NeSmith Dirt Late Model Win Goes to Buckingham
TAMPA, FL - Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, TN welcomed a race with 11 caution flags to keep his tires cool and win the 50-lap NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series race on Saturday night at East Bay Raceway Park driving the Rusty Wallace Toyota Bloomquist. Buckingham led wire-to-wire to earn the $3,000 top prize.
The cautions kept Buckingham’s tires cool and two-time NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN behind him. During an 11 lap green flag run, Buckingham was smoking the left-rear tire through the corners, and almost hit the wall going into turn three.
That enabled Gentry to close in to challenge for the lead, but a caution flag slowed his efforts and let Buckingham cool down his hot tires.
“The caution flags came just right for me because on that long run early in the race, I knew David Gentry was there,” Buckingham said. “I knew the left-rear was hot because it was hooking up so well that it almost pushed the right front into the turn three wall. The track got a little harder than we expected.” Buckingham started the race from the pole position after out-timing the
49-car field in McLeod Construction Qualifying with a lap around the
1/3-mile clay oval in 15.552 seconds. It was Buckingham’s second McLeod Construction Fast Time Award in as many nights.
Although Gentry had to settle for second in the Eades Farms “Flying Deuce” Warrior, he took over the point lead in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National standings, and holds a ten point lead over Larry Boutwell of Baker, FL.
Jack Nosbisch of Riverview, FL finished third in the Adams Used Auto Parts Rocket, and Keith Nosbisch of Valrico, FL finished fourth for the third straight night in the Miller Lite Rocket. Jay Blair of Angie, LA picked up the Race Car Engineering Fifth-Place Award in the J&A Trucking Mastersbilt, and moved up to the fifth spot in the NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National points chase.
Brad Hall of Knoxville, TN drove the Pilot Travel Centers Rocket to a sixth-place finish, and moved into a tie for the third spot in the NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National point standings with Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS.
Boutwell took the seventh spot in the McLeod Construction Rocket.
Brian Rickman of Columbus, MS took the Race Car Engineering Eighth-Place Award in the Advance Logistics Mastersbilt powered by the only GM Performance 602 Crate Engine in the field. Frank Ingram of Woodstock, GA was the Maximum Signs Ninth-Place Award winner in the Gardner Excavating Rocket. Hunter Peacock of Macon, GA came back after a lap 13 spin to race his way from the back of the pack to round out the top ten in the Nasworthy Mechanical Bullet.
Dirt World on Real Racin' USA interview with Shannon BUckingham
The hardest working man at the race track was flagman Julian Mullus, who had to wave the caution flag early and often. The first of 11 caution flags came out on the opening lap when Gentry and Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA in the Turner Excavating DWB spun in turn three. Buckingham grabbed the lead on the complete restart followed by Steve Mathis of Plant City, FL in the Mathis Farms Rayburn, Phillip Cobb of Riverview, FL in the Coastal Trucking GRT, defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA in the CSC Trailer Repair Mastersbilt, and Gentry.
Gentry passed Brindle for the fourth spot on lap two, but Brindle came right back to reclaim the spot on lap three. By the sixth lap, Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, WV had climbed up to the tenth spot after starting 13th in the Adams Used Auto Parts Warrior. Horton was looking for his third straight win in as many nights.
A multi-car pileup on the front straightaway on lap eight brought out the second caution flag. Bryan Bernhardt of Clearwater, FL broke the right-front suspension on his B&B Precision Mowers Rocket, and hit the wall.
That collected the cars of Josh Peacock of Dover, FL, Steve Gillman of Plant City, FL, Travis Varnadore of Dover, FL, and Derrick Rainey of Powder Springs, GA.
The wreck eliminated Bernhardt, Varnadore in the L. Miller & Associates Rayburn, and Rainey in the Hays Family Racing/Barto Enterprises Warrior.
Rainey earned the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award. Peacock continued in the Frubob Fruit Float Warrior, as did Gillman in the Pearsco Rayburn.
On the restart, Keith Nosbisch, Horton, and Jeff Mathews of Dover, FL in the Night Hawk Towing Rocket tangled for the third caution flag. The chance for a “three-peat” ended for Horton, as his car was towed the pit area, while Nosbisch and Mathews lined up for the restart. Buckingham led Mathis, Cobb, Brindle, and Gentry down for the double-file restart.
Cobb drifted high in turn one and Brindle drove by for the third spot.
