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  O’GARA DOMINATES STEELE 125

David Sink

February 10, 2024 – Pinellas Park, Florida – Kyle O’Gara led wire-to-wire to win his second ‘Dave Steele 125’ victories in the past 3 years Saturday night at Showtme Speedway. He took the lead at the drop of the green flag and never looked back en-route to the $5000 payday in the 125-lap race.

O’Gara stated from the pole position due to his fast tme in qualifications and a straight up start. 14-year-old Colton Bettis challenged O’Gara in the early laps for the race and even got beside him on several occasions but was never able to make a successful pass. Bettis eventually fell on behind O’Gara.

On a lap 22 double file restart, O’Gara and Bettis made contact coming for the green, Bettis; car launched into the air before settling down. Another attempt at the restart followed successfully. Twenty laps later another double file restart the duo would make contact again. There was no damage to either car.

O’Gara continued to add to his lead and wouldn’t be challenged the rest of the way. He beat Bettis to the finish by 7.633 seconds to the checkered.

The only serious accident of the night occurred on lap 73 when Ryan Adema pounded the wall hard on the main straightway. A red flag was flown but Adema was uninjured.

O’Gara explained the two altercations on the restarts in victory lane. “He (Bettis) was just trying to control the restart a little bit. He tried to edge ahead there. We just picked up the pace and clipped each other a couple times. No harm no foul at the end of it. The only thing I was worried about was a right front valve stem. We had a tire puncture here last year. My immediate thought went to that. The car was fine right away.

“We focused on the race car this year. Other guys wanted to put up big times in practice. We kinda let them chase themselves as much as they wanted to. We ran on old 125-lpa tires today, and really dialed ourselves in. Qualifying is not our strong suite, but it played in our favor today. We were on race setup for qualifying and it just worked. We’re happy to start the year this way” concluded O’Gara.

Bettis was crowned the overall Dave Steele Sprint Car Champions based off his points average from last weekend’s twin 35-lap winged features. Bettis and Davey Hamilton Jr. The championship was bittersweet for the Florida teenager as Steele was at one time his racing hero.

“It means a lot because I’ve looked up to Dave since I was such a little kid. I actually met him here at Showtime Speedway in the pits. I’ve looked up to him ever since. I just always liked his nickname Superman. It just stuck out to me as a little kid”.

FEATURE FINISH (125 LAPS)

1.      67-Kyle O’Gara; 2. 61-ColtonBettis; 3. 14-Davey Hamilton Jr.; 4. 32-Dalton Armstrong; 5.1-Brian Gingras; 6. 33-Robert Yoho; 7. 75-Robert Tyler; 8. 92-Ryan Adema; 9. 4-Travis Bliemeister; 10. 81-Steven Hollinger; 11, 67a-Scotty Adema

 

 

HAMILTON JR & BETTIS SPLIT STEELE WINGED VICTORIES

February 3, 2024 – Pinellas Park, Florida - Davey Hamilton Jr. and 14-year-old Colton Bettis each claimed a 35-lap feature victory Saturday night at Showtime Speedway. But by virtue of his fast time (12.383), Hamilton Jr was crowned the 2024 Dave Steele Winged Weekend champion. His fast time was used as the determining factor that awarded award him the title.
The night’s racing activity included twin 35-lap feature events that paid $2500 to win each feature. A point average between the two events determined the champion. Both Hamilton Jr. and Bettis won feature events and finished runner-up in the other race. At the conclusion of both events there was a tie. The tiebreaker was Hamiton’s fast time.
In the first 35-lap feature evet Hamilton wasted no time getting to the front and taking the lead. As the race was nearing its conclusion, Bettis was able to catch Hamiton Jr. who was dealing with heavy lapped traffic. Bettis showed a wheel entering turn 3 on the final lap. Hamilton Jr. would hold on to claim feature event #1. Hamilton Jr. narrowly beat Bettis by 0.326 seconds for the win.
In the second feature it would be a reversal of the first feature. Bettis would quickly assume the point early in the race from his outside row 4 starting position. Hamilto Jr. closed in on Bettis as the laps wound down. Bettis was battling heavy traffic late in the race all the while trying to keep Hamilton Jr. at bay. At one-point Bettis split 2 lapped cars creating a three-wide battle entering turn one in an aggressive move to hang on to the lead. Hamilton Jr. was never able to mount a serious challenge due to the aggressive handling of lapped cars by Bettis. Bettis would win by 1.031 seconds over Hamilton Jr.
It was a popular win for Bettis as he topped Hamilton Jr. at his home track. Hamilton Jr. has been the hottest driver in Florida pavement sprint car racing the last 2 years. Bettis was the 2021 Showtime Speedway sprint car champion at the age of 11.
“Late in the race all I could keep doing was looking at the scoreboard” stated Bettis in victory lane. “I knew he (Hamilton Jr.) was coming. I think I burnt the right rear off a little bit too early. But it all worked out as planned.”
Despite not sweeping the night, Hamilton Jr. used consistency and a good qualifying effort to claim the Dave Steele Winged Weekend championship.
“My team and I work really good together. But we did struggle with motor issues all day” explained Hamilton Jr. “Not making any excuses. That first race I was a little worried about it. It was slowing us down. We thought we had it fixed for the second race. It started towards the end there again. We got beat. But to be the overall champion is special. It’s really cool. Congratulations to Colton. He’s part of the Kirk Morgan Racing camp. We work good together and help each other. It was a matter of time. He’s only 14 years old and I feel like I’m getting old now,” laughed Hamilton Jr.
Sprint cars will return to Showtime Speedway next weekend for the second weekend of the Dave Steele Sprint Car Championship. Non-wing sprint cars will battle it out for 125 laps and a $5000 first place prize on Saturday night February 10. This race will help decide the overall Dave Steele Sprint Car Champion.
FEATURE #1 FINISH (35 LAPS)
1. 14-Davey Hamilton Jr.; 2. 61-Colton Bettis; 3. 88-Sport Allen; 4. 18-LJ Grimm; 5. 24-Dylan Reynolds; 6. 7-Larry Brazil Jr.; 7. 67-Scotty Adema; 8. 81-Steven Hollinger; 9. 7a-Keith Butler; 10. 75-Robert Tyler; 11. 33-Robert Yoho; 12. 86s-Tommy Nichols; 13. 92-Ryan Adema; 14. 85-Rex Hollinger; 15. 86-JJ Dutton; 16. 1-Gary Wiggins; DNS 02-Gene Lasker
FEATURE #2 FINISH (35 LAPS)
1. 61-Colton Bettis; 2. 14-Davey Hamilton Jr.; 3. 18-LJ Grimm; 4. 24-Dylan Reynolds; 5. 88-Sport Allen; 6. 33-Robert Yoho; 7. 85-Rex Hollinger; 8. 92-Ryan Adema; 9. 75-Robert Tyler; 10. 81-Steven Hollinger; 11. 7a-Keith Butler; 12. 7-Larry Brazil Jr.; 13. 86-JJ Dutton; 14. 1-Gary Wiggins; 15. 67-Scotty Adema; DNS 86s-Tommy Nichols; DNS 02-Gene Lasker
 
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