East Bay Rings Out 2009 with Six Features
By: Larry Jewett
The 2009 season came to a close at East Bay Raceway Park with six divisions giving the fans a full night of entertainment.
The action started with the Gagelís Open Wheel Modifieds. John Bradley scored the daily double with a win in his heat and a victory in the feature. Bradley took the lead from the beginning and made the field chase him to the flag. Shane Burrows, Roger Crouse, Jeff Mathews and Brian Hollifield rounded out the top five. Mathews was the track champion.
The Outlaw 4 points were still in contention as the class entered its final night of action. Point leader Stephen Hohlbaugh and Cecil Martin were winners. The heat win for Hohlbaugh cinched the title, but there was still a matter of the 15-lap feature. That main was captured by Brian Danforth, who scored his fifth feature of the year. Danforth took the lead from Dan Chambers, who finished second, ahead of Matt Haynes, Amanda Rogers and Michael Gulvin.
An exciting finish to the Q Auto & Injury Attorneys Limited Late Model main as Tim Gay tried to run from the field, only to have the engine blow on the last lap. Gay was able to coast across before anyone could catch him, giving him his sixth feature win. John Bradleyís second place finish was enough to secure the championship. Alex Boerner, Forrest Gough and William Hampton finished up the top five. Bradley and Boerner were heat winners.
A thrilling late race pass by Bryan Bernhardt brought the fans to their feet in South Late Model racing. Mathews grabbed the lead from Doug Watson. While Mathews was trying to run from the field, Bernhardt was gaining and made the pass for the lead. Travis Varnadore rallied from deep in the field during the first few laps to take third with Philip Cobb and Jimmy Waldrop rounding out the first five. Track champion Mathews and Watson won heats.
Gene Lasker put his car where no one would go, taking the highest line to catch early race leader Rocky Sullivan. Entering turn three on lap nine, Lasker dropped to the bottom to put a slide job on Sullivan that would get him the lead and his sixth feature win. Lasker told the crowd that he would be running for the points championship next year. Sullivan held out for second with AJ Maddox moving into third. Paulie Milum finished fourth and clinched the 2009 track title. Rich Alexander crossed fifth. Milum and Alexander were heat winners.
The motorstats.com 4 Cylinder Bombers had the honor of closing the show. Troy Dittebrand, Johnnie Alexander and point champion Jim Baker started off with heat wins. Dittebrand had the early lead in the feature, but no one was denying Robert Kissamís charge. The win gave Kissam six on the year and a top three finish in the points. Expectant father Baker came up with second, ahead of Alexander, Dittebrand, and George Handy.
The next on-track action at East Bay Raceway Park will be opening night of the 34th annual Winternationals. The Open Wheel Modifieds kick off the program, starting on January 26, 2010. 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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