Bernhardt Leads Easter Weekend Winners

A five-division program marked the return of racing at East Bay Raceway Park after a planned weekend off. The Easter Weekend activity featured a visit by the Easter Bunny and candy for the kids in addition to the on-track action.

Bryan Bernhardt, the 2018 track champion in Gagel’s Modifieds, set the early pace in the 15-lap feature. Bernhardt, who won his heat race, was being chased by heat race winner Austin Sanders from the start. Sanders stayed within a few lengths of the leader through the race, but Bernhardt kept the car pasted to the bottom of the track. Sanders only hope was to move up the middle, which was not a good plan and Bernhardt went on to his first win of the year.

Another defending track champion returned to Victory Lane as Forrest Gough prevailed in the Late Model Sportsman main. Gough ran wire-to-wire for his third main event of the season, backing up his heat win of earlier in the night.

Nick Hebrank made a triumphant return to the Outlaw 4 class with his first feature win of the season. Hebrank started the season in the Street Stock class, but experienced catastrophic engine failure and dusted off the Outlaw 4 for the night’s action. Eric Knight, who suffered a flat tire in the main event, won the heat.

Larry Rarer kept his feature win streak alive in the Micro Sprints, capturing his fourth victory in as many tries for the 2019 campaign. Rarer had to overcome steering issues that had developed late in the heat race and the crew put the car back into perfect racing condition. Rarer took the lead on lap 5 of the 15-lap main and rolled away to a convincing victory. Jerod Meyers and Rich Livernois Jr. won heat races. The second heat was stopped after Chris Livernois Jr. flipped along the backstretch wall on the last lap of the event. Livernois was able to walk away from the crash, but could not compete in the remainder of the program.

Dan Darnell used the high side of the race track to power away from the field in the 12-lap Florida Old Time Modified main.

The racing action continues next week with the running of the Brandon Ford 40, paying $1,500 to the winner of the Gagel’s Modified main. Street Stocks, V-8 Warriors, Studio Red Salon Gladiators and Mini Sprints will join the Modifieds.

GAGEL’S MODIFIEDS

Feature: Bryan Bernhardt (B69), Austin Sanders (64), Seth Geary (7G), Dale Kelley (22), Billy Howard Jr. (47), Jim Baker (69X), Roger Crouse (15), Don Crandall (9C), Jerry Bourland (777), Drew Jackson (08)

LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN

Feature: Forrest Gough (21), Scotty Williams (27W), K.D. Kelley (00), Wesley Livernois (44), Buck Woodhouse (55), Keven Devrieze (99), Thomas Burnside (13B)

OUTLAW 4s

Feature: Nick Hebrank (7H), Brandon Yates (53), Stephen Hohlbaugh (23S), Vernon Hart (48), Mark Moniz (41e), Candice Kealy (D4R), Eric Knight (7). DNS – Alan Weeks (5), Cecil Martin (15), Robert Fleming (88)

MICRO SPRINTS

Feature: Larry Rarer (97Z), Richard Livernois Jr. (17), Joseph Taylor (29), Mike Meyers (7), Paul Seburn (23), Joe Bartow (3), William Brannan Jr. (27), Don Quinn Sr. (3D), Jerod Meyers (0), Christopher Singleton (12C). DNS – Corey Dyal (00D), William Burnside (13), Doug Dyal (97D), Chris Livernois Jr. (71)

FLORIDA OLD TIME MODIFIEDS

Feature: Dan Darnell (111), Danny Bowman (00), Tom McDonald (22), Charlie Sanders (7A). DNS – Jamie Frankland (1)

Dixon Powers to Donnie Tanner Memorial Win

Former Donnie Tanner Memorial champion Devin Dixon found some racing room at the top early and used the knowledge to gain the win in the 2019 edition of the 50-lap event for Pro Late Models, presented by Stingray Performance Parts.

Dixon started the contest from the fourth spot after gaining a win in the first heat. At the start, defending champion Ashton Winger took the early lead with heat winner Travis Varnadore in tow. Tyler Clem had slipped ahead of Dixon with third heat winner Jeff Mathews rounding out the top five. This order would hold through several lap four restarts, most for single car spins. A red flag condition developed when Wallace Peacock struck an inner barrier tire on a restart jamming up eight cars in the first and second turns.

The spate of cautions finally subsided and the racing action began to intensify with the lead changing hands three times before the next caution. Mathews went to the front on lap six, only to lose the top spot three laps later to Dixon. He would keep it until lap 12 when 2011 champ Travis Varnadore owned up to it. Varnadore wouldn’t keep it for long as he drifted up the track on a restart, allowing Dixon to get back in front, a position he would never relinquish.

Dixon celebrated with his three-month-old daughter, who was on hand for her first race, providing a special moment for the family and supporters on hand to witness his first East Bay victory of the year. There were 26 Pro Late Models on hand for the special event.

