Showtime Speedway Race Report – 07.14.12.
DATE: July 14, 2012
SERIES: Showtime Sprints Series (?)
TRACK: Showtime Speedway
ADMISSION: $30 for a pit pass. Seems to be the going rate these days…
FOOD ORDERED: None. I was in the pits, and there was no pits concession stand (that I know of) and to walk out to the front for some food was a long walk I was not interested in. The McDonalds down the street was nice and clean though.
DRINKS ORDERED: See the food grade.
CROWD GRADE: A+. Have I ever given an A+ in the history of this website? I think the only other time I handed out an A+ was for the first TBARA races at the Panhandle tracks. Well, Showtime was packed. So much so that I had to park out by the road. The stands were packed, the backstretch was packed, I mean there were people literally everywhere around the track. It almost reminded me of the first USAC/PRI race at OSW the way people were standing everywhere.
TRACK GRADE: B+. This was the first time I was at the track formerly known as Sunshine Speedway, but I definitely like the layout of the track. Needs some rubber down and some help to get that second groove going, but I think it’s an ideal pavement facility for sprint cars.
NUMBER OF SPRINT CARS: 17
- #75 – Mickey Kempgens
- #27 – Tony Carrenno
- #22 – Johnny Gilbertson
- #85 – Rex Hollinger
- #81 – Stan Butler
- #18 – Shane Butler
- #69 – Ric Voisey
- #6 – Frankie Hurst
- #6 – Skeeter Faulconer
- #47 – Jason Bradford
- #66 – Ray Bragg II
- #0 – Dude Teate
- #44 – Bill Pettijohn
- #3 – Garrett Green
- #21 – Jimmy Alvis Sr.
- #2 – Larry Brazil Jr.
- #51 – Mark Gimmler
WHO WON: Feature win went to Shane Butler. Heat wins went to Johnny Gilbertson, Ray Bragg II and Dude Teate. There was also a Dash For The Cash won by Johnny Gilbertson.
FSCF.com DRIVER OF THE RACE: Passing was at a premium in the feature, but there was one guy out there passing cars and that was Mark Gimmler. Talking to Mark before the feature, he didn’t seem real keen on how loose his car was, but he wasn’t the only one out there fighting a loose condition. Mark made a bold pass on Ray Bragg II that saw a little bit of contact and then stalked Jimmy Alvis Sr. for a few laps as they both navigated the slower car of Mickey Kempgens and then Mark pulled a brilliant three wide pass to pick up fourth place. This move was also reminiscent of the snappy three wide move Mark used at Citrus County to take a spot from Stan Butler. Mark keeps this up and I’ll start referring to him as “Mega” Mark Gimmler.
FSCF.com HARD LUCK AWARD: We haven’t seen Ray Bragg II in competition for a spell, but he had his sprint car all prettied up and in his heat he was bad fast, so much so that I had him on my short list of potential feature winners. Ray was getting out of the turns like he was shot out of a cannon and was working the extreme low line with ease. Then unfortunately in the feature the brakes went away on him and then so did the left rear. As the old saying goes, “at least they knew you were there tonight,” and so goes the Hard Luck Award for Ray Bragg II. Despite all of the hard luck, Ray had a big smile on his face as he was signing autographs for the little fans after the race. Class act that Ray Bragg II.
- “The Bushnell Bullet” Shane Butler was fast all night and come feature time, jumped out to the lead and never looked back, picking up an impressive win. Dude Teate tried to keep him honest, but Shane was a master at working traffic and picked up a well-deserved victory.
- It was good to see Dude Teate and his familiar black #0 in the pits once again. Dude worked that car over all night, manhandling it through the turns. While other cars looked faster, Dude grabbed that car by the scruff of the neck and took it to the front whether it wanted to or not. Good stuff, he hasn’t missed a beat.
- Defending TBARA champion Johnny Gilbertson was quietly quick all night always up front, picking up his heat win, winning the Dash for the Cash and coming home third in the feature. That’s an almost sweep of the evening.
- Rex “Boneman” Hollinger had an up and down evening, practicing well, but rolling off fo his heat race the fuel pickup problem that plagued him at the last TBARA race reared its ugly head again forcing him to pull off before the green. He then ran some practice laps after the fact, with no improvement. The team got the problem solved come feature time and Rex was looking racy, making a few passes, but got plagued by an overanxious flagman waving the move over flag. But at least Rex had the ship pointed in the right direction at the end of the night.
- Jimmy Alvis Sr. was also on my short list of potential feature winners as the car was very fast all night and I think he could have won his heat race, but didn’t want to push the issue.
- Garrett Green made his first proper sprint car debut Saturday night, and looked quick at times, didn’t make any bad rookie mistakes and loaded up the car in one piece, which is about all you can ask for from a youngster wheeling one of these things in anger for the first time.
- Larry Brazil Jr. had a long night in the Mac Steele entry, fighting a loose condition most of the night, then having motor issues in the feature.
- “The Smooth Operator” Mickey Kempgens was behind the wheel of the Curtis Sutton #75 and to say Mickey was dirt tracking it out there would be an understatement. Every time Kempgens exited a turn, the left front was so high you probably could have put a basketball underneath it. But seeing how Mickey was laying on the track trying to catch his breath at Citrus County the last time I saw him, Saturday night ended much better.
- Stan Butler’s night unfortunately came to an abrupt end in the feature when the bolts holding the front wing in place came out, sending the wing up and eventually blocking Stan’s sight of the track. Stan was the first DNF of the feature.
- I had a genuine Pookie sighting and have the picture to prove it. Pookie (known to the common people as Wayne Reutimann Jr.) would be more than happy to strap into a pavement sprint car once again if you’re reading this and looking for a driver as he would really like to return to sprint cars.
- I saw and talked to at least five sprint car drivers walking the pits that were just checking things out and liked what they saw and would like to come out and run Showtime on a regular basis.
- I always find myself wondering just how in the heck Skeeter Faulconer gets his cars so white? It’s like they are bleached or something. Good to see both #6 cars make a go of it in the feature.
- Now the negative – the track has a lot of work to do to get more fan and participant ready as their grand opening is around the corner. Food and more bathrooms are needed in the pits. Most crew members “went in the woods” rather than walk all the way over to where we thought the bathrooms were. There also needs to be more organization overall and the other classes were sorely lacking in car count, though I did find the micro sprints entertaining. But hey, there were sprint cars, the layout of the joint is great and they were done before 10:00. I for one am very much looking forward to going back to see the sprints again and bringing my son with me since they got done so early.
RACE REPORTER: Todd Michaels