GIBSONTON, Fla. — Tim Shaffer had Ron Hammons’ Maxim powered by a Bob Hampshire engine hooked up to the new surface at East Bay Raceway Park as he took the lead on lap nine of the 25-lap opening night feature over a field of 48 cars to start the 37th year anniversary year of sprint car racing during the Winternationals.
Just as he did in 2010 when he captured both preliminary night features, Shaffer looked strong out of the box collecting the $1,500 prize with no challengers past the halfway mark on this the l5th annual King of 360s.
“We have a pretty good team that makes it a fun way to make a living. Life is too short to not have fun at this and when they made the track wider, that was to our liking,” said Shaffer. “When Danny Martin spun and almost collected me on lap 18, but we escaped, it was our night to win, so we will take it.”
He started his Maxim third behind Kyle Sauder and Michael Miller with Jerod Roller outside. Row three showed Greg Wilson and Jason Sides followed by Terry McCarl, Danny Holtgraver, Ryan Moore and Lou Kennedy in the top ten. After a shaky start, which was yellow flagged, Miller jumped to the lead and pulled away to a two second lead.
Shaffer worked the inside groove for the next several laps, finally taking the lead for good on lap nine and lapping his first car on lap 10. By lap 17 Shaffer was a straightaway ahead when on lap 18, Danny Martin spun (that almost collected Shaffer) bringing the field to a tight formation with Miller second, Roller third and a hard charging Kennedy up into fourth, followed by Tim Crawley in fifth.
By lap 20 Shaffer had a three second lead and with a clean track in front of him, he soon built to a straightaway. Kennedy advanced to finish second, but 3.015 seconds back, followed by Roller, Crawley, Wilson and McCarl.
Tim Shaffer, Lou Kennedy, Jerod Roller, Tim Crawley, Greg Wilson, Terry McCarl, Michael Miller, Danny Holtgraver, Danny Smith, Thomas Kennedy, Jason Sides, Jayme Barnes, Kyle Sauder, J.R. Stewart, Michael Parent, Danny Martin Jr., Sport Allen, Scotty Thiel, Russ Hall, Ryan Moore.