GIBSONTON, FL -- Six races, six winners for the All Stars so far in 2003 as a beautiful day for a race greeted 40 sprint car teams at East Bay Raceway Park for the 27th Annual Winter Nationals Friday with the All Star Circuit of Champions. Coming...
GIBSONTON, FL -- Six races, six winners for the All Stars so far in 2003 as a beautiful day for a race greeted 40 sprint car teams at East Bay Raceway Park for the 27th Annual Winter Nationals Friday with the All Star Circuit of Champions. Coming into tonight's racing event, Craig Dollansky had a one point lead over Jeff "The Jet" Shepard in Winter National points.
On the pole of the 25-lap A-Main event was the driver from Upperco, Maryland, Jeff Shepard and on the outside pole was "The Cajun Sensation" Jason Johnson. When the green flew, Johnson jumped out to the early lead. Johnson and Shepard would battle for the lead numerous times as they encountered heavy lapped traffic. On lap 15, the first yellow flag of the A-Main came out for the third place car of Shane Stewart who got over the right rear of Curt Michael in the Webb Racing 51 in turn one. On the restart, Shepard pulled along side Johnson going down the backstretch for the lead. Going into turn three, Shepard was able to get around Johnson for the lead. Johnson wouldn't give up without a fight as he battled back on the inside of Shepard as the two got into lapped cars. The laps would run out for Johnson as Shepard went on to pick up his first feature win of the season.
Shepard said of his impressive win, "I found the top two laps before the yellow came out and once I found it, I knew he (Jason Johnson) would try the bottom, on the restart so I bent the gas pedal as hard as I could and got the momentum up."
His Eagle was new for Florida and it was a fresh Kriner for East Bay. The crew were the Ashworth sons, James and D.J. with help from Tony who changed all four shocks to PRO right before the feature. Sponsors included Imperial Packaging, Weld Racing Wheels, TP Wings, York Excavating and Ed's Racing Alcohol.
Second would be Johnson by a hair over Paul McMahan in third.
"I hated to see that yellow come out. I had a nice rhythm going, but then Jeff got a heck of a run on me. We went with a 12 on the tires and that may have hurt us," Johnson said, standing beside the Harrison Trucking No. 22 after the race.
McMahan, driver of the Miller Rigging No. 2, recalled afterward, "We've been in Florida for three weeks with this new team and we were struggling a little bit. George Gillespie helped me out with PRO shocks tonight and that's what got us this podium finish."
Fourth was Danny Lasoski, fifth was Dean Jacobs, sixth was Chad Kemenah, seventh was Craig Dollansky, eighth was Kelly Kinser, ninth was Greg Hodnett, and rounding out the top ten was Fred Rahmer.
Danny Lasoski was able to pick up the Huggins Cams Fast Time Award with a time of 11.802 which is 114.387 mph around the tight 3/8-mile of East Bay Raceway Park. Picking up the Crown Battery heat number 1 was Tom Busch out of Bedford, Indiana. B&B Products heat number 2 saw "The Brownsburg Bullet" Joey Saldana picking up the win. Engler Machine & Tool heat race number 3 saw Fast Freddie Rahmer winning the race. The TP Wings heat race number 4 had Monclova, Ohio's Byron Reed picking up the victory. In the 15 lap United Aluminum Windows Sales & Consulting B-Main Chad Kemenah was unchallenged as he went on for the victory. David Waltman won the Strawberry Dash.
New for 2003 was the Chassis Challenge where Fred Rahmer, driving a J&J Chassis, was able to pick up the win. The other driver and chassis combinations involved in this race were Craig Dollansky in a Maxim, Sport Allen in a Schnee, Lance Dewease in another J&J, Kevin Frey in a Schnee, and Greg Hodnett in a Maxim Chassis. Chassis Challenge eligible cars were from East Bay Winternationals points on Friday. Three companies participated J&J, Schnee and Maxim. The payoff was $1000, 500, 400, 300, 175 and 125. ($500 from each manufacturer and the balance from East Bay Raceway Park.).
"America's Series, the All Star Circuit of Champions" will present a slate of 80 sprint car race dates in 2003 from February to October in action at 31 speedways in 17 states. America's favorite dirt track series is in its' 23rd year and has presented fans with the largest average car count and greatest number of different race winners in the United States over the past two decades.