With Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday behind us, we turned our attention to “Let’s Go Racing” Saturday as East Bay Raceway Park hosted the six-division program that included a special event for the Gladiator class. The planned 25-lap race originally was set to pay $250 for the winner, but anonymous donations drove the winner’s share to $770 for the race.
Heat winner Derrick Edwards grabbed the lead at the start of the Gladiator feature and held off challenges for the first two laps. Robert Kissam, who started inside the second row, made his move in turn two to wrest away the lead as the field headed for the backstretch, Dalton Ellis would grab second before the first caution flew for debris from a blown tire. Logan Casteel moved past Ellis for second when Ellis was pinned by a lapped car on lap 9 and the two would spend the rest of the time swapping the position throughout the race.
Several cautions would slow the race between lap 14 and lap 15. On lap 16, Daniel Bowman, who started at the rear due to his win in the previous event, had charged to the top five when contact with Patrick Tabb brought the car to a stop on the back straightaway. At the other end of the track, the field was slowing for the yellow when Rodney Martin tangled with another car and ended up stranded on an infield barrier tire. While the safety crews worked to free Martin, the field circulated past the incident site when Eric Davis’ car suddenly caught fire. Davis pulled from the track and attempted to get out the car to escape the flames. Driver Joe Garrita saw what was happening, stopped his car and jumped out to assist the driver. Both were able to escape the flames. But Davis was done for the event.
As the race began to wind down, Kissam continued to lead the way with Casteel and Ellis pre-occupied with their own battles. The checkered flag arrived, giving Kissam his biggest payday of his career and first feature win of the season.
In addition to Edwards, Ellis and Bowman claimed heat wins. A field of 23 cars were on hand for the event.
Tanner Cobb became the first driver to clinch a class championship as the second-generation racer scored his fifth victory in Late Model Sportsman action. Tim Dowling led to the halfway mark with Cobb picking up spots from his fifth starting position to second. Cobb moved inside Dowling on lap 8 and rolled out to the win, backing up an earlier heat victory.
Attrition appeared in the Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds before the field took the green. After Austin Sanders and Bryan Bernhardt won their heat races, a number of cars would not make the call to the feature lineup, leaving only 5 cars to start the 15-lap feature. Throughout the event, several incidents involving contact between drivers left the field reduced to three cars through the final laps. Bernhardt recorded his fourth win of the season as the defending class champion cruised to the win.
The closest feature finish of the night would come in the 15-lap event for Street Stocks. Heat winner Paul Davis took command early on, but soon would become the object of attention for fellow heat winner Richard Livernois. Livernois had gotten past Buck Woodhouse to claim second and began reeling in Davis. As the duo raced off turn four, it was anyone’s race and Davis had enough to drive through for his second feature win of the year.
Kenny Brewer took the lead on the second lap of the Q Auto & Injury Medical Malpractice Attorneys Mini Sprint feature and rolled out to his second main event triumph of the year. Ryan Meeks charged to second to record his best finish of the season while heat winner Dennis Sanchez scored third for his best run.
Danny Bowman collected the checkered flag for the Florida Old Time Modifieds.
Three more nights of racing remain on the 2020 scheduled with consecutive weeks continuing on December 5. That’s the night of the 2020 Top Gun Sprints’ final race, which will be the annual Don Rehm Classic, a wingless main event in honor of the series founder. The Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds and Q Mini Sprints return and the Mod Lites make their final appearance of the year. The Daytona Antique Auto Racing Association will feature the finest in vintage racing action.
Feature: Robert Kissam (911), Dalton Ellis (46K), Logan Casteel (7), Ricky Rutledge Sr. (4), Bailey Purcell (07), Alyssa Grant (47), Rodney Martin (21), Davey Martin (55), Patrick Tabb (03), Tracy Maynard (62), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Joe Garrita (15), Joshua Ashmore (29), Daniel Bowman (46), Eric Davis (20), Wayne Kissam (811), Derrick Edwards (17), Randy Shields (222), Dustin Higdon (44), David Zeman (13), Randy Tyler (22), Callie Gubich (513). DNS – Chuck Frater
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN
Feature: Tanner Cobb (03c), Kenny Monahan (311), Megan Rae Meyer (11M), Cole Crawford (4), Tim Dowling (12D), Steve Brendle (141). DQ – Wallace Peacock (P1)
GAGEL’S OPEN WHEEL MODIFIEDS
Feature: Bryan Bernhardt (B69), Billy Howard Jr. (47), Megan Rae Meyer (11M), Austin Sanders (64), Drew Jackson (08). DNS – David Pollen (88), Chris Bailey (77B), Bill Howard (47), Doug Dyal (97D), Tim McLeod (192)
Feature: Paul Davis (10D), Richard Livernois (71), Buck Woodhouse (55), Matt Bozeman (58), Billy Barstow (756), Allen Bailey (51), Doug Johnson (09D), Jimmy Baker (5), Roger Crouse (15). DNS – Mike Wilson (68)
Q AUTO & INJURY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS MINI SPRINTS
Feature: Kenny Brewer (45), Ryan Meeks (12), Dennis Sanchez (11), Mike Meyers (6), Don R Quinn (33), JoJo Davis (7j), Trey Almand (1), Donnie T. Quinn (33D), Shanna Walters (13). Jamie Tinkham (51). DNS – Randy Thomas (4T)