Bobby East won tonight's caution-slowed "Dominic's of New York 100" USAC Weld Silver Crown Series race at Richmond International Raceway. He took the lead on the fourth lap, diving under Jason McCord entering Turn 1. He was never headed, but was repeatedly menaced by second-place Brian Tyler through the final stages of the race.
"I had a good car today," East said. "My motor was running real good - Fords make a lot of power. It was restarting real good. The car handled about the same the whole race. A couple of times, after cautions, it would be a little bit looser than we wanted, but it was pretty good."
The nineteen year old, who achieved his first career Silver Crown win tonight, took nothing for granted when Tyler was behind him. "I've seen Brian win a lot of races," he said. "You can't think it's in the bag just because there's five laps to go.
"My spotter told me that BT was coming up through the field on the outside, and he looked pretty quick. I was thinking about it under yellow, and I said I'm just going to run my line and race my race. If he was going to go by us, he was going to. Our car was handling good. I can't say enough about my crew. They worked real hard this weekend. I've got to thank them and car owner Terry Klatt. This is a new team, and this is their first year in Silver Crown racing. We're happy to get his first win for him."
Brian Tyler worked his way up from a fifth-row start to his runner-up finish. He moved into second place just before the halfway mark, after side-by-side duels with J.J. Yeley for third, then Jason McCord for second. "We had a really good car up to the second to last caution," he said. "After that, the right rear acted like it sealed over or shut off. Before that we could run on the high side, and that's where I was doing all the passing. I figured that once I got to Bobby, he was running the bottom, and I could have the lane all to myself.
"It didn't quite work out that way."
Pole sitter Jerry Coons Jr. was having trouble with starts tonight, and worked hard to earn his third place finish. His woes began on the opening green, when he went from first to fifth in a four-wide melee heading for Turn 1, then slid back to sixth. "Unfortunately, the car wouldn't take off on the starts at all," he said. "It was pretty bad. On the race I was having to actually lean the fuel valve out, trying to get it to where it would take off. It took me a while to get it where I wanted it. A couple of restarts I didn't get it where I wanted it, and that really cost me, especially on the start where I went all the way back to sixth.
"The car was working well. We were able to go from sixth back up to third. If that hadn't happened, we probably would still have gotten third, because I don't think we had anything for Bobby or Brian."
Reigning Silver Crown champion J.J. Yeley never led tonight, but was a factor through much of the race until he faded back to a seventh place finish. "My race today was disappointing," he said. "The last 15 laps of the practice we had this morning, the engine went flat past the flag stand. I thought we had some bad fuel, so we pumped all the fuel out of it. Checked the fuel system and the ignition, and we couldn't find anything wrong. It wasn't any better for the race. The thing was running on six cylinders. It would pick them up and then drop them. I guess we're lucky to come home seventh."
Dave Steele's run of consecutive Silver Crown victories at Richmond came to an end tonight, with a sixth place finish. "We started eight, finished sixth. We just weren't that good all day. Don't really know why," he said. Steele remains in command of the championship, with 282 points to Jason McCord's 199.
The race was slowed by seven cautions, with 46 of the 100 official laps run under yellow. Additional caution laps, not counted, were run on the final yellow at Lap 95. The race took almost an hour to run, with an average speed of 79.686 mph. The most serious incident occurred on Lap 67, when Ron Gregory wrecked in Turn 3. Gregory was treated and released from the Anthem Infield Care Center. There were no injuries in the other incidents.
Johnny Parsons, who was involved in an on-track incident in last evening's Last Chance qualifying race, was treated for minor injuries at Memorial Regional Hospital and subsequently released. Because of the incident, Parsons did not qualify for tonight's race.
The next Silver Crown race will be the "Rocky Mountain Classic" at Pikes Peak International Raceway, July 3-4.