Randy Korte Storms to Front For Crate Late Model Win
By Roby Helm
The Crate Late Models showed why Dirt racing is so popular. Amazing races all night.
Randy Korte of Highland, IL came from the 19th starting spot to win the 2nd Annual 100-lap StormPay.com Crate Racin' USA World Championship Race, and the $10,000 top prize on Saturday night at East Bay Raceway Park. The top five finishers in the race came from deep in the 26-car field in a race that saw wholesale position changes from start to finish.
Korte led the race on two different occasions. He made the winning move on lap 69 when he moved his Terry Eaglin Motorsports Rocket around Anthony White of Clinton, TN in the Stone Plus DWB. After White dropped out of the race on lap 71, Korte was unchallenged the rest of the way.
"This is the first time I've ever driven a dirt late model with a crate engine, and I was really happy with the way it performed," Korte said. "I wish Anthony could have stayed in the race because that was really fun racing him for the lead."
The car Korte drove to victory was a machine he was very familiar with because he used to own it.
"Terry Eaglin just bought this car from me," Korte said. "He put a crate engine in it, and asked me to drive here this weekend. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but once I got used to it, we were pretty good."
After failing to make the 24-car starting field through a heat race on Friday night, Korte had to start his racing activities on Saturday in the first of three 20-lap B-Main races. Korte won the first B-Main to earn the 19th starting spot. In the main event, Korte worked his way to the front of pack. He was in the top ten by lap 10, the top five by lap 14, and he then took the lead on lap 18.
Korte led until lap 37 when White took the lead, but Korte stayed close. White had mechanical trouble on lap 69, and Korte took the lead with an inside move in turn three to lead the rest of the way.
Shannon Buckingham of Morristown TN finished second in the S&S Millwright Barry Wright after starting 15th. The biggest mover of the night was the defending race champion Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN in the Goddard Performance Warrior. Owens had to take a Defending Champion's provisional to make the race, and he started 26th and last on the grid.
Owens worked his way up to the tenth spot by lap 25, fifth by lap 51, When White dropped out on lap 71, Owens took over the third spot, which was where he finished the race to earn the NeSmith Chevrolet Hard Charger of the Race Award.
Local favorite Jeff Matthews of Seffner, FL brought the Night Hawk Towing Rocket home in the fourth spot after starting 12th. Jeff Fields of Aragon, GA came from the 17th starting spot to finish fifth in the Summerville Junkyard/WMF Race Products Mastersbilt.
The 2006 StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series National Champion David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN was sixth in the Dixon Plumbing Mastersbilt, and another early race leader, Jordy Nipper of Gray, GA took the seventh spot in the Scotty's Muffler Walter Newman. Terry Lumley of Twin City, GA finished eighth in the Kar House Racing Radiators Mastersbilt after starting 24th.
Keith Nosbisch of Valrico, FL finished ninth in the Adams Used Auto Parts Rocket, and Terry Mosley of Gilbertown, AL rounded out the top ten in the Robinson Motorsports Trac Star.
When the field took the green flag in front of a packed house, outside front row starter John Pursley of Clover, SC took the lead in the Pursley Grading Barry Wright followed by Nipper, Lucky Keeton of Toomsuba, MS, Frankie Beard of Hartwell, GA, and White.
On lap four, the 2006 StormPay.com C.J. Rayburn Race Cars Rookie of the Year Beard passed the 2006 StormPay.com Weekly Racing Series West Region Champion Keeton for the third spot, and White passed Keeton for fourth on lap six.
The first of 11 caution flags came out on lap 13 after polesitter Griffin Kinsey of Lafayette, GA, and Jason McBride of Carbondale, IL tangled on the front straightaway. McBride made heavy contact with the outside wall in his J.R. McBride, Inc. Rayburn, and Kinsey parked his All South Racing Products Warrior against the inside wall.
The second caution came out on the restart when Keeton spun his Charlotte's Toy GRT in turn one, collecting Jeff Smith of Villanow, GA in the All South Racing Products Warrior, and Nextel Cup star Ken Schrader of Fenton, MO in the Red Baron Pizza Rocket. Keeton and Smith were done for the evening, while Schrader kept racing.
On the next restart, White and Korte passed Beard for the third and fourth spots respectively. The field stayed green for only two more laps, as Kinsey and Frank Ingram of Woodstock, GA in the Walker Concrete Rocket got together in turn four. Just as the caution flag came out, Nipper was on the inside groove making a challenge on Pursley for the lead.
Nipper made another try to take the point away from Pursley on the lap 15 restart, and this time made it stick. On lap 16, White, Korte, and Buckingham moved up to challenge Pursley for the second spot, while Beard began to fade in the Old 29 Golf Carts Barry Wright.
Korte moved up to the second spot, bringing White and Buckingham, with him, as Pursley dropped to the fifth position. On lap 18, Korte passed Nipper for the lead, but a spin by Jay Brinkley of Shelbyville, TN in the A+ Moving Mastersbilt negated the pass.
On the restart, Korte once again got by Nipper for the lead working the outside groove coming off the fourth turn. On lap 21, White and Buckingham passed Nipper for the second and spots respectively, and by lap 23, Matthews got around Nipper for fifth. White had closed to within a car length of Korte to challenge for the lead on lap 28.
White tucked in behind Korte as they began to work lapped traffic on lap 35. Phillip Cobb of Riverview, FL brought out the caution light on lap 37 when he suffered a cut tire on his Mathis Farms Warrior. When the field went back to green, White got inside Korte in turn three, and took the lead coming off the fourth turn,
Curtis Cline of Douglasville, GA spun the J.L. Brooks Construction Warrior in turn two on lap 41 for the next caution flag. White led Korte, Buckingham, Pursley, Matthews, and Nipper down to the green flag. Pursley drifted high in turn one, and got freight trained from the fourth spot to out of the top ten.
Korte was able to stay with White until they reached lapped traffic on lap 60. White was able to put a couple of the lapped cars between himself and Korte, and began to pull away. On lap 64, White made heavy contact with a lapped car, causing a lot of sheet metal damage to the front of his race car. Korte caught White in the lapped traffic by lap 67, and began to look inside the leader.
Lap 69 was a busy one during the race. It started off with Owens getting under Matthews in turn one to take over the fourth spot. Meanwhile up front, Korte got inside White in turn three to take over the lead. Two laps later, White stalled to bring out the caution flag. Korte went unchallenged the rest of the way to take the win.
In preliminary action on Friday night, Smith was the fast qualifier among the 92 entrants from 14 different states. Smith turned the 1/3-mile clay oval in 16.344 seconds. Kinsey, Pursley, Keeton, Nipper, McBride, and White won the six 15-lap heat races.
There were three 20-lap B-Mains on Saturday night with Korte, Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, FL in the Big D's Fireworks Rocket, and Cobb taking the wins.