McCarl Becomes First Back-to-Back King of the 360s

Late race cautions have a way of sometimes rewriting stories. As Mark Smith  maintained a strong lead throughout the bulk of the 40-lap Sprint A-Main, one of those yellows was about the last thing he wanted to see. The caution came on lap 38, which put the defending King of the 360s Terry McCarl right on the tail tank. When the green came out, the duo would lock into a battle that saw McCarl sweep by and claim his fourth Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360s.

“I knew Ronald, I knew his family, his dog, his girlfriend. The year he won, he passed me and Gary Wright to get there. He was wearing the crown in the pits and I was happy for him,” said McCarl. “This race means so much to me.”

With his win, McCarl becomes the only champion to win in back-to-back seasons and has more victories than anyone else in the event.

McCarl was far from pleased when he drew a “6” as his starting position (I thought it was a “9”, he joked in Victory Lane). Now driving for Destiny Motorsports, it seems fitting that the car he drove to the win was carrying the number 4.

Former King of the 360s Jason Sides took the early lead before McCarl snatched it away on the second lap. Smith moved up to second to challenge McCarl, getting by the leader as the field faced lapped traffic. Smith worked masterfully through the lapped cars, a feat he had to do in each of the previous two nights. A lap 7 restart put a lapped car between Smith and McCarl and Smith used that chance to scoot away from contention. McCarl had his hands with the surprising charge of Matt Kurtz who had started ninth but was quickly in the top three. Also on the move was Sam Hafertepe Jr., who grabbed fourth on lap 15. Cory Eliason was back on the move to head back to the top five while Smith was biding his time up front. McCarl regained second on lap 22 and kept it when the second caution appeared on lap 24. Smith would still move out on the restart forcing McCarl into a “catch me if you can” situation. With two laps to go, problems for Mississippi’s Dale Howard brought his car to a halt and the field refiled for the restart. McCarl was determined, swinging by Smith for the lead and the eventual win.

Robby Hoffmann made a return visit to Victory Lane, capturing the Mini Sprint 25-lapper. Hoffmann got by Oklahoma racer Daison Pursley, who claimed his third top five finish of the week at the checkered flag.

Kevin Strife made it back-to-back for the Micro Sprints. The 2018 East Bay Raceway Park track champion had the lead by the third turn and was never caught on his road to the win.

The Saturday action concludes the 43rd annual Winternationals, which began in late January. All in all, Mother Nature proved hospitable with only one show lost to rain over a four-week span.

East Bay Raceway Park will pen its regular season on Saturday, Mar. 2 with five ivisions in competition. Pro Late Models, Gagel’s Modifieds, V-8 Warriors, Gladiators and Wingless Mini-Sprints will occupy the opener.

SPRINTS

A-MAIN – Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360s

Terry McCarl (4), Mark Smith (1), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15H), Cory Eliason (26), Matt Kurtz (92), Tim Shaffer (49x), Todd Gracey (3), Wayne Johnson (2c), Seth Bergman (23), Phil Gressman (7c), Travis Rilat (1R), Dylan Westbrook (47x), Mason Daniel (33M), Josh Baughman (17), Greg Wilson (w20), Danny Martin Jr. (24M), Dale Howard (47H), Cory Turner (13), Danny Sams III (24D), Lucas Wolfe (5W), Jason Sides (7S), Brett Wright (14B), Shawn Dancer (49), Frank Beck (89) – Sams III provisional for highest point racer that did not qualify; Beck received the local racer provisional

B-MAIN: Phil Gressman (7c), Cory Turner (13), Max Stambaugh (51), Thomas Kennedy (21k), Alex Hill (77x), Shawn Murray (22), Joey Schmidt (1S), CJ Jones (10J), Nick Snyder (116), Ricky Peterson (16B), Conner Morrell (28)

B-MAIN: Greg Wilson (w20), Shawn Dancer (49), Davie Franek (28F), Cody Bova (20B), Danny Smith (4), Frank Beck (89), Justin Webster (21), Brant O’Banion (47), Dustin Clark (16c)

