Saturday, February 22 – It was the final day of our Florida vacation and it was another warm humid day. During the day we ventured over to Port Richey, FL to meet up with good friends Sam and Rosalie, who retired to Florida around 10 years ago. After a lot of chatter and a nice meal at Olive Garden we headed south to our final race of the vacation.
Showtime Speedway, a quarter mile slightly banked asphalt oval and a figure 8 track, is located in Pinellas Park. The last time Bruce and I were here it was 1985. Tonight we returned to see the Pro Figure 8 races. These cars usually run at the Sportsdrome in Jeffersonville, Indiana and do not look like what you think of as a figure 8 car. Most of the times the cars look more like enduro cars but these cars are really nice. They look like dirt late models with huge plexiglass sail panels and tonight they were running a 150 lap event and of course this was the final event on the racing card. First up was a 50 lap feature event for the 19 street stocks in attendance. There was a lot of good racing in this event. Most of the time they ran side by side and the pass for the win came on the backstretch of the final lap. Cameron Ray picked up his second win over John Makula.
Next up was a division called the Race Cars of Yesterday and that is exactly how they looked, like the cars that ran back in the 60’s and 70’s. They only ran 15 laps. Tim Brush won the non-stop event. The Kids Fast Four division had only three cars for their 10 lap event. It too went non-stop with Danielle Bennett taking the checkered. There were only 2 cars in the enduro race and that also went non-stop. It was 8:17 and time for a break in the action. The announcer said we are going to take a 10 to 15 minute break and that usually means at least 30 minutes. But it was 8:30 when the 30 lap mini stock feature took the green and turned onto the figure 8 course off turn two, only 13 minutes after the previous checkered fell. It was a night for caution free racing as the event was clean and green for all 30 laps. Shane Rigby picked up the win.
There were 17 figure 8 cars that lined up along the homestretch wall for the main event. Nearly half of the cars were local Florida drivers and the remainder were the Indiana figure 8’s. When they lined up for the start it was Indiana boys in the right lane and the locals in the left lane. The race was 150 laps but at the end of the first 50 laps the red was thrown for the drivers to refuel the cars and make minor adjustments. The race started at 8:50 and at 9:20, 50 laps and 4 cautions later, the red came out for the fuel stop. There was a 20 minute break before racing resumed at 9:40. The final 100 laps saw the caution wave 7 more times. It was hard to believe but no cars were hit in the crossover and it sure was not because of lack of hard racing. At 10:35 it was over with Eddy Vanmeter standing in victory lane. Jeff Shackleford was second with RJ Norton in third. By 10:45 we were in the car making a quick getaway out of the very crowded parking lot. The show was run very efficiently with very little downtime. The stands were nearly filled with fans and they saw some good racing. We enjoyed the show and the figure 8 race was really fun to watch. I think we just might have to look them up out in Indiana.
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