not only is it a fun night for the kids but also for everyone, as the TBARA Winged Sprints return to action at the Punta Gorda Speedway. Also racing will be, Open Wheel Modifieds, Late Model Sportsman, Pro 4 for 40 laps,
S.E. Champ Karts, Mini Cups, Legends, Cowboy Cadillacs and Road Warriors.
PUNTA GORDA SPEEDWAY RESULTS
Super Late Models
1. 7 Daryl Shellnut Lake City
2. 84 Wayne Anderson Wildwood
3. 51 Richie Anderson N. Ft. Myers
4. 4 Randy Anderson Wildwood
5. 34 Bobby Shelton Del Ray Beach
6. 55 Scott Walters Naples
7. 28 Billy Bigley Jr. Naples
8. 5 Joe Boyd Riverview
9. 28b Dylan Bigley Naples
10. 13 Mike Knotek La Belle
11. 11 David Weaver Plantation
12. 14 Mario Maresca Ft. Lauderdale
13. 5x Steve Gill Sarasota
. Street Stock
1. 3 Jeff Dufresne Bradenton
2. 2 Bobby Fischer Naples
3. 80 Richard Nelson Port Charlotte
4. 18 Shane Leonard N. Fort Myers
5. 88 Jimmy Meiser Lehigh
6. 7 Blaine Baer Port Charlotte
7. 57x Dave Bowman Bradenton
8. 47 Tom Pancoast N. Ft. Myers
9. 38 Jeff Gustafson
1. 7 Mike Verhaagh Fort Myers
2. 54 Tony Steinbuck Tamarac
3. 48 Carl Haag Port St. Lucy
4. 55 Conrad Molter Naples
1. 97 Chris Scott Nikomis
2. 1 Rick Reed Punta Gorda
3. 14 Randy Kile LeHigh
4. 10 Jason Miller LeHigh
5. 80 Richard Nelson Port Charlotte
6. 5 Jeremy Daring LeHigh
7. 33 Chris Loney Naples
8. B1 Cody Benoit LeHigh
9. 20 Billy Benoit LeHigh
10. 13 Justin Teston LeHigh
11. 44 Rick Hess Englewood
12. 77 Phil Ellis Rotonda
13. 51 Jarrett Cornell N. Ft. Myers
14. 22 Derrick Horton N. Ft. Myers
1. 61 Paul Richards Jr. Naples
2. 04 Ryan Collver Ft. Myers
3. 63 Kris Bridges Venice
4. 00 Dan Collver N. Ft. Myers
5. 28 Corey Bigley Naples
6. 91 Jessica Ostrovskis St. Pete
7. 87 Skyler Null Fort Myedrs
8. 56 Steven Babcock Punta gorda
9. 22 Jeremy Perkins N. Ft. Myers
10. 99Johnny Marra Cape Coral
11. 3 Gerald Bates Fort Myers
1. 86 John Pummel Jr. Arcadia
2. 92 Mike Bialecki Arcadia
3. 88 Trey Almand Port Charlotte
4. 99 Stuart Vandevender Cape Coral
5. 8 Jeff Deeble Port Charlotte
T. Q. Midgets
1. 63 Mike Belusar Punta Gorda
2. 30 Rob Kohler Naples
3. 7 Jamie Barnum Brooksville
4. 51 Chris Grimmler Palm Beach Gardens
5. 5 David Patterson Port Charlotte
6. 17 Ray Smith Brooksville
7. 58 Stu Chamberlain Pine Island