B-MAIN: Dylan Westbrook (47x), Josh Baughman (17), Johnny Gilbertson (22G), Ryan Turner (91), Dustin Daggett (85), Taylor Walton (93), Dan Nanticoke (15), Frank Carlsson (20)

MINI SPRINTS

A-MAIN: Robby Hoffmann (68), Luke Thomas (97), Jim Young (8), Daison Pursley (9P), John Craddock (17), Zac Gorski (07), Steve Diamond Jr. (9), Mike Thompson (11), Russ Heider (86), Austin Craddock (17C), David Hall (67), Paige Moss (95M), Ty Nevins (33N), Jordan Feagle (26), Jim Kradel (19), Adam Barnes (64), John Crowder (30), Bruce Comer (21), Jim McNulty (52R), Michael Luckert (93), AJ Parrish (88), Ted Filides (32), Wayne Feagle (66), Eddie Moss (8G), Rhea Moss (23)

MICRO SPRINTS

A-MAIN: Kevin Strife (46), Chris Livernois (71), Jared Meyers (0), Bill Gise (111), William Brannan Jr. (60), Larry Rarer (97z), Chris Diamond (9), Mike Meyers (7). Paul Seburn (27s), Brian Baxter (98), Joe Bartow (3)

 

ATTENTION – CONSTRUCTION DETOUR!

TRAFFIC ALERT!

If you are coming to East Bay from the north tonight, avoid Highway 41, which is closed at Causeway for RR work. Best way if you hit the detour, take Causeway to 78th; take 78th South to Madison, turn right on Madison to 41 and left onto 41.

Don’t let a little unplanned pop-up construction project keep you from witnessing the crowning of the King of the 360s. Race action starts at 7, so plan to spend a little more time on your trip to the track

Smith Dominates 360 Sprint Feature

Mark Smith was on the threshold of victory in the opening race, denied by a last lap pass for a win. Whether that turn of events was motivation or the idea that Smith has a fast race car, whatever the circumstance, Smith was not to be denied as he marched through the field to claim the Friday win.

Smith earned the front row after winning his heat race and wasted little time in moving to the lead. Behind him, Tim Shaffer and Travis Rilat sparred for second, which gave Smith the go-ahead to pull away. Smith was running 14-second laps early on, easily catching lap traffic by lap four. The backmarkers were of little concern, staying glued to the bottom while the leader inherited the middle of the track. About the only hope anyone had would come in the form of a caution….that never came.

The 25-lap main ran without a yellow flag thrown, so there was no stoppage. Smith had a half track lead by lap 14 and, when the checkered flag came, there were only six cars on the lead lap in a race that saw very little attrition.

The points for the two nights will be added together with the top six locked in for the Saturday night main.

Heat races were won by Cody Bova, Phil Gressman, Smith, Rilat, Johnny Gilbertson and Tony Stewart. The B Mains, which sent the last eight racers into the field, were claimed by Ryan Turner, Dylan Westbrook, Danny Martin Jr. and Mason Daniel. C.J. Jones won the Wetherington Tractor Services Non-Qualifiers Race.

Robby Hoffmann jumped into a back-up car to win the 25-lap Mini Sprint main. Hoffmann blew the engine of his primary ride during the heat race, but luckily the team had brought along Dirk Miller’s car #68. That would be the mount Hoffmann would use for the feature, but he was relegated to the tail for the start. In short order, Hoffmann found himself poised behind race leader Luke Thomas and set up his challenge. As Hoffmann closed, a car spun in front of the duo. Thomas was able to squeeze by, but Hoffmann made contact and stopped on the track. It meant a return to the back of the field with only 10 laps remaining, but the story remained the same. Hoffmann started picking off cars and moving through the field until he again lined up second. With just a few laps remaining, Hoffmann was able to motor by and grab the lead on lap 22. A final caution ended the race with 23 complete as time ran out.

The 2018 East Bay Raceway Park Micro Sprint track champion Kevin Strife rolled out for his heat race and a broken chain did not allow him to take the green. When the feature rolled around, Strife was at the back, but only for a little while. He soon moved from 11th to second in few laps, jumping into the lead that would never be relinquished for his first victory of the Winternationals.

