Mathis Jr. Claims Dalton Myers 54 for Pro Late Models

It took a little more time for competitors and fans alike, but the running of the annual Dalton Myers 54 for Pro Late Models was worth the wait. The event, postponed from Dec. 15 due to weather issues, brought a field of 25 Late Models with the promise of a minimum of $5,400 to the winner.
Josh Peacock grabbed the lead from the pole as the race experienced a sluggish start due to early race cautions. Peacock’s first challenger was front row mate Devin Dixon, who has scored a couple of memorial wins in 2018. Dixon was put into the unique position of challenging while also defending as Travis Varnadore asserted himself behind Dixon. Varnadore, a three-time Late Model feature winner in 2018, slipped into second on lap 9 and would provide the biggest challenge yet for the race leader. The lead duo masterfully worked lapped traffic with Varnadore closing when the opportunity would arise. A lap 29 caution thwarted the Varndore pass as well as a bid by Kyle Bronson to squeeze past Dixon. When the race resumed, the man on the move was Scott Thompson Memorial winner Ashton Winger as the Georgia teenager vaulted to second, only to see his move negated by another caution. Bronson was able to secure second place after Varnadore experienced an issue that sent him pitside, but the crew was able to put Varnadore back on the track without losing a lap. Steve Mathis Jr. would now inherit the task of haunting Bronson, who had his own agenda with Peacock still out front. On lap 46, Bronson was able to slip past Peacock, who spun a lap later, moving Mathis to second. As the field caught the two to go signal, Mathis made the decision that it was now or maybe never and made a move around Bronson. It turned out to be the winning move as Victory Lane awaited the young competitor. An emotional Victory Lane celebration included the revelation that Mathis’ mom was on hand for tonight’s event. Dixon, Peacock and Jeff Mathews won their heat events earlier in the night.
Despite this being the final night of the season, the remaining competing divisions had all secured their 2018 track champions. In Street Stocks, John Bradley cemented his championship season by adding the fifth feature win of the year. Bradley had won the earlier heat with Dirt’s 4 Racing Street Stock regular Charles Christian claiming the other preliminary.
Kevin Strife recorded his ninth feature win in Micro Sprints, dealing with the added pressure of having family members from Kentucky on hand for the show.
Two-time Gladiator class champion Daniel Bowman captured the 15-lap main for the class, further adding to a dominant year.
David Kelley scored the heat and feature in the Florida Old Time Modified action.
East Bay Raceway Park will now begin preparation for the 43rd annual Winternationals, which starts with a practice session on January 22 for Open Wheel Modifieds and Street Stocks. The action gets underway the following night with a scheduled four nights for the two divisions from Jan. 23-26. Crate Late Models and Top Gun Sprints take over on Jan. 31 for three nights of competition, joined by the Thunder Stock/ V8 Warriors. Six nights of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series racing will pit the local hotshoes again top travelers from Feb. 4 -9. The Winternationals action closes with three nights of open wheel racing that begins on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) with 360 Sprints, Mini Sprints and Micro Sprints. The final night of racing, Feb. 16, will feature the King of the 360s championship event.
Dalton Myers 54 Feature – Steve Mathis Jr. (95), Kyle Bronson (40B), Ashton Winger (12), Keith Nosbisch (02), Travis Varnadore (95V), Devin Dixon (313), Andrew Hopkins (13H), Mason Massey (15), Shan Smith (32), Pete Cochran (27), John Norris (87), Josh Peacock (21P), Jeff Mathews (33), Steven Brendle (141), Will Herrington (14), Waylon Haynes (11), Mark Whitener (5), Wallace Peacock (21W), Megan Meyer (11M), Phillip Cobb (03), Kody Jett (9), Thomas Burnside (13B), Dustin Perez (8), TJ LaFlamboy (44), Dennis Williams (17JR)
Feature: John Bradley (57), Tanner Cobb (90), Rich Livernois Jr. (71), Tommy Hill (1H), Jonathan Croson (94), Henry Burnside (31), Joshua Kuenstbeck (11K), Allen Bailey (51), Wayne Haynes (52), Jimmy Baker (69X), James McPeak (7), Robert Tyler (99), Charles Christian (04), Gary Lucas (23)
Feature: Kevin Strife (46), Cliff Evans (17), William Brannan Sr. (27), Chris Diamond (9), Joe Bartow (3), William Brannan Jr. (x17)
Feature: Daniel Bowman (46), Jeff Smith (15), Kayla Handy (8), Bailey Purcell (14B), Robert Kissam (911), Daniel Casey (3D), Thomas Adams (T2), Logan Casteel (7), Trevor Johnson (05), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Michael Meeks (41), Leon Coulter (91), Johnathan Wood (99R)
Feature: David Kelley (46), Jamie Frankland (1), Danny Bowman (00), Charlie Sanders (7A)