latemodelamerica.com - East Bay Raceway Park - Feb.18
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series

Dixon Enjoys Brief Period in Limelight Prior to DQ in East Bay NeSmith Chevrolet Opener

By Roby Helm

TAMPA, Fla. – Feb. 18.  Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, Fla. rode the high line to an apparent victory in the Night Hawk Towing Rocket Thursday in the 50-lap main event for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at East Bay Raceway Park. Dixon used the outside groove to pass early race leader Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, W.V. to take the lead on lap 44.

Horton was the apparent second-place finisher, but his Adams was disqualified after failing the post-race technical inspection with an unauthorized muffler. Two days later, Dixon would be stripped of his win by disqualification on technical grounds, giving Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn. both the Thursday night and subsequent Saturday night wins.

On Thursday, Weaver was moved up to the second spot in the Cardinal Paint and Body Custom, and Dixon’s teammate Jeff Matthews of Dover, FL finished third in the Night Hawk Towing Warrior. The results of the top three finishers are pending further engine inspection after the three nights of racing concludes on Saturday night.

Dixon - Matthews

 Devin Dixon races under teammate Jeff Matthews on his way to an apparent win at East Bay before he was stripped of his trophy at tech inspection and apparent runner up Randy Weaver picked up the win, plus another one retroactive to the previous Thursday night. (Neil Miller)

“The track kept changing throughout the race, and it seemed to come to us the longer the race went,” Dixon said. “I’ve got to thank Jeff Matthews and his crew for giving me an opportunity to drive this car this week.”

Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA had to take a provisional and start the race from the 23rd spot. Turner rallied the Turner Excavating DWB to a fourth-place finish and earned the GM Performance Parts Hard Charger of the Race Award. His finish also put him on top of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National point standings with 172 points.

Bryan Bernhardt of Clearwater, FL was the Race Car Engineering Fifth-Place Award winner in the B&B Precision Mowing Rocket, and David Pollen Jr. of Tampa, FL took the KRC Sixth-Place Award in the B&D Trucking Rocket.

Greg Robertson of Waynesboro, VA finished seventh in the Industrial Fabrications Rocket to earn the Joe Gibbs Driven Seventh-Place Award, and Shane Hitt of Buchannon, WV drove the Hitt Enterprises Rocket to the Race Car Engineering Eighth-Place Award.

Chris McElhenney of Lake, MS took the Maximum Signs and Graphics Ninth-Place Award in the G&M Trucking Trak-Star, and the defending NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National Champion Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS rounded out the top ten in the 78 Towing and Recovery Victory Circle to earn the KRC Tenth-Place Award.

Cooley moved up to the second spot in the National points chase with 170 points, and Bernhardt is third with 168 points. Larry Harrod of Plains, GA drove the Harrod Logging Scorpion to an 11th-place finish to earn the Rookie of the Race Award and the Mike’s Custom Tanks 11th-Place Award.

Charlie Henderson of Cottondale, AL out-timed the 47 entrants with a lap around the 1/3-mile clay oval in 16.012 seconds in the Century Carriers, Inc. Mastersbilt to earn the pole position for the 50-lap $2,500-to-win main event. Henderson and Weaver brought the field down for the green flag, but the caution flag came out after Travis Varnadore of Dover, FL stopped the L. Miller & Associates Rayburn in turn two to necessitate a complete restart.

When the field came back for the green flag, Horton got to the inside to take the lead from Henderson, who got shuffled back to fifth behind Dixon, Weaver, and Matthews. Pollen and William Thomas of Phenix City, AL in the J.W. Miller Land and Timber Scorpion got by Henderson for the fifth and sixth spot respectively on lap four.

The second caution flag of the race came out on lap four when Thomas stalled in turn three. Horton led Dixon, Matthews, Weaver, and Pollen down for the double-file restart. When the green bulb was lit, Matthews powered around the outside of Dixon for the second spot coming off turn two, and then dove to the inside to throw a slider on Horton to take the lead.

Horton used the counter-move to the slide job with the cross over move in turn four to reclaim the point. As Matthews slid up in front of Horton, Horton then turned hard left and dove under Matthews.

Matthews came back on lap 14 and began to look inside of Horton to make another challenge for the lead. As the lead duo began to encounter lapped traffic on lap 15, Horton was able to put some distance between himself and Matthews. Justin McRee of Cuba, AL moved into the top five on lap 18 driving the Century Carriers, Inc. Trak-Star.

