GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 8) — Sliding past race leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., on lap 20 of 25, ninth-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., paced the final circuits in Monday night’s Winternationals opener at East Bay Raceway Park, pulling away from the field to score a $5,000 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
Starting on the outside pole, Owens charged to an early lead, setting a blistering pace over the field. But it wouldn’t be enough to hold off the charging Richards, who captured his ninth career Lucas Oil Series triumph, the third of Georgia-Florida Speedweeks campaign.
“We had a pretty good car,” Richards said after the race. "I pushed in hot laps. We kind of unloaded how we were at Brunswick and I knew that that wasn’t the right direction. I pushed a little in qualifying and we worked on the car a little bit and got it better in the heat race.
“Lining up for the feature, I figured 25 laps, this place is hard to pass. But the track guys did a great job and you could move all over it. I had a lot of grip and we started passing a few cars. I started running the bottom in one and two because everyone was committed to the top and I knew I could maintain in the bottom. But once we got up on top, we got some speed rolling and started picking them off."
Owens held on to notch a runner-up finish, with fifth-starting Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., improving two spots to run third. Polesitter Tim Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., finished fourth, with Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., rounding out the top five.
“We struggled up there at Brunswick,” Owens said. “We wasn’t that good out of the box, but there during the feature I thought I had a really good car and we hit on some stuff. We come down here and pulled out our backup car and did the same thing and was good right out of the box. Hopefully we’ll have a good week here.”
Landers, the defending Knoxville Nationals champion, posted his fourth straight top-five finish in Lucas Oil Series action.
“I didn’t drive hard enough,” Landers said. “I see what it took to win the race and I know for a fact I had the car to take the lead. I was wanting to race smart and be easy and try to pass the guys without having to slide them. But if you want to win, you do what (Richards) did and I have complete respect for it, because he did it. And I’m going to learn to do it."
Notes: The race was slowed by three cautions. ... A yellow flag waved on lap one when Devin Moran spun coming out of turn two, collecting John Gardner. … A second yellow flew on lap three for a tangle in turns three and four involving Allen Murray and Bobby Pierce. … Billy Moyer Jr. drew a caution on lap 10 when he slowed in turn four.
DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash results
Finish: Chad Hollenbeck, Josh Rice, Freddie Carpenter, Colton Flinner, Nick Davis, Bob Gardner
DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash lineup
Row 1: James McKeown, Bob Gardner
Row 2: Chad Hollenbeck, Freddie Carpenter
Row 3: Jake Davis, Josh Rice
Row 4: Nick Davis, Chuck Julien
Row 5: Sonny Conley, Colton Flinner
Almost nine years to the day since winning his only Winternationals feature at East Bay, Tim Dohm will start from the pole position in the 25-lap feature after capturing the evening’s first heat. The 55-year-old from Cross Lanes, W.Va., was very pleased with the performance of his brand-new Swartz car. “That’s the first time out of the box for the car and it was pretty good,” said Dohm, whose East Bay triumph came on Feb. 7, 2007. “I think it’s probably gonna slick up pretty good for the feature so we’ll see if we can make the right changes.” … One of the happiest drivers in the pit area after heat action was Greg Oakes of Franklinville, N.Y., whose fourth-place run in the final prelim sent him to the A-Main in his first-ever appearance at East Bay. He repelled former Lucas Oil Series champion Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., to preserve the last transfer spot. “Qualifying here is like winning a feature at home,” said Oakes, who won the 2015 championship at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y. “When you come here you know you’re gonna have to beat the best.” … Jonathan Davenport appeared to have little trouble getting comfortable in Mason Zeigler’s Longhorn Race Car after he blazed to the overall fastest lap in qualifying. “It ain’t like a recliner you’re used to at home,” he said of the car after time trials, “but it’s pretty good.” He failed to capitalize on a pole starting spot in the third heat, however, slipping high in turns one and two on the opening lap and falling to fifth — the spot he finished, forcing him to make his way into the feature with a runner-up finish in the second B-Main. … Freddie Carpenter of Parkersburg, W.Va., saw his night go south before he even turned a complete circuit around the third-mile oval. He hit the homestretch wall at the start of hot laps, heavily damaging the right side of his car. “As soon as put my foot on the gas when the green came out I just got in the slop and it pulled me into the wall,” he said. “We tore up a bunch of stuff on a brand new (Kryptonite) car.” Carpenter made it out for the second B-Main after using a Port-A-Power to hastily straighten the right-front frame rail of his machine, but he’ll need to make more permanent repairs before Tuesday’s action.
