It took an extra week, but competitors turned out in full force for the final night of April racing action at East Bay Raceway Park.
Seven divisions were on the revised schedule, postponed from April 17 due to an electrical issue. It meant waiting 7 more days to see who would win the Jody Robbins Memorial for V-8 Warriors.
The car count reached 23 for the division with 20 cars able to start the 20-lap A Main. Michael Hart took early command with the challenges coming from Tommy Hill and Greg Crowe. On lap 7, Hill was able to hustle by and take the lead. The race experienced a couple of caution flags by the halfway mark, meaning the leader could not build up a big advantage. On each restart, Hill was generally left alone while the battles were taking place deeper in the field. Jason Burnside fought his way to mixing it up with Crowe for second as former feature winner Nick Brown started moving from his 20th starting spot to enter the conversation. On each restart, Hill was aware of Crowe’s position and managed to keep him at bay. Burnside slipped by for second, but could not mount a challenge on Hill, who was the inaugural winner of the Jody Robbins Memorial. Heats were taken by Crowe, George Handy and Jody Robbins’ daughter Jessica Doyle.
The Gagel’s Modifieds provided a new face in Victory Lane as Tyler Clem scored his first East Bay Raceway Park feature. It was far from easy as Clem fought his way to second in pursuit of leader Jeff Mathews. With the lane choice on a subsequent restart, Clem chose the outside line which gave him the path to sweep by Mathews for the lead. In the late stages of the event, Bryan Bernhardt would capture second, a feat made even more amazing by the fact that Bernhardt relegated to the pits with damage as contact with Shane Burrows on the race’s second attempt at a start. Bernhardt was able to get back on track for the initial green, starting 13th. Bernhardt and Burrows were heat race winners.
The night was not a complete loss for Jeff Mathews, who ended up retiring late in the Modified race after contact with a spun competitor. Mathews made it three wins in a row with the victory in the 30-lap 604 Late Model main. It was a lap 13 pass on early leader Keith Nosbisch that proved to be the ticket to Victory Lane. Nosbisch and Daniel Woody had started the night with heat wins.
Eric Knight notched his first win of the 2021 season, capturing the Outlaw 4 main event. Knight was involved in a skirmish on the starting lap, but was able to continue without damage to the race car. Knight’s feature win backed up an earlier heat victory, Mark Moniz scored his first preliminary win of 2021.
Defending track champion Austin Martin returned to Victory Lane in the Mod Lite class. Martin, who missed the opener due to work commitments, showed he hadn’t forgotten anything in displaying his mastery of the East Bay oval. Martin and J.T. Joiner claimed heat wins.
Bruce Comer was a repeat winner in the Q Auto & Injury Medical Malpractice Attorneys Mini Sprints, capturing his second straight win. Comer, who would have missed last week’s event due to a previous commitment, relied on his team to help prepare the car for the main event after experiencing less than optimum performance in the heat. Dallas Casey scored his second heat win of the year.
There will be five nights of racing in May, starting with Saturday May 1. On the schedule, fans will enjoy 604 Late Models, Gagel’s Modifieds, Street Stocks, Q Mini Sprints, Mod Lites, Gladiators and the first appearance of the Daytona Antique Auto Racing Association.
Feature: Tommy Hill (5H), Jason Burnside (12J), Greg Crowe (89), Michael Hart (99), Nick Brown (12), Matt Bozeman (0), Derek Gray (189), George Handy (105), Wayne Kissam (107), Mike Wilson (68), Mark Roadarmel Jr. (81), Gary Lucas (106), Kayla Handy (104), Randy Shields (49), Cody Mezyk (40), Justoin Meeks (10), Macy Bozeman (58), Jessica Doyle (09), Kalen Maynard (2), Jeremy Simpson (124). DNS – Raymond Vann (1), Dalton Ellis (52B), Bo Anderson (95)
GAGEL’S OPEN WHEEL MODIFIEDS
Feature: Tyler Clem (14), Bryan Bernhardt (B69), Austin Sanders (64), LJ Grimm (25), Seth Geary (7G), Billy Howard (47), Scott Bane (23B), Chris Bailey (77B), Tim McLeod (192), Jeff Mathews (33), Paul Rivall (15R), Anthony Bennett (7B), Doug Dyal (97D), Shane Burrows (70B)
604 LATE MODELS
Feature: Jeff Mathews (33), Doug Horton (46), Keith Nosbisch (02), Raymond Folwell (3), Daniel Woody (29), John Norris (87), Phillip Cobb (03c), Matt Herlong (131), Jimmy Waldrop (9), Thomas Burnside (13), Billy Boyd Jr. (ZERO), Shan Smith (32), Waylon Haynes (11), Wallace Peacock (P1), Scotty Williams (7JR), Hunter Boyd (6)
Feature: Eric Knight (7), Stephen Hohlbaugh (23s), Brian Barse (82), Percy Davis (63), Terry Burke (73), Mark Moniz (41E), James Braswell (1), Vernon Hart Jr. (D4R), Brad Button (25), Thomas Braswell Jr. (88). DNS – Fred Smith
Feature: Austin Martin (97), Jeff Wolfe (83), Thomas Walsh (32T), Coty Gray (7x), Brian Teeters (44T), Alex Cline (07), Anthony Stewart (33), Terry Joiner (6), Brodrick Kennedy (24), J.T. Joiner (6J), Cody Benoit (7). DNS – Jeff Bonnema (5B), Dylan Dunn (22), Kirk Brown (77)
Q MINI SPRINTS
Feature: Bruce Comer (21), Dallas Casey (87), Randy Thomas (4R), Jo Jo David (7J), Stephen Thomas (7S), David Hall (67), Shanna Walters (11), Charles Landis (12), Doug Dyal (3)