Some of the biggest fields of the year pulled through the pit gate Saturday night for Father’s Day weekend competition at East Bay Raceway Park. Those expecting exciting action were not disappointed.
The evening was highlighted by the Larry Miller Memorial, a 50-lap contest for Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds. A field of 19 were gridded for the showdown, which included a $2,000 winner’s share.
Mavrick Varnadore grabbed the early race lead from the outside pole. Varnadore’s efforts to keep the top spot were stymied by cautions flags every two laps through the early stages. Varndaore’s first challenger was current division point leader Bryan Bernhardt, who pestered the race leader through the halfway mark. Behind the lead duo, several battles made the top five spots look different with each passing lap. Devin Dixon vaulted from fourth to put himself in position to slip past Varnadore on lap 28. This moved Varnadore back to the clutches of Bernhardt, but Bernhardt spun to give third to Jeff Mathews. Polesitter Austin Sanders was starting a charge to become a factor in the top five, but Dixon had moved out to a somewhat comfortable lead. Sanders claimed second on lap 36 with Steve Miller charging to third. Miller would drop out on lap 44. Mathews seized the chance on a late race restart to move into second and give chase on Dixon. The leader, who had also won the Rusty Dixon Memorial Modified event and the Dnnie Tanner Memorial for Pro Late Models, cruised across the line victorious, ahead of Mathews and Varnadore. Sanders, Bernhardt and Varnadore had won heat races.
Robby Hoffman wasted no time in getting to the front in the 15-lap Mini Sprint main event. Hoffman grabbed the lead, only to lose it briefly to teammate David Hall. Hoffman slipped back past and rolled on for his second win of the year. Jamie Tinkham and Kenny Brewer won their respective heats.
An exciting Street Stock feature race saw side-by-side racing throughout the 22-car field. When the checkered flag flew, it was veteran John Bradley back in Victory Lane. Bradley grabbed the lead from Zach Amundsen, who was nursing a car with left front damage. Bradley was able to make the pass on lap five, but the remaining laps saw Thomas Pratt and a hard charging Tim Powers give the eventual winner something to worry about. Bradley, Pratt and David Barwick II were heat race winners.
The Gladiator class welcomed a new member to the honor roll of victory. Daniel Casey led from start to finish to score his first career feature win in only his second year of competition. To get the win, Casey had to hold off defending class champion Daniel Bowman and he was able to accomplish the feat. Casey dedicated his win to his mother, who had passed away earlier this year.
John “Gonzo” Godwin had a storied career in asphalt racing, but told the East Bay crowd in Victory Lane “I wish I had started racing dirt a long time ago.” Godwin prevailed in the 15-lap main for the Florida Old Time Modifieds. He was chased by heat winner Lars Amundsen, who was driving a Dover Brake Buzzie Reutimann Mod in competition.
Next week, East Bay Raceway Park will be hosting a “Full House Night” with Pro Late Models, Q Auto & Injury Sprints, Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds, Late Model Sportsman, Street Stocks, V8 Warriors, Outlaw 4s and Gladiators.
LARRY MILLER MEMORIAL
Devin Dixon (313), Jeff Mathews (33), Mavrick Varnadore (4), Austin Sanders (64), Bryan Bernhardt (B69), Roger Crouse (15), Shane Burrows (70B), Rich Pratt (78), Seth Geary (7G), Steve Miller (8S), Pat Passanise (24), Dale Kelley (22), Matt Miller (8M), Travis Varnadore (205), Buzzie Reutimann (00), John Zuidema (47Z), Phillip Cobb (03), Michael Cherry(17c), Sean Monaghan (21)
Robby Hoffman (66), David Hall (67), Kenny Brewer (12), Carson Canaday (1), Brad Sutton (9), Scott Barberis (14), Joe Bartow (3), Jamie Jewell (6), Dallas Casey (87), Jamie Tinkham (51). DNS – Joe Askew (78j), Cody Bryson (41)
John Bradley (57), Thomas Pratt (22), Tim Powers (44), Jim Baker (69x), Brian Morgan (9M), Craig Montesi Jr. (39), Buck Woodhouse (55), Henry Burnside (31B), Matt Bozeman (58), Kenny Lawrence (38), Randy Shields (49), Josh Jones (B75), Justin Rodgers (95), Robert Tyler (9), Rich Livernois Sr. (71), Thomas Braswell (67), Robert Allen (98), Jesse Brown (12), David Barwick II (89), Billy Barstow (75), Zach Amundsen (20), Allen Bailey (51). DNS – James McPeak (7)
Daniel Casey (3D), Daniel Bowman (46), Kever Raulerson (99R), Dustin Wilson (42), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Brittany Hart (81H), Mark Roadarmel Jr. (81), Michael Meeks (41), Jeff Smith (15), Logan Casteel (7), Johnathan Wood (56B), Bailey Purcell (14), Cade Cannon (500), Patrick Tabb (03), Ribert Kissam (911), Rick Rutledge Sr. (4)
FLORIDA OLD TIME MODIFIEDS
John Gonzo Godwin (22G), Lars Amundsen (00), Roger Herbach (4), Robert Campbell (11), Jamie Frankland (1), David Kelley (46), Tom McDonald (22), Dan Darnell (111)