Steve Dorer said that Florida United Promoters Race Director Rick Williams is a friend, but he will never race for him again. Williams essentially assured that would happen Tuesday, as he announced that the FUPS Super Late Model tour had ceased operations following Saturday's event at Auburndale Speedway in Winter Haven, Florida.
This comes after one of the strangest set of events in recent short track racing memory. Williams was the race director calling the shots in the Billie Harvey Memorial 100 at Auburndale Saturday, an event that saw mass confusion, poor sportsmanship, rough driving and some bizarre calls that left fingers pointing in every direction.
The 100-lap race was already more than two hours old after being littered with cautions, spins and drivers being sent to the tail end of the field. The key players in this story didn't meet met up on the racetrack until lap 89, when former FUPS champion Steve Dorer battled with race leader Jeff Scofield, who has had lots of previous success at the Super Late Model level in Florida.
Perhaps the worst thing that could have happened was that these two drivers, who already had a history, were left to settle things on what already had been a crazy night.
With three laps to go in the 100-lap feature, Dorer used the bumper to get under Scofield. The next corner, Dorer got the front end of Scofield's car. As a result of the contact, Dorer went around for a spin and both cars were sent to the back by Williams, or at least that was the plan.
Dorer didn't like the call. When Speed51.com caught up with Dorer Tuesday, he stated that in the drivers meeting Saturday, Williams told drivers that if a driver was spun, he would get his spot back. Dorer refused to give up his spot and set off a 15-minute chase to remove him from the racetrack, which involved golf carts and wreckers to block his path.
"I did what we had asked the official (in the drivers meeting). I moved him into the second groove and I went to the lead," stated Dorer in a phone interview on Tuesday. "He did exactly what he talked about in the meeting in retaliation."
Earlier in the day, Dorer and Scofield had gotten into a disagreement during the drivers meeting that left both drivers with boiling blood.
"It all started in the drivers meeting," said Dorer. "We were talking about safety and rough driving on the race track. Jeff spoke up and said. 'What do you call rough driving? We are on a quarter mile, what if I go in there and move a guy?'"
This started a debate that turned heated in the eyes of some as drivers tried to clarify the rules.
"I brought it up because two years ago I moved Steve Dorer with three to go," Scofield told Speed51.com Tuesday. "We went side-by-side in four and into turn one. After that race I got out in victory lane as the winner with the flag and they told me I was DQ'ed. I had not been back since then."
According to Dorer, Williams said that if a driver wrecks a driver who did a bump-and-run, then they will be sent to the rear and the spun car would get its spot back. This is where the confusion started after Dorer had been spun out of the lead.
"The crowd was going nuts as they sent both of us to the rear," said Dorer. "We had all had enough. I was like no, I played by your rules, I moved him into the second groove and now you want to go back on your word. I didn't want to move him at all and now I got wrecked and I am going to the rear?"
Dorer refused to go to the rear of the field and refused to leave the track which then led to Williams calling an end to the race three laps short of its scheduled 100-lap distance. After all the shenanigans between Dorer and Scofield, Jessica Murphy found herself in the lead and was sent to victory lane when the race was called off at lap 97. Dorer was eventually disqualified for his actions.
As Murphy took her car that was damaged to victory lane, officials changed their decision and ordered a restart to finish the race. Murphy's car was not able to continue, but the race went on for its final three laps even after she had been initially declared its winner.
"He (Dorer) drove around the track and drove in circles," said Scofield. "It took them 15 minutes to block him and get him off the track. I figured we were done and I got out of my car only to find out we would finish the final three laps."
According to several reports, Williams left the tower stating the race was over. Rex Guy, who owns and operates Auburndale Speedway, was not ready for the fans to go home without seeing the end of the race's 100-lap scheduled distance.
The race was restarted only to see more craziness and to see Scofield getting disqualified on the final lap for spinning Brandon Dushcherer.
"I'll take partial blame for the wreck at the end," added Scofield. "I told that to him (Brandon Dushcherer) too, but that's racing at Auburndale."
Scofield actually got into Duscherer twice during the closing laps and was disqualified for his second offense. Scofield was the third driver to be parked that night as David Green was also penalized early in the race.
Some reports claimed that Scofield almost hit an official on the track after the race, which was a surprise to even him.
"When I came around to get the checkered flag I got the black flag," said Scofield. "At that point I got pissed off and stood on the gas and went sideway through the corners. When I came off two there was a car on the track and a car in the X. If I did drive by an official I was totally unaware of it. There was never anybody that I saw. I am pretty good at my targets. If I aim at something I am going to hit it."
After the conclusion of the 100-lap race, the finger pointing began.
"The director had no control," said Dorer. "There had been no policing up front all night and that was a key problem with the series."
Dorer has worked closely with the series and was seeking to help them succeed, but he cited recent events such as this one as the reason for a dwindling car count and lack of control from the series.
"Rex and Rick argued about the last three laps, I am not sure," added Scofield. "The series was pretty much done anyways. As for me and Dorer, that thing goes way back. He's just a moron to me. That's my opinion."
Scofield says he won't be back to Auburndale.
As a result of the on-track incident, Dorer chimed in with his opinion of Scofield as well.
"Jeff Scofield is a talented driver, but he chooses to not use his ability on level playing field at times," said Dorer. "I think he puts a black eye on racing in Florida."
Lost in all the shuffle was Bruce Bennett, who was left holding the checkered flag at the end of the night in a race that was not deemed official until Monday.
"I am very disappointed," said Williams on Tuesday. "Disappointed drivers can't act more professional? I am not sure if it's egos or what. They all get into this mindset you are not going to beat me. Perhaps I should have sent both of them home after the drivers meeting, but they are grown men."
It was a strange way for a series to go out, but Williams offered some final words for the future.
"Communication is the key to a series surviving in Florida," added Williams. “Track owners need to work together to let their egos aside to keep everyone in the mix. Success will not come without teamwork."
Dorer gave insight as to what is needed, but understands it's a hard job.
"It's easy to say I can do it when it comes to running a series," added Dorer. “Bottom line is, it's not easy at all."
Rex Guy has told Speed51.com that even with the series folding Auburndale Speedway would still run the scheduled Late Model events this season at the Winter Haven, Florida track.