TAMPA, FL – Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, WV has 10,000 reasons in the form of dollars to love NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series racing at East Bay Raceway Park. Horton drove the Adams Used Auto Parts Warrior to victory on Saturday night at “The Clay By The Bay” in the 6th Annual NeSmith Chevrolet World Championship Race.
Horton started sixth and rode in the fifth spot for the first two-thirds of the 100 lap race before making his move to the front of the pack. Horton took the lead on lap 72, and went on to collect the $10,000 top prize. It was a big payday for the driver using a $5,000 GM Performance 604 Crate Engine, a form of racing that the winner has a lot of respect for.
“There were a lot of good super late model drivers in this race tonight, and I don’t know what they think, but the guys that race with these crate engines are good because when these cars get a push where the car won’t turn left, you don’t have the horsepower a super late model has to pull you out of it,” Horton said. “You really have to drive these cars and this win special because of that.”
One of the super late drivers Horton spoke of was Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY, who led 60 laps of the race in quest of his second straight World Championship Race win, but came up one spot short and finished second in the Image Skin Care Rocket. Randy Weaver of Crossville, TN came on strong at the end of the race and finished third in the Cardinal Paint and Body Warrior.
Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, SC was fourth in the AES, Inc. Barry Wright, and Jeff Smith of Chatsworth, GA took the fifth spot in the Josh Roberts Trucking Warrior. Phillip Cobb of Riverview, FL finished sixth in the Mathis Farms Barry Wright, and Bryan Bernhardt of Clearwater, FL was seventh in the B&B Precision Mowing Rocket.
Steve Mathis of Plant City, FL finished eighth in the Mathis Farms Rayburn, and the 2008 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA started 21st and charged his way through the field to take the ninth spot in the Bryson Motorsports Barry Wright. Dan Breuer of Troutman, NC rounded out the top ten in the AES, Inc. Barry Wright.
McCreadie was the fast qualifier among the 44 entrants with a lap around the 1/3-mile clay oval in 16.197 seconds and then won the first 15-lap heat race on Friday night to earn the pole position for Saturday night’s main event. When the field went green for the century grind, it was second heat race winner and outside front row starter Jonathan Davenport of Cowpens, SC taking the lead in the Baird Motorsports Barry Wright.
Davenport led McCreadie, Bernhardt, Smith and Horton during the opening laps before encountering the cars on the tail of the lead lap on lap ten. McCreadie caught Davenport in lapped traffic on lap 11, and on lap 12 used a lapped car for pick to take the lead in turn four.
The first caution flag came out on lap 15 when Jeff Mathews of Dover, FL stalled the Night Hawk Towing Rocket on the front straightaway. McCreadie led Davenport, Smith, Bernhardt, Horton, Jack Nosbisch Jr. of Riverview, FL in the Adams Used Auto Parts Rocket, Weaver, Franklin, Travis Varnadore of Dover, FL in the L. Miller and Associates Rayburn, and Shan Smith of Dade City, FL in the Outlaw Racing Parts TNT down for the restart.
By lap 20, McCreadie, Davenport and Jeff Smith had pulled out to a half straightaway lead over the fourth-place car of Bernhardt. The second caution lap came out on lap 26 when Shan Smith blew a radiator hose and spun in turn three in a cloud of steam. Davenport chose the inside for the Dixie-Style double-file restart behind McCreadie. That put Jeff Smith on the outside in the third spot.
When the green flag came back out, Smith drove by Davenport for the second spot, and Cobb moved up into the top ten. Doug Watson of Lithia, FL spun his Brandon Auto Salvage Rocket in turn two on lap 28 to bring out the third caution, and Breuer spun in turn one on the restart. Davenport got around Smith on the next restart to reclaim the second spot.
The caution bulb was lit up for the fifth time on lap 38 when Chase Washington of Houlka, MS stalled the Greg’s Sawmill GRT in turn two. When the field went back to green flag racing, McCreadie pulled away while Davenport and Smith battled for the second spot. Smith got around Davenport for second on lap 41, while McCreadie enjoyed a full straightaway lead.
At the halfway point, McCreadie opened up a six second lead over Smith when he caught lapped traffic. While McCreadie was trying to negotiate around the lapped cars, Smith turned up the wick and was gaining a second a lap, catching the leader by lap 55. McCreadie was able to work his way through the traffic, while Smith was also trying to get through the gauntlet as Davenport challenged him from the third spot.
Davenport once again took over the second spot on lap 65 when made an inside move on Smith going down the backstretch. Watson stalled on the backstretch on lap 67 to bring out the sixth caution flag. McCreadie led Davenport, Smith, Bernhardt, Horton, Franklin, Nosbisch, Cobb, Weaver and Mathis down to the green flag for the restart.
Several drivers began to make moves, some going forward and others going backwards, when the green flag came back out. Smith passed Davenport for second on the restart, while Horton and Franklin got by Bernhardt to take over the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Nosbisch fell off the pace before stalling on the backstretch on lap 68 to bring out the seventh caution flag.
