GIBSONTON, Fla. — The l4th annual Open Wheel Modified series opening night was delayed by rain for one full day at East Bay Raceway Park’s 37th annual Winternationals, but fans thought the wait was well worth it as they witnessed a first-time winner who made a late pass of a race-long leader with five laps to go in the 25-lap feature to earn $1,500.
Bart Hartman started off the evening with fast time and a track record of 16.466 seconds worth $500 from Brandon Ford, but then waited until feature time to pull into victory lane after passing pole sitter David Reutimann using an outside move on lap 21 to score a margin of victory by 0.281 seconds.
“You could race all around this track tonight, “ the happy winner told announcer Chris Stepen. “This Mullins engine and this Outlaw by Shaw chassis hooked up with these Genesis shocks and Hoosier tires, so that I could follow David and put pressure on him from lap 14 on working the inside groove. But with five laps to go, I thought I would try the outside lane and I made it work.”
Last year, Hartman finished the three-day show with a fourth, second and third, but this year he pulled off a win for his owners 2 Brothers Racing.
Reutimann and last year’s winner Devin Dixon started in the front row followed by Hartman and Roger Crouse in row two then Brad DeYoung, Dale Mathison, Matt Miller, Matt Cooper, Mike Potosky and Bobby Dixon made up the front 10.
Devin Dixon stayed with Reutimann for the first seven laps then Dale Mathison took over second and made a bid for the lead going into turn one on lap 10 and went around giving second back to Dixon. But by lap 14 Hartman moved by Dixon and all eyes were on the two-car battle for the lead.
Dixon held on for third followed by Crouse and Matt Cooper in the top five.
Bart Hartman, David Reutimann, Devin Dixon, Roger Crouse, Matt Cooper, Brad DeYoung, Shon Flanary, Greg Amick, Bobby Dixon, Joey Galloway, Denny Schwartz, Buzzie Reutimann, Matt Miller, Michael Turner, David Schmauss, Mike Potosky, Jeff Curl, Troy Girolamo, Dale Kelley, James Shafer, Austin Sanders, Travis Varnadore, Dale Mathison, Richard Michael Jr.