With one week remaining in the 2006 schedule, nearly 100 cars made up the field for a five-division program at East Bay Raceway Park.
The features started with the Street Stocks who were approaching the green flag with the sky lit up with the space shuttle launch. The race was quickly red flagged when three cars tangled in the first turn.
No drivers were injured, but there was concern of a possible fuel leak. Once the field was re-formed, Daniel Lewis grabbed the early lead. Waylon Haynes moved into contention in the early stages.
On lap four, Haynes moved to the top to challenge for the lead. The two made contact with Haynes in the wall and Lewis at the tail. Eric Johnson inherited the lead with Charlie Paris Jr., who had started 15th in the field, at his back bumper. Paris chose the outside line on the restart, losing second to Buck Woodhouse when the green flag flew. Johnson slipped out of the fast groove, but held onto the lead. At the halfway mark, Paris regained second from Woodhouse.
Two laps later, Paris got to the bottom and swept past Johnson for the lead. Paris kept the margin through the rest of the event to claim his sixth win. Johnson took second, ahead of Tim Spencer, Woodhouse, and Lewis. Spencer won his heat race with a last lap pass of Haynes while Woodhouse claimed the other preliminary.
A field of 18 cars took the green for the Open Wheel Modifieds with Tony Agin grabbing the early lead. Agin’s car turned sideways, giving Trevor Merrill the lead. Jamie Burrows quickly took the top spot in the second turn.
Meanwhile, some of the drivers from outside the top 10 at the start were moving through the field. Josh Richeson moved to fifth from his 13th starting spot while Raymond Rogers came from 11th to seventh. Contact between Bobby Dixon and Merrill resulted in Merrill retiring and Dixon claiming second. Rogers climbed to second with Richeson third.
Richeson slid back as Jeff Mathews was moving forward. Mathews was running third, but made a brilliant move to shoot to first. The pass was nullified by a caution, settling Mathews to third. Burrows used the reprieve to move out on the restart lead and kept his car in front of the field. Rogers kept second, ahead of Mathews, Buzzie Reutimann, and Richeson. Rogers and Scotty Williams claimed the preliminary events.
The Outlaw 4s came to the green with Kevin Haynes taking the early lead. After a lap two mishap, Haynes retired, but the lead went to Matthew Haynes. Haynes started to feel pressure from Travis Varnadore who had worked through by using the outside line. Chad Rose and Michael Gulvin tangled with their cars being stuck together and bringing out a caution.
On the restart, Varnadore lost a spot, giving Haynes a little more breathing room. Varnadore renewed his charge with two laps left, but Varnadore had a hard charging Rose coming after him. Varnadore pulled right up behind the leader, but couldn’t make the pass. Haynes moved out to claim his first victory of the 2006 season. Varnadore kept second ahead of Rose, Tony D’Alessio and Eddie Mercer. Harmon Byrd and Steve Miller claimed the heats.
The Crate Late Models made their second straight appearance with the field building up for the season finale, which features a 100-lap, $10,000-to-win race for the class. In the buildup 25-lapper, Ken Schrader, Jackie Nosbisch and Josh Peacock won the 8-lap preliminaries. Schrader had the honor of drawing the inversion pill and he drew “0” for a straight up start.
A field of 20 cars was headed for the green. Schrader took the lead with Jackie Nosbisch chasing him. Josh Peacock bypassed Jackie Nosbsich for second a lap later. Schrader moved into lapped traffic by the fourth lap, putting several lapped cars between himself and Peacock. Keith Nosbisch grabbed the third spot on lap 8. Schrader was tip-toeing through the lapped traffic, allowing Peacock to close in. A trio of cars collided in front of the leader, but Schrader avoided the contact. The incident on lap 18 was the first caution of the race.
With Peacock and company now in close proximity, Schrader took the restart green, moving up to the middle of the track while Peacock stuck to the low groove. Schrader was not to be denied, scoring a wire-to-wire win. Peacock notched a respectable second, ahead of Keith Nosbisch, Philip Cobb, and Jackie Nosbisch.
The night’s events concluded with the 4 Cylinder Bombers. Collin Kruse took the early race lead and was never headed, picking up his first career victory. K.C. Laramee finished second, despite slipping back to seventh on the fifth lap. Steve Kimpton finished third after starting in the 19th position. B.J. Harp claimed fourth with Kyle Eash scored fifth. Laramee, Ken Smith, and Frank Miller started their nights with heat wins.
The next racing action at East Bay will see three nights that lead to the conclusion of the 2006 season. The StormPay.com Crate Late Models make their annual appearance with three nights of action. It all starts on Thursday with an invitational for 84 eligible drivers.
The race will be 40 laps for $3,000. On Friday, the Crate Late Model action is open competition with local divisions and a powder puff event. On Saturday, the headlining $10,000 to win, 100-lapper for Crate Late Models will close off the East Bay season. Complete details can be found at www.eastbayracewaypark.com.