East Bay Raceway Park
T-Mac goes distance to capture East Bay finale
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 12) – After struggling for most of the week at East Bay Raceway Park’s 35th annual Dart Winternationals by Magnaflow, Tim McCreadie showed no signs of a struggle during the Saturday night finale. | Complete Speedweeks coverage
The Watertown, N.Y., driver led all 75 laps of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at the third-mile oval just south of Tampa, taking home a $12,000 payday.
After taking the lead from the outside of the front row, McCreadie was able to pull away from the field on each of the race’s three restarts, but at times had trouble negotiating slower cars.
Heavy traffic slowed McCreadie late in the race, allowing Billy Moyer to challenge for the lead. Moyer pulled alongside McCreadie in the middle of turns one and two twice during the final five laps of the race, and seemed to be setting up for a late-race pass. But McCreadie turned back Moyer’s challenge and held on to claim the second Winternationals victory of his career.
“We held him off. He’s one of the toughest guys in the country to beat and we held him off,” McCreadie said of his race with Moyer. “I didn’t know who it was at first. ... I’m glad I didn’t know it was him cause I probably would have went in there and made a mistake.”
The victory capped off a week that saw McCreadie get better with the more races he ran. After finishing a dismal 20th in the Winternationals opener, he missed the feature in each of the next two events. But he showed signs of life in the second of two events Friday with an 18th-to-sixth run. He finished ninth in an afternoon race Saturday, before finally reaching victory lane Saturday night.
“We started out horrible and it just goes to show you that you just gotta stay at it,” McCreadie said of his week at East Bay. “We brought two new (race cars) and I was cussing them earlier in the week... It just shows you sometimes you gotta take a breath and figure things out. This car was pretty hot tonight.”
Moyer of Batesville, Ark., appeared to be as fast as McCreadie during some portions of the race and closed in on the leader multiple times. But McCreadie would move to the top groove each time and pull away.
"We just didn't quite have enough,” Moyer said after the race. “We were better than him on some parts of the track, and he was better than us on the other three-fourths of the track. I don't know. He did a good job. That little line he could run, I couldn't run there how he was rim-riding around there, and then he could cut down. His car was good. We gave it a shot, but we just came up (short)."
After skipping the first three Winternationals races, Moyer won the first race of a doubleheader on Friday. But like McCreadie he also had struggles. Moyer, who has won the most features in Winternationals history, failed to qualify for the feature in the two other events he entered, but closed out the week with a solid second-place run.
"We're happy with that,” Moyer said of the finish. “We've been throwing a few little things at this (car), so at least we feel better about it now. It's running like it's suppose to again."
Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., started from the pole and ran second for much of the race. He was even alongside McCreadie for the lead on lap 13, and probably could have completed the pass, but his run was negated when a caution slowed the field.
O’Neal lost second to Moyer on the ensuing restart and ran third until he regained the position on lap 25. He chased McCreadie through the middle portions of the race, but again lost the second spot to Moyer on a lap-46 restart.
O’Neal closed in slightly on the leaders late in the race, but ran out of time. He finished third.
"I just struggled so bad (on restarts),” O’Neal said. “It took me like 15 laps it seemed like before I could get to rolling again. There at the end, I was rolling again, but they had gotten out on me too far."
Jason Feger closed Winternationals with a solid fourth-place run after setting fast time earlier in the night. The Bloomington, Ill., driver started eighth and ran in the bottom half of the top ten for much of the feature before charging into the top five late.
After winning Saturday’s daytime feature, Jimmy Owens claimed the fifth position in the nightcap.
Notes: McCreadie's Rocket Chassis is powered by a Pro Power engine and is sponsored by Sweeteners Plus. ... McCreadie’s previous Winternationals victory came in 2005 and was his first major Super Late Model victory. ... The race was slowed by three cautions. The first appeared when Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa slowed on lap 12. Chris Wall of Springfield, La., spun on lap 31 to bring out the second caution. The final caution was caused by a four-car pileup on lap 46 that involved Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. ... Unofficially, Bloomquist won the $5,000 Dart Winternationals points championship, beating O’Neal by five points. ... The six 2011 Winternationals features produced six different winners, making it just the second Winternationals event not to include a repeat winner. The only other year that no driver repeated was 2007.