Horton passed Davenport for the third spot on the restart, but the field was slowed by the caution flag on lap 69 when Rodney Wing of Meridian, MS in the Night Hawk Towing Rocket and Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA in the Turner Excavating DWB tangled in turn two. McCreadie led Smith, Horton, Davenport, Franklin, Bernhardt, Weaver, Mathis, Brindle and Varnadore down for the restart.
Horton pounced on Smith to take over the second spot when the green came back out, Franklin climbed into the third spot, Smith fell back to fourth, Bernhardt settled into fifth, and Davenport dropped back to the sixth spot. Horton was all over McCreadie to challenge for the lead, and drove by him on the outside in turn four on lap 72 to grab the point.
Just as Horton encountered lapped traffic, Davenport brought out the final caution flag of the race on lap 81 when he spun in turn four. Horton led McCreadie, Franklin, Smith, Bernhardt, Mathis, Weaver, Cobb, Varnadore, and Brindle down for the restart. Weaver made a big move when the green bulb was lit, as he moved from seventh to fourth.
Horton maintained his lead over McCreadie in the final 20 laps, while Weaver got by Franklin for the third spot on lap 95. McCreadie and Weaver got close to the leader in lapped traffic, but neither could challenge for the win.
In preliminary action on Friday night, the four 15-lap heat races were won by McCreadie, Davenport, Bernhardt, and Jeff Smith. On Saturday night, the 20-lap B-Main Races were won by Josh Peacock of Dover, FL in the Frubob Fruit Floats Warrior and Breuer.
For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE 6TH ANNUAL NeSMITH CHEVROLET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK IN TAMPA, FL ON 12/10-11/10:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 6 11 Doug Horton Bruceton Mills, WV 100 $10,000
2. 1 101 Tim McCreadie Watertown, NY 100 $5,000
3. 8 116 Randy Weaver Crossville, TN 100 $3,000
4. 7 2 Dennis Franklin Gaffney, SC 100 $2,000
5. 4 17 Jeff Smith Chatsworth, GA 100 $1,750
6. 11 32 Phillip Cobb Riverview, FL 100 $1,500
7. 3 B69 Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, FL 100 $1,300
8. 16 95 Steve Mathis Plant City, FL 100 $1,200
9. 21 21b Chip Brindle Chatsworth, GA 100 $1,100
10. 18 B7 Dan Breuer Troutman, NC 100 $1,000
11. 17 21p Josh Peacock Dover, FL 100 $800
12. 2 49 Jonathan Davenport Cowpens, SC 100 $700
13. 9 41 Travis Varnadore Dover, FL 100 $600
14. 23 77 Matthew Turner Dawsonville, GA 99 $500
15. 24 47 Shannon Lee Lumberton, MS 99 $450
16. 14 33x Rodney Wing Meridian, MS 68 $440
17. 5 12 Jack Nosbisch Jr. Riverview, FL 67 $430
18. 15 07 Doug Watson Lithia, FL 65 $420
19. 19 22 Perry Brown Riverview, FL 52 $400
20. 13 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 49 $400
21. 22 19 Chase Washington Houlka, MS 36 $400
22. 20 8Ball Scott Weber Festus, MO 35 $400
23. 12 99 Shan Smith Dade City, FL 33 $400
24. 25 14 Mavrick Varnadore Dover, FL 23 $400
25. 10 33 Jeff Mathews Dover, FL 14 $400
FAST QUALIFIER: McCreadie, 16.197 Seconds
PROVISIONALS: Turner and Lee
TRACK PROVISIONAL: M. Varnadore
LEAD CHANGES: 2
LAP LEADERS: Davenport, 1-11; McCreadie, 12-71; Horton, 72-100
LAPS LED: McCreadie, 60; Horton, 29; Davenport, 11
MARGIN OF VICTORY: .822 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes and 25.204 Seconds
The final night for local divisions at East Bay Raceway Park saw the Gagel’s Auto Parts Open Wheel Modifieds, motorstats.com 4 Cylinder Bombers and Dirt Daubers.
Former track champion Jeff Mathews slipped past Bruce Harvey to claim the 15-lap Modified main. Kyle Bronson was the early leader and dominant until suffered a problem that sidelined him on lap 11. Harvey inherited the lead for a short while until Mathews asserted himself into the top position. The top five were Mathews, Harvey, 2010 division champion Austin Sanders, Roger Crouse and Mississippi racer Rodney Wing. Mathews and Crouse claimed heats.
Roberto Morfin Sr. and Raymond Vann were locked in a late race battle for supremacy that saw Morfin Sr. claim his third win. Vann settled for second, finishing the year as the top feature winner with seven. Frank Miller came from the rear of the field to claim third, ahead of Johnnie Alexander and Andre Shenaman. Kever Raulerson had mechanical problems, but had enough points to claim the division title.
Brett Phillips claimed the Dirt Dauber championship, clinching the title by winning the last feature.
For more information, go to www.eastbayracewaypark.com or call the track office