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East Bay Raceway Park

Home-staters on front row for East Bay main

December 3, 2011, 8:13 am
By Roby Helm
NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Mark Whitener starts on the pole in Saturday's main event. (Gary Laster)
Mark Whitener starts on the pole in Saturday's main event. (Gary Laster)

GIBSONTON, Fla. (Dec. 2) — Local favorites Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., and Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, Fla., won Friday heat races at East Bay Raceway Park to earn front-row starting spot at the seventh annual GM Performance Parts World Championship for Crate Late Models.

Eighteen drivers were locked into Saturday's 100-lap main event for the season finale on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.

Whitener drove the Dave’s Towing Special to victory in the first heat race on Friday night to earn the pole position for Saturday night’s 100-lapper. Dixon won the second heat race in the Mathis Farms Special to take the outside front row starting spot for the main event.

Dennis “Rambo” Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., won the third heat race in the AES Racing Special to earn the inside second row starting spot, and Rodney Wing of Meridian, Miss., won the fourth heat race and will start the Buddy’s Home Furnishings Rocket on the outside of the second row for the big show.

The fifth heat race was won by Royce Bray of Hull, Ga., in the Junk Monkey Recycling Warrior to earn the inside third row starting spot for the $10,000-to-win race, and Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga., earned the outside third row starting spot for Saturday night’s main event with a win in the sixth heat race on Friday night driving the Budweiser Rocket.

Rows four, five and six will be made up of the second-place finishers in the six heat races, and rows seven, eight and nine will be filled by the third-place finishers in the six heat races.

Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., set fast time among the 53 entrants with a lap around the third-mile clay oval in 15.758 seconds driving the AES Racing Special. Davenport finished second in the first heat race.

Drivers that finished fourth on back in the six 15-lap heat races on Friday will have another opportunity to make the big show on Saturday night in one of two 20-lap consolation races.

Heat race finishes

First heat: Mark Whitener, Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, Chip Brindle, Steven Roberts, David Gentry, Travis Varnadore, Chris Cantrell.

Second heat: Devin Dixon, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Doug Horton, Tim McCreadie, Jeff Smith, Josh Peacock, Matt Long, Shannon Lee, Mack McCarter.

Third heat: Dennis Franklin, Randy Weaver, Phillip Cobb, Mark Banal, Frank Wilson, Pierce McCarter, Sammy Stile, Ryan Montgomery, Nolan Dalton

Fourth heat: Rodney Wing, Jack Nosbisch Jr., Randy Korte, Johnny Stokes, Mavrick Varnadore, Matthew Turner, Steve Mathis Jr., Steve Cooke, Tony Lawson.

Fifth heat: Royce Bray, Jeff Mathews, David Schmauss, Chase Edge, Stacey Roberts, Brent Glastetter, Hayden Campbell, Shane Hitt, Kyle Musselman

Sixth heat: Brandon Overton, Shan Smith, Doug Watson, Ronnie Johnson, Albert Cosnahan, Brent Kehrer, Forrest Trent, Kevin Wilson.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Whitener, Dixon
Row 2: Franklin, Wing
Row 3: Bray, Overton
Row 4: Davenport, Lloyd
Row 5: Weaver, J. Nosbisch
Row 6: Mathews, Smith
Row 7: Francis, Horton
Row 8: Cobb, Korte
Row 9: Schmauss, Watson
Row 10: Consolation transfers
Row 11: Consolation transfers
Row 12: Provisional starters
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