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Dwarf Cars fill up pits; tight finishes abound on track

In the third week of preseason competition at Citrus County Speedway, the car count was up to 110 Saturday night with the addition of Dwarf Cars to the program. The tuning and testing sessions are paying off with tight finishes in all divisions.

Inverness' Bruce Gaskins came out hot after two disappointing weeks of no starts in his new Oldsmobile Late Model. Top-end engine problems kept Gaskins from even starting a heat race in the first two weeks. With the problem solved, he won the pole position in both his heat and feature, and smoked the field for a twin victory.

Brooksville's Lee Blevins, who got his race motor back in his Camaro after running a big block engine out of his Suburban for the first two weeks, gave Gaskins the most pressure, but he had to settle for two second-place finishes. Lake Panasoffkee's Alan Peckham took his new Chrysler LeBaron to a third-place feature finish. Defending Late Model champion Fred Tuski Jr. of Crystal River won the other heat.

Dwarf Cars made their 1994 debut with 20 cars taking the green flag for a 15-lap feature. A five-car crash on the back chute caused a 20-minute delay two laps into the race. It started when Herb Bates of Orlando crashed head-on into the pit-exit barrier. Rescue crews used the Jaws of Life to cut Bates out of his car, but he walked away under his own power.

On the restart, Geneva's Donald Hess came from the back part of the pack to pick up the victory, with Kissimmee rivals Floyd Olinger and Richard Lawrence nose-to-tail with him at the finish. Bates and Lawrence took the heat wins.

Inverness' Herb Neumann Jr. showed defending championship form, capturing his first feature win in Sportsman action. Inverness' Willie Tobener picked up the heat win over the 10-car field, but had to settle for a distant second in the feature. Last week's feature winner, Ted Boles of Hernando, rallied for third.

Brooksville's Victor Stanley started 17th in the 22-car Street Stock field, snatching victory from Hernando's James Henick in the 18th lap of the 20-lap main. Inverness' Harold Bunch settled for third. Heat wins went to Spring Hill's Steve Turner and Inverness' Dwayne Fults.

Brooksville's Frank Coleman captured his second Mini Stock feature of the preseason over the largest field to date. Brooksville's Ron Malendez led the 18-car field for the first 11 laps, but settled for second ahead of Inverness's Scott Roush. Malendez and Coleman took the heat wins.

Crystal River's Mike Veltman survived a protest to hold on to his Bomber win in a 22-car field. Inverness' Lee Dollar finished second ahead of Inverness' Travis Nichols. Heat wins went to Veltman and Crystal River's Sam Damron Jr.

In the final week of preseason races, Street/Bombers Figure 8s will be added to the regular schedule of Late Models, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Bombers. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; racing starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, $2 for children ages 6-12, and free to children under 6 accompanied by an adult.

Citrus County Speedway will take a two-week hiatus to make way for the Citrus County Fair on March 19 and 26. The points season will open April 2.