Business picked up at East Bay Raceway Park for the competitors on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series after consecutive nights in which the features offered $5,000-to-win purses on Monday and Tuesday. The victor’s share of the Wednesday night action would be $7,000. In the end, it was Jonathan Davenport who fought all comers and came away from the Tampa area “Clay by the Bay” with the big check and the winner’s trophy.
Colton Flinner posted the fastest time in Group A qualifying around the third-mile clay oval when he turned a lap of 14.526 seconds. That effort bettered those of Morgan Bagley, Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson, Jr. and Don O’Neal.
Brian Shirley was fastest in Group B and overall with a time of 14.273 seconds to beat out Ryan King, Dennis Erb, Jr., Tyler Erb and Brandon Sheppard.
Colton Flinner earned the pole for the feature by beating Billy Moyer, Sr. and Earl Pearson, Jr. in the first heat race of the night while Don O’Neal took the win in the second heat ahead of Morgan Bagley and Gregg Satterlee.
Jonathan Davenport was victorious in the third preliminary over Scott Bloomquist and Stormy Scott.
Brian Shirley bettered Tyler Erb and Mike Benedum in the fourth heat to earn the outside front row starting position in the feature then Brandon Sheppard won the fifth heat ahead of Jimmy Owens and Ryan King.
Tanner English came out on top in the sixth and final heat by beating out Dennis Erb, Jr. and Brandon Overton.
Tim McCreadie and Kyle Bronson won the two B-main races with Matt Cosner taking the final feature starting spot by winning the Strawberry Dash.
At the start of the 40-lap feature it was Flinner who bolted to the early lead with Shirley, O’Neal and Davenport trailing. But Davenport wasted little time in moving forward as he took third from O’Neal on lap 2. At the same time, Tyler Erb and Sheppard went side-by-side for fifth.
Red hot Erb blasted by O’Neal on lap 6 to grab fourth with Sheppard following suit and taking fifth from O’Neal.
Shirley moved up to challenge and then pass Flinner for the lead on lap 9. But the No. 3 car’s time at the front would be short lived as Davenport reeled in and passed the former Summer Nationals champion on lap 12.
Just behind the top-2 Flinner, Erb and Sheppard went three-wide for the third with Erb taking the spot.
A lap 19 caution flag waved on lap 19 for a tangle involving Pearson and Scott. Successive yellow flags came out on lap 21 for a Tanner English spin and then a crash involving Owens and Benedum.
Between those cautions Sheppard and Erb split Shirley to take second and third respectively on lap 21.
On the lap 22 restart Josh Richards charged into the top-5 after starting 23rd on the night. And soon afterwards, Sheppard moved by Davenport to take the lead. However, a lap 25 caution for a spin by pole sitter Flinner slowed the pace once more.
Davenport reclaimed the lead on the lap 25 restart while Sheppard, Richards, Erb and Bronson battled hard for third.
On lap 28 Sheppard and Davenport exchanged the lead with Davenport coming out on top. Erb then slid around Sheppard to take the runner-up position before a caution on lap 30 again slowed the action.
A caution with just three laps remaining set up a dash to the finish but Davenport would out run the competition to the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Jonathan Davenport, 2. Tyler Erb, 3. Josh Richards, 4. Brandon Overton, 5. Brandon Sheppard, 6. Kyle Bronson, 7. Gregg Satterlee, 8. Earl Pearson, Jr., 9. Brian Shirley, 10. Don O’Neal, 11. Devin Moran, 12. Morgan Bagley, 13. Billy Moyer, Jr., 14. Dennis Erb, Jr., 15. Tim McCreadie, 16. Billy Moyer, Sr., 17. Colton Horner, 18. Jeff Mathews, 19. Colton Flinner, 20. Scott Bloomquist, 21. Ryan King, 22. Jimmy Owens, 23. Mike Benedum, 24. Tanner English, 25. Stormy Scott, 26. Matt Cosner
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