Second-starting Earl Pearson Jr. jumped to the lead at the start, fighting back challenges from polesitter Jonathan Davenport to win the second consolation. With the top-two cars pulling away from the field, Allen Murray finished third, with Justin Rattliff running fourth to transfer to the feature.
Finish (top four transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Allen Murray, Justin Rattliff, Nick Davis, Chad Hollenbeck, John Gardner, Freddie Carpenter, Bob Gardner
Outside polesitter Brandon Sheppard led the opening lap, with a yellow flag waving for a turn-two tangle involving Josh Rice and Chuck Julien. Distancing himself from the field, Sheppard won the first consolation. Alex Ferree improved from the fourth starting spot to run second, with Gregg Satterlee edging Bobby Pierce to finish third. Pierce grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Brandon Sheppard, Alex Ferree, Gregg Satterlee, Bobby Pierce, Josh Rice, Colton Flinner, Chuck Julien, James McKeown, Sonny Conley
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Alex Ferree
Row 3: Sonny Conley, Colton Flinner
Row 4: Chuck Julien, Josh Rice
Row 5: James McKeown, Jake Davis
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Allen Murray, Justin Rattliff
Row 3: John Gardner, Nick Davis
Row 4: Chad Hollenbeck, Bob Gardner
Row 5: Freddie Carpenter
Billy Moyer Jr. charged to the lead as the green flag waved, fighting back challenges from fourth-starting Eddie Carrier Jr. to win the fourth heat race. Carrier finished runner-up, with polesitter Devin Moran falling two spots to finish third. Greg Oakes grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot, with Earl Pearson Jr. rounding out the top five.
Finish (top four transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Devin Moran, Greg Oakes, Earl Pearson Jr., Justin Rattliff, Nick Davis, Bob Gardner
Second-starting Jimmy Owens charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green, as polesitter Jonathan Davenport jumped the berm to fall back to fifth. A yellow flag flew on lap six when Chad Hollenbeck stopped on the frontstretch. Owens led the entire eight-lap distance, holding off runner-up finisher Tim McCreadie. Dennis Erb Jr. ran third, with Steve Franis finishing fourth to transfer to the feature. Davenport ran fifth.
Finish (top four transfer): Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie, Dennis Erb Jr., Steve Francis, Jonathan Davenport, Allen Murray, John Gardner, Chad Hollenbeck
Outside polesitter Randy Weaver jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag, but fell to third-starting Mike Marlar on lap seven. Polesitter Brian Shirley finished runner-up, with Weaver falling back to run third. Kyle Bronson grabbed the fourth and final transfer spot, with Brandon Sheppard finishing fifth.
Finish (top four transfer): Mike Marlar, Brian Shirley, Randy Weaver, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Alex Ferree, Colton Flinner, Josh Rice
Edging ahead of fellow front-row starter Jared Landers, polesitter Tim Dohm led all eight laps to win the first heat race. Landers held off a charging Josh Richards to finish second, with Richards running third. Ricky Weiss finished fourth to transfer to the feature, with Gregg Satterlee rounding out the top five.
Finish (top four transfer): Tim Dohm, Jared Landers, Josh Richards, Ricky Weiss, Gregg Satterlee, Bobby Pierce, Sonny Conley, Chuck Julien
Heat race lineups
(eight laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Tim Dohm, Jared Landers
Row 2: Josh Richards, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Gregg Satterlee, Bobby Pierce
Row 4: Sonny Conley, Jake Davis
Row 5: Chuck Julien
Row 1: Brian Shirley, Randy Weaver
Row 2: Mike Marlar, Kyle Bronson
Row 3: Brandon Sheppard, Alex Ferree
Row 4: Josh Rice, Colton Flinner
Row 5: James McKeown
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Dennis Erb Jr., Tim McCreadie
Row 3: Steve Francis, John Gardner
Row 4: Allen Murray, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 5: Freddie Carpenter
Row 1: Devin Moran, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Greg Oakes, Eddie Carrier jr.
