PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Kyle O’Gara led wire-to-wire to win his second Dave Steele 125 victories in the past three 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 $5,000 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,” O’Gara said. “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-lap 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.”
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,” Bettis said. “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 (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