This fourth edition of the Charity Truckers 200 at Orlando Speedworld (FL) was by all accounts a rousing success for all involved, and a dominating victory for Tyler Laing from nearby Davie, Florida.
The Charity Truckers 200 is the brainchild of former racer, official, and long time fan, Rick Bristol. The Charity Truckers 200 has become one of the premier events held each year at the Orlando Speedworld. In the three previous years this event has raised over $33,000 for three families in need, all have children who are battling cancers, or other life threatening illnesses.
This years edition got off to a shaky start when Mother Nature intervened and forced Bristol and race officials to reschedule the event. The forecast called for clearing skies Saturday and Sunday, so everything was moved up a day.
Saturday did indeed clear, but with the clearing skies came cold temperatures. This did not hamper the spirits, or competition. The trucks would qualify Saturday night with Laing setting a quick time of 14.84 Seconds, with Michael Pilla turning in the second fastest time of 14.96 seconds. Steve Darvalics, Anthony Sergi, and Nick Hernandez would complete the top five.
Saturday also saw Scott Smith cruise to the checkers in the super stock feature, and Neal Kirby won the strictly stock portion of the show. Both drivers donated most of their winning back to the cause.
Sunday brought partly cloudy skies, and warmer temperatures. NASCAR mascot, Aaron's' Lucky Dog, was on hand to assist with the pre race ceremonies. The redraw Saturday night would find Norman Agostinho on the pole, and the #77 of Lance Daubach on the outside of the front row. Eventual winner Laing would start fourth.
At the drop of the green, it didn't take long for the action to start. Polesitter Agostinho, would get loose coming out of two, had to check up, was tap from behind, and promptly tested the concrete wall on the back strait. This would bring out the yellow, and reset the field for a complete restart. Agostinho was able to restart but did so from the rear of the field.
On the restart, Nick Hernandez jumped out front with the #77 of Lance Daubach, and Laing in close pursuit. On lap 23 the yellow was again displayed for the spinning trucks of Bobby Owens, and the #407 of Agostinho, when the race restarted Laing began to turn up the heat on Hernandez. Laing prevailed and took the lead, shortly thereafter Charlie Montgomery, trying to follow Laing past Hernandez, tangled with Hernandez, and would send both trucks to the rear of the field for the restart.
Laing would run mostly uncontested out front. The pace was slowed when Jerry Maxson lost an engine on the front straight and would erupt in a ball of flames. Track, and safety crews quickly extinguished the fire and Maxson was unharmed in the incident.
Laing again assumed the lead on the restart and would stay there with Last year's winner, Steve Darvalics running in second.
The trucks were stopped at lap 97 for the planned halfway break where the crews could change tires and make adjustments. Most opted to change two tires and refuel. Laing would put stickers on the right side, make a small wedge adjustment, and refuel the # 39 Silverado.
The second half of the race saw Laing continue his dominance by leading every lap. The final caution came out on lap 186 when Norman Agostinho day went from bad to worse when he tangled with the #04 of Doug Samion. Samion was able to continue, however Agostinho succumbed to the three-strike rule, and spent the remainder of the race in the infield.
Laing easily cruised to victory in the remaining 12 laps, and was not challenged by second place finisher Darvalics. Laing celebrated with a tire destroying burnout, and smoking doughnuts, and even a “Kyle Busch” Bow to the crowd. Tyler gave credit to his crew, sponsors, and most of all, Mom, and Dad. Tyler and his team donated most of their winnings back to the families.
Rick Bristol reported that the truck teams donated over $5300 back to the charity. Plans are already in the works for next years Truckers 200. If you are interested in getting involved with this deserving charitable event you can contact Rick at Rbristol@fascar.org.