GIBSONTON, FL – The lessons learned on Friday night paid big dividends for Tennessee racer Lucas Lee, who outpaced the 24-car field in the 75-lap Modified A-Main to close off week one of the 43rd annual Winternationals.
Lee had struggled to start the week, but went back to basics before the Friday night event. The result was a second place run to Kyle Bronson and some valuable lessons from the 30-lap main. Regretfully, the early week struggles took their toll as Lee ended up missing the top six in points who were locked into the feature…by just one point.
Lee would win his heat race to earn the seventh starting spot, but by lap 10 he had moved to fourth. Polesitter Ivedent Lloyd Jr. rocketed off to a big lead in the early stages, leaving Wednesday feature winner Bryan Bernhardt and Wisconsin’s Kevin Adams to fight it out behind him. Lee was able to pick his way past the duo to move into second. With 20 laps down, Lee reeled in Lloyd and sat ready to make the move. Lloyd had an issue on a lap 24 restart, but Lee had been passed by fellow Tennessee speedster Shon Flanary who gained the lead. The lead would be short lived as Lee swept back on lap 40, just before the fuel break.
Lee’s first challenge in the next segment would come from Devin Dixon, who was making a bid to be the first driver to win a final night of Modified racing in Winternationals. The 2006 & 2012 champion would lead a single lap with Lee getting back out front. From there, the eventual winner would stretch out and never see another challenge.
“We just rode it out for the first half,” said Lee in Victory Lane. “Devin (Dixon) showed us a little bit and Buzzy (Adams) showed us some and we were able to get it moving. We had a good car now that we finally figured it out and I listened to what the crew guys were saying. They’re pretty and I’m glad we could get the win.”
Despite a 21st place finish in the final event, two-time feature winner Kyle Bronson would capture the overall points.
Mike Potosky and Jimmy Lennex won their respective B mains. Heat race winners were Lee, Roger Crouse, Mavrick Varnadore and Dale Kelley.
Alabama’s Richie Stephens scored his third consecutive feature event in Street Stocks, outdueling Dennis Williams in the 40-lap feature. Stephens, who left immediately after the feature to head home to the National 100, was the early leader but lost the position on a restart to Williams. Stephens was able to get back up front on lap 28, but Williams had one more run. Stephens settled in and left Williams to battle Shan Smith and Scotty Kay as the three would trade spots through the final laps.
The 43rd annual Winternationals will continue on Jan. 31 with Stingray Performance Crate Late Models, Top Gun Sprints and V-8 Warriors/Thunderstocks squaring off for three nights.
Saturday – Jan. 26
A-MAIN: Lucas Lee (12), Devin Dixon (313), Phillip Cobb (03), Mavrick Varnadore (4), Jimmy Lennex (8), Kevin Adams (40), Doug Horton (33H), Shon Flanary (98), Gordy Gundaker (11), Curt Myers (1M), Eric Moon (18). Steve Meyer Jr. (1A), Dale Kelley (22), Jeff Mathews (33), Roger Crouse (15), Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (311), Bryan Bernhardt (B69), KC Burdette (44KC), Michael Turner (127), Devin Moran (2A), Kyle Bronson (1B), Mike Potosky (M20), Bill Roberts (5R), Shane Burrows (70B)
B-MAIN: Mike Potosky (M20), Doug Horton (33H), Patrick Hoffman (308), Chris Wilson (17), Michael Cherry (17C), Seth Geary (7G), Tom Sigler (19), Pat Passanise (19P), Nathan Huffingham (N8), Dennis Haven (96), Drew Bender (29B), Roger Jackson (1J), Brett Kennard (5M), Phillip Cobb (03)
B-MAIN: Jimmy Lennex (8), Bill Roberts (5R), Chad Williamson (96c), Brad Goff (41), Dustin Thayer (10T), Eric Moon (18), Chad Roush (32), Brad DeYoung (7), Corey Partin (99), Dean Noseworthy (60X), Joey Lee (662), Jayson Good (85)
POINTS: Kyle Bronson – 261, Kevin Adams – 243, Devin Dixon – 242, Lucas Lee – 226, Bryan Bernhardt – 224
A-MAIN: Richie Stephens (69S), Shan Smith (90), Scotty Kay Jr. (69K), Dennis Williams (24), Justin Rodgers (95), Brian Morgan (9), Tim Powers (44), John Bradley (57), Jason Harrison (69H), Henry Burnside (31), Chris Combs (14), Jim Baker (69X), Rich Livernois (71), Josh Sigler (19), Thomas Pratt (22), Robert Tyler (99), Joel Andrews (56)
POINTS: Richie Stephens – 124, Scotty Kay Jr. – 104, Dennis Williams – 96, Tim Powers – 96, Shan Smith – 95