GIBSONTON, Fla. — It was a night to remember as the 5th Annual Scott Thompson Memorial for Late Models raced for $3800 to win in a 50 lap feature event at East Bay Raceway Park.
First feature of the night went to the Old Time Mods as they paid tribute to Tommy Zwally who was a tough competitor in the division. The missing man formation was formed before the start. When the green flag dropped it was Dan Darnell leading every lap picking up the win with Andy Kelly driving the 46 car of Zwally picking up second with Jamie Frankland, Gary Riccio and Everson rounding out the top five.
Next up were the Gagel’s Open Wheel Modifieds. Picking up heat wins were Dale Kelley, Jeff Mathews and Tim Powers. Bill Howard and Powers made up the front row for the 15 lap feature event paying $1000 to the winner. On the start, Powers quickly jumped out in front with Howard right behind him. First caution came out as John Inman spun in turn two. Green flag waved once again and Powers led the field followed by Howard and Mathews. Second caution came out as Thomas Pratt also spun in turn two. The final green waved and Powers led the field to the checkered flag with Mathews finishing second, Howard was third and Kelley and Pollen, Jr. rounded out the top five.
Next up was the Scott Thompson Memorial. Drivers were given out of car introductions to the fans. The Thompson family, Bill and Martha along with sisters Jenna and Julie with young Levi gave the command “Driver’s start your engines”.
Mavrick Varnadore, Phillip Cobb and Mark Whitener won heat races. Starting on the front row was the Magic Man himself, Mark Whitener, and on the outside front row was Phillip Cobb. On the original start Whitener and Cobb made contact going into turn one. Everyone got straightened out and continued on, but going into turn three, cars started gathering up and John Koller spun in turn three. A complete restart was given and Whitener once again led the field into one.
The first caution of the night went to Kenny Monahan as he spun on the front stretch. The green waved and Whitener once again led the field with Josh Peacock and Cobb your top three. Whitener began to come into lap traffic by lap ten, but the caution flag flew on lap twelve as Wallace Peacock slowed on the track.
Several more cautions came out as Whitener continued to dominate each lap. By lap twenty eight, Whitener once again came upon lapped traffic. On lap thirty, Whitener just missed Dennis Williams as he spun in turn four.
On lap thirty, Cobb got loose and spun in turn four and several cars were collected. Cobb was not able to continue where he was running in the third position at the time. On lap thirty, the green waved again with Whitener, Josh Peacock and Mavrick Varnadore were your top three. Caution came out on lap forty with Steve Mathis, Jr. spinning in turn two.
When the green waved again on lap forty, Whitener left the field behind as he got a great restart. Whitener was coming up on lapped traffic once again with just one lap to go and barely dodged another wreck as Kyle Musselman spun in turn four. It would be a green and white flag together with just one lap to go. Whitener took off and no one was able to catch him picking up the win with Josh Peacock second, Mavrick Varnadore third, Jeff Mathews fourth and the 2010 winner Doug Horton rounded out your top five. After crossing the scales, Varnadore was found light moving Mathews and Horton up and John Koller picked up the fifth spot.
Mark Whitener credited his win to his entire team as he stated it’s a team effort. His crew chief gave him an excellent car and knows how he likes it. He also said he used his head to pick up the win. He thanked his sponsors Dave’s Towing, B & B Produce, Big Frog Shocks and Antis Roadside Recovery. Whitener had problems the previous two years, but this year he could not be denied as he also picked up $400 in bonus money by lap sponsors for leading every lap of the race.
The last feature of the night belonged to the Motorstats.com 4 Cylinder Bombers. Raymond Vann, Jimmy Williams and Richard Humfeld won heat races early on. Jimmy Odell and Dalton Goldhammer started on the front row of the feature with Goldhammer leading the way until the first caution came out on lap three as Bubba Puyear slowed on the back stretch. On the restart, Odell appeared to have problems as cars stacked up in turn one bringing out the red flag. All drivers were okay.
When the race resumed on lap three, Troy Dittebrand spun in turn two backing into the wall bringing out another red. Troy was okay but his car was not. The next caution came out on lap twelve for debris in turn four. When the green waved on lap twelve, George Handy after running in second came to rest in turn one bringing out another caution on lap thirteen. After losing a tire in the heat race, Michael Hart lost yet another tire in the feature event with just two laps remaining after charging his way up to the front.
When the checkered waved it was Raymond Vann picking up another win with Humfeld, Joshua Comeau, George Ingram and Stephen Morris rounding out the top five.