Rhet Cooper, left, presents the winner’s trophy to Wayne Jefferson, right, after Jefferson won the Racing for Rhet 50-lap Open Wheel Modified Special Saturday night at Citrus County Speedway. Rhet, the son of longtime OWM racer Robbie Cooper, was recently diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma and is undergoing treatment for the malignant soft tissue tumor.

INVERNESS — Wayne Jefferson sped his way to the Racing for Rhet 50-lap Open Wheel Modified event Saturday night at Citrus County Speedway.

Jefferson had the night’s fast time of 65.364 mph and started in the middle of the 24-car field. By lap 10 he was in the top five. Three laps later he was in the middle of a three-car run that was quickly closing in on race leader John Anderson.

“The 22 (James Ellis) was fast, the 42 (Richie Smith) was fast,” Jefferson said. “I had a fast car and I knew I had to be patient.”

That patience paid off once the trio overtook Anderson. Ellis gained the lead on lap No. 20 with Smith and Anderson glued to his rear decklid.

By the halfway point Smith was pressuring Ellis for the lead. Each time Smith attempted a move Ellis would shut the door on his progress, until eventually the pair made contact with each other as the contest heated up. Smith rebounded and tagged Ellis from the rear forcing Ellis’ race car to wobble out of the turn. Jefferson took advantage of the incident, dove low on the pair, and drove off to lead the way to the finish with a 1.5 second advantage over the pair.

“They just messed up in (turns No. 3 and 4),” Jefferson said.

Smith would eventually outmaneuver Ellis to finish second, Ellis was third, Bruce Bennet Jr. fourth, Donny Duchesne fifth, Anderson sixth, LJ Grimm seventh, Craig Cuzzone eighth, LB Skaggs ninth and Ander Jackson 10th.

The OWM event — held in honor of Rhet Cooper, son of longtime Open Wheel Modified Racer Robbie Cooper — brought fans, racers, and fans alike to the Inverness venue to focus on supporting Rhet, who was recently diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a malignant soft tissue tumor.

Other race action included Sport Wilson with the eventual Pure Stock win after original race winner Larry Welter Jr. was disqualified after his No. 58 race car was found to have illegal valve springs. Second-place finisher Kyle Peters also fell to the post-race technical inspection after his car weighed in too light after the 50-lap event. Wilson was declared the winner over Craig Cuzzone, Jesse Veltman, Casey Rounds and Jammie Dunnahoe.

Chuckie Herne found victory lane twice in the night’s event lineup.

In the Mini Stock division, Herne narrowly beat Thomas Peet to the finish by 0.313 seconds. Mike Autenrieth, David Carlbert and Don Teague rounded out the top five, respectively.

Half of that field entered the Mini Stock Figure 8 event as well, with Herne leading the way to the finish over Autenrieth, Carlbert, Peet and Justin Pittman.

Race action continues Saturday night with a 75-lap Wheelman Series Sportsman event, Outlaw Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Modified Minis.

Citrus County Speedway

Official Results

April 20

Racing for Rhet! Open Wheel Modified 50

1. (92j) Wayne Jefferson*^

2. (42) Richie Smith

3. (22) James Ellis^

4. (24) Bruce Bennett Jr.**

5. (73) Donny Duchesne

6. (1x) John Anderson^

7. (25) LJ Grimm

8. (888) Craig Cuzzone

9. (71) LB Skaggs

10. (91) Ander Jackson

11. (0x) Ryan Walters

12. (2) Brad Bowman

13. (16m) Patrick Mennenga

14. (3) Brandon Baker

15. (0) Troy Robinson

16. (75) Bobby Blake

17. (2c) Dustin Chisholm

18. (78) Cory Lane

19. (16) Herman Dismuke

20. (03) Kyle Bookmiller

21. (15) Rob Pope***

22. (19) Brian Brendel

23. (84) Randy Anderson

24. (43) Steven Hise

DIVISION STATS: 24 cars. 50 laps. Total Race Time: 38:32.976. Margin of Victory: 1.580 sec. Avg. Speed: 19.455 mph. Best Lap by: (92j) Wayne Jefferson, 13.984 sec., 64.359 mph, Lap No. 39. Contingency Awards: *Fast Qualifier: (92j) Wayne Jefferson, 13.769 sec., 65.364 mph. **Hard Charger: (24) Bruce Bennett Jr. ***21st Finisher: (15) Rob Pope. ^Lap Leaders: Laps 1-19: (1x) John Anderson; Laps 20-34: (22) James Ellis; Laps 35-50: (92j) Wayne Jefferson.

Don’s Plumbing Pure Stock 50

1. (94) Sport Wilson

2. (888) Craig Cuzzone

3. (28) Jesse Veltman

4. (47) Casey Rounds

5. (41) Jamie Dunnahoe

6. (8) AJ Waller

7. (00) Russell Feightner

8. (47x) Keith Zavrel

9. (65) Happy Florian

10. (43) Wesley Rounds

11. (112) BK Williams

12. (40) Jerry Rogers

13. (85) Larry Welter Sr.

14. (21) William Waymire

15. (56) Larry Crisp

16. (4x) Kleav Lewis

17. (82) Danny Maddoc

18. Michael Gilkerson II

19. (23) Michael Ruff

20. (04) Jimmy Mcleod

21. (32) James Jones

22. (15) Tyler Prenesti

23. (7) Travis Blotz

24. (45) James Johnston

25. (4w) Wes Wilson

DIVISION STATS: 28 cars. 50 laps. Total race Time: 30:34.951. Margin of Victory: 0.878 sec. Avg. Speed: 24.524 mph. Best Lap by: (94) Sport Wilson, 15.884 sec., 56.661 mph, Lap No. 18. *Fast Qualifier: (58) Larry Welter Jr., 15.614 sec., 57.642 mph. POST-RACE TECHNICAL INSPECTION DISQUALIFICATIONS: (58) Larry Welter Jr.*, valve springs. (53) Kyle Peters, too light. (No7) James Peters, right rear mounts not in correct position.

Mini Stock 25

1. (81) Chuckie Herne

2. (5) Thomas Peet

3. (32) Mike Autenrieth

4. (2c) David Carlbert

5. (5d) Don Teague

6. (13p) Justin Pittman

7. (22L) Lauren Lanier

8. (51) Robert Anthony

9. (71) Gary Holliman Jr.

10. (15) Brian Potvin

11. (37) Jimmy Hennebohle

12. (56r) Aaron Ray

13. (48x) Gary Sivils

14. (13s) Jason Simons

15. (72) James Charlton

16. (56) Gary Holliman Sr.

17. (44) Sammy Pruitt Jr.

18. (83) Noah Souza

DIVISION STATS: 20 cars. 25 laps. Total Race Time: 17:32.438. Margin of Victory: 0.313 sec. Avg. Speed: 21.379 mph. Best Lap by: (5) Thomas Peet, 16.941 sec., 53.126 mph. Lap No. 22. DID NOT START: (25) Lonnie Hinote. (4w) Steven Wyatt.

Mini Stock Figure 8

1. (81) Chuckie Herne

2. (32) Mike Autenrieth

3. (2c) David Carlbert

4. (5) Thomas Peet

5. (13p) Justin Pittman

6. (5d) Don Teague

7. (71) Gary Holliman Jr.

8. (56) Gary Holliman Sr.

DIVISION STATS: 8 cars. 15 laps.

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