Jeff Mathews wins Late Model and Open Wheel Modified Feature Races
By Jason Loughren
Fans packed the East Bay Raceway Park grandstand for opening night as well over 100 cars took to the track for another action packed night of racing. South Shore Auto Sales Night at The Clay By that Bay kicked off the season in grand fashion with 6 classes of racing.
The memory of car owner J.R. Prather, Sr. was on everyoneís mind as the green flag dropped on the 2009 season. Many fans and teams paid tribute to Prather, Sr. who passed away earlier in the week. David Schmauss and Gene Lasker changed their car numbers to 007 in honor of their friend Jr. Prather, Sr.
The Outlaw 4ís hit the track first. Austin Gillman had the car to beat as he raced his way to his first victory of the season. Stephen Hohlbaugh finished 2nd. Amanda Rogers crossed the finish line in the 3rd spot. Mickey Wright and Mavrick Varnadore completed the top-5. Varnadore won the heat race.
In the Gagelís Open Wheel Modifieds the story of the night began to take shape. Jeff Mathews started on the front row along side pole sitter Bobby Dixon. Mathews would waste no time getting to the lead. Once in the lead, Mathews held on for the victory. In victory lane an emotional Mathews dedicated his night to the memory of his friend JR Prather, Sr. Alex Boerner used a late lap pass to capture 2nd place. Bobby Dixon was 3rd. Greg Reutimann finished 4th. Bruce Harvey challenged for the lead early and came home 5th. Mathews and Dixon won the heat races.
Twenty-one South Shore Auto Sales Late Models were on hand for their 25 lap feature race. Jack Nosbisch, Jr opened up a straightaway lead on the field during the early laps. Looming in second place was the car of Jeff Mathews who was fresh off a trip to victory lane in the Open Wheeled Modifieds. As Nosbisch, Jr. worked his way through lap traffic Mathews was gaining ground on each lap. With 5 laps to go Nosbisch, Jr. had a comfortable lead that would soon disappear as the Mathews machine started to close in. In only three laps Mathews was able to pass Nosbisch, Jr. and take the lead eventually seizing the victory. The win was his second of the night and second in a row. Nosbisch, Jr. finished 2nd. Doug Watson had a strong run and came home 3rd. Jimmy Waldrop started 12th and finished 4th. Pole sitter Jeff Fields rounded out the top-5. David Schmauss, Mathews and Nosbisch, Jr. rounded out the top-5.
In the East Bay Sprints (formerly known as the Limited Sprints) Paulie Milum held off Gene Lasker early to take the lead. Laskerís night ended in the infield with technical problems during a caution period. After Laskerís exit Milum was able to cruise to the victory. Tim George finished 2nd. Rich Alexander was 3rd. Rocky Sullivan continued his success from the end of last season with a 4th place finish and Kurt Taylor completed the top-5. George and Lasker won the heat races.
The Street Stocks started the season with a bang. A caution-plagued event saw the return of Buck Skinner to victory lane. Skinner who started back in the 13th spot battled for the closing laps with Buck Woodhouse who would end up finishing 2nd. Tim Spencer, Sr. ran in the front pack all-night and finished 3rd. Donnie Reed was a contender during the early laps finished 4th. Mathew Grissom finished 5th. Danny Hill and Reed won the heats.
The Motorstats.com 4 Cylinder bombers set a record with a car count of 34 cars. With that many cars everyone knew that this would be a wild night for the bombers.
Kyle Kruse took the victory. Frank Miller started shotgun on the 34 car field and finished 2nd. Jim Baker had a strong run and finished 3rd. Kever Raulerson and Roberto Morfin, Sr. rounded out the top-5. Raymond Vann, Roberto Morfin, Jr. and Troy Dittebrand won the heat races.
ASA sanctioned racing resumes at East Bay Raceway Park Saturday, March 7th, 2009 at 6:30pm. Evergreen Delevelopment and Construction Night will feature the South Shore Auto Sales Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Motorstats.com 4 cylinder bombers and Dirt Daubers. For more information call the track office at 813-677-7223 or visit us on the web at www.eastbayracewaypark.com.
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