Finish: (1) Tim McCreadie, (2) Billy Moyer, (3) Don O'Neal, (4) Jason Feger, (5) Jimmy Owens, (6) Mike Marlar, (7) Jared Landers, (8) Bub McCool, (9) Brad Neat, (10) Dale McDowell, (11) Scott Bloomquist, (12) Eddie Carrier Jr., (13) Donnie Moran, (14) Ray Cook, (15) David Breazeale, (16) Frank Heckenast Jr., (17) Dan Schlieper, (18) Chris Wall, (19) Billy Moyer Jr., (20) Tim Dohm, (21) Josh Richards, (22) John Blankenship, (23) Austin Hubbard, (24) Tim Isenberg, (25) Earl Pearson Jr., (26) Dennis Erb Jr. Fast qualifier (among 61 cars): Feger, 14.254. Heat race winners: O’Neal, Moyer, Owens, McCreadie, Marlar, McDowell. Consolation winners: Heckenast, Blankenship. Provisional starters: Pearson, Cook, Schlieper, Dohm, Wall.
Blog-style reports from preliminary action:
Second consolation race
John Blankenship ran away with the second consolation race, leaving Jason McBride and Donnie Moran to battle for the second and final transfer position. The high-running McBride held the position for most of the race, but the low-running Moran used a slidejob in the final corner to take the position at the finish. The race was slowed by one caution when Justin Rattliff slid high exiting turn two on the first lap and taged the wall. Rattliff turned sideways after the wall scrape and caught the side of Steve Francis's car, turning the two cars back into the wall. Neither driver was injured.
Finish: John Blankenship, Donnie Moran, Eric Jacobsen, Jason McBride, Dan Schlieper, Jared Hawkins, Wendell Wallace, Brent Robinson, Tim Dohm, Chris Wall, Wayne Chinn, Mark Andersen, Perry Brown, Chuck Julien, Bob Geiger, Steve Casebolt, Justin Rattliff, Steve Francis.
First consolation race
Frank Heckenast Jr. started on the pole and led every lap of the first consolation race. Tim Isenberg gave chase the entire race, but had to settle for second and a starting spot in the feature.
Finish: Frank Heckenast Jr., Tim Isenberg, Tyler Reddick, Eric Wells, Dan Stone, Brandon Thirlby, Chad Valone, Chad Hollenbeck, Michael Chilton, Jack Nosbisch Jr., Travis Varnadore, Joe Denby, Jim O' Hara. Scratched: Davey Johnson, Ricky Weiss, Earl Pearson Jr., Vic Coffey, Leon Henderson, Dillan White, D.J. Wells.
Consolation race lineups
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Davey Johnson
Row 2: Tim Isenberg, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Eric Wells, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Dan Stone, Tyler Reddick
Row 5: Brandon Thirlby, Travis Varnadore
Row 6: Chad Valone, Michael Chilton
Row 7: Chad Hollenbeck, Jack Nosbisch Jr.
Row 8: Jim O'Hara, D.J. Wells
Row 9: Jim Denby, Dillan White
Row 10: Danny Mitchell, Vic Coffey
Row 11: Leon Henderson
Row 1: John Blankenship, Justin Rattliff
Row 2: Donnie Moran, Jason McBride
Row 3: Eric Jacobsen, Jared Hawkins
Row 4: Ray Cook, Steve Francis
Row 5: Dan Schlieper, Chris Wall
Row 6: Wayne Chinn, Steve Casebolt
Row 7: Brent Robinson, Christian Augspurger
Row 8: Wendell Wallace, Tim Dohm
Row 9: Chuck Julien, Bob Geiger
Row 10: Mark Andersen, Perry Brown
Row 11: Duane Harbaugh, Russ Adams
Dale McDowell won the sixth heat race from the pole after leading every lap. Fourth-starting Billy Moyer Jr. chased McDowell the entire distance, but didn't have enough to chase down the quick McDowell. Thursday night's feature winner Brad Neat passed Donnie Moran late in the caution-free race to take the third and final transfer position.
Finish: Dale McDowell, Billy Moyer Jr., Brad Neat, Donnie Moran, Jared Hawkins, Dan Schlieper, Steve Casebolt, Wendell Wallace. Scratched: Russ Adams, Chuck Julien.
