Swamp Buggy Spring Classic
Where: Florida Sports Park (entrance is located at intersection of Collier Boulevard and Rattlesnake Hammock Road)
Saturday: Gates open at 10:30 a.m. Time trials begin at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $6, children 12 and younger are free. Tickets are $5 for the dance. Combo ticket for Saturday time trials, dance, Sunday races, $25.
Sunday: Gates open at 10:30 a.m. Races begin at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the gate.
NAPLES — Can swamp buggy racing leadfoot Eddie Chesser put the finishing touches on his eighth Budweiser Cup Series points championship this weekend at the Florida Sports Park?
The answer to that question will be known at about 4 p.m. Sunday when the Spring Classic wraps up the 2009-10 points chase that began in October and continued in January.
Chesser, who drives the V8 4-wheel-drive Pro Modified machine called The Rapture, has piled up 23 points through the first two events, finishing second in the Big Feature in October and nailing top honors in January.
Two drivers in particular have the best chance to steal The Rapture’s thunder. Lorrie Johns, who drives the Lady Liberty in the V8 Sportsman division, has 17 points. Tyler Johns, who pilots the Pro Modified 2-wheel-drive entry called Patriot, has 13.
Sunday’s show also will feature the final race for the legendary Leonard Chesser. The 70-year-old will retire as a driver, ending a career that began in 1956. He’s won 25 Big Feature titles – more than anyone in the history of the sport. His first Big Feature win came in 1970 and his most recent in October of 2008.
Drivers earn points based on their finishes in their respective classes and also in feature races.
Rounding out the Bud Cup points leaders are two events are Steve Armstrong’s Evil & Wicked Jeep (11 points), William Thornton’s four-cylinder Cold Duck (10 points), Roy Ortega’s six-cylinder Terminator (10 points) and Bobby Williams’ 6-cylinder Barefoot Florida Sunshine (10 points).
Between 1995 and 2000, Chesser racked up six straight Bud Cup championships at the wheel of the buggy known as The Outlaw. He topped the field again in 2004.
The weekend festivities begin at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon at the Mile-O-Mud track east of Naples. Drivers will put their machines through some practice laps and there will be non-points racing in the air-cooled, Jeep and V8 Sportsman divisions. The Pro Modifieds will race Saturday only against the clock in the Pro Modified Challenge time trials. Some drivers may sit out Saturday, though, saving their equipment for Sunday’s points action.
Festivities also include Saturday night’s annual country music dance at the Florida Sports Park’s indoor pavilion.
Tickets for Saturday’s competition and Sunday’s Spring Classic are available at the Florida Sports Park ticket windows. While Saturday’s show will run about two hours, Sunday’s will last about four and will conclude with the traditional Queen’s Mudbath. Golden Gate High grad Megan Hoolihan will experience her third and final dunking with Sunday’s Big Feature winner.
The Florida Sports Park entrance is located at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Rattlesnake Hammock Road, about three miles south of I-75 Exit 101. On-site parking is free.