By Ronald L. Jerger, Jr.
During this Memorial Day holiday weekend we honored our national fallen heroes but also we to once again paid homage to one of our fallen Champions with the 13th annual running of the “Denny Kleier” Memorial paying $500 to win for our Pure Stock Division. With that said the staff and management did not disappoint all in attendance with a fast multi groove race track that provided outstanding racing action. Promoters Jerry, Mona & Josh King welcomed 80 entries, (15) LM’s, (20) Mod’s, (12) Crate’s, (18) Pure Stocks (season high) and (15) Hornets to compete on the “The South’s Most Exciting ½ mile high-banked Dirt Track” and home of the “North/South 100” and “National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame”.
Our Pure Stock division headlined the nights racing action with the 25 lap 13th Annual “Denny Kleier Memorial” feature event. Brandon Gibson and Randall Lee Dooley paced the field to the green, but unlike last year’s Kleier Memorial Gibson did not break a spindle going into turn one and bested Dooley coming off of turn two and the early race lead. As lap (1) was completed Gibson lead the way with Dooley, Ronnie Helton, Roy Beach, Jr. and Joel Andrews in tow. Lap (2) Tim Brearton would get by Andrews for 5th. Before lap (5) would be scored the #67h of Helton would come to a stop in turns one and two for the first caution of the race. As the green flag waved for the restart the #14 of Brearton after earlier being observed as possibly using “Rough Driving” techniques was seen again using his fast race car in a manner to warrant his disqualification from the event. As the field was reset, it was Gibson leading with Dooley, Beach, Andrews and Dana Moore chasing him. The race then went caution free for the next (16) laps as Gibson built up nearly a straightaway lead but the race for second was intense as Dooley and Beach dueled it out lap after lap with Dooley holding off Beach until lap (14) when Beach then set his sights on Gibson. Lap (20) the second and final caution of the race waved for the spinning #69 of Johnny Decker resetting the field and erasing the straightaway plus lead that Gibson had built up. Now a single file restart had Gibson out front with Beach, Dooley, Andrews and Donnie Maxwell moving into 5th after the Decker spin. Gibson would once again show his race long dominance as he powered away from the field, Andrews making his first appearance at Florence in 2015 passed Dooley for third on lap (22). Gibson captured his 4th “Denny Kleier” Memorial and pocketed the $500 1st place prize and trophy.
Gibson of Dry Ridge, KY piloted the Busse racing owned Chevy Monte Carlo powered by a House racing engine and sponsored by Florence Winnelson, Burch Sheet Metal, Kims Pilot Car Service, D & Z Plumbing, Brewer Autobody, Webb’s Excavating, Bill’s Auto Service and Pine’s Mobile Home Park.
Finishing 2nd was Beach, 3rd Andrews, 4th Dooley and 5th Maxwell.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #5 of Chris Schweikert of North Bend, OH who started 14th and battled his way to 7th.
In the 30 lap Late Model feature event, The front row starters of James Rice and Scott James paced the field to the green flag, and the local favorite Rice jumped to the point with James right behind as a close second as lap (1) was scored. It didn’t take long for “The Silver Shark” to attack his prey as James jumped to the lead and opened a hole for Dustin Linville to also get by Rice on lap (3). As lap (5) was scored James showed the way with Linville, James Rice, Robby Hensley and John Gill in chase. The top five held their own until lap (23) when 4th running Hensley would stop on track bringing out the one and only caution of the race. The ensuing Delaware double file restart posted James out front with Linville and James Rice row two and Gill and Ted Nobbe Rice in row three. With (3) laps to go Gill would get by James Rice for 3rd. As the checkers waved, James gained a couple of car lengths over Linville and captured his third “A” main victory in a row and his 17th of his career here at Florence Speedway. James defiantly showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with for next week’s 29th running of the LOLMDS sanctioned $10,000 to win “Ralph Latham” Memorial.
The Harrison, Ohio native James was driving the DPL Consulting / James Motorsports owned Rocket/Dargie/Camaro and sponsored by Powell Leasing Services, DLP Racing, State Dock Lake Cumberland, Kay Bar C Bucking Bulls, Sparklin Acre Farms, Jerry’s Truck and Diesel Repair, Joseph Stocker and Sons and New Era Recycling.
Finishing 2nd was Linville, 3rd Gill, 4th James Rice and 5th Ted Nobbe.
The “Hard Charger” of the race with an impressive run was the #84 of Bill Blair, Jr. of Amelia, Ohio who started 13th and hustled his way up to 8th.
In the Modified 20 lap feature Pete Holt, of Independence, KY took the lead on lap (3) over inside pole sitter Ryan Morton and held off the ever present #68 of Adam Stricker lap after lap over the final (11) laps to capture his 7th career “A” main at Florence and first since 2013.
Holt drove his own Bandit Chassis, powered by an A. Hines Racing Engine and sponsored by Phantom Shirts, Brown’s Transmission and John’s Autobody.
Finishing 2nd was Stricker, 3rd Colin Green, 4th Morton and 5th Billy Vaughan
The “Hard Charger” of the race was #1am Austin Mills of Alexandria, KY who started 18th and advanced to 9th.
2014 Florence Speedway introduced our newest division of competition with introduction of the Crate Late Model class. In their 15 lap feature event John Gill subbing for his son Remington captured his first “A” main here at the speedway in the Crate division. Gill took the lead for good on lap (4) from current point’s leader Grant Garrison and held off grant at the checkers.
The “Modern Day Cowboy” was driving the TE Motorsports owned Rocket/Chevy Impala, sponsored by RJE Fertilizers, Seubert Calf Ranches, TE Motorsports and Genesis Shocks.
Finishing 2nd was Garrison, 3rd Jeff Alsip, and 4th Tom Collini, 5th Trevor Landrum.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #94 Jordan Hedger of Independence, KY who started 12th and finish in 9th.
Florence Speedway’s kicked off our 4th season of humming in the front wheel drive Hornets division. The 12 lap feature event had Michael Hoffman and Tony Reed across the front row, Lap (1) had Reed taking the point and Hoffman 2nd, Ryan Eversole 3rd, Brandon Gibson, Jr. 4th and Richard Dalton 5th. Lap (2) Gibson takes 3rd from Eversole. Lap (4) Gibson overtakes Reed for the lead and the #97 of Matthew Morris gets by Kendall Eberhart for 5th. Lap (5) Hoffman passes Reed for 2nd and Morris and Eberhart gets by Eversole for 4th and 5th. The final yellow of the race waved for the #2 of Carson Freeman to set up a (3) lap dash to the finish. The would be final restart had Gibson out front with Hoffman, Morris, Reed and Eberhart close behind. The race for 2nd was intense as Hoffman battle Morris back and forth each leading the other over the final (3) laps. But it was Gibson, Jr. showing why he’s the current point’s leader as he captured his 2nd “A” main of 2015.
Gibson, Jr. was driving the Brandon Gibson, Sr. owned Chevy Cavalier, sponsored by Pine’s Mobile Home Village, PS Graphics, Bill’s Auto Service, Bee Cleaning, Avon and Busse Racing.
Finishing 2nd was Hoffman, 3rd Morris, 4th Reed and 5th Eversole.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #33s of Michael Sand who started 13th and finished in 8th.