East Bay Winter Nationals Late Models


TAMPA, FL   In an incredible drive to the front Don ONeal of Martinsville, IN came from 25th position to win the Lucas Oil NARA DirtCar Series event on Saturday Night at the East Bay Raceway Park as the 29th Annual Winternationals ended for the Late Models. The 40 year old driver earned $12,000 for his victory as he became the first repeat winner of the week with his 11th career win at East Bay tying him with Billy Moyer on the all-time win list. O’Neal would start 20th in the race, stop for a flat tire on lap 14 , pit and then return to the race restarting in 25th place and passed race leader, Steve Francis on lap 70. O’Neal drove his C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo powered by a Jay Dickens Racing Engines to victory lane with sponsorship assistance from A-1 Auto Salvage, Living Room Center, O’Neal Wood Products, All Star Performance, Hoosier Racing Tires, Ken Schrader Racing and Fast Graphix. Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH started 21st and finished second in the PBM Performance Products, SMS Racing Engines, MasterSbilt Monte Carlo with third place going to Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA in the Daufeldt Transport, Pro Power Engines, MasterSbilt Ford Taurus. The fourth place finisher was Steve Francis of Ashland, KY in the Valvoline, Gary Stanton Racing Engines, Rocket Dodge Intrepid R/T and rounding out the top five was Rick Eckert of York, PA in the Raye Vest Excavating, Cornett Racing Engines, Rocket Ford Taurus. A total of 93 cars were on hand for the Saturday finale of the Lucas Oil NARA DirtCar Series as 140 different drivers raced with the series during the week.

The 75 lap race got off to a roaring start with Billy Moyer and Scott Bloomquist occupying the front row as the two Hall of Famers roared off at the drop of the green flag as Bloomquist would gain the lead heading into turn number one. Bloomquist then opened up a two to three car length advantage over Moyer, who was running in second place. A torrid pace was being set by the drivers before a lap four caution for a flat tire on Scott James’ stalled car slowed the action. When the race resumed it was still Bloomquist holding the lead with Moyer, Brian Birkhofer, Steve Francis and Jimmy Mars in the top five. A yellow for Shannon Babb on lap seven again would bring a double file restart, The race for third would change on lap 10 when Francis went by Birkhofer for third place. On the restarts Bloomquist would get away from Moyer, but now Francis and Moyer would go at it with contact on a restart shuffling both cars back a few spots. A yellow on lap 12 for R.J. Conley slowed the action again. Two more laps in the record books would get recorded before O’Neal stopped with a flat tire as he would go pitside for a tire change rejoining the field in the 25th position. The race would then see a stretch of solid green flag racing with Jimmy Mars now up to second place just ahead of Francis. Francis would race Mars into the turns and pass him on lap 21 and bring Birkhofer along with him. Francis then would start to challenge Bloomquist for the lead by the 25th lap. Francis was putting the heat on Bloomquist and went around him for the lead on lap 30. When Bloomquist fell to second he would run three more laps until he slowed dramatically on the back stretch and head to the infield. Birkhofer would go to second with Mars, Rick Eckert and Shannon Babb now in the top five. A yellow for Rick Aukland, who lost a wheel on the front stretch in lap 36 would slow the heated action. The race would go three more laps green until Matt Miller came to a halt in turn four necessitating another caution flag. With 35 laps to go Francis would hold the lead with Birkhofer running in second, Mars was third with O’Neal charging from the tail to go to fourth with Babb in fifth. Both O’Neal and Babb had made their way into the top five after pitting for flat tires. O’Neal would get by Mars for third on lap 48 and Babb would get by Mars a lap later.

With 25 laps remaining it was still Francis showing the way with Birkhofer in second followed by O’Nea, Babb and Mars. A yellow for Brady Smith on lap 53 would slow Francis only momentarily as on the restarts Francis would pull away from his competition. O’Neal would set sail moving to second on lap 54 overhauling Birkhofer for second place. O’Neal had begun to show smoke from out of the number 71 for the last several laps, but he kept his foot in as he and Babb would race side by side for second place as Babb slid by O’Neal for second briefly for two laps. O’Neal would regain the spot a lap later on the 67th circuit. O’Neal then really put the pressure on Francis for the lead and despite his smoking racer which had dropped a cylinder he was still one of the fastest cars on the track. O’Neal made his move for the lead sliding in front of Francis in turn number four on lap 70 as he would pass him for the lead. O’Neal then would cap off an exciting race as he would go on to take the victory leading the last five laps of the race. Moran made it to second from 21st passing Francis with four laps to go as Birkhofer would also get by Francis in the latter stages of the race to finish third. Francis wound up fourth with Rick Eckert scored for fifth.

Completing the top were Dan Schlieper, Eddie Carrier, Jr., R.J. Conley, Shannon Babb and Earl Pearson, Jr.

In preliminary events Matt Miller was the Oval Craft Racing Aluminum Designs fast timer with a lap of 15.007 seconds. The six VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power heat races were taken by Francis, Birkhofer, Butch McGill, Dennis Erb, Jr., Scott Bloomquist and Billy Moyer. The first Rebel Shock Dyno B-Main went to Earl Pearson, Jr. with the Real Wheels second B-Main going to Don O’Neal. The other B-Main winners who advanced to the 75 lap feature were Donnie Moran and Jason Montgomery.