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Justin Rattliff
Row 4: Bob Gardner, Nick Davis
A field of 35 cars is entered in Monday night’s card, which is topped by a 25-lap feature paying $5,000 to win. … With Lucas Oil Series points only up for grabs in East Bay’s Friday and Saturday events, Clint Bowyer Racing teammates Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., and Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., are not competing the Winternationals opener. … Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., is also sitting out the evening’s competition; his hauler was not even in the pit area when the drivers’ meeting began at 5:30 p.m. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., is keeping his K&L Rumley Longhorn machine parked for Monday’s program. But he won’t sit idle — he’s jumping behind the wheel of good buddy Mason Zeigler’s Longhorn car for the evening’s action. … Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., has his familiar Chip Stone-owned Longhorn Race Car in the pit area, but he plans to spend the week driving a new Billy Moyer Victory Race Car owned by Leon Henderson of Laurel, Miss. Weaver, who last competed at East Bay in 2014, will let his equipment rest until Sunday’s Lucas Oil Series event at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., unless problems crop up with Henderson’s mount. … Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., is entered with his usual Wayne Hammond-owned No. 40b after splitting his time between it and South Carolinian Troy Baird’s vehicle at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., said he has some adjusting to do in his return to East Bay after a two-year Winternationals absence. “The last time I was here they was on 1100s (tires),” said Marlar, who wasn’t happy with his performance at Golden Isles. “Now we’re on hard tires, so that changes things a little bit for us. At least we got some practice laps in last night.” … Chad Hollenbeck of Kingsley, Pa., who is competing at East Bay for the sixth consecutive year, didn’t do much damage to his Black Diamond Race Car when he rolled it lightly during Saturday night’s B-Main at Golden Isles. Aside from some bent left-front suspension pieces, the machine came through the ordeal fine. “There is some red paint on the bottom of the frame rails,” joked Hollenbeck, who slid into Dennis Franklin’s path and was hit by the Gaffney, S.C., driver (hence the red paint transfer). “Rambo and I are good friends now — I’ll carry him around with me.” … Among first-time East Bay Dirt Late Model Winternationals entrants are Greg Oakes of Franklinville, N.Y., who has raced an E-Mod at the track in the past; Alex Ferree of Saxonburg, Pa., who is back behind the wheel of the Bucky Johnson-owned Club 29 Race Car he ran in last year’s World 100 and Dirt Track World Championship events; brothers James and Josh Rice of Verona, Ky.; Jake Davis of Hackett, Ark.; and Colton Flinner of Allison Park, Pa.
East Bay Raceway Park’s 40th annual Winternationals gets under way Monday night with a $5,000-to-win non-points event sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
The 2016 Lucas Oil tour kicked off over the weekend at Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, Ga. Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., picked up victories. Both drivers are on hand for Monday’s event at East Bay.
Monday’s program will include hot laps, time trials, heat races, consolations, the DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash and the 25-lap main event.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.307
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 15.371
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 15.442
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 15.570
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 15.839
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.855
Ricky Weiss (7w), Headingly, MB, 15.895
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.929
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 15.944
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.976
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 16.228
Alex Ferree (47), Saxonburg, Pa., 16.257
Sonny Conley (1x1), New Martinsville, W.Va., 16.382
Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 16.399
Jake Davis (7D), Hackett, Ark., 16.910
Colton Flinner (75), Allison Park, Pa., 17.183
Chuck Julien (57), Apopka, Fla., 17.742
James McKeown (60), Stanton, Mich., 19.821
Jonathan Davenport (25Z), Blairsville, Ga., 14.957
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 15.285
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.384
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.495
Dennis Erb Jr. (28e), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.528
Greg Oakes (22x), Franklinville, N.Y., 15.541
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.572
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 15.598
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 15.709
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.775
John Gardner (38C), Germantown Hills, Ill., 15.970
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 16.002
Allen Murray (2), San Antonio, Texas, 16.071
Bob Gardner (4G), Washington, Ill., 16.141
Chad Hollenbeck (4Ds), Kingsley, Pa., 16.185
Nick Davis (92), Delmar, Del., 16.409
Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, Pa., no time