GIBSONTON, Fla. — Finally, the 38th annual Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park got underway Monday with the 15th annual Open Wheel Modified feature that fans had been waiting for since last Thursday.
However, it wasn’t because of rain this time that caused the program to be cut short after 17 laps — it was dense fog.
Kyle Bronson from nearby Brandon, Fla., was declared the winner after 17 laps of the scheduled 25-lap event paying $1,500 to win over a stellar field of open-wheel modified cars.
It marked the first Winternationals win for him in the Wayne and Shirlene Hammond owned No. 40b car that he started in third spot in a field of 27 cars that showed up here from 12 states to compete for the open-wheel title.
“I knew the inside was the fastest way around the track, but everyone was running down there,” Bronson said. “With Kyle Strickler starting on pole and Dale Mathison taking the lead for the next six laps, I decided to try the outside and it worked for me.”
Bronson took the lead coming out of turn four in traffic on lap seven as fog began to appear above the track. The win marked the third win in as many tries for the new GRT chassis powered by a Mullins engine.
Mathison stayed close in second with Devin Gilpin in third until making his bid for the runner-up spot by lap nine. A second yellow flag on lap 13 had the fog setting in closer to the running field and by lap 17, the cars on the back stretch hard to see from the flag stand and the scoring tower. At this point in the interest of driver’s safety, officials were forced to stop the race.
Behind Bronson and Strickle, Billy Workman, Jr. got third on the last lap followed by Gilpin and Jason Gross
Plans for Tuesday include a double show starting with hot laps at 5 p.m.
Kyle Bronson, Kyle Strickler, Billy Workman Jr., Devin Gilpin, Jason Gross, Roger Crouse, Kenny Wallace, Austin Sanders, Mike Potosky, Devin Dixon, Travis Varnadore, Matt Miller, Jeff Mathhews, Tait Davenport, Michael Turner, Collin Thirlby, David Schmauss, Dave Jamison, David Baxter, Scott Mooers, Dale Mathison, Bill Howard, Matt Cooper, Lucas Lee, Buzzie Reutimann Troy Girolamo, Alex Boerner, David Reutimann, Dennis Haven, Kevin Adams, Nate Bregenzer, Billy Uptegraff.