Winternationals Has a Wild Wednesday by Amy Hayes and Jason Buckley
It's Sunny and Clear as a Bunch of Racers Earn Their Victories
Bassett Not To Be Denied His Win a Second Time
Bassett showed that he too wanted to be a factor in the Winternationals championship. He took off as soon as the green flag waved for race two and didn’t look back, leading the field all of the way to the checkered.
“I would really like to thank Ryan,” said Bassett. “He raced me clean and it was a lot of fun out there.”
At least, he tried to not look back. That was hard to do when Glenski made one final attempt to try and pass Bassett on the last lap.
“I couldn’t look in my mirrors,” joked Bassett. “I just had to keep going forward and go for it. Me and Glenski are tied so now it makes for a good points battle going into Thursday.”
Stroupe runs his #51 through traffic on his way to a victory.
The 2007 Winternationals at Orlando Speedworld officially got underway on Wednesday. Actually, the event halfway began on Tuesday, but the races got off to a rough, and well, wet start. Some afternoon Thunderstorms worked their way into the Orlando area and put a good dousing of rain on the track and many of the competitors.
The track was so thoroughly soaked that the track officials deemed it unsafe to for the Bandolero classes to run at all on Tuesday. Those cars utilize the flatter part of the track near the apron, and too much water had collected there to be safe. So only the Legends and Thunder Roadsters officially got their season underway by taking to the banking of Orlando.
The man to beat for the past year in the Bandolero Young Guns division has been Ryan Glenski. He showed why that is during Wednesday’s feature event, in which he swept by Ronnie Bassett in the closing laps and claimed his first victory in the Winternationals event.
“I had a lot of fun racing with Ronnie,” said Glenski. “It was a good clean race. It is a lot of fun down here racing in Orlando, Florida. It’s pretty exciting, I am out of school this week and to be in Orlando and racing for the first time, it is pretty cool to bring home the win.”
Ronnie may have lost the first battle, but he wasn’t ready to give up.
Ryan Glenski and Ronnie Bassett put on a great show at Orlando.
Chelsea Schilling was the first victor in Tuesday night’s rain-delayed Semi Pro Feature event. Matthew Stover won in the Chargers division with a dominating lead, and even did his victory burnout a little early as he spun out just before the start finish line, but still held on for the win. Craig Goess, Jr. was able to hold off a hard charging field in the Pro Feature while Clay Hair topped the Masters division. The Thunder Roadsters were also able get their feature in with Jesse Bunnell winning that one to cap off the night.
Wednesday brought much better weather for the Winternationals, as the Legends and Thunder Roadsters prepared for their second day of competition, while the Bandoleros got their races finally underway. Sunny and clear Skies with temperatures in the 70’s greeted teams and fans. Plus, there was double the fun in racing for some divisions, as the Bandoleros ran a Double Header to make up for the races that was missed on Tuesday night.
Ryan Glenski Sneaks By Bassett, Claims Win
Stroupe Seals the Deal, Stancill Takes Second Again
Zach Stroupe and John Stancill put on some of the best racing of the day at the Orlando Speedworld during the Legends Semi-Pro Feature. Stancill started on the pole, and seemed poised to stay there, as numerous quick cautions prevented Stroupe from getting around the second-place car and into a position to battle for the lead.
By the middle of the race however, Stroupe was able to get around the car and he set his sights on Stancill. The last half of the race consisted of the two drivers running nose to tail the entire way and swapping the lead back and forth a total of four times.
In the end, it was Stroupe who was able to get by Stancill on the next to last lap and visit victory lane in the second event of Winternationals, and for the second time, Stancill was second.
“John and I had a good race again,” said Stroupe. “It has been like that the past year. We were bumping and banging and just having some fun. It was a good day for us. I thought it was a really good race, and I hope we have one that is as good tomorrow.”
While Stancill had to settle for second for the second night in a row, He was keeping his mind on the ultimate goal.
“It was a lot of fun out there, even though we were second again,” said Stancill. “We are doing pretty good in points now, with two second place finishes. That should help us in the championship chase. That’s what we came down here to do…win the championship.”
