Dwayne Baker wins Late Model feature at Sunset Speedway
Dwayne Baker held off Billy Zardo and Tom Walters in the final laps of the Late Model feature at Sunset Speedway to pick up his first feature victory of the season and become the sixth different feature winner this year.
The first heat saw some action as on lap one, Sean Grosman got into his teammate Walters, spinning Walters around. The contact could’ve been due to Grosman having a flat tire, or the tire was cut during contact. Either way, Grosman was done for the heat with Walters restarting at the rear. Then on lap five, Anthony Simone would spin Gary Elliott around in turn four. Both cars were able to continue with heavy front end damage to Simone’s Late Model.
On lap eight while battling for the lead, Scott Beatty would get into Jason Witty, causing Witty to go around in turn four. Beatty would be sent to the back as an involved car, handing the lead to Walters. Walters led the final two laps to grab the win ahead of Dave Bartlett, Simone, Elliott, Steve Laking, Ernie Fumerton, Beatty and Witty. Herb Walters was also in this heat, though would make contact with the outside wall, pulling off early. Lastly, Frank Davey pulled off with a transmission problem.
The second heat also saw an incident as well as on lap five, Bruce Rankin and Chris Morrow would make contact, causing Rankin to spin and Morrow to get into the outside wall. Morrow sustained heavy front end damage and required help of the tow truck to get off the track, but was able to make it back out for the second set of heats and the feature.
Andy Kamrath grabbed the win ahead of Zardo after a good battle side-by-side for a couple laps. Baker finished third, followed by Bentley, Taylor Holdaway, Nick Goetz, Rankin and Mike Weitz.
The third heat saw the problems continue as Simone would run into mechanical problems with his late model. Then on lap eight, Bartlett would spin in turn four to bring out the caution. On the restart, another wreck happened when Beatty got into Witty, causing Witty to make heavy contact with the wall; Witty would be done for the night.
Tom Walters went for the daily double ahead of Grosman for a Stompin’ Tom Motorsports 1-2 finish. Elliott finished third, followed by Fumerton, Beatty, Barlett and John Mitchell.
Bentley grabbed the win in the final heat ahead of Kamrath, Morrow, Goetz, Baker, Zardo, Holdaway, Rankin and Weitz. Bentley’s win marked a positive note for the Bentley Motorsports team as Bentley made contact with wall during practice and had to make repairs before racing started.
Come feature time, Gary Elliott would start pole ahead of Ernie Fumerton, Taylor Holdaway, Sean Grosman, Billy Zardo, Andy Kamrath, Dwayne Baker, Tom Walters, Nick Goetz, Mike Bentley, Scott Beatty, Steve Laking, Chris Morrow, Bruce Rankin, Herb Walters, John Mitchell, Mike Weitz and Frank Davey.
Gary Elliott grabbed the early lead while Holdaway and Fumerton battled for second. Holdaway grabbed second on lap two, thought then found himself in a battle with Zardo. Zardo would grab the second spot on lap three with Holdaway and Baker now battling side-by-side for third. Baker would pass Holdaway on lap four to move into third.
On lap five, Billy Zardo would get alongside Elliott for the lead, grabbing the spot on lap six. Baker would then pass Elliott on lap seven while Bentley and Holdaway battled for fourth behind them. Bentley grabbed fourth on lap eight as Holdaway found himself battling Tom Walters for fifth. Walters grabbed fifth on lap 10 with Kamrath about to follow suit when the caution would fly for Goetz spinning Morrow in turn two. Morrow escaped without damage and both cars would restart at the back of the field.
With 19 laps to go, Zardo led Baker, Elliott, Bentley, Tom Walters, Holdaway, Kamrath, Grosman, Fumerton, Beatty, Laking, Herb Walters, Rankin, Weitz, Mitchell, Goetz and Morrow.
On the restart, it’d be Zardo and Baker side-by-side for the lead with Baker grabbing the position on lap 11 ahead of Zardo and Bentley while Elliott and Holdaway battled for fourth. In the midst of the battle, Holdaway would get big time sideways off of turn four on lap 14, though managed to save it and keep going without a caution. However, when they got down to turns one and two, with everybody scattering and sliding around and people getting close to the wall, the caution flag was waved.
So at the halfway mark with 15 laps to go, it’d be Baker leading Zardo, Bentley, Holdaway, Tom Walters, Kamrath, Elliott, Grosman, Beatty, Fumerton, Herb Walters, Morrow, Laking, Rankin, Goetz and Mitchell.
Baker grabbed the lead on the restart ahead of Zardo and Bentley while Tom Walters and Holdaway battled for fourth. Walters cleared Holdaway on lap 17, with Kamrath following suit on lap 20 to move into fifth. On lap 21, Walters would get alongside Bentley for third, clearing him on lap 22. The caution would then wave on lap 25 for Mitchell spinning in turn two. With five laps to go, Baker led Zardo, Tom Walters, Bentley, Kamrath, Holdaway, Grosman, Elliott, Fumerton, Beatty, Morrow, Herb Walters, Rankin, Goetz, Laking and Mitchell.
On the restart, Baker cleared Zardo for the lead once again while Tom Walters and Bentley resumed their battle for third. Walters would once again clear Bentley on lap 26 while Morrow got major sideways mid-pack, though managed to straighten it back out and keep going without a caution.
Dwayne Baker would go on to lead the final laps and take the win for his first victory of the season. Billy Zardo finished second, barely beating Tom Walters to the line as Walters got alongside Zardo on the white flag lap. Andy Kamrath and Mike Bentley rounded out the top five.
Taylor Holdaway finished sixth, followed by Sean Grosman, Gary Elliott, Scott Beatty and Ernie Fumerton.
Nick Goetz finished 11th, followed by Bruce Rankin, Steve Laking, Herb Walters, Chris Morrow and Ernie Fumerton.