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East Bay Raceway Park

Rallying back into lead, Moyer wins at East Bay

February 14, 2014, 5:00 pm
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Billy Moyer enjoys his 23rd trip to East Bay's victory lane. (thesportswire.net)
Billy Moyer enjoys his 23rd trip to East Bay's victory lane. (thesportswire.net)

GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 14) — Billy Moyer fell victim to Dennis Erb Jr.’s low-groove run on Thursday night. In Friday’s feature, the Hall of Famer from Batesville, Ark., used that same groove himself to regain the point from fellow front-row starter John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., for his East Bay Raceway Park-leading 23rd career Winternationals victory. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

Blankenship blew past Moyer on the eighth lap and looked like he’d run away from the field. But Moyer gathered himself after a pair of mid-race cautions, turned up the heat on Blankenship and took over for good with seven laps remaining in the 50-lap feature.

The winner earned $10,000 in the first Lucas Oil Series points race of the week while Blankenship faded, finishing a half-straightaway back at the finish. Moyer, who also captured Tuesday’s main event, collected multiple Winternationals victories for the fifth time in his career.

“We had a lot of fun there,” said Moyer, who saw Blankenship lead by as much as a straightaway and build cushions of four lapped cars while dominating before the halfway point.

“He did a good job. There’s so many good cars here, there isn’t much laying back. When he got back by me there and I was just trying to settle in, I knew it was early there and trying to do a little bit of a tire management thing just a little bit,” Moyer said.

“Then I’m thinking to myself, I know how hard John drives. When the green flags out, he runs as hard as he can run. There’s no saving much. I just had to pick my game up and do the same thing.”

Blankenship at first edged away after a lap-25 restart, but Moyer came alive and began threatening him by lap 35. When Blankenship elected to take the high side around a lapped on lap 38, Moyer slipped ahead in the low groove.

Blankenship rushed back to reclaim the lead on lap 39, but he continually slid up in the corners, allowing Moyer to nose underneath and eventually slip past to take command on lap 44. He cruised the rest of the way.

Fifth-starting Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., was third with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., advanced four spots to finish fourth. Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., ran third early in the race but slipped back to finish fifth for his best East Bay performance.

Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., was sixth and held onto the early Lucas Oil Series points lead by five markers over Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who finished eighth after setting fast time.

Moyer lost a tight one to Erb on Thursday, but he made sure to hang on in the final laps of Friday’s main event.

“I don’t know how much room I had, but I kind of seen (Blankenship’s) car was skating up and wouldn’t run the bottom as well as mine, so I just didn’t really mess up and stayed in that little brown (streak) down there with my left-side (tires), and I felt like I was OK, at least on this end,” the winner said.

Blankenship said his car was good, but Moyer’s was just a little better, particularly at crunch time.

“I think he got under me once on lap 40 or so. I figured as long as we stayed in some lapped traffic, I'd have a pretty good shot at it,” Blankenship said. “When I saw that caution, I kind of knew I was a sitting duck. He’s so smooth he probably had brand new tires on, basically, and my stuff’s burned up a little bit. I think we just got beat on that.

“I knew he was probably coming. I thought I heard him a couple of times down there, and he was just staying so straight and taking such good care of his stuff. It’s hard to run with him when he’s got that good of a car.”

The race was slowed by four cautions, including a first-lap scramble requiring a complete restart. Just after the green flew for the first time, the melee left a pile of cars at the top of the backstretch including Billy Moyer Jr., Davey Johnson, Brian Shirley, Kevin Weaver, Chad Hollenbeck, Devin Moran among others. Moyer pitted to change a flat tire while Johnson retired.

The other yellows flew on the 25th lap when Brian Shirley slowed atop turn three, then again on the lap-25 restart when Moyer Jr. and Bobby Pierce stalled. The last caution appeared on lap 41 when Jared Landers was facing the wrong way on the backstretch.

Because of Wednesday’s rainout, the week will conclude with a Saturday doubleheader. A non-points event paying $7,000-to-win is scheduled to begin with hot laps at noon while the $10,000-to-win points finale is scheduled for hot laps at 7 p.m.