Phillip Cobb of Riverview, FL spun the Mathis Farms Barry Wright in turn two on lap 28 to bring out the fourth caution flag of the race. Horton led Matthews, Dixon, Weaver, McRee, Henderson, Bernhardt, Robertson, Pollen, and McElhenney down for the restart. McRee got by Weaver for the fourth spot on the restart.

Henderson spun in turn four on lap 39 to light up the caution lamp for the fifth time in the race. Dixon got by Matthews for the second spot on the restart, and McRee closed in to race Matthews side-by-side for the third position by lap 42. As they raced into turn one on lap 43, McRee spun, which earned him the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award.

The final caution flag of the race was unfurled, and that set up a wild eight lap dash to the checkered flag. Horton led Dixon, Matthews, Weaver, Bernhardt, Pollen, Robertson, Turner, Hitt, and Cooley down to the green flag.

Dixon took his car to the outside to battle Horton for the lead when the green flag came out. The lead pair raced side-by-side until Dixon took the lead in turn three on lap 44. Matthews, Weaver, and Turner raced three-wide in the final laps to contest what would be the runner up spot. Dixon pulled away from Horton, but a blanket finish for the third, fourth, and fifth would end up Weaver, Matthews and Turner.

In preliminary action, the two 15-lap Heat Races were won by Matthews and McRee. The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Tour returns to East Bay Raceway Park on Friday night for the second event of a triple-header with a 50-lap $2,500-to-win event.

PENDING RESULTS OF ROUND 2 AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK IN TAMPA, FL ON 2/18/10:

POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 5 33x Devin Dixon Apollo Beach, FL 50 $2,500
2. 2 116 Randy Weaver Crossville, TN 50 $1,250
3. 7 33 Jeff Matthews Dover, FL 50 $850
4. 23 10 Matthew Turner Dawsonville, GA 50 $800
5. 11 B69 Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, FL 50 $650
6. 9 88p David Pollen Jr. Tampa, FL 50 $550
7. 12 116r Greg Robertson Waynesboro, VA 50 $500
8. 19 2h Shane Hitt Buchannon, WV 50 $450
9. 8 28 Chris McElhenney Lake, MS 50 $400
10. 16 33c Eric Cooley Fulton, MS 50 $475
11. 18 27 Larry Harrod (R) Plains, GA 50 $350
12. 1 88 Charlie Henderson (R) Cottondale, AL 50 $300
13. 6 18h Ronny Hollingsworth Northport, AL 50 $280
14. 8 25 Justin McRee Cuba, AL 50 $260
15. 24 14 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 50 $250
16. 17 72 Frank Wilson (R) Harold, FL 49 $240
17. 22 69 Chris Force Indiana, PA 49 $220
18. 14 47 Shannon Lee (R) Lumberton, MS 49 $200
19. 13 101 Keith Nosbisch Valrico, FL 41 $200
20. 15 32 Phillip Cobb Riverview, FL 29 $200
21. 21 141 Travis Varnadore Dover, FL 10 $200
22. 20 12 Jack Nosbisch Jr. Riverview, FL 6 $200
23. 4 22 William Thomas Phenix City, AL 5 $200
24. 3 11 Doug Horton Bruceton Mills, WV 50 DQ

ENTRIES: 47

FAST QUALIFIER: Henderson, 16.012 Seconds
PROVISIONALS: Turner and Minga
LEAD CHANGES: 1
LAP LEADERS: Horton, 1-43; Dixon, 44-50

ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Harrod
GM PERFORMANCE PARTS HARD CHARGER: Turner (started 23rd and finished 5th)
DOMINATOR RACE PRODUCTS HARD LUCK AWARD: McRee
RACE CAR ENGINEERING 5TH-PLACE AWARD: Turner
KRC 6TH-PLACE AWARD: Bernhardt
JOE GIBBS DRIVEN 7TH-PLACE AWARD: Pollen
RACE CAR ENGINEERING 8TH-PLACE AWARD: Robertson
MAXIMUM SIGNS AND GRAPHICS 9TH-PLACE AWARD: Hitt
KRC 10TH-PLACE AWARD: McElhenney
MIKE’S CUSTOM TANKS 11TH-PLACE AWARD: Cooley
CAUTIONS: 6
TIME OF THE RACE: 37 Minutes and 14.258 Seconds

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