The final night of the 2021 racing season at East Bay Raceway Park saw six divisions wrap up the year with the spotlight shining brightly on the 604 Late Models. A field of 26 cars closed off the campaign with many taking advantage of the opportunity run without a roof.
Steve Mathis Jr., who was denied a third consecutive win in his last outing, made good on his promise to himself to win the last race of the year. Mathis moved out front in the early stages and ended a trio of cautions on lap three that slowed the pace. The second of the cautions was brought on by a nine-car pileup in turn three that blocked the track and led to a red flag. Shortly after, things began to settle down as the field started to reel off green flag laps. By lap 7, Mathis was working through traffic while the battle was on for second. Daniel Woody slipped by Keith Nosbisch to gain the runner-up spot. Mathis continued to methodically pick his way through the biggest field of the season. On lap 15, his efforts were stymied by a pair of lapped cars battling for position. Woody could not make appreciable progress while battling Nosbisch for second. On lap 24, still under green, the top four cars had cleared lapped cars with Mathis maintaining a six-length advantage.
The caution returned on lap 27 from a spin in turn two and the field stayed under green until the checkered flag. Mathis’ third feature win of the year brought a $2,500 payoff plus an additional $200 from Robert Romano and a box of fasteners from ATC. Heat winners were Doug Horton, Keith Nosbisch and David Markham. With his third place finish in the feature, Horton claimed the track title, gaining the honor without a feature win.
The evening opened with the Florida Old Time Modifieds as Danny Bowman backed up his heat win with a checkered flag in the 15-lap feature.
The Q Auto & Injury Medical Malpractice Attorneys Mini Sprints closed off the year with the third win by Bryce Comer in his first year of competition. The eventual winner marched through the field to take the lead just before the midway point and ran steady to the end. The 2021 track champion, Bruce Comer, ran second to his nephew and announced his retirement from competition, choosing to pursue a role in assisting others in their racing endeavors. Bruce Comer and Kenny Brewer claimed heat wins.
Vernon Hart Jr. added his name to the list of winners in the Outlaw 4 class, grabbing the victory by holding off the charge of Mark Moniz. Heat winners were Stephen Hohlbaugh and Jimmy Baker. Eric Knight claimed the class championship.
Joel Huggins won his heat race, then moved by 2021 track champion Alex Cline for the lead in the 15-lap feature to put a new name on the winner’s list. Huggins made the trip to East Bay from his home near Des Moines, Iowa to get the win. Huggins had raced Winternationals a few years ago and had planned to visit East Bay earlier in the year. Despite his first appearance, it seemed the track was suited to his driving style for the win. Reed Garey, another first time competitor, won his heat.
Wayne Kissam has visited Victory Lane in 2021, but it was in the Gladiator class. Kissam was on a mission in the V-8 Warrior class, powering to the outside to grab the lead and claim his first win in the class. George Handy won the heat race while Nick Brown sealed up the track championship.
The next action will take place with the opening of the 2002 Winternationals on January 20 as five divisions compete in three nights of action with V-8 Warriors/Thunderstocks, Street Stocks, Gladiators, Mini Sprints and Micro Sprints on the card. Tickets are available to catch the action.
East Bay Raceway Park would like to thank everyone for making the 2021 season a successful one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.
604 LATE MODELS
Feature: Steve Mathis Jr. (95), Keith Nosbisch (02), Doug Horton (46), Daniel Woody (29), Jimmy Waldrop (9), Jeff Mathews (33), Cody Overton (97), Josh Peacock (2), Shan Smith (32), Trey Bayne (21T), Cole Crawford (4), Bruce Harvey (27H), Joshua Kunstbeck (11K), Matt Herlong (131), David Markham (50), John Norris (87), Justin Hammett (17), Pete Cochran (27c), Raymond Rogers (48), Brenden Smith (17ss), Jeff Choquette (40), Jason Garver (01), Benjamin Cranford (93), Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (21L), Joe Kump (721),. DNS – Thomas Burnside (13)
Q MINI SPRINTS
Feature: Bryce Comer (9), Bruce Comer (21), Kenny Brewer (45), David Hall (67), Charles Landis (12), Josh David (7s), John Inman (59X), Shanna Walters (13), Bill Gise (00), Jo Jo Davis (3rx), Joe Bartow (3). DNS – Doug Dyal (97D)
Feature: Vernon Hart Jr. (D4R), Mark Moniz (41e), Stephen Hohlbaugh (23s), Eric Knight (12), Jimmy Baker (82), Brad Button (25), Randy Johnson (1), Kenny Novak (53), Dalton Ellis (63), Thomas Braswell Jr. (88)
Feature: Joel Huggins (11), Alex Cline (07c), Reed Garey (264), J.T. Joiner (6J), Dylan Dunn (22), Andrew Smith (71), Terry Joiner (6), Anthony Stewart (33), Jeff Bonnema (5B), Rocky Scott (4), Thomas Walsh (32T), Brodrick Kennedy (24), Zach Peters (41B). DNS – Jeff Wolfe (83)
Feature: Wayne Kissam (107), George Handy (105), Collin Kruse (92), Jason Burnside (12J), Nick Brown (12), Jon Basquin (7OMG), D.J. Taylor (106), Alan Smith (X), Shane Koperda (124). DQ – Juston Meeks (10).