October 18, 2008 - An overcast evening greeted the drivers at Eastbay Raceway Park, but the pits were full with one of the best fields of racecars in the 2008 racing season. Both Late Models and Open-Wheel Modifieds were on the schedule along with the Outlaw 4ís, the Motorstats.com Street Stocks and the Convire 4-Cylinder Bombers.
The Outlaw 4ís kicked off the A-Main Features at ďthe Clay by the BayĒ that featured Shirlene Hammond marching through the field from the 7th spot to grab the lead. The #35 driver from Plant City, Jerry Bruce who started back in the 6th position, followed Hammond through pack to take over 2nd. He and Hammond made contact that sent the #22 spinning off turn two, allowing Bruce to pick up his 3rd victory of the 2008 season. Steven Hohlbaugh, and Chad Rose finished 2nd and 3rd, while Sean Bass and Michael Gulvin rounded out the top 5. Heat Race #1 winner was Points Leader Shane Burrows and Hohlbaugh won Heat Race #2.
The Gagelís Used Auto Parts Open-Wheel Modifieds were next on the track with a tremendous field of drivers including Jeff Mathews, Buzzie Reutimann, Jamie Burrows and Bobby Dixon, but it was pole sitter #44 of Bob Johnston that held off several challenges from the field to pick up his 1st A-Main Feature win at Eastbay Raceway Park. Bobby Dixon in the #205 came across the stripe 2nd and newlywed Austin Sanders 3rd. John Bradley and Scotty Williams were the winners in their respective Heat Races.
The Motorstats.com Street Stocks provided the crowd with sensational side-by-side action throughout their A-Main Feature event. #17 Danny Hill battled his way through the field, but came up just short as Buck Skinner in the #00B hung on to pick up his 6th win of the season. Hill finished 2nd, while Donnie Reed, James Hook and Gary Sheffield rounded out the top 5. Randy Tyler was the winner of Heat Race #1 and #55 Buck Woodhouse picked up the checkered flag in Heat Race #2.
The Late Models furnished the fans with some of the best racing of the year. Ryan Mitchell picked up the win in his Heat Race, leading every lap to the checkered flag. He was awarded with the pole for the 25 Lap A-Main Feature and led most of the race. The action was intense as veteran driver #105 David Schmauss and the 17SS machine of Shan Smith put on an incredible show of their own with their side-by side battle on each restart. That battle would finally prove to much for the #105 team, but that allowed Smith to then make his run at the leader Mitchell, who held the lead until lap 23. Mitchell got crossed up, and spun in turn 4, sending him to the rear and ruining an otherwise excellent run by the 5k team. After that, Smith hung on to win his 1st ever A-Main Feature at Eastbay Raceway Park. Equally as impressive was the #41 driver, Travis Varnadore, who is currently 2nd in the Championship Points race behind KD Kelley. Unfortunately for Kelley, his night also ended early as he was caught up in an accident that literally destroyed the right front of his car. Varnadore, who started 14th, passed some of the most successful Late Model drivers in the state to finish 2nd, moving him ever closer to Kelley for the Points lead. Matt Miller, Roger Crouse and Steve Miller rounded out the top 5. Matt Miller won Heat Race #2 and Roger Crouse Heat Race #3.
We finished the night with the always exciting Convire 4-Cylinder Bomber Division, and although the numbers of cylinders were cut in half from the Late Models, the action would be just as intense. #4 Tommy Huffstutler proved too much for the field, picking up his 1st win of the season. Frank Miller and Kyle Eash finished 2nd and 3rd, while Jim Baker and Wayne Kissam rounded out the top 5. Jimmy Odell, Elliot Warn-Morgan and Jim Baker were all winners of the Heat Races.
ASA sanctioned racing resumes at Eastbay Raceway Park Saturday night, October 25th at 6:30pm. The Late Models will be back along with the Limited Late Models, the Motorstats.com Street Stocks, the Outlaw 4ís and the Convire 4-Cylinder Bombers. For more information, call the track office at 813-677-7223, or visit us on the web at www.eastbayracewaypark.com