The 43rd annual Winternationals will conclude with the King of the 360s event on Saturday. Race time is 7 p.m.

SPRINTS

A MAIN: Mark Smith (M1), Tony Stewart (14), Travis Rilat (1R), Cory Eliason (26), Tim Shaffer (49x), Terry McCarl (4), Davie Franek (28F), Phil Gressman (7c), Wayne Johnson (2c), Seth Bergman (23), Dale Howard (47H), Todd Gracey (3), Dylan Westbrook (47x), Jason Sides (7S), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15H), Johnny Gilbertson (22G), Cody Bova (20B), Mason Daniel (33M), Brett Wright (14B), Dustin Clark (16C) Danny Martin Jr. (24M), Ryan Turner (91), Ryan Harrison (197), Lucas Wolfe (5W)

B MAIN: Ryan Turner (91), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15H), Danny Smith (4), Dustin Daggett (85), Dan Nanticoke (15), Brant O’Banion (47), Terry Gray (10G), Nick Snyder (116), Gregg Jones (7J)

B MAIN: Dylan Westbrook (47x), Todd Gracey (3), Shawn Dancer (49), Ricky Peterson (16B), Cory Turner (13), Greg Wilson (w20)

B MAIN: Danny Martin Jr. (24M), Lucas Wolfe (5W), Danny Sams III (24D), Conner Morrell (28), Frank Beck (89), Joey Schmidt (1S), C.J. Jones (10J)

B MAIN: Mason Daniel (33M), Brett Wright (14B), Josh Baughman (17), Taylor Walton (93), Matt Kurtz (92), Alex Hill (77X), Bobby Tersillo (51), Max Stambaugh (51)

MINI SPRINTS

A MAIN: Robby Hoffmann (68), Luke Thomas (97), Daison Pursley (9P), David Hall (67), Austin Craddock (17C), Zac Gorski (07), John Craddock (17), Mike Thompson (11), Rhea Moss (23), Robbie Smith (77), Russ Heider (86), Ty Nevins (33N), Jim Young (8), Steve Diamond Jr (9), Dennis Sanchez (32), John Crowder (30), Adam Barnes (64), Jim McNulty (52R), Jim Kradel (19), Paige Moss (95M), Wayne Feagle (66), Michael Luckert (93), Jordan Feagle (26), AJ Parrish (88), Bruce Comer (21)

MICRO SPRINTS

A MAIN: Kevin Strife (46), Brian Baxter (98), Bill Gise (111), Mike Meyers (7), Jared Meyers (0), Chris Livernois (71), Wade Evans (27), Chris Diamond (9), Joe Bartow (3), Paul Seburn (23), William Brannan Jr. (60)

Eliason Blasts to East Bay Sprint Victory

The final week of the 43rd annual Winternationals got off to a raucous start with a nailbiting finish in the 25-lap 360 Sprint main event. Early race leader Mark Smith appeared to be destined for the opening night win until Cory Eliason changed the conversation.

Smith was clearly dominant throughout the early stages, working masterfully through lapped traffic when the situation arose and it arose often with the torrid pace Smith was maintaining. Smith claimed the lead from the start as Brett Wright slipped up into second place. As Smith closed on lapped traffic, he kept the car down low to make passes while adding to his lead. When a lap 10 caution waved for Wayne Johnson, Smith had a cushion of four lapped cars between himself and Wright. The action was hot within the top five as Terry McCarl moved to the runner-up spot and, one lap later, Tony Stewart jumped to third. McCarl would close to second and provide the next worry for Smith. On a lap 21 restart, the conversation centered on which of the top three would win.

When the green came out, McCarl made his move to gain the lead, but only momentarily. Smith got it back, but a new face was becoming a factor. California racer Cory Eliason moved to the top of the track and found plenty of speed. As Eliason slipped past McCarl, it looked like there would not be enough laps to allow Eliason to catch the leader. Eliason had other thoughts as he stayed in hot pursuit until the final corner, winning the drag race to the finish. Eliason scored the win from the 11th starting spot.

