After a brief hiatus following the 43rd annual Winternationals, East Bay Raceway Park swung into action for the 2019 season. The five-division program saw many competitors utilizing the night to get back into the swing of things. New faces joined regulars in Victory Lane to get the season started.
Dale Kelley drove his new Lethal Chassis to victory in the 15-lap Gagel’s Modifieds feature event. Kelley, who competed with the new car during the 2019 Winternationals, recorded his second career main. Kelley took the lead on the initial start with the first challenge coming from heat race winner Austin Sanders. Unfortunately, Sanders spun on lap 2 an ended up falling back 10 spots. Heat race winner Garret Stewart inherited second, but Kelley was able to motor out on restarts to avoid any serious challenges throughout the race. Billy Howard Jr., who was unable to compete in his heat race, started deep in the field and moved within the top five in short order. Howard was coming on strong, but could not catch Kelley. Meanwhile, Sanders carved his way back through the field, but his challenge ran out of laps.
Keith Nosbisch ducked to the inside on lap 10 as race leader Doug Horton was pinned outside by a pair of lapped cars, putting Nosbisch up front in the 30-lap Pro Late Model main. Horton could not mount a serious challenge as Nosbisch powered on to claim the victory. In Victory Lane, Nosbisch pointed out that there were issues with the car during the heat race, but his crew was able to get the situation turned around to the Horton and 2018 track champion Phillip Cobb started their night with heat race wins.
Robby Hoffmann kept the momentum from the Winternationals as his drive to victory in the Mini Sprints proved to be superior. Hoffmann took the lead from the start and never faced a serious challenge with only four cars on the lead lap by the end of the 15-lap main. Hoffmann had won his heat race as did Steve Diamond, who spent most of the main in second until a lap 13 incident moved him back to fourth at the finish.
Jason Burnside won his heat race, then joined the top finisher in the V-8 Warrior class of 2018 for the awards presentation. Burnside was credited with third in 2018, but he will be the point leader after one week, thanks to an impressive run in the V-8 Warrior main. Burnside joined fellow heat winner Nick Brown on the front row and managed to get in front of Brown to complete lap one. With some breathing room, Burnside focused on keeping the car in the preferred line at the bottom. Behind him, there were good position battles involving Jessica Robbins, 2018 division champion George Handy and eventually Scott Bane. None of the action would have an effect on the outcome as Burnside claimed the victory.
The Studio Red Salon Gladiators featured an exciting late race pass that changed the outcome of the race. Thomas Adams led the bulk of the contest until Kever Raulerson pulled off a lap 13 pass in the 15-lap main. Raulerson, a four-time winner in 2018, was driving a brand new car and has joined forces with fellow competitor Johnathan Wood for 2019. Defending division champion Daniel Bowman, also in a new car, and Robert Kissam won their heat races.
The action continues Saturday, March 9 as the Pro Late Models, Late Models Sportsman, Street Stocks, Outlaw 4s and Micro Sprints gather for action. The top finishers of 2018 in Street Stocks, Outlaw 4s and Micro Sprints will be honored at intermission.
PRO LATE MODELS
Feature: Keith Nosbisch (02), Doug Horton (46), Phillip Cobb (03), Dustin Perez (8), Thomas Burnside (13B), John Norris (87), Bryce Alexander (8x), Wallace Peacock (21w), Jesse Brown (7), Jason Russell (75R), Austin Keehan (110)
Feature: Dale Kelley (22), Billy Howard Jr. (47), Austin Sanders (64), Garret Stewart (67), Drew Jackson (08), Eric Moon (18), Seth Geary (7G), Buzzie Reutimann (00), Keven Devrieze (99), Pat Passanise (19), Jerry Bourland (777), Michael Cherry (17c). DNS – Don Crandall (9c)
Feature: Robby Hoffmann (66), Jamie Tinkham (51), David Hall (67), Steve Diamond (9D), Austin Craddock (17), Bruce Comer (21), Brad Sutton (9), Joe Bartow (3), Ronnie Whitley (84), Dirk Miller (68), Joe Askew (78j). DNS – Zach Amundsen (12)
Feature: Jason Burnside (12J), Jessica Robbins (09x), George Handy (18), Scott Bane (23B), Gary Lucas (23), Raymond Vann (1), Michael Hart (99), Wayne Kissam (07), Jeff Weaver (26), Brian Danforth (55), Nick Brown (12), Kalen Maynard (2), Collin Kruse (1K)
STUDIO RED SALON GLADIATORS
Feature: Kever Raulerson (99R), Thomas Adams (T2), Ricky Rutledge Jr. (124), Kayla Handy (8), Patrick Fiore Sr. (3), Rodney Martin (21), Robert Kissam (911), Leon Coulter (91), Logan Casteel (7), Rick Rutledge Sr. (4), Kyle Bowman (46K), Brittany Hart (81), Zavier Safie (40), Johnathan Wood (99W), Alyssa Grant (36G), Daniel Bowman (46), Bailey Purcell (14), Fred Wilson (18), David Wood (21W). DNS – Tabitha Rutledge (124)