East Bay Raceway Park Celebrates Halloween With Style
by Jack Smith
The ghouls and goblins were lurking around every corner at East Bay Raceway Park Saturday night with kids of all ages enjoying one of racing's most fun-filled nights.
Halloween is traditionally one of the best nights of the year at Florida's tracks, a perfect night to put the fun-factor alongside great racing. With 5 classes of cars including limited late models, late models and modifieds, along with an on track candy feast and autograph session it was a great night for the young at heart.
While all the racing, including the heats were up to the level fans come to expect at "the clay by the bay", the late model feature with 20 cars was all any short track fan could hope for. Jeff Mathews looked for all the world like he was going to win the 25 lap event, creating a big early lead in the #33.
As Mathews weaved his way through the field lapping car after car, Jack Nosbisch and Travis Varnadore did likewise and steadily gained ground until the three cars were pretty much nose to tail. The long green flag stretch had fans riveted to the action, and finally a caution was called with 3 laps to go, setting up the most exciting three laps of racing on this night.
Mathews jumped out front and as the cars came around turn one, Jack Nosbisch running the lower groove most of the race, changed up and slid outside Mathews.
The two raced side by side and coming through turns 3 & 4 Nosbisch made the pass for the lead while fans went nuts cheering the driver of the #12 late model.
Though Mathews is not only one of East Bay's finest racers, and also one of the more popular as well, the Nosbisch victory pleased the fans immensely.
As usual the East Bay program was smooth as silk, starting on time, finished at a reasonable hour and produced some excellent Saturday night short track racing.
What more could you want on Halloween?
East Bay Media Official Race Report
Gough Gets LLM Biggie at East Bay
The Limited Late Models had a chance to strut their stuff as the division faced a long distance race, going 25 laps as opposed to their usual 15. John Bradley and Tom Evonosky got their night started right with heat race wins. At the start of the feature, attrition started to show early as single cars were dropping from the field. As the race entered the late stages, Phillip Cobb appeared on the way to an easy win.
The best battles were taking shape inside the top five with positions changed every other lap. The checkered came down with Cobb in Victory Lane. While Cobb was driving in the Late Model feature, the tech man took a look at the car and found aluminum trailing arms and that tossed out the win. The victory was credited to Forrest Gough, giving him his second win of the year. Alex Boerner, Jason Pope, Ricky Land and Bradley scored the top five.
The afore-mentioned Late Model race was a 25-lapper with a field of 20 taking the green. Jeff Mathews grabbed the race lead and looked to be on his way to another win. Jack Nosbisch Jr. had other ideas, going to the high side on a lap 22 restart to sweep past Mathews for a popular win. Mathews scored second, ahead of Philip Cobb, Jimmy Waldrop and Travis Varnadore. Heats were taken by Cobb, Al Larson, and Paul Gibbs
Jeff Mathews had competed in three divisions and scored the feature in the Gagelís Open Wheel Modified to keep from being shut out of Victory Lane. Mathews was able to grab the victory ahead of John Bradley, Roger Crouse, early race leader Kyle Bronson and Jamie Burrows. Heats went to Shane Burrows and Scotty Williams.
Thomas Pratt notched his second win for Street Stocks with a convincing late race pass. Buck Skinner charged from deep in the field to finish second ahead of point leader Donnie Reed. Steve OíLone came from a start in the back to get fourth with Buck Woodhouse claiming fifth. Reed, Skinner and Andy Lee triumphed in heats.
Robert Kissam was one of five drivers who had three feature wins in the motorstats.com 4 Cylinder Bomber action for 2009. Now, he leads the pack with a fourth victory, gained Saturday night. The closest pursuer was 16-year-old Dalton Epps, who brought his ride home second. Wayne Kissam started 14th and finished third. Roland Price grabbed fourth, ahead of Darrell Taylor. Raymond Vann, Kelli Hill and Epps had heat wins.
ASA sanctioned racing resumes at East Bay Raceway Park Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009 at 6:30pm. On tap will be the South Shore Auto Sales Late Models, Q Auto & Injury Attorney Limited Late Models, East Bay Sprints, Outlaw 4s, Street Stocks and motorstats.com 4 Cylinder Bombers. 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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