The stage has been set for the season finale at East Bay Raceway Park with the arrival of the Storm Pay.com Crate Late Models. The first night of the two-day program brought 92 cars from throughout the Southeast and Midwest with qualifying and heat races on Friday. Jeff Smith set the pace in qualifying, which positioned the field for six heat races. Those six heat races moved 18 drivers into the field for the Saturday 100-lap, $10,000 to win contest. The rest of the field will be determined with three B mains on Saturday (see separate report for Storm Pay.com results)
The Friday racing action saw two local classes join the Late Models. In Open Wheel Modified racing, Matt Miller prevailed in the heat race. Miller started on the outside pole but was quickly shuffled back as Scotty Williams and Dale Kelley fought for the lead. The two traded the top position through early laps in the 12-lap main, but others wanted an immediate piece of the action. When the field was slowed on the second lap, Jeff Mathews, who was doing double duty with his Late Model and Modified, had stuck his nose into second. Mathews swept past Williams, but the former Mini Stock track champion refused to go quietly. Williams and Mathews raced in close quarters and the bid for the lead became a three-car affair with the arrival of Raymond Rogers. The trio left the outcome in doubt with each passing lap until Williams spun on lap 10. Mathews now had to hold off Rogers, a feat he accomplished to gain his second Modified main of the year. Rogers came home second with a late closing Jamie Burrows third. Kelley was fourth with Miller rounding out the top five.
Greg Leonardís win in the Limited Sprint preliminary helped tighten the point battle with the final results being audited before a champion is crowned. The all-important feature points loomed with the 12-lap main. Frank Beck III scooted to the lead on the backstretch and was never contested in a wire-to-wire run. Paulie Milum gave it a go, but could only take second, ahead of Leonard. Tim George crossed fifth, but was credited with fourth after Jimmy Ballew was dqed at tech.
The final night of the 2006 regular season will be Saturday, Dec. 16. In addition to the $10,000 Crate Late Model main, local division action will see the Outlaw 4s, 4 Cylinder Bombers and Street Stocks finish off their seasons. A Fan Participation race and the arrival of Santa Claus will also entertain the racing fans. For complete information, visit the website at www.eastbayracewaypark.com.