The twice-delayed return of the Top Gun Sprints to East Bay Raceway Park brought 23 cars and a ton of excitement in the five-division program to close off the track’s September schedule.
Heat winners Shane Butler, Danny Martin Jr. and Brandon Grubaugh found themselves in the first two rows of the 25-lap main, a prime position to claim the $600 from the Lee & Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep, but it would polesitter and point leader Tyler Clem would lead the first lap. Clem was hounded by Butler as the field endured its first caution on lap 4. On the restart, Clem scooted out into the lead and led for a lap when the rear end locked, sending him into a spin. About that time, Martin had mechanical issues and retired from the competition. Butler and Grubaugh inherited the top two spots for the restart on lap 5.
When the race went back to green, Butler set a fast pace using the top line to rocket off the corners. The strategy backfired when Butler went high in turn three, riding the wall and coming to a stop, fortunately on all fours. Grubaugh became the leader and the sole driver with a chance at the bonus.
The restart saw Grubaugh protecting the top line against the assault from Justin Webster, who had moved into second from fourth on the restart. Webster was able to slip by Grubaugh on lap 8 and soon Grubaugh found himself locked in a position battle with defending series champion AJ Maddox, who had started in the 10th row after a flat tire in his heat. Maddox was able to get by, but a caution for Bryan Eckley reverted the field. It took Maddox one lap to creep back into the runner-up spot. The stint was short lived as Grubaugh regained second on lap 14. One lap later, Grubaugh powered off the second turn and shot past Webster to regain the lead. It proved to be good timing as a red flag appeared on the next lap when Frank Beck spun, facing traffic and Kyle Connery’s car launched into the air to bring out the red.
Things began to settle down as attrition reduced the field with only one caution on lap 19. Maddox was able to slide by Webster for second, but could not chase down Grubaugh’s G6. The wingless win for Grubaugh backed up a winged win at East Bay on March 20, the last series appearance of 2021.
Jerod Meyers made a triumkphant return to action in the Q Auto & Injury Medical Malpractice Attorney Micro Sprints, going wire to wire in the 12-lap main. The second generation driver started in the front row alongside his father, Mike. Jerod ran a poised race, keeping the car at the bottom of the track to run unmolested. Doug Dyal won the heat race.
The 15-lap Street Stock feature was decided on a lap 14 pass as Paul Davis slipped by Rich Livernois for the top spot. Davis became the third different leader in the race. Livernois started as the leader, but faced immediate pressure from Zack Amundsen. An Amundsen pass was taken away by a caution, but Zack got right back to business and secured the lead. On lap six, an incident between turns one and turn saw Billy Barstow’s ride fly over Jerry Bruce, making one complete roll. The driver was okay. Livernois got back out front, making an inside move on lap 10 as Amundsen began to fade. The pressure from Davis was instant, but it took until the final lap to seal the deal. Amundsen and Davis were heat winners.
Wesley Livernois captured the heat and feature in the 602 Late Model class, overcoming early season woes to claim the wins.
Brittany Hart parlayed her heat win into a feature win in the 15-lap Gladiator main. Wearing a chain in memory of her late grandmother, Hart enjoyed an emotional Victory Lane to cap off the night’s action. Patrick Tabb and Thomas Adams started their nights with wins in the heats.
Action resumes on Saturday Oct. 2 with the running of the Gene Slaughter Memorial for 604 Late Models with a 50-lap feature. Also on the card Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds, Street Stocks, Mod Lites, Q Mini Sprints and Gladiators.
TOP GUN SPRINTS
Feature: Brandon Grubaugh (G6), A.J. Maddox (3A), Justin Webster (21), Luke Hill (41), Danny Jones (14), Guy Bos (3x), Tyler Orzechowski (38), Skeeter Kelley (46), Ric Voisey (96), Cole Nichols (N20), Frank Beck (89), Kyle Connery (91), Rick Dietz (15), Bryan Eckley (12B), Tyler Clem (6S), Shane Butler (18), Danny Martin Jr. (24), Tim George (1*), Steve Diamond (9), Scott Baldwin (4). Louis Brashear (14x), Andrew Griffin (32). DNS – Chris Hahn (2). DQ – Stan Butler (1c)
Q MICRO SPRINTS
Feature: Jerod Meyers (7), Doug Dyal (97D), Mike Meyers (77), Chris Kennedy (2), Paul Seburn (23), Kaylee Dyal (11D), William Burnside (13)
Feature: Paul Davis (10), Richard Livernois (71), Zack Amundsen (20), Buck Woodhouse (55), Jerry Bruce (35), Allen Bailey (51), Kyle Bowman (46K), Billy Barstow (756), Danny Yannone (53), Brad Langford (B46), Matt Bozeman (58), Doug Johnson (09). DNS – Josh Jones (05)
602 LATE MODELS
Feature: Wesley Livernois (44), John Wayne Haynes (52)
Feature: Brittany Hart (99), Patrick Tabb (03), Charles Paris Jr. (03T), Robert Kissam (911), Rodney Martin (21), Wayne Kissam (07), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Jerry Moore (70), Davey Martin (55), Danielo Casey (3D), Thomas Adams (T2), Ricky Rutledge Sr. (4), Callie Gubich (513), Gregory Valdez (60), D.J. Taylor (00), Daniel Bowman (46), Derrick Edwards (17), David Zeman (13), Patrick Fiore (88). DNS – Kyle Kruse (1K), Jeff Smith (15)