An afternoon rain shower and cloudy skies proved to be no match for the excitement of racing at the Clay by the Bay to kick off the month of May. In two of the main events, the leader at the white flag ended up losing the lead, proving it’s not over ‘til it’s over and the checkered flag is waving.
The evening features started with Micro Sprints as the main event field included the top three drivers from 2017 who were honored during intermission. Heat race winner Kevin Strife backed up the preliminary victory by going wire-to-wire in the 15-lap main. The win was not a walk in the park as 2017 track champion Cliff Evans was closing from second place. Strife was driving with a purpose and would not allow the pass for the win to earn his visit to Victory Lane.
Street Stock action saw John Bradley jump out to a convincing lead. Bradley would face a challenge from last week’s feature winner David Barwick II throughout the late stages of the contest. Bradley had a manageable margin until the car started slowing on the white flag lap. Barwick seized the opportunity squeeze to the inside in the final turn to outrun Bradley to the line. Rich Livernois Sr. had won the earlier heat race.
The Pro Late Models were facing a 30-lap challenge, but Steve Mathis Jr. proved to be up to the challenge and then some. Mathis took the lead early and stretched his margin in convincing fashion. By the time the checkered arrived, only four cars were on the lead lap as Mathis was never headed. The best battle proved to be for second between Phillip Cobb and Doug Horton, who fought pesky lapped traffic in the midst of their efforts to close on Mathis. Heats were won by Horton and Jack Nosbisch Jr.
An emotional win materialized in the Q Auto & Injury Sprints as Billy Boyd Jr. led from start to finish to park in Victory Lane. Boyd, who had been diagnosed with life-threatening leukemia a few years back, has battled the affliction to put himself back behind the wheel, where he has again established his winning ways. Boyd was surrounded by family and friends to celebrate the special triumph that symbolizes more than winning a race, but winning the battles that life can deliver. Justin Webster, who was running second in the feature until a mechanical issue ended his night three laps from the end, won his heat race as did Keith Butler.
The final feature of the night saw Kever Raulerson squeeze to the front with a last lap pass on Robert Kissam to top the 15-lap main. Daniel Bowman and Bailey Purcell had also spent time at the front of the field, giving the race four different leaders. Purcell and Bowman had won the heat races for the division.
East Bay Raceway Park will return to action on May 12 with Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds, Florida Late Models, V8 Warriors, Outlaw 4s and Mini Sprints.
Feature: Kevin Strife (46), Cliff Evans (17), Mike Meyers (7), Wade Evans (27), Paul Seburn (23), William Burnside (13), Don T. Quinn (3D), Matt Wedgewood (4)
Feature: David Barwick II (89), John Bradley (57), Rich Livernois Sr. (71), Kenny Lawrence (38), Randy Shields (49), James McPeak (7), Thomas Braswell (67), Robert Tyler (9), Henry Burnside (31B). DNS – Jay Steal (89X)
PRO LATE MODELS
Feature: Steve Mathis Jr. (95), Phillip Cobb (03), Doug Horton (11), Jack Nosbisch Jr. (12), Andrew Hopkins (13H), Megan Meyer (11M), Thomas Burnside (13), Keven Devrieze (99), Jason Pope (102), TJ LaFlamboy (44), John Norris (87), Adam Boyd (6B), Noah Cornman (30), Wallace Peacock (28). DNS – Josh Peacock (21)
Q AUTO & INJURY SPRINTS
Feature: Billy Boyd Jr. (4), Joe Zuczek (50), Anthony D’Alessio (01), Keith Butler (19), Billy Bridges (11B), Guy Bos (3K), Frank Beck (71), Justin Webster (21), Dylan Colding (23d), Kurt Taylor (55)
Feature: Kever Raulerson (99R), Robert Kissam (911), Bailey Purcell (14), Wayne Kissam (07), Dustin Wilson (42), Daniel Bowman (46), Jeff Smith (15), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Mark Roadarmel Jr. (81), Ethan Dansby (26), Rick Rutledge Sr. (4), Johnathan Wood (56B), Daniel Casey (3d), Cade Cannon (500)