The 24-car field was set with the top 16 in passing points during the heat races locked in. The remaining eight spots were reserved for the top two finishers in each of 4 B Mains.

Sam Hafertepe Jr., Dylan Westbrook, Frank Beck and Jason Sides won B mains. Heats were won by Terry Gray, Josh Baughman, Todd Gracey, Danny Martin, Tony Stewart and Terry McCarl were heat race winners. A field of 52 cars were on hand for the opening night.

Luke Thomas went from worst to first in the 25-lap A Main for Mini Sprints. Thomas was actually scheduled to start on the pole, but ragged start attempts caused track officials to relegate Thomas to the tail. The move may have provided added momentum as it didn’t take long to get Thomas into the top 5. He was trading second with Robbie Smith by mid-race, but the field still had to catch Robby Hoffmann. Thomas proved to be up to the task, hunting down the leader on lap 17 and staying on the bottom to Victory Lane.

Larry Rarer made his first visit to East Bay Raceway Park’s winner’s circle, passing 2018 track champion Kevin Strife in the 20-lap Micro Sprint feature.

Action continues Friday night with a return visit for the three classes. An additional consolation non-qualifiers race for the 360 Sprints will be added to the card on Friday and Saturday, paying $500 to win, courtesy of Wetherington Tractor Services.

360 SPRINTS

Feature: Cory Eliason (26), Mark Smith (1), Terry McCarl (4), Tony Stewart (14), Danny Martin Jr. (24M), Seth Bergman (23), Danny Sams III (24D), Jason Sides (7S), Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15), Brett Wright (14B), Tim Shaffer (49x), Mason Daniel (33M), Todd Gracey(3), Thomas Kennedy (21k), Shawn Dancer (49), Terry Gray (10), Dustin Daggett (85), Dylan Westbrook (47x), Dale Howard (47H), Wayne Johnson (2c), CJ Jones (10J), Josh Baughman (17), Cale Conley (7k), Frank Beck (89)

B MAIN 1 – Sam Hafertepe Jr. (15H), Thomas Kennedy (21k), Travis Rilat (1R), Shawn Murray (22), Cory Turner (13), Ryan Turner (91), Max Stambaugh (51). DNS – Davie Franek (28F), Johnny Gilbertson (22G)

B MAIN 2 – Dylan Westbrook (47x), Dale Howard (47H), Matt Kurtz (92), Greg Wilson (w20), Nick Snyder (116), Lucas Wolfe (5W), Phil Gressman (7c), Ryan Harrison (197). DNS – Brandon Grubaugh (20), Conner Morrell (28)

B MAIN 3 – Frank Beck (89), Shawn Dancer (49), Dustin Clark (16c), Garrett Green (82), Gregg Jones (7J), Hayden Campbell (5), Taylor Walton (93), Joey Schmidt (1S)

B MAIN 4 – Jason Sides (7S), Cale Conley (7k), Danny Smith (4), Cody Bova (20), Alex Hill (77x), Bobby Tersillo (51), Brant O’Banion (47), Dan Nanticoke (15), Ricky Peteron (16B)

MINI SPRINTS

FEATURE: Luke Thomas (97), Robby Hoffmann (66), Robbie Smith (77), John Craddock (17), Daison Pursley (9P), Austin Craddock (17C), Eddie Moss (07), Rhea Moss (23), Mike Thompson (11), Jim Young (8), Steve Diamond Jr. (9), A.J. Parrish (88), Jim Kradel (19), Michael Luckert (93), David Hall (67), John Crowder (30), Ty Nevins (33N), T.J. Greve (8G), Tyler Walton (14T), Cody Bryson (41). DNS – Paige Moss (04), Jim McNulty (52R)

MICRO SPRINTS

FEATURE: Larry Rarer (97Z), Kevin Strife (46), Jared Meyers (0), Mike Meyers (7), Wade Evans (27), Paul Seburn (23), Christopher Diamond (9), Bill Gise (111), Joe Bartow (3), William Brannan Jr. (60). DNS – Chris Livernois (71)