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Crisp on a double winning streak in Street Stocks

By BOB BOYLE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 14, 2000


Arguably, Street Stocks are the most competitive racing class at Sunshine Speedway. With more than 60 cars registered, it's real hard for anybody to win more than one race in a row.

However, No. 2 Robert Crisp of Pinellas Park did the repeat thing and a lot more Saturday night. Not only did he grab his second consecutive feature win, he also won the annual Auto Trader Street Stock 50-lap championship race for the third time in a row. Could be wrong, but I don't think anybody has done that before.

Almost halfway through the race, Crisp didn't think it was going to happen. When the first green flag fell, No. 9 Danny Partelo of St. Petersburg won the drag race against No. 40 Ron "Hollywood" Davis of Pinellas Park to claim the lead. Crisp settled in at third.

After more than 20 laps, the three had separated themselves from the pack. Partelo was busy fighting off repeated challenges from Davis while Crisp tagged along behind.

Going into Turn 2 on Lap 24, they came upon a lapped car riding too low on the track. Partelo, who was running higher in the lower groove, had to swerve to miss the out-of-place car. Davis seized the moment and slipped into the lead. Partelo fell to second, just ahead of Crisp.

Coming out of Turn 4 on the same lap, Partelo got a little too close and tapped the No. 40, which began to lose control. Wisely, Partelo backed off to avoid wrecking both of their chances. Crisp went to the outside and around both of them.

"If Ron and Danny hadn't gotten into it, I would have finished third," a delighted Crisp said after the race.

That was it for Crisp, but not for Partelo and Davis. With some help from other drivers who had closed the gap, they managed to make contact again. Partelo ended up fifth and Davis fourth behind two Pinellas Park drivers -- No. 4 Jason Graham (second) and No. 6 Ed Kidd, who had set fast qualifying time.

In tech inspection after the race, the drivers had a discussion that did not involve wrenches, crowbars or other weapons. They actually were smiling, although some through clenched teeth.

"I didn't mean to run up on you," Graham said apologetically to Davis. "My car got tight. I was pushing like a #@*$#@!=94"

"Mine got loose -- bad loose," explained Kidd.

When Crisp came rolling into tech inspection, Davis stood at his window with his arms folded and a half grin on his face. "Robert?" he questioned.

"I swear, I never touched you," Crisp responded without being formally asked. "It was Partelo. I think somebody got him."

A reasonable man, Davis appeared to accept that.

"I finally got the three in a row I always wanted," said Crisp, who also won the event in 1999 and 1998. "Now I want to win three features in a row. Tonight was the second."

NOTES: It's unusual and quite an achievement for a driver in any class to win feature races two weeks in a row. However, in addition to Crisp, drivers in three other classes picked up two in a row for a highly unlikely four on Saturday.

In Figure 8s, No. 15 Joey Catarelli of Pinellas Park pulled a repeat by outrunning No. 14 Wayne Calkins of St. Petersburg and points leader Ron Davis, No. 89. Unfortunately for Catarelli, that was not enough to move him up in the point standings. Calkins was ninth in points and led Catarelli, who is in 10th, by 14 going into the race and by 12 afterward. Davis holds an 18-point lead over No. 28 Shane Grigsby of Pinellas Park.

Marty Neikens, No. 70 of St. Petersburg, did the double in Mini Stocks after surviving a strong challenge from Clearwater's Steve Pelo, No. 81. No. 30 Tim McPhail finished third. No. 69 Jay Zolciak of Pinellas Park finished fifth, which was enough to maintain his points lead over No. 40 Dennis Valdez of Tampa. Neikens is third in points.

Pinellas Park's Wayne Jefferson, who uses the No. 1 in both Late Models and Open Wheel Modifieds, not only repeated his feature win in Modifieds, but he snatched the Late Model win on the same night. In Modifieds, Jefferson outdrove No. 8 Randy Rhodes of Largo and No. 6 Chet Senokossoff of Clearwater.

After picking up that win, Jefferson jumped out of the Modified, leaped into the Late Model and ran another 30 laps for that win over No. 2 Wayne Bowman of Largo and No. 82 Den Neighbor Jr. of Clearwater.

However, Jefferson, who has not been running at Sunshine on a regular basis this year, is not even close to leading in points in either class. The fifth-place finish by No. 22 Sammy Coghill of Largo, who has won the Late Model season championship the past three years, was enough for him to reclaim the points lead over Seminole's Brian Leverock, who finished 12th in the No. 00 instead of his No. 5. St. Petersburg's Roger Stull, No. 99, leads in Modified season points.

In the Enduro Figure 8 race, No. 88 Eddie Allen was tops, followed by No. 37 David Gillispie, No. 02 Pete Cracolici, No. 24 Dave Cleary and No. 47 Rick Botts.

The award for the most spectacular wreck of the night goes to No. 2 J.R. Wade of Clearwater and No. 56 Allyn Summers of Odessa in the Modified feature. The two were coming down the front straightaway and were preparing to enter Turn 1 when they bumped. Wade was on the outside and slammed sideways into the wall.

With sparks and pieces of the car flying, Wade's car continued sliding along the wall, went by the pit exit, then hit the wall on the other side and continued sliding along the wall between Turns 1 and 2.

Meanwhile, Summers had slid across the track and ended up near the wall between Turns 1 and 2. The two met. The front end of Wade's car hit the No. 56, became airborne, flipped in the air, and landed on top of the wall with the nose pointed to the ground.

Neither driver was injured, but neither received the good humor award either.

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