A.J. Maddox took the lead on the second lap of the 25-lap Top Gun Sprints main event on Saturday night and rolled to his fourth series victory of the season. It was the third time Maddox had claimed a Top Gun win at East Bay this season. In addition to the winner’s share of the purse, Maddox picked up an additional $900 in Victory Lane as winner of the Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep Award. It was the second time this season that Maddox claimed the Barfield prize, which is offered to any feature winner who also won a heat race.
Point leader Hayden Campbell was able to pester Maddox on restarts, but Maddox was able to scout away each time. Campbell had followed Maddox through on lap two, slipping past early race leader Bruce Durden. Billy Bridges and Robbie Smith, heat race winners who also stood to claim the Clean Sweep award, kept pace in the top five early on, but Brandon Grubaugh swept by both for third by the halfway mark. A lap 19 restart put three lapped cars between Maddox and Campbell and the leader took advantage of the free space to move out to a dominant win.
The Top Gun Sprint Series will conclude their 2018 season on Dec. 1 with the Don Rehm Classic presented by Boomtrux.com, which will be contested at East Bay. The finale will be the eighth visit to East Bay by the series, who will open their 2019 campaign as part of the 43rd annual Winternationals.
Steve Mathis Jr. catapaulted into the early race lead that set the stage for a dominant run that resulted in his second feature victory of the 2018 season. Mathis passed up to the fourth-place car in the 30-lap main. The feature victory backed up the heat race from earlier tonight as Mathis tightened the points race in the division with one event remaining.
Jimmy Baker was a double winner in Street Stock action, but not without staving off the challenges of Rich Livernois Jr. Baker made a last lap pass in the heat to score the win there. He then moved out to the lead in the early stages of the 15-lap feature, only to have Livernois reel him in at the end. Livernois briefly held the top spot on the white flag lap, but Baker came back to gain the advantage and the win.
Point leader George Handy returned to Victory Lane in V8 Warrior action. Handy was at the front from the start while second place was the hotly contested spot. Scott Bane and Gary Lucas exchanged the spot in the late stages with Bane prevailing in second place. Handy and Nick Brown had started their respective evenings with heat wins.
Point leader Kevin Strife recorded his seventh feature win, outdistancing the field in the 15-lap main. Strife had earned the pole start thanks to a last lap pass in the heat race for the win.
Action returns to East Bay Raceway Park on Nov. 24 as the Turkey Left Over Racing feature Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds (topless), Late Model Sportsman, Street Stocks, Mini Sprints and Florida Old Time Modifieds.
TOP GUN SPRINTS
Feature: A.J. Maddox (3A), Hayden Campbell (5), Brandon Grubaugh (G6), Robbie Smith (6s), Billy Bridges (11B), Harley Zimmerman (00), Justin Webster (21), Mike Steinruck (44a), Guy Bos (3k), Bryan Eckley (12B), Mark Cole (6x), Kurt Taylor (55), Bruce Durden (17), Anthony D’Alessio (17c), Nikki Voisey (96), Johnny Alexander (1L), Garrett Green (82). DQ – Matt Kurtz (92)
PRO LATE MODELS
Feature: Steve Mathis Jr. (95), Wallace Peacock (21w), Andrew Hopkins (13H), Phillip Cobb (03), Dustin Perez (8), TJ LaFlamboy (44), John Norris (87), Keven Devrieze (99), Thomas Burnside (13)
Feature: Jim Baker (69x), Henry Burnside (31), Rich Livernois Jr. (71), John Bradley (57), Allen Bailey (51), Robert Tyler (99). DNS – James McPeak (7)
Feature: George Handy (105), Scott Bane (23B), Gary Lucas (23), Jessica Robbins (09x), Bill Whitney (9), Nick Brown (92), Justin Meeks (10), Michael Hart (99). DQ – Wayne Kissam (07), Kalen Maynard (2)
Feature: Kevin Strife (46), William Burnside (13), William Brannan Jr. (17), Mike Meyers (7), Jerod Myers (0). DNS – Joe Bartow (3)