GIBSONTON, Fla. (Jan. 28) — Erasing two season’s worth of futility with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., finally broke through for his first career series victory. Scott took the lead from Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., on lap seven and led the final 34 laps to win Thursday’s 40-lap Wrisco Winternationals main event at East Bay Raceway Park.
The 31-year-old driver entering his third full season on the national tour charged forward from his ninth starting spot to earn $7,000.
Scott stayed glued to the bottom of East Bay’s slippery third-mile oval through the second half of the race and finished 0.756 of a second ahead of fifth-starting Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., who closed in on the leader in the waning laps, but dared not make an attempt to pass on the inside-dominant track for fear of losing the spot to seventh-starting Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who trailed Bronson at the finish to complete the podium.
Illinois drivers Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort and Shirley completed the top five. Heckenast moved forward from the 11th position, while Shirley started third and led four laps before giving way to Scott, who, after series finishes of 11th in 2019 and 14th with only one top-five finish in 2020, was understandably relieved to finally get his first Lucas Oil tour win.
“We probably had the roughest two years I’d say in Late Models there probably is,” said Scott, an accomplished open wheel star with 49 career United State Modified Tour Series victories. “We started at the hardest level and everybody thought we were fools for doing it. You know, I can’t stand defeat and every time we got kicked in the side I guess we just keep going.”
Scott’s best Georgia-Florida Speedweeks finish in nine feature starts last season was 16th while collecting only $3,150 in earnings. He drastically improved both of those stats in just his fourth Speedweeks start this season, but had to use a good measure of patience — much like his first two seasons on tour — to get it done.
After quickly cracking the top five, Scott took advantage of a restart following a lap-four caution to move into the lead, powering by Shirley, who took the lead from Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., on lap three, with and outside pass. But while the winning move was made to Shirley’s outside, Scott knew he needed to get back to the bottom as fast as possible.
“I knew when I moved up the track just a little bit I couldn’t steer and I started watching in front of me and noticed that nobody else up there could steer either,” said Scott. “I figured even though it felt like I could get out and run faster, as long as I didn’t get off the bottom … if somebody could get by me out in that middle, then they deserved this win more than me ‘cause I just didn’t think you could go up there.”
Only two more cautions slowed the feature. Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, slowed on lap 13 with significant sheet metal damage, erasing Scott’s 2.513-second advantage over Shirley. On the restart, 14 cars were involved in a melee in turn one, triggered when Heckenast and Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., made contact at the end of the straightaway.
Over the final 27 laps, Bronson managed to close in on Scott, but knew his best move was no move at all.
“Man I think that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, not leave that bottom,” said Bronson. “You know, (Tim) McCreadie I feel like he’s the best in the sport at definitely poking that bottom. Ain’t nobody gonna run that bottom no better than him. I was trying to judge myself off the lapped cars. I just knew if I got off that bottom he was gonna pass me there.”
Bronson thought he was going to get an opportunity for another series win at his home track, but once Scott went to the bottom for good, he knew his chances were slim.
“Stormy did a heck of a job and did everything he needed to do there,” added Bronson. “That one caution when I first passed Brian (Shirley) there he was running through that middle and I thought, man, a couple more laps and I’m gonna be able to pass him. When that yellow came out, I don’t know if (Scott’s) guys told him to go down or what, but he did what he had to do and he won the race.
“I’m pretty excited to see him win. He works really hard on all his stuff and had a pretty tough couple of years. I knew he knew how to drive. I’ve raced modifieds with the guy, so I’m excited for those guys.”
McCreadie said he was simply doing all he could in recording his best Lucas Oil Series finish of the season.
“We just kind of persevered. (The car is) unbalanced,” McCreadie said. “You spend a lot of the night trying to adapt to the way the track is and for us, we hadn’t had a lot of sidebite and a lot of traction so we’re putting it in the car and then you overtighten stuff that I would probably never do anywhere else.
“And then when you come out for the feature and (the track) is shiny and quarter-throttle it just made us way, way tight. But that’s part of racing. That’s what makes it fun. Hat’s off to Stormy and those guys. I know how hard they work. This isn’t easy, so they should savor it, savor the win that’s for sure.”