Notes: Moyer’s Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Automotive Engine and sponsored by Banner Valley Hauling, Henderson Motorsports, Karl Performance, Watters Autoland, New Vision Graphics, Sunoco and Red Line Oil. … Moyer also had years of multiple Winternationals victories in 1986, ’90, ’91 and 2008, when he won a career-best three races. … Fourteen of 26 starters finished on the lead lap and 21 were running at the finish.

Winternationals: (1) Billy Moyer, (2) John Blankenship, (3) Scott Bloomquist, (4) Don O’Neal, (5) Gregg Satterlee, (6) Earl Pearson Jr., (7) Jimmy Owens, (8) Steve Francis, (9) Eddie Carrier Jr., (10) Ray Cook, (11) Dennis Erb Jr., (12) Booper Bare, (13) Jared Landers, (14) Ricky Weiss, (15) Randy Weaver, (16) Devin Moran, (17) Dan Stone, (18) Eric Jacobsen, (19) Chad Hollenbeck, (20) Kenny Pettyjohn, (21) Brian Shirley, (22) John Mollick, (23) Bobby Pierce, (24) Billy Moyer Jr., (25) Kevin Weaver, (26) Davey Johnson. Fast qualifier (among 45 cars): Francis, 14.034 seconds. Heat race winners: Moyer Sr., Satterlee, Blankenship, Pearson. Consolation winners: Moyer Jr., Shirley. DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash winner: Pierce. Provisional starters: Hollenbeck, Mollick, Moran. Non-qualifiers' race winner: Mike Benedum.

Preliminary results:

Non-qualifiers’ race

Lineup:
Row 1: Jason Papich, Mike Benedum
Row 2: Justin Rattliff, Nick Davis
Row 3: Jason Hughes, Chad White
Row 4: Dennis Franklin, Jay Brunson
Row 5: Vic Coffey, Leon Henderson
Row 6: Andy Bond, Dustin Mitchell
Row 7: Jay Morris, Jim O'Hara
Row 8: Chad Stapleton, Jay Morris
Row 9: Joe Denby, Bob Geiger
Row 10: Jason Riggs

Finish: Mike Benedum, Jason Papich, Nick Davis, Joe Denby, Jim O'Hara, Chad Stapleton, Justin Rattliff.

DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash

Lineup
Row 1: Justin Rattliff, Dennis Franklin
Row 2: Vic Coffey, Jason Hughes
Row 3: Bobby Pierce, Andy Bond
Row 4: Leon Henderson, Chad White

FInish: Bobby Pierce, Justin Rattliff, Chad White. Scratched: Dennis Franklin, Vic Coffey, Jason Hughes, Andy Bond, Leon Henderson.

Second consolation

Brian Shirley led all the way from outside the front row to win the consy over fellow Lucas Oil rookie candidate Randy Weaver. Eric Jacobsen got the third and final transfer position. A lap-three yellow appeared when Chad Stapleton got sideways between turns three and four and Andy Bond tagged him.

Finish: Brian Shirley, Randy Weaver, Eric Jacobsen, Devin Moran, Mike Benedum, Chad Hollenbeck, Jason Hughes, Dennis Franklin, Vic Coffey, Andy Bond, Jay Morris, Chad Stapleton. Scratched: Jason Riggs, John Mollick.

First consolation

Billy Moyer Jr. outran Davey Johnson for a victory in the first consy while Kevin Weaver got the final transfer spot in third. Adam Bowman spun between turns three and four on the third lap to draw a caution. Another yellow appeared on lap eight when O'Hara and Bowman tangled between turns one and two.

Finish: Billy Moyer Jr., Davey Johnson, Kevin Weaver, Bobby Pierce, Jason Papich, Justin Rattliff, Nick Davis, Chad White, Jay Brunson, Dustin Mitchell, Leon Henderson, Jim O'Hara, Adam Bowman, Joe Denby, Bob Geiger.