Race Summary

Saturday Night, February 12, 2005

Lucas Oil NARA DirtCar Series

Entries: 93

Oval Craft Racing Aluminum Fast Time: Matt Miller 15.007 seconds

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power First Heat: 1) Steve Francis 2) Jimmy Mars 3) R.J. Conley 4) Matt Miller 5) Dan Stone 6) Don O’Neal 7) Victor Lee 8) Greggie Oliver 9) Jackie Boggs 10) Jason Smith 11) Mike Mataragas 12) Chris Conley 13) Johnny Chastain 14) Kristin Flory 15) Michael Jackson 16) Tom Turner

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Second Heat: 1) Brian Birkhofer 2) Davey Johnson 3) Eddie Carrier, Jr. 4) Michael England 5) Rod Conley 6) John Mason 7) Brian Shirley 8) Roger Crouse 9) Sonny Conley 10) Anthony White 11) Matt Hubbard 12) Rick Sowders 13) Evan Herrell 14) Terry Casey 15) Shannon Babb

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Third Heat: 1) Butch McGill 2) Rick Eckert 3) Terry English 4) Billy Drake 5) Earl Pearson, Jr. 6) Shane Tankersley 7) Jayme Zidar 8) Robbie Blair 9) Keith Nosbisch 10) Ray Cook 11) Garrett Durrett 12) Greg Johnson 13) Steve Radich 14) Steve Hillard 15) Mike Hammerle

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Fourth Heat: 1) Dennis Erb, Jr. 2) Steve Shaver 3) Tim McCreadie 4) Donnie Moran 5) Eric Jacobsen 6) Mark Voigt 7) Freddy Smith 8) Roy Deese, Jr. 9) Rohn Moon 10) Dave Hess, Jr. 11) Josh Manning 12) Brent Robinson 13) Jon Krogstad 14) Tim Dohm

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Fifth Heat: 1) Scott Bloomquist 2) Rick Aukland 3) Darren Miller 4) Corey Conley 5) Josh Richards 6) Scott James 7) Randy Korte 8) Delmas Conley 9) Wes Steidinger 10) Ronnie DeHaven, Jr. 11) Pat Doar 12) Jason Flory 13) Randy Lucas 14) John VanDenBerg

VP Racing Fuels Makin’ Power Sixth Heat: 1) Billy Moyer 2) Brady Smith 3) Dan Schlieper 4) Jason Montgomery 5) Anthony Rushing 6) Shane Clanton 7) Ricky Elliott 8) Trent Follmer 9) Mike Benedum 10) Bill Cunningham 11) Russ Scheffler 12) Wayne Johnson 13) Jeff Gress 14) Ronnie Smith

Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main: 1) Earl Pearson, Jr. 2) Matt Miller 3) Keith Nosbisch 4) Rod Conley 5) Sonny Conley 6) Evan Herrell 7) Mike Mataragas 8) Michael Jackson 9) Rick Sowders 10) Steve Radich 11) Victor Lee 12) Greggie Oliver 13) Shane Tankerseley 14) Tom Turner 15) Ray Cook 16) Michael England 17) Roger Crouse

Real Wheels Second B-Main: 1) Don O’Neal 2) John Mason 3) Brian Shirley 4) Jackie Boggs 5) Jayme Zidar 6) Garrett Durrett 7) Anthony White 8) Johnny Chastain 9) Matt Hubbard 10) Kristin Flory 11) Mike Hammerle 12) Greg Johnson 13) Billy Drake 14) Dan Stone

Third B-Main: 1) Donnie Moran 2) Josh Richards 3) Anthony Rushing 4) Corey Conley 5) Delmas Conley 6) Wes Steidinger 7) Brent Robinson 8) Ronnie Smith 9) Randy Lucas 10) Shane Clanton 11) Josh Manning 12) Jeff Gress 13) Jason Flory 14) Freddy Smith

Fourth B-Main: 1) Jason Montgomery 2) Scott James 3) Trent Follmer 4) Tim Dohm 5) Eric Jacobsen 6) Rohn Moon 7) Russ Scheffler 8) Dave Hess, Jr. 9) Pat Doar 10) Wayne Johnson 11) Randy Korte 12) Ricky Elliott 13) Mark Voigt 14) Jon Krogstad

Lucas Oil NARA DirtCar Series A-Main (75 Laps): 1) Don O’Neal 2) Donnie Moran 3) Brian BIrkhofer 4) Steve Francis 5) Rick Eckert 6) Dan Schlieper 7) Eddie Carrier, Jr. 8) R.J. Conley 9) Shannon Babb 10) Earl Pearson, Jr. 11) Jimmy Mars 12) Dennis Erb, Jr. 13) Tim McCreadie 14) Scott Bloomquist 15) Davey Johnson 16) Steve Shaver 17) Terry English 18) Brady Smith 19) Darren Miller 20) Matt Miller 21) Rick Aukland 22) Jason Montgomery 23) Shane Clanton 24) Billy Moyer 25) Butch McGill 26) Scott James

Race Statistics

NARA Provisionals: Matt Miller and Shannon Babb

R.A.C.E. Provisionals: Shane Clanton and Scott James

Lap Leaders: Bloomquist 1-29, Francis 30-69, O’Neal 70-75

PPM Racing Products Hard Charger of the Race: O’Neal (advanced 19 positions)



 East Bay Winter Nationals Late Models


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