The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series once again took to the track on Thursday night at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla. for another $7,000-to-win non points paying race. At the end of the night, Brandon Sheppard came away from the ‘Clay By The Bay’ as the feature winner after starting the feature from the 21st position.
Boom Briggs led Group A qualifying for the second night in a row with his new Club 29 Race Car as he posted a time of 14.574 seconds around the third-mile clay oval to beat out Jimmy Owens, Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist and Don O’Neal in that group.
Kyle Bronson led the way in Group B time-trials and overall with a lap of 14.501 seconds to outrun Billy Moyer, Jr., Josh Richards, Jonathan Rowan and Jason Jameson.
Scott Bloomquist earned the pole for the feature by scoring a victory in the first heat race of the night over Brandon Overton and Boom Briggs while Jimmy Owens topped Tyler Erb and Don O’Neal in the second preliminary.
It was Gregg Satterlee who took the win in the third heat ahead of Devin Moran and Timothy Culp with Kyle Bronson securing the outside front row starting position in the feature by winning the fourth heat race over Brian Shirley and Darrell Lanigan.
Billy Moyer, Jr. won the fifth heat of the night by beating out Jason Jameson and Morgan Bagley while Josh Richards took the win in the final heat race ahead of Dennis Erb, Jr. and Dustin Mitchell.
Jonathan Davenport won the first B-main race of the night with Brandon Sheppard following him to the checkered flag before Mike Maresca beat out Chub Frank to take the honors in the second B-main f the evening.
Austin Hubbard secured the final starting position for the feature by winning the DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash race.
At the start of the 40-lap feature it was Owens who made a move up from the second row to get ahead of Bloomquist and Bronson. Owens and Bloomquist continued to race side-by-side throughout the second lap when Bronson took the lead with a bold three-wide move going into turn one.
A multi-car crash involving the likes of Pierce, Hudson O’Neal and others on lap 3 brought out the first caution of the night. The ensuing restart set up side-by-side battles between Tyler Erb and Bloomquist for second while Owens and Moyer fought for fourth just behind.
Erb not only took second but stormed to the lead by passing Bronson on lap 6. Meanwhile, Owens powered around Bloomquist to take third while Moran, Overton and Shirley raced three-wide for positions 6-8.
Davenport brought out a caution on lap 11 when a suspension piece broke on his car.
After a third yellow flag for the slowing car of Don O’Neal set up a tussle with the fast rising Sheppard suddenly in the mix. Going into turn one on the ensuing restart Sheppard muscled his way around Bloomquist to go to third and then immediately went to work on Bronson for second. Bloomquist also got around Bronson and moved up to the third spot.
Sheppard wasted no time in going to work on Erb for the race lead and took the top spot with a slide job in turn one on lap 22. Erb fought back but Sheppard was able to hold the lead as Bloomquist closed into do battle with Erb for the runner-up position.
Bloomquist went to second on lap 24 just before a caution flag flew for the slowing car of Moyer. On the restart, Sheppard continued to lead but a mad scramble ensued throughout the remainder of the top-5 between Bloomquist, Overton, Erb and Moran.
The final yellow flag of the night was displayed to the field on lap 32 which offered one last opportunity for the pursuers to take a shot at the leader. Bloomquist peeked under Sheppard on lap 36 but was unable to make the pass on the track that had become topside dominant. Sheppard then cruised on to the win.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Scott Bloomquist, 3. Devin Moran, 4. Josh Richards, 5. Tyler Erb, 6. Brandon Overton, 7. Jimmy Owens, 8. Earl Pearson, Jr., 9. Chub Frank, 10. Bobby Pierce, 11. Kyle Bronson, 12. Morgan Bagley, 13. Darrell Lanigan, 14. Mike Maresca, 15. Dennis Erb, Jr., 16. Timothy Culp, 17. Brian Shirley, 18. Billy Moeyr, Jr., 19. Gregg Satterlee, 20. Don O’Neal, 21. Austin Hubbard, 22. Jonathan Davenport, 23. Jason Jameson, 24. Hudson O’Neal, 25. Boom Briggs, 26. Dustin Mitchell