Story from East Bay Raceway Park and Mike Horne Photo:
With cooler conditions and cloudy skies, the final night of the first week of the 47th annual Winternationals came to a close with new names joining repeat winners.
V-8 Warriors/Thunderstocks opened the night and it was déjà vu as Cody Allen charged back to victory to back up his Friday feature win. The back-to-back wins matched Allen’s 2022 achievement of winning the last two features after Tommy Hill had scored the opener last year. Jason Burnside and Jerry Rogers won the heat races.
In Mini Sprint action, a new name was added to the victory rolls. Jo Jo Davis, who had a strong runner-up finish in the opener, put on a dominant performance to score his first feature win in convincing fashion. Jesse Foster prevailed in the heat race.
It was a perfect week for 16-year-old Will Karas as the Pennsylvania racer swept all three of his heats and all three features on the week. Karas got the lead on the first lap and ran wire to wire, lapping up to fourth place in the 15-lap main. Joining Karas as heat race winner was Zach LaRose, who scored his second straight runner-up finish in the feature.
Top Gun Sprints once again saw a late race pass develop as leaders were fighting through lapped traffic. Garrett Green had been dominant through the race, but a determined Justin Webster would not let the leader out of his sights. With just a few laps remaining, Webster was able to find a clear track to grab the lead and the win. Webster had the dominant car on Friday, but was denied victory then. It only served to drive the family team to the end result of victory. Webster had won his heat race, so he picked up the additional $600 in the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep award. Luke Hill and David Kelley also claimed heat wins.
The Gladiator main event saw Friday winner Charles Paris Jr. get the lead until a mechanical issue brought his car to a stop in turn four. Kayla Jones then inherited the top spot and took advantage, holding off a determined Wayne Kissam for the win. Paris Jr., Robert Kissam and Troy Dittebrand won preliminaries.
Action in the Winternationals continues with Crate Racin’ USA Late Models and Crate Racin’ USA Street Stocks. Practice will be held on Jan. 25 with three nights of racing to follow on Jan. 26-28.
TOP GUN SPRINTS
Feature – Justin Webster (21), Garrett Green (82), Steve Diamond Jr. (20c), Luke Hill (41), Brandon Grubaugh (G6), Danny Jones (14), Robbie Smith (6S), Tyler Clem (14c), Billy Bridges (11B), Jeff Bye (26), David Kelley (12), Dustin Burtron (97), Tyler Orzechowski (380, Tyler Porter (99), Trey Meredith (11), Aileen Collins-Love (17c), Joe Zuczek (50), Scott Baldwin (4), Owen Dimm (17), Brian Riddle (2M), Lucas Rodriguez (2R), Andrew Griffin (32)
Feature – Cody Allen (68), Jerry Rogers (92), Daniel Bowman (46), Michael Hart (99), Derek Gray (189), Juston Meeks (10), Collin Kruse (92c), Raymond Rogers (48), Kyle Kruse (18), Macy Bozeman (58), Jarod Gay (23), Wayne Kissam (07), Nick Brown (12), Justin Scarberry (24), Tim Gay (25).
Feature – Jo Jo Davis (7), Jesse Foster (1), Bryce Comer (9), Doug Dyal (97D), Mark Reynolds (1NY), Bubba Rains (07R), Charles Landis Jr. (12), David Hall (67), Tyler Landis (66)
Feature – Will Karas (48k), Zach LaRose (33Z), Jazlyn Boyles (30), Noelle Ebersole (42), Nadia Ebersole (25), Patrick Moore (14), James Ivey (58), Haley Moore (8), Logan Evans (66). DNS – Cliff Evans (17), Rudy Rodriguez (1)