Preliminary notes and results:
Row 1: Boom Briggs, Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Brian Shirley,Mason Zeigler
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton
Row 5: Stormy Scott, Gregg Satterlee
Row 6: Frank Heckenast Jr., Rick Eckert
Row 7: Billy Moyer Jr., Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 8: Mike Marlar, Michael Brown
Row 9: Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard
Row 10: Jonathan Davenport, Ashton Winger
Row 11: Tyler Bruening, Tanner English
Row 12: Jimmy Owens, Ross Bailes
Row 13: Josh Richards, Devin Moran
Row 14: Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal
Row 15: Wil Herrington, Chase Junghans
(10 laps; top two transfer)
First consolation: Jonathan Davenport, Tanner English, Kyle Strickler, David Breazeale, Tony Jackson Jr., Michael Page, Joel Callahan, Wil Herrington, Blair Nothdurft, Brennan Willard, Jason Miller, Jeff Roth, Rob Anderzack, Ryan King, Devin Dixon, Hudson O’Neal, Steven Roberts, Ross Robinson. DNS: Jadon Frame, Larry Grube.
Second consolation: Ashton Winger, Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards, Chase Junghans, Jeff Mathews, Jason Riggs, Doug Drown, Dennis Erb Jr., Dave Hess Jr., Matt Cosner, Danny Snyder, Matt Irey, Ray Cook, Manny Falcon, Colton Flinner, Kerry King, Johnny Scott, Matt Lux, Jadon Frame, David Seibers. DNS: Spencer Hughes.
Third consolation: Tyler Bruening, Ross Bailes, Dan Stone, Jesse Stovall, Tim Dohm, Todd Brennan, Joe Godsey, Blake Spencer, Joe Denby, Josh Putnam, Brandon Carpenter, Richie Edwards, John Baker, Earl Pearson Jr., Deshawn Ginerich, Freddie Carpenter, Devin Moran. DNS: Dean Carpenter, Ken Monahan, Mark Whitener.
Heat race results
(Eight laps; top three transfer)
First heat: Boom Briggs, Tim McCreadie, Billy Moyer Jr., Tony Jackson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Wil Herrington, Kyle Strickler, Joel Callahan, Michael Page, Ryan King, Jason Miller, Rob Anderzack, Jeff Roth.
Second heat: Brian Shirley, Stormy Scott, Mike Marlar, Tanner English, Hudson O’Neal, Ross Robinson, David Breazeale, Blair Nothdurft, Steven Roberts, Devin Dixon, Jadon Frame, Larry Grube, Brennon Willard.
Third heat: Kyle Bronson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Brandon Overton, Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards, Johnny Scott, Jason Riggs, Matt Lux, Colton Flinner, Manny Falcon, Jeff Mathews, Kerry King. DNS: Spencer Hughes.
Fourth heat: Bobby Pierce, Shane Clanton, Ricky Thornton Jr., Ashton Winger, Doug Drown, Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr., Matt Cosner, Ray Cook, Danny Snyder, David Seibers, Matt Irey, Dave Hess Jr.
Fifth heat: Mason Zeigler, Gregg Satterlee, Michael Brown, John Baker, Tim Dohm, Dan Stone, Joe Godsey, Freddie Carpenter, Blake Spencer, Dean Carpenter, Richie Edwards, Deshawn Gingerich. DQ Mark Whitener (light).
Sixth heat: Tyler Erb, Rick Eckert, Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Bruening, Ross Bailes, Devin Moran, Jesse Stovall, Earl Pearson Jr., Todd Brennan, Ken Monahan, Brandon Carpenter, Joe Denby. DNS: Josh Putnam.
After showers cut short Wednesday night’s program during the second B-main, the skies over East Bay Raceway Park are clear and sunny today, though the high temperature hasn’t reached 70 and evening conditions are expected to be cooler. … With the completion of Wednesday’s card (four laps of the second B-main, the third B-main and the 40-lap feature) beginning about 15 minutes after Thursday’s regularly-scheduled action ends, tonight marks the first two-feature Winternationals program since Feb. 13, 2016, when Eddie Carrier Jr. and Billy Moyer split victories. … Drivers departing East Bay’s pit area after Wednesday’s show were Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, and Drake Troutman of Hyndman, Pa. Neither driver cracked a feature lineup. … Thursday’s 78-car field is the largest of the week so far. … Freddie Carpenter of Parkersburg, W.Va., has patched up the 2-race-old Kryptonite Race Car he flipped in a Tuesday heat race and will return to action tonight. … Former Winternationals winner Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., will make his first start of the week in his brand-new Longhorn car. His son, Zack, is sitting out Thursday’s competition not only to focus on his father’s effort but also because a valve issue was discovered in his machine’s engine; he’s unsure if engine builder Vic Hill can repair the problem at the track to allow him to race again this week. … Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., arrived at East Bay today and plans to enter his Stinger Chassis in the week’s remaining events. This evening marks his first-ever Super Late Model start at the third-mile oval. … Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., is another new entry driving the Ocala, Fla.-based Big Frog Motorsports No. 58. Bailes, whose work responsibilities at his family’s business prevented him from competing earlier in the week, is expected to run the final three nights at East Bay as well as the Feb. 5-6 Ironman Series doubleheadliner at North Florida Speedway in Lake City before returning to his World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Rookie of the Year pursuit during the Feb. 8-13 DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. … Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., has joined the Winternationals field racing as a teammate to Joe Denby of Tullahoma, Tenn. Cook is making his first East Bay appearance since 2014 when he was in the MasterSbilt house car. … Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., is scheduled to start Wednesday’s held-over feature from the pole position, so he’s decided to save his Moseby Racing No. 385 for the nightcap by entering his own No. 5 machine in Thursday’s regularly-scheduled program. … Allen Murray of San Antonio, Texas, who fields the car that Rick Eckert of York, Pa., is running at East Bay, had plans to compete in the Winternationals as well but had to scrap them because a bout with Covid-19 and pneumonia left him hospitalized. He’s improving and is expected to be released as soon as Friday.
