In The News 2005


Hialeah Speedway Ends 51 Year Run August 13, 2005

HIALEAH, Fla. - The final checkered flag ever waved over Hialeah Speedway Saturday night and it was veteran Joe Winchell who sped to a popular victory in the 75 lap Jeff Dufresne Memorial for limited late models.

A late afternoon thunderstorm drenched the speedway but failed to dampen the enthusiasm for the closing night festivities as 28 late models answered the call for action.

Winchell blasted from the outside of the front row and paced all 75 laps but had a mirror full of Mike Franklin, Jr for the final dozen circuits that both drivers know so well. Brent O'Neill turned in a steady drive for third money ahead of Richie Henry and Bobby Beauchemin.

Winchell was greeted in victory lane by honored guest Herb Tillman who won the opening day feature at the track 51 years ago.

"This is a very special win for me," explained Winchell. "I began coming here as a kid in 1962 and began racing in 1973 and I just love the history of this place. I hate to see it go.



Russell wins Goodyear Challenge

May 28, 2005
by Dave Westerman

Longwood's Tim Russell didn't get a very good start in the Goodyear Challenge 100 Friday night at Orlando Speedworld, but he bided his time and wowed the crowd by using the outside groove to do his passing on his way to a very popular victory.

Twenty-two Goodyear Challenge Late Models were on hand with veteran Chuck Burkhalter setting quick time at 13.699 seconds in the Independent Ukranian Adoption Chevy. Rich Clouser, behind the wheel of Bobby Sears' Daytona Dodge Chrysler entry, was second quick with young Sam Watts timing in third fastest just ahead of Russell and Canada's Jerry Artuso.

Tate Pierce had the pole for the 100 lap main event but the original start was aborted following a big crash in turn one that eliminated Don Hess, Joey Strehle and Rich Higley.

Pierce shot into the lead as the field finally took the green but outside pole sitter Travis Cope missed a shift and stacked up the outside row behind him including both Russell and Clouser. Cope managed to pull his car off the track but several of the top drivers now found themselves having to play catch-up as Russell crossed the line 12th on the opening lap.

Pierce led the opening two laps but Artuso took over at the end of lap three despite some damage to the right front corner of his car after he got together with another machine just after the drop of the green.

Action continued with Artuso leading a tight freight train until caution flew on lap 14 for debris on the track. Joe Winchell pitted to replace a flat tire while Chuck Burkhalter's car slowed to a stop under yellow. He could not get it re-fired and his machine was pushed to the pits as Winchell re-joined the field at the back.
Artuso continued to set the pace for twenty more green flag laps until Troy Atkins spun in turn two to bring out the second caution.
The field went green for several more laps before Jeremy Fitch hit the back stretch wall. Fitch came around turn four and got tangled up with Joe Gentry to bring out the caution once again.

The field took the crossed flags for half-way under caution with the top ten Artuso, Pierce, Watts, Russell, Clouser, A.J. Currelli, Bill Ostriker, Greg Kaouk, Charlie Kopach and Winchell.

Russell was now on a mission as he took to the outside groove and passed Watts for third on lap 64. Three laps later Bill Ostriker spun to bring out the caution. As the field slowed, Watts got into another car and tore the right side body work off his car. After a quick check by track officials, Watts was allowed to continue.
On the restart, both Pierce and Russell really began to pressure Artuso. Pierce made a move on lap 77 but spun in the process to bring out the yellow flag once again. Rather than go to the rear of the field, Pierce opted to take his car off the track.

Russell was on Artuso's bumper for the restart, and, after trying several inside moves, jumped up on the outside groove again and finally made his pass stick on lap 89. Russell then speed away from the field to claim the win while Artuso held off the challenges of Clouser to settle for second. Watts held on for fourth with his damaged car while Winchell had the drive of the night coming back up to fifth after pitting early to change the flat tire. Currelli, Kopach, Ostriker, Richard Parks and Gentry competed the top ten.

Russell dedicated the win to crew member Keith Royston who lost his father, long-time race fan Frank Royston, a few days earlier.

1. #36 Tim Russell, Longwood
2. #5 Jerry Artuso, Ontario, Canada
3. #9 Rich Clouser, Palm Bay
4. #73 Sam Watts, Winter Springs
5. #57 Joe Winchell, Davie