The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made its final appearance of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park on Saturday night for a points paying event that would pay $12,000 to the victor. At the end of the night, local hero Kyle Bronson came away from the Tampa, Fla. facility with the top prize.
Jonathan Davenport laid down the fastest lap in Group A qualifying when he posted a lap of 14.489 seconds around the third-mile clay oval. That time beat out Josh Richards, Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Devin Moran and Earl Pearson, Jr.
Billy Moyer, Jr. fast time in Group B time-trials and overall with a lap of 14.361 seconds around the ‘Clay By The Bay’ to top Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Freddie Carpenter.
Davenport won the first heat race and secured the pole position for the feature after a spirited battle over Brandon Sheppard and Hudson O’Neal while Richards took the second heat ahead of Moran and Morgan Bagley.
Pearson won the third heat over Tyler Erb and Dustin Mitchell just before Moyer earned a front row starting position by winning heat 4 in front of Dennis Erb, Jr. and Brandon Overton.
Satterlee won the fifth heat over Kyle Bronson and Ryan King while Bloomquist won the final heat race of the night ahead of Mike Maresca and Jason Jameson.
Darrell Lanigan and Joey Moriarity made their way into the feature by virtue of their finishes in the first B-main of the night. Jimmy Owens and Don O’Neal also made it into the main event after finishing first and second in the second B-main.
Mike Benedum won the DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash to secure the final starting position in the feature.
At the start of the 60-lap feature it was Davenport who went to the early lead as Richards moved up to challenge Moyer for second with Saterlee, Pearson and Bloomquist trailing. Moyer then moved forward and began to work inside of Davenport for the lead on lap just before a caution flag slowed the action.
On the ensuing restart Bloomquist charged to third as Moyer moved forward to challenge Davenport for the top spot. On lap 5, Moyer succeeded in quest to capture the lead with Bloomquist moving up to take on Davenport for the runner-up spot.
Further back in the top-10, Sheppard and Dennis Erb fought over the eighth position while Bloomquist seized the lead of the race away from Moyer on lap 11. Also, Richards began moving on the score board as he passed by Davenport for third.
Richards then took second away from Moyer on alp 15 while Tyler Erb, Sheppard, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Pearson were involved in a mad scramble for positions at the back of the top-10.
On lap 24, Richards began to tighten the gap between himself and the front running Bloomquist as the two battled through slower traffic. Finally on lap 27 it was Richards driving to the lead.
Cautions on lap 28, 30 and 31 slowed the action as competitors began to experience tire issues.
On lap 32, Sheppard asserted himself as he challenged Moyer for third behind Richards and Bloomquist. However, Moyer’s night turned sour on lap 33 when he clipped the inside berm and spun out of fourth place. Although he initially continued on, his car eventually slowed and brought out another yellow flag.
Sheppard took second away from Bloomquist on lap 35 just before another caution flag waving when Tim McCreadie found the outside wall. With each yellow flag came multiple cars into the hot pit area for tire changes.
Bloomquist took the runner-up position back on lap 37 while Overton moved into the top-5 around the fading Davenport. Meanwhile, Bronson charged forward as he worked on Sheppard for 4th. Overton then continued his charge after a lap 40 restart as he moved around Bloomquist for 2nd and then passed Richards for the lead on lap 42.
Chaos ensued on lap 45 when Richards and Bloomquist made contact with each other while racing for second behind Overton. Drivers began wildly exchanging positions as the two former series champions began to struggle. Bronson was the big benefactor as he grabbed second.
On lap 53, Bronson closed dramatically on Overton for the led but a caution flag waved again for a spin.
Bronson captured the lead from Overton after a lap 54 restart as Davenport, Sheppard and Richards looked for racing room in hopes of making a challenge.
After a final restart on lap 57, Bronson had to fight to hold off a hard charging Davenport who drove alongside the leader on the final lap but was unable to make the move for the top spot as they finished side-by-side at the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Kyle Bronson, 2. Jonathan Davenport, 3. Brandon Overton, 4. Josh Richards, 5. Earl Pearson, Jr., 6. Scott Bloomquist, 7. Devin Moran, 8. Brandon Sheppard, 9. Darrell Lanigan, 10. Gregg Satterlee, 11. Joey Moriarity, 12. Ryan King, 13. Hudson O’Neal, 14. Boom Briggs, 15. Jimmy Owens, 16. Dennis Erb, Jr., 17. Mike Maresca, 18. Bobby Pierce, 19. Billy Moyer, Jr., 20. Mike Benedum, 21. Tyler Erb, 22. Morgan Bagley, 23. Don O’Neal, 24. Tim McCreadie, 25. Dustin Mitchell, 26. Jason Jameson