Time trial results (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.790
Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.802
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 14.883
Tony Jackson Jr. (56JR), Lebanon, Mo., 14.889
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 14.898
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 14.993
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.049
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.070
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.077
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.081
Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., 15.082
Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.167
Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 15.180
Devin Dixon (2x), Apollo Beach, Fla., 15.184
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.200
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.202
Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 15.224
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.245
Joel Callahan (40), Dubuque, Iowa, 15.254
Steven Roberts (111), Jesup, Ga., 15.262
Jason Riggs (81r), Harrisburg, Ill., 15.292
Wil Herrington (00), Cochran, Ga., 15.337
Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 15.362
Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 15.373
Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.399
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.403
Matt Lux (111), Franklin, Pa., 15.468
Rob Anderzack (8), Swanton, Ohio, 15.544
David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 15.577
Jeff Mathews (33), Apollo Beach, Fla., 15.600
Michael Page (18X), Douglasville, Ga., 15.715
Jadon Frame (J8), Decherd, Tenn., 15.735
Manny Falcon (995), Pine Grove, La., 15.806
Jeff Roth (14R), Bentonville, Ark., 15.961
Larry Grube (29), Mauldin, S.C., 15.963
Kerry King (0KB), Delmar, Del., 16.042
Jason Miller (94M), Winchester, Va., 16.072
Brennon Willard (3w), Lebanon, Mo., 16.288
Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., no time
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.773
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa. 14.987
Brandon Sheppard (1s), New Berlin, Ill., 15.073
Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.120
Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla., 15.163
Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., 15.229
Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 15.323
John Baker (14B), Norman Park, Ga., 15.337
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.342
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.364
Michael Brown (24-D), Pageland, S.C., 15.394
Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.438
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.448
Joe Godsey (14G), Edinburgh, Ind., 15.481
Ross Bailes (58), Clover, S.C., 15.532
Matt Cosner (66), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.587
Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.637
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.638
Doug Drown (12), Wooster, Ohio, 15.694
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.700
Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.719
Matt Irey (36), Mansfield, Ohio, 15.721
Blake Spencer (6s), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.740
Todd Brennan (20), Zanesville, Ohio, 15.752
Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 15.756
Dean Carpenter (51), Coldwater, Miss., 15.777
Jesse Stovall (00), Billings, Mo., 15.794
David Seibers (18s), Chapel Hill, Tenn., 15.835
Dan Stone (2), Thompson, Pa., 15.848
Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 15.885
Ray Cook (27x), Brasstown, N.C., 15.923
Deshawn Gingerich (0), Dover, Pa., 15.981
Brandon Carpenter (51), Coldwater, Miss., 15.986
Dave Hess Jr. (44), Waterford, Pa., 16.051
Freddie Carpenter (C4), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.112
Josh Putnam (212), Florence, Ala., 16.117
Danny Snyder (4), Green Lane, Pa., 16.180
Richie Edwards (4B), Grayson, Ky., 16.313
Ken Monahan (311), Lakeland, Fla., 16.497
3-4:45 p.m - Technical inspection and pill draw
5 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
5:30 p.m. - On-track action begins
- Hot laps
- Time trials (two laps)
7 p.m. - Invocation and national anthem
- Heat races (8 laps)
- Consolation races (10 laps)
- Strawberry Dash (8 laps)
- Main event (40 laps)
15 minutes after Thursday’s feature concludes
- Completion of Wednesday’s program