From East Bay Raceway Park, Alan Holland Photo
TAMPA, FL — It was an up-front battle to the end of Friday night’s 25-lap feature. but Mark Smith, who started ninth in the 20-car field on the final preliminary night of the 13th Annual King of the 360’s at East Bay Raceway Park, finally joined those front runners on the last ten laps and gained momentum late in the race to make his winning pass onTerry McCarl on lap 22 and hold on for his first 360 victory here.
“I knew I had a good car in the heat when I started ninth and got up to fifth right away, but we never had a yellow. So, I couldn’t pick up a bunch of handicap points to start higher in the feature. I have been building my own cars for three years now and the company is called J & B Sprints, “ the winner explained to announcer Larry Jewett in victory lane.
Smith won a 410 race here last year with the same car owner, Brian Scandle, and the same mechanic, Tim Elwell, that were with him tonight working on his Mach 1 chassis. The crew usually has Paul at home in Pennsylvania but while in Florida, they have Ryan, Tommie and Mike as extra help. Tonight’s car was equipped with Penske Shocks, Art’s Radiator, and a Don Ott engine.
Sponsorship help came from Bricker’s French Fries from PA, and C&B Mushrooms in Florida. “Not many changes were needed during the night and we ran the same tires all night,” said Elwell. Confessing, “I knew we had a good shot at Daryn Pittman and when we passed him we got a good run on McCarl and used an inside move in turns one and two to pull off the pass for the lead on lap 22.”
McCarl and Pittman made up the front row after a redraw for the top six in passing points after the heat races. Sport Allen and Lou Kennedy made up row two with David Gravel and Cap Henry in row three. Last night’s winner Michael Dupuy and Ryan Grubaugh started ahead of Smith in the original line-up.
With McCarl leading the first two laps, the field was slowed for a spin by Davie Franek. McCarl had Kennedy on his tail from that point until Kennedy made a sweeping move high in between turns three and four to blast into the lead at the flagstand on lap seven.
Kennedy was clearly the fastest car on the track at that point and started lapping cars on lap ten with the running order behind him being McCarl, Pittman, Henry and now Mark Smith and David Gravel.
Lapped traffic spelled disaster for Kennedy and lap 14 as he went into turn one just as Michael Miller was trying to decide to go high or low and Kennedy went over Miller’s rear tire, launching him into several flips before hitting the turn one outside wall. Kennedy was OK, but his car suffered severe damage.
When the green replaced the red flag, McCarl had inherited the lead and was followed by Pittman, Smith, Henry, Dupuy, Gravel and Tim Shaffer up from 16th starting spot. However, on the long red, Shaffer’s left rear tire lost air and he had to make a pit stop for a replacement and rejoined the field at the tail without going down a lap.
The action was hot and heavy as McCarl led with five laps to go and Smith made an inside more on Pittman on lap 20. Smith then went inside in turns one and two on lap 22 to become the new leader on lap 22. Pittman squeeked by McCarl coming to the checkered with Henry fourth and Gravel nailing fifth.
Second place Pittman admitted, “I wanted to win this one, but we just go beat tonight. Shawn and Rhino, my two crew guys were great and our 360 performed well, but it’s the same one we had last year. We just save it for special 360 shows. Our schedule this year looks like we are just going to run races that make the most sense to us. As for tonight, we made very little changes and the car was great. Mike Heffner is the owner and we use Rider engines and our sponsor is www.Lelands.com.”
Danny Smith, Grubaugh, Russ Hall, Shaffer and Chad Layton rounded out the top ten. Dupuy, Henry, Gravel and McCarl won the heat races, while the first B-Main sent Layton, Greg Wilson, Jessica Zemken and Morgan Turpen to the A-Main. However, Turpen scratched and Pat Cannon advanced. The second B-Main allowed Michael Miller,Shaffer, Robbie Smith and Franek to go to the A-Main.
Thanks, Jean Lynch for East Bay Raceway Park
STATS – KING OF THE 360 SPRINTS – EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK – FRIDAY, 2/18/11
1st Heat – 1)Michael Dupuy 2)Ryan Grubaugh 3)Lou Kennedy 4)Michael Miller 5)Mark Smith 6)Tim Shaffer 7)Robbie Smith 8)Bronson Maeshen 9)Pat Cannon 10)T.J. Winegardner 11)Keith Butler DNS
2nd Heat – 1)Cap Henry 2)Ryan Moore 3)Daryn Pittman 4)Thomas Kennedy 5)Tony Agin 6)Greg Wilson 7)Jessica Zemken 8)Tony Norem 9)Timmy Thrash 10)Klint Angelette
3rd Heat – 1)David Gravel 2)Danny Smith 3)Brad Greer 4)Sam Hafertepe 5)Carl Zaniboni 6)RJ Johnson 7)Jim Porter 8)Lance Hester 9)Arbery Black 10)Terry Gray DNS
4th Heat – 1)Terry McCarl 2)Sport Allen 3)Russ Hall 4)Chad Layton 5)Dave Franck 6)Morgan Turpen 7)Shane Kreidler 8)Aaron Berryhill 9)Tyler Godwin 10)Danny Martin, Jr.
1st B – Main (Top 4 go to back of A inside row) – 1)Chad Layton 2)Greg Wilson 3)Jessica Zemken 4)Morgan Turpen 5)Pat Cannon 6)RJ Johnson 7)Bronson Maeshen 8)Tyler Godwin 9)Jim Porter 10)Klint Angelette 11)Sam Hafertepe 12)Thomas Kennedy 13)Lance Hester 14)Danny Martin, Jr. DNS 15)Terry Gray DNS
2nd B – Main (Top 4 go to back of A outside row) – 1)Michael Miller 2)Tim Shaffer 3)Robbie Smith 4)Dave Franck 5)Tony Agin 6)Arbery Black 7)Timmy Thrash 8)Aaron Berryhill 9)Brad Greer 10)Shane Kreidler 11)T.J. Winegardner 12)Tony Norem 13)Carl Zaniboni 14)Keith Butler DNS
A – Main (25 Laps) – 1)Mark Smith 2)Daryn Pittman 3)Terry McCarl 4)Cap Henry 5)David Gravel 6)Danny Smith 7)Ryan Grubaugh 8)Russ Hall 9)Tim Shaffer 10)Chad Layton 11)Michael Miller 12)Pat Cannon 13)Greg Wilson 14)Jessica Zemken 15)Michael Dupuy 16)Ryan Moore 17)Lou Kennedy 18)Robbie Smith 19)Dave Franck 20)Sport Allen