Clay Hair Dominates Again in Masters Division
Clay Hair won again in the Legends Masters division on Wednesday at Orlando Speedworld, backing up his Tuesday night victory. Clay started on the outside pole, and quickly took the lead. At one point in the race he had a sizeable lead over Tim Brockhouse.
That lead stayed that way, at least until Hair started catching up with the lapped cars.
“Those lapped cars did kinda sorta scare me, “ laughed Hair. “I know those guys are racing for position and everything, I don’t want to upset them, but I still got guys coming on me. (Tim) Brockhouse caught me there once, and those guys (lapped cars) were going two wide.
“I had to think about where I was going to go three wide in the middle, but I thought better of it. Anyhow, it all worked out for the best. But the fat lady ain’t singing yet, two wins is a great deal though.”
Two Races, Two Wins For Stover
Matthew Stover is always tough to beat at the race track. Wednesday he showed just how strong his #26 Legends car can be in the Charger division.
Stover started from the pole and led most of the laps before crossing the finish line first. This was his second win in two days.
"The car was great," said Stover. "It had a little push off the center. We had it set up pretty good for most of the day."
Stover did lose the lead on the start, but it was his own doing.
"I tried to start out in third gear," explained Stover. "I probably should have used second. I didn't have enough pull through the center. But, I was able to come back and get back by for the lead. It was real good. I had a great time."
Goess Holds Off Pistone's Backup Car For Pro Win
Nick Pistone led the Pro Legends field to the green flag wanting to go wire to wire for the win and throughout the race it looked like he might just pull it off, but Craig Goess, Jr. had his #81 hooked up to the Orlando Speedworld surface, taking the lead and the win from Pistone.
"It was a fun race," said Goess. "He (Nick Pistone) was right there on my bumper for three-quarters of the race. I didn't really pull away until about five to seven laps to go. It was white-knuckle driving for sure. My hands are a little sore right now. It was very fun for me to run with him that close."
Pistone had a great run finishing second, but the car he drove was not his primary car. A bizarre situation occurred which forced him into the backup.
"Well, last night we were on the pole with a brand new car that we built," said Pistone. "Someone came up to me and offered to buy it. I told him a price and he went for it. I parked the car right then, got the backup out, started 18th and finished fourth. We just need to tweak on it a bit to get it better and beat Goess."
Bodie Bellinger Wins First Bandolero Race
Drivers are told to never give up. Bodie Bellinger certainly didn't give up after early issues in the Bandolero Bandits threw him in the back of the field. From the way back, Bellinger drove to the front and onto victory.
"We started fifth and on the first lap somebody wrecked us," said Bellinger. "We had to go back to last and we worked our way back up to first. We won.
This was Bellinger's first Bandolero win.
"It was frustrating getting wrecked. It was really annoying trying to get back up there but it definitely paid off. This was our first win."
Spin and Win for Van Wingarden in Roadsters
Only four Thunder Roadsters took the green flag for their feature event Wednesday night. Most assumed it would be a snoozer of a race. Instead, one of the best battles of the day occurred between Thomas Van Wingarden and Jesse Bunnell.
Van Wingarden was able to hold off Bunnell for the win.
"It was a good time and a great race," said Van Wingarden. "We were beating and banging a little bit. It made for some great racing. We were having fun out there so I am glad I came out on top."
Contact between Bunnell and Van Wingarden late in the race almost cost Van Wingarden the win. But, he was not phased.
"I got hit going into turn one and got turned around," said Van Wingarden. "But it worked out. It was no big deal. I know he was just trying to race hard. It was fun."
Bassett Brings Home a Win in Backup Car
Tuesday's rain forced the Bandolero Bandits to make up their feature race Wednesday. Dillon Bassett started the race from the third position, but he was not in his primary car. Earlier in the day his primary car suffered motor woes, putting him in the backup for the makeup race.
It did not phase him though as he worked his way to the top spot and onto the win.
"The first car blew up earlier today," said Bassett. "We had to pull it in. We did not finish that race.
His backup car wasn't the best but it was good enough.
"(The backup car) was loose. I thought everybody was going to spin me out. They were hitting me in the backend getting me loose. We are going to tightened it up a little bit more."
The Bandos got to race on Wednsday after being rained out the day before. (51 Photos)
Goess chases the #16 of Cole Miktuk.
Van Wingarden's Thunder Roadster