GIBSONTON, FL -- The opening night of the 26th annual East Bay Raceway All Star sprint Winternationals were delayed a day by rain, but sunshine greeted 66 competitors who filled the pit area Thursday. Lance Dewease was in victory lane at the end...
GIBSONTON, FL -- The opening night of the 26th annual East Bay Raceway All Star sprint Winternationals were delayed a day by rain, but sunshine greeted 66 competitors who filled the pit area Thursday. Lance Dewease was in victory lane at the end of the night in the 25-lap feature, picking up the $4,000 paycheck, taking over after early leader Tim Shaffer crashed out of the lead. Dewease was aboard Al Hamilton's Don Ott powered J&J on Hoosier Tires for his third Florida win of 2002.
"We weren't real good early," Dewease recalled. "We changed engines after the heat. Then we had to run the bottom in the main at the end."
Shane Stewart started on the pole, with Shaffer alongside and Dewease and Paul McMahan in row two. Shaffer grabbed the immediate lead with Dewease second and Stewart third in Jr. Holbrook's No. 8H Eagle chassis. Scott Bonnell spun in turn one for the first caution on lap four, with Shaffer again able to pull away from Dewease on the restart. The leaders began lapping the end of the field by lap seven and then traffic became Shaffer's undoing.
Shaffer was attempting to maneuver around the lapped machine of Rodney Duncan on lap 11 when he climbed Duncan's rear tire and smacked the turn one wall hard. A red was thrown to check on Shaffer, but he was okay and out of the race.
This put the restart order as Dewease, Lasoski, up from fifth starting spot, Stewart, Craig Dollansky, Fred Rahmer, Joey Saldana, Byron Reed, McMahan, Chad Kemenah and Billy Pauch. Dewease ran the high line and Lasoski ran the low line until lap 17 when traffic almost let Lasoski get by. On the following lap Dewease dropped down and took Lasoski's line away. From that point on, Lasoski had to contend with traffic and, when it looked like he might catch Dewease, Lasoski would have had to figure out how to get around him.
"He did a great job and his whole crew has done a great job. I kind of snuck under him there for a second but he did a great job taking the spot back, I couldn't pull it off" said Lasoski.
Third place man Dollansky complimented his crew for their hard work, including new crew chief D. J. Lindsey, and also credited his Charlie Fisher built engine. Fourth was Stewart, followed by Rahmer, who started tenth in the Joe Harz owned, Don Ott powered J&J. Reed was sixth after starting 14th and charging through the pack early in the B&S Racing Maxim. Billy Pauch started 15th in the J&M Motorsports Stealth and was seventh ahead of ninth starter Saldana, who drove Denny Ashworth's Fisher-powered Eagle Chassis. Kemenah started sixth and finished ninth in the Jimmy Harble Kistler powered Eagle and Gary Wright started 23rd and knifed through the pack to ride home tenth.
The Crown Battery heat fell to Terry McCarl, the B&B Products heat went to Fred Rahmer, the Engler Machine and Tool heat was won by Dean Jacobs and the TP Wings heat fell to Greg Wilson with the fifth heat to Wright. Wayne Johnson and Johnny Mackison, Jr. won the twin Georgia Marketing & Promotions C Mains. Chad Kemenah won the B Main and Sport Allen captured the Strawberry Dash. Kemenah's lap of 11.638 seconds was a new track record (103.007 MPH), eclipsing the old mark of 12.118 set by Craig Dollansky last season.
The Central New York mini-sprints were also on hand, running a Strawberry Dash. The NY group was scheduled to compete at Putnam Co. Speedway, but when that facility suspended the rest of their Speedweek events, East Bay owner Stanley Kolan invited the group, led by race director Mike Emhof, to compete. Kolan also extended an invitation to the ASCS group to run their 360 sprints here, as they were scheduled at Putnam also. But ASCS Competition Director Tommy Estes, Jr. had to turn down the invitation since he had already mailed cancellation notices to all his members. Estes did thank Kolan for his invitation.