GIBSONTON, FL -- Put Tim Shaffer on the pole Saturday night at East Bay Raceway in the All Star sprint 50-lap feature and what happens? He garners the largest payday of his career, in wire-to-wire fashion, as the 26th annual Easy Bay...
GIBSONTON, FL -- Put Tim Shaffer on the pole Saturday night at East Bay Raceway in the All Star sprint 50-lap feature and what happens? He garners the largest payday of his career, in wire-to-wire fashion, as the 26th annual Easy Bay Winternationals final paid him $26,000 to win. First Chad Kemenah chased Shaffer for 43 laps, then Lance Dewease chased the final seven circuits to finish second, two car lengths behind at the end, but Shaffer had the field covered.
"We crashed our car and totalled it in the opening race, so this is a new Maxim. My wife said if we won tonight we'd just about break even. This is the most money I've ever won," Shaffer recalled, standing beside his own Stanton-Mopar powered machine wrenched by Terry Blair. "The track was really good, two lanes but everyone was so fast. I had three inches less stagger than everyone else," Shaffer revealed as his attention to detail on the set-up propelled him to victory lane. "I watched the track surface during the on-track driver intros and thought I was going to be in real trouble with the tide coming in. I always buy a paper here to check the tides," he added.
"We didn't need that last caution," runner-up Dewease lamented, referring to a lap 42 yellow flag. He earned $6,000 for second in the Hamilton Motorsports Ott-J&J on Hoosier tires. "We always set up for late in the race. But this is my best year ever in Florida."
Kemenah ended up third and said, "We got a little too tight. In the mid part of the race I thought I had something for Tim." His Jimmy Harble owned Eagle is Kistler powered, and Kemenah also credited Kear's Speed Shop, Hoosier, Pro-shocks, Underground Utilities and Hyundai Construction Equipment for their support.
Top 10 in points from the previous three races, with the top six inverted, made up the first three rows of the A Main. That put Shaffer on the pole with Shane Stewart alongside him. Kemenah and Fred Rahmer comprised row two, with Dewease and Danny Lasoski in row three. Shaffer grabbed the lead when the green flag fell, with Kemenah in second and Dewease third ahead of Stewart.
Shaffer was lapping cars by lap six and Lasoski took over fourth with ten laps in the books. Rodney Duncan stopped outside turn two on lap 12 for the first caution of the night, with Shaffer on top over Kemenah, Dewease, Lasoski and tenth starter Jeff Shepard for the restart. Shaffer pulled away at the drop of the green and Kemenah continued in second. As the laps ticked off, Kemenah pulled close on the leader on laps 26 and 27, but could not find room to get by. Shaffer then pulled away from Kemenah as Dewease held off the advances of Lasoski. Eighth starter Paul McMahan moved by Lasoski for the number four spot on lap 41, just before a lap 42 yellow for Jason Sides.
It was now an eight lap showdown to the finish. Shaffer was on top for the restart with Kemenah, Dewease, McMahan, Lasoski and Gary Wright trailing. Dewease went high around Kemenah coming off turn two to take over the runner-up spot on lap 44. He tried in vain to catch Shaffer, but could only close to two car lengths as the checkered flag flew.
McMahan rode home fourth behind the top trio in Warren Johnson's Eagle with Lasoski fifth. Wright was sixth in his own Salina-Maxim, ahead of Shepard in the Don Goodson-owned Wesmar-Maxim. Rahmer rode home eighth with Stevie Smith ninth after starting 17th and Tyler Walker was tenth in the C&W Motorsports Wesmar-Eagle.
The Crown Battery heat fell to Gary Wright, the B&B Products heat went to Paul McMahan, the Engler Machine and Tool heat was won by Kelly Kinser and the TP Wings heat fell to Terry McCarl. Dickie Gaines won the Georgia Marketing & Promotions C Main and Stevie Smith won the B Main. Lasoski captured the Haulmark Dash and the three $500 to win Strawberry Dashes went to Travis Rilat, Christi Passmore and Greg Wilson. A total of 53 cars filled the pit area and Johnny Mackison, Jr. won the wheelie contest, worth $1,000. Kemenah also pocketed $1,000 for Thursday's new track record at 11.638 seconds.
Special award plaques were also presented by track owner Stanley Kolan to Jack Miller for 40 years of sprint car announcing and to track preparer Eddie Cox for 17 days of racing and 10 of practice and testing. Bay Area Association of Automotive Inc. also received a recognition award.