By Katherine Adams
Donnie Bazemore became the first Coca-Cola Late Model driver this season to claim his second victory. Friday night, he passed rookie Shane Riner on the twenty-second lap and then charged to a six car length victory before a crowd of 1,700 fans.
"How about these crate motors," said Bazemore in the winner's circle. "Three crate motors among the top three. Four wins for the crate motors. They are great."
Donnie Bazemore started on the outside of row four. He worked his way towards the front making bold moves past a couple of winners this season. He quickly worked past Curt Redding and then slid underneath Steve Smith to gain second place. Riner was not as easy. But, the eighteen year veteran made his move in turn two and then never looked back posting the win over Riner, Bobby Morris, Steve Smith and Keith Tyler.
The Love's Seafood Street Stock division also uses a lesser horsepowered crate motor. Last year's champion Jay Hendricks turned his season around last year after switching the more durable crate engine package offered through GM Performance and the track's official provider NeSmith Chevrolet. Hendricks won the final five races in 2003 on his way to his first career title at OSP.
The trend has continued so far this year. The defending champion secured his sixth win of the season in six tries Friday night after powering past Butch Reich and Brian Barnes on lap five. The superior handling of his racecar and the smooth driving are creating headaches for everyone in the division.
Billy Stanley found that handling helped his racecar this past week. The five year veteran in the Sunset Novelties Mini Stocks picked up his first feature win of the season. Stanley battled with Mark Susen and Josh Carter the entire twenty lap race. Susen stole the lead away from Stanley on the fifth circuit. But, Stanley held his ground and returned the favor on the final lap. Susen ended up second ahead of Josh Carter.
"David Diekemper can by the shop last week and helped me out with the spring set-up on the racecar," explained Stanley. "I also had Patrick Mikell help me with the weights on the car. It was like driving a rolls royce. I never realized how much handling makes a difference on this racetrack."
The biggest celebration came when Richard Linton pulled into victory lane after winning his first career feature at Oglethorpe Speedway Park. Linton moved to the front of the Stanley Home Furnishings Pure Stock feature at lap two and then held off numerous challenges from Walter Sills, Don Douglas, John Heerema and Terron Roberts.
A wild crash on the final lap kept Linton in the first place spot with Heerema grabbing second ahead of Buster Kleckley, Allen George and Donnie Cannon. Loy Cribbs and Tom Egner nearly destroyed their race cars after hitting one another head-on in turn two of the white flag lap. Neither driver was injured.
Oglethorpe Speedway Park cranks back up this Friday night with Harton Automotive of Vidalia along with the NAPA Auto Care Centers presenting the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series action. The late models, street stocks, mini stocks, pure stocks and 440 series will compete this Friday night. Plus, KIX 96 will host the 3rd Annual "Mascot Race for Diabetes Cure". The gates open at 5:30pm, hot laps crank up at 7pm with racing at 8pm at the track located on US Highway 80 in Pooler. Call 912-964-8200 for more information or visit www.ospracing.net.