Mike Marlar took the lead over David Breazeale on the start of the fifth heat and pulled away to the victory. Breazeale ran second in the caution-free race, with Jared Landers finishing in the third and final transfer position.
Finish: Mike Marlar, David Breazeale, Jared Landers, Justin Rattliff, Eric Jacobsen, Steve Francis, Wayne Chinn, Christian Augspurger, Perry Brown, Mark Andersen.
Tim McCreadie moved to the lead on the start of the fourth heat and led every lap for the victory. Polesitter Jason Feger trailed McCreadie the whole race and finished second. Tim Dohm ran third for most of the of the race, but something broke on his car causing him to slow in turn four on the final lap. Fourth-running Dennis Erb Jr., squeezed by and took the final transfer position, but Ray Cook, Brent Robinson and Chirs Wall all got together with Dohm in a four-car pileup.
Finish: Tim McCreadie, Jason Feger, Dennis Erb Jr., John Blankenship, Jason McBride, Tim Dohm, Ray Cook, Brent Robinson,Chris Wall, Bob Geiger. Scratched: Duane Harbaugh.
Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist ran side-by-side for the first lap of the third heat race, with Owens taking control at the line. Bloomquist continued to challenge Owens for the position, but jumped the cushion getting into turn one on lap five. Owens ran the remaining distance unchallenged to claim the victory, while Eddie Carrier Jr. finishing second. Bloomquist fell back to fourth after his lap-five mistake, but battled back and passed Tim Isenberg on a late restart to take the third and final transfer position.
Finish: Jimmy Owens, Eddie Carrier Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Tim Isenberg,Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Thirlby, Michael Chilton, Jim O'Hara, Dillan White. Scratched: Leon Henderson.
Billy Moyer led every lap of the second heat race to transfer to the feature for the first time since he won Friday's day race. Josh Richards trailed Moyer the entire distance and finished second. Bub McCool and Davey Johnson battled for the third and final transfer spot for the majority of the race, with McCool taking the position at the finish.
Finish: Billy Moyer, Josh Richards, Bub McCool, Davey Johnson, Eric Wells, Tyler Reddick, Chad Valone, Jack Nosbisch Jr., Joe Denby. Scratched: Vic Coffey.
Don O'Neal took the lead on the start of the first heat race and led every lap for the victory. Fourth-starting Brian Birkhofer moved from fourth to second on lap one and after turning back an early challenge from Austin Hubbard, he took the runner-up finish. Hubbard finish third and will transfer to the feature.
Finish: Don O'Neal, Brian Birkhofer, Austin Hubbard, Frank Heckenast Jr., Ricky Weiss, Dan Stone, Travis Varnadore, Chad Hollenbeck, D.J. Wells, Danny Mitchell.
Making the most of a racetrack that was getting faster late in time trials, Jason Feger went out near the end of the qualifying order and posted the fastest lap time of 61 entries for Saturday night’s Dart Winternationals by Magnaflow finale at East Bay Raceway Park.
Feger posted a lap of 14.254 seconds at the third-mile oval and will start on the pole of the fourth of six heat races coming up. Unofficially the other heat race polesitters are: Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.; Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark.; Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn.; David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss.; and Dale McDowell of Chickamouga, Ga.
The top three finishers from each heat race will transfer to the 75-lap main event. Two drivers from each of three consolation races also transfer to the main event. Rounding out the 26-car field will be the two fastest qualifiers who failed to transfer through prelims and two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series provisionals.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature pays $12,000 to the winner. Thursday night’s rainout was made up earlier in the day with Jimmy Owens claiming his first East Bay victory.
Saturday is the consecutive doubleheader at the racetrack just outside of Tampa. Billy Moyer and Brad Neat split victories on Friday.
Heat race lineups
Row 1: Don O'Neal, Ricky Weiss
Row 2: Austin Hubbard, Brian Birkhofer
Row 3: Frank Heckenast Jr., D.J. Wells
Row 4: Dan Stone, Travis Varnadore
Row 5: Danny Mitchell, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Josh Richards
Row 2: Bub McCool, Davey Johnson
Row 3: Eric Wells, Tyler Reddick
Row 4: Chad Valone, Jack Nosbisch Jr.
