While repeat winners dominated the racing action at East Bay Raceway Park, it was the one who hadn’t been to Victory Lane who may have deserved it the most.
Late Model Sportsman point leader Forrest Gough had fought his way to the top of the standings with steady finishes, only finishing outside of the top five once in 2018. The only missing was a win…until now. Gough held off the late race challenge of Phillip Cobb, who dialed in the leader in the late stages of the race. Cobb’s last-ditch effort came up short as the drivers raced clean to the end with Gough claiming the win by a car length.
Gough and Cobb had started the event on the front row, thanks to heat race wins. Gough was able to sweep to the lead in the early stages while Cobb was left to fend off challengers. Gough becomes the sixth different winner in six appearances by the class with no driver having more than one.
Defending Street Stock champion Jimmy Baker made it back-to-back mains by dominating the 15-lap feature. Baker’s second place run in the heat race put him on the outside of the front with point leader and heat race winner John Bradley on the inside. Baker went to work immediately and never dealt with a serious challenge, winning by half of the track at the checkered flag. Rich Livernois Jr. came from the back of the field to claim third, his best finish of the season.
After two exciting heat races that came down to the very end, a field of 16 V8 Warriors provided an action packed main. Heat winners Gary Lucas and Michael Hart would share the front row, but it would be Jon Basquin knifing through from the second row to take the lead after lap 1. After a debris caution, the field set sail again, but misfortune struck as Basquin spun coming off turn four. Miraculously, no one made contact and the race stayed green. George Handy gained the advantage and held it until driveline damage sidelined Robert Grant on lap 5, bringing out a caution. On the restart, Jessica Robbins advanced to third behind Handy and Hart, but Scott Bane soon took that third position away. Bane was able to bypass Hart, who began to slip back through the field. Collin Kruse was going the other direction, but he could not catch Handy and Bane. Handy’s second feature win would help his quest to defend his 2017 division championship.
The Todd’s Motorsports Mini Sprint team finished in three of the top four spots at the conclusion of the Mini Sprint main. Race winner Robby Hoffman celebrated his third feature with a victory donut to the delight of the fans. Early challenger Jamie Tinkham dropped from the competition on a restart, moving Dirk Miller in a second-place position he would never relinquish. Paige Moss ran a strong third, ahead of point leader David Hall, who charged through the pack after a mid-race spin. Russ Heider rounded out the top five.
The night concluded with 15 Gladiators set for the 15-lap shootout. Daniel Casey ran a steady race throughout the night, ahead of the battle between Robert Kissam and Kever Raulerson who swapped second. Point leader Daniel Bowman had started last on the field and found himself in the top five with a handful of laps remaining. Bowman picked his way through to slip by Casey, who hung tough until Kissam gunned him down the last lap. For Bowman, it was his fourth win of the season.
East Bay Raceway Park will return to action Sept. 29 with the Jack Nosbisch Sr. Memorial, highlighting twin 20-lap mains for Pro Late Models, V8 Warriors, Outlaw 4s, Micro Sprints and Gladiators. Race time is 6:30 p.m.
Feature: Jim Baker (69x), Henry Burnside (31), Rich Livernois Jr. (71), John Bradley (57), Josh Jones (B75), Allen Bailey (51), Jeff Rodgers (95). DNS – Zach Amundsen
Feature: George Handy (105), Scott Bane (23B), Collin Kruse (92), Jason Burnside (12J), Michael Hart (99), Raymond Vann (32), Jessica Robbins (09), Wayne Kissam (07K), Gary Lucas (23), Wayne Haynes (52), Jon Basquin (6B), Charles Roach (14), Alan Smith (67), Justin Meeks (10), Jeff Weaver (26), Robert Grant (36). DNS – Nate Whitehurst (07), Kalen Maynard (2)
Feature: Robby Hoffman (66), Dirk Miller (68), Paige Moss (95), David Hall (67), Russ Heider (86), Eddie Moss (33X), Don R Quinn (33), Brad Sutton (9), Carl Parker (16), Michael Luckert (93), Donnie Quinn (33D), Jamie Tinkham (51), John Crowder (30)
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN
Feature: Forrest Gough (21), Phillip Cobb (03), Bruce Harvey (27), Noah Cornman (30), Trent Wilson (64), John Norris (110), Buck Woodhouse (55), Thomas Burnside (13). DQ – Megan Meyers (11M), Wallace Peacock (21P)
Feature: Daniel Bowman (46), Robert Kissam (911), Daniel Casey (3D), Kever Raulerson (99R), Brittany Hart (81H), Jeff Smith (15), Kayla Handy (07), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Dustin Wilson (42), Johnathan Wood (56B), Logan Casteel (7), Thomas Adams (T2), Rick Rutledge (4), Davey Martin (55), Rodney Martin (21)