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Gardner Sails To Victory In Red-Hot USAC Florida Action

Ocala, Fla. – Fleet Damion Gardner chased down Jon Stanbrough in the final turn to win a USAC sprint-car thriller at the Ocala Speedway on Thursday evening, the first of three Bubba Army Sprint Nationals races on the 1/3-mile Ocala Speedway.

The race marked the season opener for the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Series, which was making its third appearance on Florida dirt. A year ago at East Bay Raceway Park Gardner scored victories both times out.

Lining up fifth in the Pace Lighting Eagle/Shaver, Gardner had the hot car from the drop of the green, quickly advancing to third place behind Bryan Clauson. Once overhauling the latter, he set sail on leader Jon Stanbrough, hounding him as the laps wound down.

To the delight of the crowd, Gardner, also known as the “Demon,” swooped by the chagrined Stanbrough a few yards from the finish line for the victory.

“Lapped cars were keeping me from running a smooth lap and bobbles were costing me the half-car length I needed to seal the deal,” Gardner said in victory lane. “But on the last lap, I was able to roll all the way down the backstretch on the gas and was able to carry the speed into three and pass him.”

Gardner went on to say winning the first race of the year gives him momentum going into the new season.

Stanbrough took second with Clauson third.

Series champion Levi Jones raced to fourth place ahead of Bud Kaeding.

The second five finishers were Brad Sweet, Bobby East, Coleman Gulick, Bill Rose and fast-qualifier Hunter Schuerenberg.

In qualifying, Schuerenberg outpaced 28 others to claim fast time at 14.801 seconds.

Justin Grant and Casey Riggs walked away from flips in separate incidents.

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