W-I-N SPELLS RELIEF FOR BERTUCCIO by Jeremy Troiano
Christopher Thrills Crowd After Coming From Back Of Pack
Finally, on Thursday night, Bertuccio was in the news for all the right reasons, picking up his first win in years of trying during Florida Speedweeks. Bertuccio led from flag to flag in the 25-lap feature.
"I've been coming down here for a few years now," said an extremely excited Bertuccio. "I've set it on the pole, I've led laps and I've had quick times, but never won that race. This is really exciting. I have been waiting for this for a long time.
"I've been through a lot and put up with a lot. It was all worth it now."
J.R. Bertuccio has been in the news during this year's running of Speedweeks, but not for the right reasons. He'ss been the fast qualifier, been wrecked out and gotten into several verbal and on-track altercations.
Bertuccio had a pretty easy time of it. In a race that was very similar to Wednesday night's Super Late Model race, a majority of the race was run in a "follow the leader" train. In fact, only the cars of Eddie Flemke and Teddy Christopher could make any sort of passes.
J.R. Bertuccio was all smiles in Victory Lane.
"Our car was good early and we got some runs, but our tires just wore out and we couldn't do anything else after we got to third," said Flemke.
Bertuccio used a long green flag spell to pull away and win the race going away over George Kent and Flemke. It was a good precursor to Friday night's Richie Evans Memorial 100.
"Oh yeah, this helps my spirit. I've been through a lot of stuff, but this makes it all better," added Bertuccio. "This takes us up to another level. We are just looking forward to tomorrow night now. I just want to win the Richie Evans Memorial."
The Richie Evans Memorial will be a totally different animal for Bertuccio and the rest of the Tour Type Modified drivers, who have been used to running 25 lap races for the past week. The Richie Evans Memorial runs 100 laps.
"It's not about preparing yourself as a driver. It's more about tire management. And you have to have the crew behind you."
George Kent Jr. had his best run of Speedweeks, coming home second, but was never able to manage a run on Bertuccio.
"That is what this has become," said Kent, referring to the follow the leader type racing. "The cars are so good and no one wants to go to the outside on a consistent manner. It mostly about trying to protect the inside.
"If we had a late caution, I might have had something for him. Might have."
In this third night, Tom Baldwin finally had a decent showing, finishing seventh. It was easily his best run of the three days Baldwin as been in attendance, after two days of mechanical problems.
Teddy Christopher started far back in the field on Thursday night but was able to maneuver his way up to fifth before the final flag flew.
Thursday night's race was run nearly caution free. The only major incident of the race happened early when the cars of Larry Altholtz and George Boch crashed hard in turn one.
Tim Arre, who is second to Teddy Christopher in the points, had a tough night. Arre dropped back early in the race with a tire going down, but was able to finish the race. The tire went completely flat on the cool down lap.
Jerry Symons won the Florida / IMCA Modified race. It was his fifth win in six nights of racing.