Consolation race lineups

First consolation
Row 1: Davey Johnson, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Kevin Weaver, Bobby Pierce
Row 3: Nick Davis, Joe Denby
Row 4: Jason Papich, Jay Brunson
Row 5: Dustin Mitchell, Chad White
Row 6: Leon Henderson, Jim O'Hara
Row 7: Adam Bowman, Justin Rattliff
Row 8: Bob Geiger
Second consolation
Row 1: Randy Weaver, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Eric Jacobsen, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 3: Mike Benedum, Devin Moran
Row 4: Jason Hughes, Vic Coffey
Row 5: Chad Stapleton, Jay Morris
Row 6: Dennis Franklin, Andy Bond
Row 7: John Mollick, Jason Riggs

Fourth heat

Earl Pearson Jr. outran fellow front-row starter Don O'Neal for a victory in the caution-free final heat. The top two broke away from the field while sixth-starting Ricky Weiss finished a distant third, just ahead of Thursday's feature winner Dennis Erb Jr. Erb started third but slipped back to fifth early and recoverd to get the final transfer spot. Brian Shirley was fifth.

Finish: Earl Pearson Jr., Don O'Neal, Ricky Weiss, Dennis Erb Jr., Brian Shirley, Chad Hollenbeck, Devin Moran, Vic Coffey, Jay Morris, Andy Bond. Scratched: Jason Riggs.

Third heat

Edging away from an early side-by-side duel with polesitter Steve Francis, John Blankenship led all the way in the third heat to earn a front-row starting spot for the feature. xxxx. Three yellow flags slowed the action. A lap-two caution appeared for John Mollick, who got slightly out of shape on the backstretch, then tangled with Eric Jacobsen in turn four. Another yellow came out on the fourth lap for Dennis Franklin's flat tire and Chad Stapleton spun in turn four on the eighth lap.

Finish: John Blankenship, Steve Francis, Ray Cook, Dan Stone, Randy Weaver, Eric Jacobsen, Mike Benedum, Jason Hughes, Chad Stapleton, Dennis Franklin, John Mollick.

Second heat

Gregg Sattterlee won the second heat from outside the front row, turning back a late challenge from third-starting Jimmy Owens as the top six ran in a tight pack most of the caution-free distance. Kenny Pettyjohn was third and Jared Landers fourth as polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. slipped out of a transfer spot with three laps remaining. Owens kept the heat on Satterlee the second half of the race but couldn't make the pass as the lead pack featured close quarters racing throughout the prelim.

Finish: Gregg Satterlee, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Pettyjohn, Jared Landers, Billy Moyer Jr., Bobby Pierce, Joe Denby, Jay Brunson, Chad White, Jim O'Hara. Scratched: Justin Rattliff.

First heat

Turning back Scott Bloomquist's first-lap crossover move, polesitter Billy Moyer captured the first heat to earn the pole position for the second straight night. Bloomquist hung with Moyer but settled for second while Eddie Carrier Jr was third and sixth-starting Booper Bare nabbed the last transfer spot. Davey Johnson was fifth. Two cautions slowed the action. A lap-three caution appeared when Jason Papich spun in turn four after a few cars checked up in front of him, then another yellow appeared on the seventh lap for Adam Bowman's spin, also in turn four.

Finish: Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Eddie Carrier Jr., Booper Bare, Davey Johnson, Kevin Weaver, Nick Davis, Jason Papich, Dustin Mitchell, Leon Henderson, Adam Bowman. Scratched: Bob Geiger.

Qualifying

Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., was fastest of 45 qualifiers Friday at East Bay Raceway Park for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series portion of the 38th annual Winternationals.

Francis tripped the clock at 14.034 seconds on the third-mile oval and will be among heat race polesitters in Friday’s prelims for the $10,000-to-win points race.

Other heat race polesitters: Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and his son Billy Moyer Jr. along with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.

Four cars apiece will transfer from each of four 10-lap heat races while a pair of 12-lap consolation races will transfer two cars apiece. The DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash, 50-lap main event and a non-qualifiers’ race will compete the night’s program.