Brindle’s ride in the third spot was short-lived, as he spun on lap nine to light up the caution bulb. Buckingham now led Mathis, Gentry, Jack Nosbisch, Keith Nosbisch, Hunter Peacock, Blair, Cobb, Mathews, and Hall down for the restart.
Gillman spun in turn two on lap 11, and after the restart, Hunter Peacock passed Keith Nosbisch for the fourth spot on lap 12, but like Brindle, Peacock didn’t stay there long, as he spun in turn two on lap 13 to unravel the yellow bunting for the sixth time.
The reshuffled the restart order with Buckingham leading Mathis, Gentry, Jack Nosbisch, Keith Nosbisch, Blair, Hall, Cobb, Cooley in the 78 Towing and Recovery Victory Circle and Mathews came down for the restart. After a lap 15 caution for debris, the field seemed to settle in, and the tire smoking began.
Gentry was able to drive under a high-riding Mathis for the second spot coming off the fourth turn on lap 16, as Buckingham had opened up a half-straightaway lead. At the halfway point, smoke could be seen coming off Buckingham’s left-rear tire, and he almost hit the third turn wall at the end of the back straightaway.
That enabled Gentry to close in and look for racing room. Mathis was also having his share of handling problems, as he spun from the third spot on lap
26 in turn four to bring out the eighth caution flag. During the caution period, Buckingham went straight for the loose dirt on the high side of the track to cool down his boiling left-rear tire.
Cooley brought out caution flag number nine on lap 28 when he cut down a right-rear tire while running in the eighth spot. Cobb and Mathews got together in turn three on lap 29 while battling for the eighth spot and battle continued after the wreck was over. Mathews climbed out of his car and assaulted Cobb while he was sitting in his race car.
NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series officials immediately disqualified Mathews from the event, and will hand out further disciplinary action next week.
After the restart, the field stayed green until lap 37 when the final yellow flag was brought out for debris in turn three. Buckingham was able to maintain a four car-length advantage over Gentry for the remaining 14 laps, and still keep the tires on his car to the checkered flag.
In preliminary action, the four eight-lap heat races were won by Jack Nosbisch, Jeff Fields of Aragon, GA in the Summerville Junkyard Mastersbilt, Turner, and Keith Nosbisch. The two 12-lap B-Main races were won by Josh Peacock and Ingram.
Although no Rookie drivers made the main event, Ben McCreary of Baldwyn, MS was the highest finishing Rookie in the B-Main races to earn the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Race Award.
The next event on the 2009 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series schedule will be a Columbus, MS “Crosstown Challenge” with a 40-lap $2,000-to-win race on April 17 at Columbus Speedway on the east side of Columbus, MS, and a 50-lap $2,500-to-win race on April 18 at Magnolia Motor Speedway on the west side of Columbus, MS.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 5 AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK IN TAMPA, FL ON
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN
LAPS $ WON
1. 1 50 Shanon Buckingham
Morristown, TN 50 $3,100
2. 4 2 David Gentry
Lewisburg, TN 50 $1,500
3. 7 12n Jack Nosbisch
Riverview, FL 50 $1,250
4. 10 102 Keith Nosbisch
Valrico, FL 50 $1,100
5. 12 2x Jay Blair
Angie, LA 50 $1,000
6. 6 47 Brad Hall
Knoxville, TN 50 $850
7. 22 58 Larry Boutwell Baker,
FL 50 $750
8. 21 90 Brian Rickman
Columbus, MS 50 $700
9. 20 F9 Frank Ingram
Woodstock, GA 50 $650
10. 15 12 Hunter Peacock Macon,
GA 50 $600
11. 8 16 Jeff Fields
Aragon, GA 50 $550
12. 3 95 Steve Mathis
Plant City, FL 50 $500
13. 24 33c Eric Cooley
Fulton, MS 50 $450
14. 2 32 Phillip Cobb
Riverview, FL 50 $400
15. 19 21p Josh Peacock Dover,
FL 47 $350
16. 5 38c Chip Brindle
Chatsworth, GA 46 $300
17. 16 89 Steve Gillman Plant
City, FL 35 $280
18. 14 49 Jeremy Hines
Seymour, IN 30 $250
19. 9 10 Matthew Turner
Dawsonville, GA 10 $250
20. 13 11 Doug Horton
Bruceton Mills, WV 7 $250
21. 11 B69 Bryan Bernhardt
Clearwater, FL 7 $250
22. 23 87 Derrick Rainey Powder
Springs, GA 7 $250
23. 18 41 Travis Varnadore Dover,
FL 7 $250
24. 17 33 Jeff Mathews
Dover, FL DQ $0
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