Bryan Bernhardt Rules East Bay Modifieds

Bryan Bernhardt on his way to victory Wednesday at East Bay Raceway Park. (Al Steinberg Photo)

GIBSONTON, Fla. – Two-time defending East Bay Raceway Park Modified champion Bryan Bernhardt scored one for the local racers with a convincing victory in the 25-lap feature to kick off the 43rd annual Winternationals on Wednesday.

”I am thankful I can run with these guys,” Bernhardt said in victory lane. “I want to thank the fans for coming out here tonight to be a part of this.”

Bernhardt was involved in mid-race incident with leader Shane Burrows that saw the two get together on the frontstretch. Bernhadrt was able to continue while Burrows sat stationary, relegating Burrows to the tail while Bernhardt inherited the lead.

“It’s the last thing I wanted to do was to tangle with Shane. I hope we can work it out because I enjoy racing with him and these guys.”

East Bay track record holder Kyle Bronson paced the field in qualifying by posting a 16.652-second run. Bronson drew a four inversion for the heats, but still prevailed in his preliminary. Heat winners included Jeff Mathews, Bernhardt, Shon Flanary and Burrows.

Local racers Bill Howard and Dale Kelley scored B Main wins to earn spots in the 24-car feature.

A field of 50 Modifieds, representing 14 states, kicked the first of four nights for the Modifieds.

Dennis Williams backed up an adventurous Street Stock heat race with a spirited run to the front to claim the 15-lap feature. Williams grabbed the lead with an outside pass on lap six and moved on to the victory.

The finish:

Bryan Bernhardt, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Kye Bronson, Mavrick Varnadore, Jeff Mathews, Phillip Cobbs, Doug Horton, Kevin Adams, Shon Falnary, Shane Burrows, Devin Dixon, Roger Crouse, Dale Kelley, Lucas Lee, Curt Myers, Eric Moon, Steve Meyer Jr., Bill Howard, Bill Roberts Jr., Brad Goff, Chris Wilson, Jimmy Lennex, Chris Smith, Chad Roush.