GIBSONTON, FL – After a runner-up finish on opening night, “The Steel City Outlaw” Tim Shaffer seemed determined to better his fates when the second night of the three-race “King of the 360s” series hit the track on Friday night. Shaffer prevailed by making a lap 11 pass on the backstretch, having exchanged the top spot on several occasions with fellow Pennsylvania racer Mark Smith.
A field of 48 cars graced the pit area, setting six heat races that would determine the first 16 starting spots through passing points in the preliminaries. Winners of the heat races were Smith, Terry McCarl, Carson McCarl, Brett Wright, Dale Howard and Shaffer. Both Smith and Shaffer advanced from the third starting spot, leaving them with enough points to snare the front row for the 25-lap A main.
Three B-mains were contested to fill the final nine spots. Max Stambaugh, Davie Franek and Connor Loeffler led the way in each of their 12-lap last chance races.
When the 25 car field roared to the green flag for the start of the A feature, it would be Smith with the lead ahead of Shaffer and Eric Riggins. The leaders caught the back of the field on lap five as Smith worked to find racing room. This turn of events allowed Shaffer to close the gap, sweeping past Smith on lap seven. The new leader could not gain a significant advantage and it took just a couple of laps for Smith to find his way back to the lead. Now, it was Shaffer’s turn to be the hunter and he powered down the back straightaway on lap 11 to take the lead despite the lapped cars in front.
The first caution came flying on lap 15 for a Brett Wright incident. The New York driver, who shared the ;point lead after the first night and briefly held the top spot after the Friday heats, was done, diminishing his chances of staying in the top six lock-in. When the race resumed, Thursday winner Danny Martin was the man on the love, squeezing past Terry McCarl and bypassing Riggins to grab third. A lap later, Smith fell to Martin’s advances as Shaffer sought refuge among lapped traffic. The top two drivers matched lines as Martin tried to power closer. It looked like Shaffer would get the win, but a Matt Kurtz spin on lap 24 settled the field for a green and white restart, Shaffer had no issue keeping the field back, but Smith was determined to get back to second. He swung low on the track and pulled ahead of Martin in turn one, racing back to the checkered as the runner-up.
The top six drivers, based on passing points and feature finish points, are locked in the Saturday night “King of the 360s” feature event while the remainder will battle in heats for a starting spot. Those exempt six are Dale Howard, Tim Shaffer, Terry McCarl, Mark Smith, Danny Martin Jr. and Eric Riggins Jr.
Jim Kradel made the best of an infrequent start at East Bay with his first win at the track, holding off Steve Diamond Jr. for the Mini Sprint main. Jerod Meyers was the best of the bunch in the Micro Sprint main.
360 Sprints A-Feature
1.Tim Shaffer Aliquippa, Pa. 2. Mark Smith Sunbury, Pa. 3. Danny Martin Jr Sarasota, Fl. 4. Eric Riggins Jr Charlotte, Nc. 5. Terry McCarl Altoona, Ia. 6. Dale Howard Byhalia, Ms. 7. Max Stambaugh Lima, Oh. 8. Carson McCarl Altoona, Ia. 9. Cody Bova Struthers, Oh. 10. Zane Devault Plymouth, In. 11. Ben Brown Marshall, Mo. 12. Paul Colagiovanni Jr Central Square, Ny. 13. Denny Peebles Lowville, Ny. 14. Garet Williamson Columbia, Mo. 15. Slater Helt Cactus Flats, Mo. 16. Davie Franek Sussex, Nj. 17. Tyler Gunn Napoleon, Oh. 18. Connor Leoffler Myrtle Beach, Sc. 19. Phil Gressman Fremont, Oh. 20. Robbie Stillwaggon Burlington, Nj. 21. Cale Conley Vienna, Wv. 22. Nick Snyder Marco Island, Fl. 23. Matt Kurtz Jacksonville, Fl. 24. Brett Wright East Chatham, Ny. 25. Aj Maddox Valrico, Fl
Mini Sprints A-Feature
1.Jim Kradel Navarre, Fl. 2. Steve Diamond Jr Apollo Beach, Fl. 3. Stephen Thomas Dover, Fl. 4. Don Quinn Wesley Chapel, Fl. 5. James McNulty Nayame, Fl. 6. Ryan Kradel South Weber, Ut. 7. Jojo Davis Riverview, Fl. 8. Donald Quinn Wesley Chapel, Fl.
Micro Sprints A-Feature
Jerod Meyers Lakeland, Fl. 2. Doug Dyal Auburndale, Fl. 3. Paul Seburn Seffner, Fl. 4. William Brannan Jr Plant City, Fl. 5. Joshua Davis Riverview, Fl. 6. Richard (koot) Sapp Jr Plant City, Fl. DNS. William Burnside Tampa, Fl.