The Florida Mod-Lites made their first appearance of 2019 and brought an impressive car count of 18 cars. Sarasota’s Austin Martin backed up an earlier heat race win by claiming the 15-lap main. Martin was forced to do the chasing early on early race leader Tim McLeod appeared to be in control. McLeod’s lead would vanish when he spun in turn two as Martin inherited the top spot and never saw a serious challenge en route to the victory. Darren Bass, who had won his heat race was running a strong second until a late race spin removed him from contention.

Tim Gay showed the way in Street Stock action, which saw one of the closest finishes of the night. As the laps ticked off, Billy Barstow kept closing ground on the race leader, but was unable to sneak by for the win. Matt Bozeman opened the night with a heat win.

Defending division champion George Handy was finally able to shed the monkey from his back, capturing his first feature of the year in V-8 Warriors. Gary Lucas came from the back of the field to record a runnerup effort. Wayne Haynes, in his first 2019 start, recorded the heat win.

Robby Hoffmann put on another dominant run to capture hi third Mini-Sprint main of the season. Hoffmann used the outside line to gain ground on early leader Jamie Tinkham and was able to pick any line throughout the race. Hoffmann was best in the earlier heat.

The Studio Red Salon Gladiators brought 20 cars for their fifth night of action in the season. Defending champion Daniel Bowman was able to break free and score the win a week after watching his brother Kyle in Victory Lane. Thomas Adams had the early lead with Bowman in hot pursuit. Positions were swapped inside the top five with regularity but Bowman was finally able to assert himself by Adams for a lead that he would not give up. Logan Casteel and Kyle Bowman were best in the heats.

The next racing action for East Bay Raceway Park is Saturday, April 20 with Gagel’s Modifieds, Late Model Sportsman, Outlaw 4s, Micro Sprints and Florida OldTtime Modifieds. Young fans will receive Easter candy treats at intermission.

PRO LATE MODELS

DONNIE TANNER MEMORIAL: Devin Dixon (313), Ashton Winger (9w), Travis Varnadore (95V), Jeff Mathews (33), Keith Nosbisch (02), Adam Boyd (6B), Megan Meyer (11M), Kenny Monahan (311), Waylon Haynes (11), Dustin Perez (8), Jason Russell (75R), John Norris (87), Daniel Woody (29), Phillip Cobb (03), Tyler Clem (58), Doug Horton (46), Dusty Sparkman (007), Jesse Brown (7jr), Wallace Peacock (21W), Clay Harris (6), Josh Peacock (9p), Roger Crouse (15), Thomas Burnside (13B), TJ LaFlamboy (8x), Justin Merry (1a). DQ – Steve Mathis Jr. (95)

MOD-LITES

Feature: Austin Martin (97), Larry Hubbard Jr. (56), Brian Teeters (44T), Larry Hubbard III (77), James McGroarty (07), Andrew Smith (71), Dalton Ellis (11), Dylan Dunn (22), John Kokutich (7), Freddie Wilson (12), Aaron Stalling (31A), John Bailey (92), Eric Serabian (49), Russell Campbell (44), Bo Bass (41B), Darren Bass (14B), Tim McLeod (28M), Christopher Dockins (87D)

STREET STOCKS

Feature: Tim Gay (90), Billy Barstow (56), Matt Bozeman (58), Mike Wilson (68), Mark Roadarmel Jr. (75B), Allen Bailey (51), Doug Johnson (09). DNS – Nick Hebrank (24)

V-8 WARRIORS

Feature: George Handy (105), Gary Lucas (23), Scott Bane (23B), Jason Burnside (12J), Wayne Haynes (52), Wayne Kissam (07), Kalen Maynard (2), Justin Meeks (10), Derek Gray (66)

MINI SPRINTS

Feature: Robby Hoffmann (66), Jamie Tinkham (51), Zach Amundsen (12), Dirk Miller (68), David Hall (67), Brad Sutton (9), Joe Bartow (3). DNS – Chris Diamond (9D)

STUDIO RED SALON GLADIATORS

Feature: Daniel Bowman (46), Robert Kissam (911), Kyle Bowman (46K), Logan Casteel (7), Thomas Adams (T2), Rodney Martin (21), Kever Raulerson (99R), Rick Rutledge Sr. (4), Alyssa Grant (8), Fred Wilson (18), Bob Zutz (47), Davey Martin (55), Trevor Johnson (05), Trevor Appling (37), Patrick Fiore Sr. (88), Johnathan Wood (99W), Jeff Smith (15). DNS – Tim Maiden (91), DQ – Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Bailey Purcell (14)

John Howlett

The staff and management of East Bay Raceway Park would like to send our condolences to track photographer Mike Horne and his family on the passing of his Father In Law, John Howlett. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.