East Bay Raceway Park
Horton collects $10,000 Crate victory at East Bay
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
GIBSONTON, Fla. (Dec. 11) — Regular East Bay Raceway Park visitor Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., earned $10,000 on Saturday night by capturing the sixth annual NeSmith Chevrolet World Championship for Crate Late Models.
Driving the Adams Used Auto Parts Warrior Race Car, the sixth-starting Horton rode in the fifth spot for the first two-thirds of the 100 lap race before making his move to the front of the pack. Horton took the lead on lap 72 and led the rest of the way. | Prelims
“There were a lot of good Super Late Model drivers in this race tonight, and I don’t know what they think, but the guys that race with these crate engines are good because when these cars get a push where the car won’t turn left, you don’t have the horsepower a Super Late Model has to pull you out of it,” Horton said. “You really have to drive these cars, and this win special because of that.”
Among the Super Late Models Horton spoke of was polesitter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who led 60 laps in quest for back-to-back December victories at the third-mile oval. But McCreadie settled for second with Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., and Jeff Smith of Chatsworth, Ga., rounding out the top five.
Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., who started outside the front row, took the lead from the outset in the 100-lapper. Davenport led McCreadie, Bryan Bernhardt, Smith and Horton during the opening laps before encountering the cars on the tail of the lead lap on lap ten. McCreadie caught Davenport in lapped traffic on lap 11, and on lap 12 used a lapped car for pick to take the lead in turn four. The first of 10 cautions appeared on lap 15 when Jeff Mathews stalled on the front straightaway.
By lap 20, McCreadie, Davenport and Smith had pulled out to a half straightaway lead over the fourth-running Bernhardt. The second caution lap came out on lap 26 when Shan Smith blew a radiator hose and spun in turn three in a cloud of steam.
When the green flag came back out, Jeff Smith drove past Davenport for second. Doug Watson spun in turn two on lap 28 to bring out the third caution, and Dan Breuer spun in turn one on the restart. Davenport got around Smith on the next restart to reclaim the second spot.
The caution bulb was lit up for the fifth time on lap 38 when Chase Washington stalled in turn two. When the field went back to green, McCreadie pulled away while Davenport and Smith battled for second. Smith got around Davenport for second on lap 41, while McCreadie enjoyed a full straightaway lead.
At halfway, McCreadie opened a six-second lead over Smith when he caught lapped traffic. While McCreadie was trying to negotiate lapped traffic, Smith turned up the wick and was gaining a second a lap, catching the leader by lap 55. McCreadie worked his way through the traffic, while Smith was also trying to get through the gauntlet as Davenport challenged from third.
Davenport regained second on lap 65 when made an inside move on Smith going down the backstretch. Watson stalled on lap 67 to bring out the sixth caution flag. McCreadie led Davenport, Smith, Bernhardt and Horton on the restart.
Position shuffles abounded on the restart as Smith overtook Davenport for second while Horton and Franklin got by Bernhardt to take over fourth and fifth spots. Nosbisch fell off the pace before stalling on the backstretch on lap 68 to bring out the seventh caution flag.
Horton passed Davenport for third on the restart, but the field was slowed by the caution flag on lap 69 when Rodney Wing and Matthew Turner tangled in turn two.
Horton pounced on Smith to take over the second spot when the green came back out, with Franklin climbing into third. Smith fell back to fourth and Bernhardt settled into fifth while Davenport dropped back to sixth.
Horton was all over McCreadie to challenge for the lead, and drove by him on the outside in turn four on lap 72 to grab the point.
Just as Horton encountered lapped traffic, Davenport brought out the final caution on lap 81 when he spun in turn four. Horton led McCreadie, Franklin, Smith and Bernhardt. Weaver made a big move when the green bulb was lit, as he moved from seventh to fourth.
Horton maintained his lead over McCreadie in the final 20 laps, while Weaver got by Franklin for the third spot on lap 95. McCreadie and Weaver closed on the leader in lapped traffic, but neither could challenge for the win.
NeSmith World Championship: (1) Doug Horton, (2) Tim McCreadie, (3) Randy Weaver, (4) Dennis Franklin, (5) Jeff Smith, (6) Phillip Cobb, (7) Bryan Bernhardt, (8) Steve Mathis, (9) Chip Brindle, (10) Dan Breuer, (11) Josh Peacock, (12) Jonathan Davenport, (13) Travis Varnadore, (14) Matthew Turner, (15) Shannon Lee, (16) Rodney Wing, (17) Jack Nosbisch Jr., (18) Doug Watson, (19) Perry Brown, (20) Ronnie Johnson, (21) Chase Washington, (22) Scott Weber, (23) Shan Smith, (24) Mavrick Varnadore. Fast qualifier (among 44 cars): McCreadie, 16.197 seconds. Heat race winners: McCreadie, Davenport, Bernhardt, J. Smith. Consolation winners: Peacock, Breuer. Provisional starters: Turner, Lee, M. Varnadore.