Ringers dominated the 50-lap Street Stock Championship on Saturday at Sunshine Speedway.
The race was won by Outlaw Late Model driver Robert Crisp of Clearwater in his No. 2 car. Pinellas Park's Corky Craver, No. 25, made a spectacular run to finish second.
The machine guided by Craver, an Open-Wheel Modified racer by trade, originally was disqualified in the time trials for being too light. But he made his way into the feature by winning a heat event and placing second in the other two.
Forced to start at the rear of the field, Craver maneuvered his way to the top, wasting not one of his laps in getting there.
Craver's explosive performance culminated in a showdown in the final four laps. He made an aggressive push to pass the second-place car, the No. 77 of Bryan Rogers, and succeeded in Lap 46.
Craver spent a couple of revolutions closing in on Crisp, who led most of the race, and turned on the fire at the end before coming up short.
Crisp, the 2000 Street Stock points champion, began the event on the inside of Row 4, seventh place, and moved into the top three by Lap 5.
Eleven laps later, he snaked past Oldsmar's Ricky Hoffman (No. 32), surviving every attack from his fellow front-runners. Craver and eventual third-place finisher James Ellershaw, No. 50, of Largo soon were part of the group.
The two laps afforded Craver to pose a serious threat to Crisp, but were not enough to overtake him.
"One more lap, that's all I needed," Craver said.
"I almost won. One more lap and I'd have won. But when that last lap came around, I just let him go. I knew there wasn't time."
"I really had fun out there," Craver said. "I raced nice and clean all throughout, I never laid a finger on anybody, except for at the end there with Robert. But hey, that's racing."
Both drivers had less good fortune in their home divisions.
Crisp and Craver, leaders in their respective classes, finished lower than usual in features due in some way to mechanical difficulties.
Craver drove his substitute No. 29 rather than his purple No. 11, which was bogged down in the middle of an engine rebuild. He, consequently, fell to ninth after climbing to fifth early in the race.
Crisp failed even to start the Outlaw feature, blowing his second transmission of the night during the warm-up laps.
Though no longer in direct competition, the two men once faced each other weekly as full-time Street Stock drivers.
"The first time Robert ever raced in a Street Stock, he gave me two flat tires," Craver said.
"But hey," he said, smiling, "that's racing."
NOTES: Pinellas Park's Shane Grigsby won the Modified feature race after a first-row start in his No. 28 car.
Points leader Chet Senokossof, No. 6, of Pinellas Park started in the slot directly behind Grigsby. Senokossof never budged, finishing second.
Pinellas Park's Jimmy Houle, No. 80, the division's defending champion, rounded out the top three.
Pete Coon of St. Petersburg took the top spot in Outlaws.
The driver of No. 27 turned back Clearwater's Jim Altobelli, No. 76, and Largo's Steve O'Lone, No. 20, who is third in the points standings.
In Mini Stocks, Eric Cuchta (No. 12) of Largo won the feature.
St. Petersburg's Jay Zolciak, No. 61, placed second. Macky Mongold, in his No. 6 machine, was next to cross the line.
Senokossoff continued to increase his value in a class he once knew well, taking the Figure 8s victory in his No. 6 "White Knight."
He was followed by Jack Boswell, No. 59, of Clearwater and 2001 points champ Ron "Hollywood" Davis, No. 89, of Pinellas Park.
St. Petersburg's Jody Butler, No. 7, topped the Enduros field.
Gordon Ross, No. 87, Pinellas Park, captured second. Pinellas Park's Pete Miley, No. 91, followed.
Richard Shepard, No. 48, of Pinellas Park was the winner in the Hornet division, for drivers 16-19.
Pinellas Park's Derek Molloy, No. 71, and Jason Keene, No. 1, were second and third, respectively.