Row 5: Joe Denby, Vic Coffey
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Tim Isenberg, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 3: Dillan White, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Brandon Thirlby, Michael Chilton
Row 5: Jim O'Hara, Leon Henderson
Row 1: Jason Feger, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Tim Dohm, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 3: Chris Wall, Ray Cook
Row 4: Brent Robinson, John Blankenship
Row 5: Jason McBride, Bob Geiger
Row 6: Duane Harbaugh
Row 1: David Breazeale, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Justin Rattliff, Jared Landers
Row 3: Wayne Chinn, Eric Jacobsen
Row 4: Steve Francis, Christian Augspurger
Row 5: Mark Andersen, Perry Brown
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Dan Schlieper
Row 2: Donnie Moran, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Wendell Wallace, Jared Hawkins
Row 4: Brad Neat, Steve Casebolt
Row 5: Russ Adams, Chuck Julien
Scott Bloomquist leads the Dart Winternationals points by 60 over Don O'Neal; the champion earns $5,000. ... This is the 12th season the Winternationals have been made up of six Super Late Model races. Only once (2007) has six different winners visited victory lane. Five different drivers have won so far this week. ... Eleven drivers have made all five Winternationals features: Scott Bloomquist, Josh Richards, Eric Jacobsen, Tim Dohm, Dan Schlieper, Austin Hubbard, Eddie Carrier Jr., Mike Marlar, Ray Cook, David Breazeale and Don O'Neal. ... Schliepe and Breazeale used provisional starting spots to achieve that feat. ... Jimmy Owens, winner of Saturday's early feature, leads with $18,800 in purse winnings.
Time trials (unofficial)
- Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 14.438
- Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.494
- Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.546
- Ricky Weiss (7), St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba, 14.573
- Josh Richards (25), Shinnston, W.Va., 14.599
- Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 14.603
- Austin Hubbard (19), Seaford, Del., 14.610
- Bub McCool (57j), Vicksburg, Miss., 14.663
- Tim Isenberg (9T), Marshfield, Wis., 14.665
- Brian Birkhofer (23), Muscutine, Iowa, 14.706
- Davey Johnson (47), Greensburg, Pa., 14.752
- Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 14.792
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 14.805
- Eric Wells (18), Hazard, Ky., 14.814
- Dillan White (54), Crofton, Ky., 14.833
- D.J. Wells (11), Wooton, Ky., 14.890
- Tyler Reddick (11), Corning, Calif., 14.969
- Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.992
- Dan Stone (21d), Thompson, Pa., 15.048
- Chad Valone (2v), Warren, Pa., 15.05
- Brandon Thirlby (m14), Traverse City, Mich., 15.107
- Travis Varnadore (1cj), Dover, Fla., 15.115
- Jack Nosbisch Jr. (01), Riverview, Fla., 15.126
- Michael Chilton (97), Salvisa, Ky., 15.159
- Danny Mitchell (18D), Clarksburg, W.Va., 15.463
- Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 15.640
- Jim O'Hara (44), Moscow, Pa., 16.143
- Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 16.533
- Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y., no time
- Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., no time
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 14.254
- David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 14.298
- Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 14.317
- Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.325
- Mike Marlar (36), Winfield, Tenn., 14.355
- Dan Schlieper (s9), Oak Creek, Wis., 14.435
- Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 14.437
- Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 14.482
- Donnie Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 14.489
- Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 14.524
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.530
- Chris Wall (71w), Springfield, La., 14.561
- Wayne Chinn (15), Bradford, Ohio, 14.574
- Wendell Wallace (88), Batesville, Ark., 14.585
- Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 14.595
- Eric Jacobsen (5), Seacliff Beach, Calif., 14.621
- Jared Hawkins (37), Fairmont, W.Va., 14.690
- Brent Robinson (3), Smithfield, Va., 14.705
- Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 14.750
- Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 14.792
- John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 14.838
- Christian Augspurger (19), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 14.839
- Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.915
- Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill., 14.945
- Mark Andersen (85), Blanchard, Mich., 15.148
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.52
- Russ Adams (74), Princeville, Ill., 15.624
- Bob Geiger (38), Laurel, Del., 16.206
- Perry Brown (22), Riverview, Fla., 19.593
- Chuck Julien (56), Apopka, Fla., 20.027
- Duane Harbaugh (87), Hedgesville, W.Va., no time