Pre-race notes

Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., won Thursday’s event, the first-ever Lucas Oil Series race on live television, while Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., captured Monday’s opener and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., won Tuesday’s main event. … Earl Pearson Jr.’s team had to make an engine swap in his lone remaining car after he wrecked his primary car in Thursday’s prelims. … Among drivers who competed earlier in the week now missing: Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. and Rocket Chassis house car driver Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. All headed north to compete in World of Outlaws Late Model Series action at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. … East Bay’s Tuesday winner Billy Moyer is the all-time winningest Winternationals driver with 22 victories. He’s followed by Don O’Neal (14), Steve Francis (10), Jimmy Mars (6) and Scott Bloomquist (6). … Because of Wednesday’s rainout, the week will conclude with a Saturday doubleheader. A non-points event paying $7,000-to-win is scheduled to begin with hot laps at noon while the $10,000-to-win points finale is scheduled for hot laps at 7 p.m.

Heat race lineups

First heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Eddie Carrier Jr., Davey Johnson
Row 3: Leon Henderson, Booper Bare
Row 4: Jason Papich, Kevin Weaver
Row 5: Nick Davis, Dustin Mitchell
Row 6: Adam Bowman, Bob Geiger
Second heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Gregg Satterlee
Row 2: Jimmy Owens, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 3: Jared Landers, Bobby Pierce
Row 4: Justin Rattliff, Chad White
Row 5: Joe Denby, Jay Brunson
Row 6: Jim O'Hara
Third heat
Row 1: Steve Francis, John Blankenship
Row 2: Ray Cook, Dan Stone
Row 3: John Mollick, Dennis Franklin
Row 4: Randy Weaver, Mike Benedum
Row 5: Eric Jacobsen, Jason Hughes
Row 6: Chad Stapleton
Fourth heat
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Chad Hollenbeck
Row 3: Devin Moran, Ricky Weiss
Row 4: Vic Coffey, Brian Shirley
Row 5: Jay Morris, Andy Bond
Row 6: Jason Riggs

Time trials (unofficial)

First group
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.144
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.194
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 14.212
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 14.234
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 14.236
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.338
Davey Johnson (1j), Latrobe, Pa., 14.356
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 14.369
Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., 14.441
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 14.575
Booper Bare (89), Rockbridge Baths, Va., 14.588
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.606
Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 14.624
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 14.722
Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., 14.812
Chad White (20), Coloma, Mich., 14.881
Nick Davis (92), Gumboro, Del., 14.932
Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 15.232
Dustin Mitchell (D8), Pine Level, N.C., 15.236
Jay Brunson (23B), Dubberly, La., 15.379
Adam Bowman (77), Seymour, Ind., 15.547
Jim O’Hara (44), Moscow, Pa., 16.183
Bob Geiger (38), Laurel, Del., 16.904
Second group
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 14.034
Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 14.112
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 14.168
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 14.218
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.218
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.270
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 14.308
Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 14.318
John Mollick (J4), Toronto, Ohio, 14.364
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 14.383
Dennis Franklin (2), Gaffney, S.C., 14.384
Ricky Weiss (7), Winnipeg, Manitoba, 14.482
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 14.486
Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y., 14.512
Mike Benedum (25), Bristol, W.Va., 14.530
Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill., 14.553
Eric Jacobsen (5), Santa Cruz, Calif., 14.633
Jay Morris (77), Pittwood, Ill., 14.755
Jason Hughes (12), Westville, Okla., 14.945
Andy Bond (1cj), Coolville, Ohio, 15.010
Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 15.019
Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill., no time

Lucas Oil points

(Through Feb. 14)
1. Earl Pearson Jr. - 650
2. Steve Francis - 645
3. Don O’Neal - 625
4. John Blankenship - 605
(tie) Eddie Carrier Jr. - 605
6. Jimmy Owens - 550
7. Gregg Satterlee - 535
(tie) Ray Cook - 535
9. Dennis Erb Jr. - 485
(tie) Brian Shirley - 485
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