With a busy schedule for the 2022 events, the Winternationals kicked off on a Thursday night with five divisions in action. Spectators enjoyed thrilling competition in wingless Mini Sprints, Thunderstock/V-8 Warriors, Micro Sprints, Gladiators and Street Stocks. After six lap preliminaries in each class, feature races encompassed 15 laps except for the Street Stocks, who competed for 20 circuits.
Local racers dominated the Mini Sprints and a familiar name parked in Victory Lane to kick off the program. Three-time 2021 feature winner Bryce Comer dominated the 15-lap main after claiming a win in his heat earlier in the night. With a new look and a new sponsor, Bryce led uncle Bruce, the 2021 track champion, across the finish line. Brad Sutton, who had competed in the Tulsa Shootout a few weeks ago, won his heat event.
Defending V-8 Warrior track champion Nick Brown stepped out of his car for the Winternationals, giving Tommy Hill the opportunity to compete in the class. Hill made good on the day, making his way to Victory Lane in the 15-lapper. Hill, who would also compete in the Street Stock class, carried the margin of victory from the start. Heats were won by Raymond Rogers Jr. and Michael Hart.
An influx of drivers from the north boosted the car count in the Micro Sprints as 20 competitors took the green for the 15-lap main. Pennsylvania racer Tyler Martin opened the night with a heat race win while North Carolina’s Matt Thompson claimed the second event. The Keystone State won the rubber match with Wes Libert topped the third heat. In the main, Thompson moved out front and looked strong until he was run down by Jeff Haefke Jr. The two made contact and spun to a stop on the entry to turn one, handing the lead to Brandon Fredericks. The new leader made the most of it, nursing his car to the checkered flag. Fredericks shared in Victory Lane that a year ago he wasn’t racing because his father had a heart attack. Tonight, his father was in attendance to witness the win.
After weather cancelled their opportunity in 2021, Gladiators responded to a chance to participate in the Winternationals by sending 22 cars to the opening feature. Josh Genarie held the early lead in his bid to back up a late 2021 feature win. Robert Kissam was able to make his way past Genarie to grab the lead. Kissam was not to be denied as he willed a balky race car to victory. Troy “Socks” Dittebrand, Jeff Lacey and Kissam claimed heat race wins.
The Street Stock 20-lap main was thrilling as race leader Zack Amundsen had his hands full throughout. Challenges came from Tim Powers, Paul Davis and Tim Gay throughout the race with Gay actually sneaking by at the stand for a brief lead near the midway point. Amundsen stayed steady throughout, though he had to endure a late race caution that set up a green-white-checkered finish. Amundsen pulled away down the backstretch and cruised home to a gratifying win. The victory came after a disappointing 2021 and sets the stage for better times ahead. Powers, Tommy Hill and Davis were best in the heats.
The second night of the 2022 Winternationals will see action in the five divisions as the last tuneup before the Saturday finale. Race time is 7 p.m. Winternationals racing action can also be enjoyed on Flo Racing in 2022. Details are available at www.floracing.com.
Feature: Bryce Comer (9), Bruce Comer (21), Brad Sutton (9B), Dennis Sanchez (11), Doug Dyal (97D), Chris Diamond (94), Charles Landis (12), Jo Jo Davis (21W), David Hall (67), Josh Davis (7s), Bill Gise (00), Bailee Spitulski (29P)
Feature: Tommy Hill (12), Collin Kruse (92), Michael Hart (99), Cody Allen (68), Raymond Rogers Jr. (48), Wayne Kissam (107), Jason Burnside (12J), Daniel Bowman (46), Mark Roadarmel Jr. (81), Justin Scarberry (24), Macy Bozeman (58), D.J. Taylor (00)
Feature: Brandon Fredericks (11), Ryan McAndrew (25), Chuck Palmucci (16PX), Corey Schmuck Jr. (26), Wes Libert (10L), Glenn Macomber (2M), Matt Thompson (47T), Adam Bubeck (99), Jeff Haefke Jr. (61), Chris Kennedy (2), Tyler Martin (26), Lonnie McConchy (27M), Wade Evans (24), Dylan Varn (4M), Chase Metheney (31C), Dustin Young (21), Nick Skias (16P), Britt Mann (4×4), Matt Haefke (83).
Feature: Robert Kissam (911), Troy “Socks” Dittebrand (222), Raymond Rogers Jr. (40R), Patrick Tabb (03), Wayne Kissam (07), Davey Martin (55), Josh Genarie (93P), Jeff Lacey (99L), Charles Paris Jr. (15), David Wood (21w), Tracy Maynard (62), Patrick Fiore (88), Derrick Edwards (17), Jesse Foster (12M), Edgar Summitt (99), Callie Gubich (09), Ricky Rutledge (4), Brandon Williams (2), David Kincaid (x26), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Joline Wilson (77), Rodney Martin (21). DNS- Dennis Wilson (42)
Feature: Zack Amundsen (20), Tim Powers (44), Rich Livernois (71), Paul Davis (10), Tim Gay (90), Rob Brillhart (77B), Jim Baker (69x), Jason Ammons (10x), Johnny Allen (7x), Nick Bechtel (B1), Dustin Reeh (19), Matt Bozeman (59), Kyle Saylor (14), Tommy Hill (1H), Mike Hughes Jr. (18), Scotty Kay Jr. (21), Brad Langford (B46), Billy Barstow (756), Kyle Bowman (46k), Justin Rodgers (95), T.J. Henry (57H).