GIBSONTON, Fla. – Terry McCarl became the first back-to-back winner of the Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360s sprint car event Saturday evening at East Bay Raceway Park.
The race was dominated by Friday’s feature winner Mark Smith, but a caution period on lap 38 of the 40-lap feature opened the door for McCarl. When the green flag waved McCarl swept by Smith to earn his second-straight King of the 360s crown and fourth overall.
“I knew Ronald, I knew his family, his dog, his girlfriend. The year he won, he passed me and Gary Wright to get there. He was wearing the crown in the pits and I was happy for him,” said McCarl. “This race means so much to me.”
With his win, McCarl becomes the only competitors to win in back-to-back seasons and has more victories than anyone else in the event.
McCarl was far from pleased when he drew a six as his starting position in the redraw prior to the race. Now driving for Destiny Motorsports, it seems fitting that the car he drove to the win was carrying the No. 4.
Former King of the 360s champion Jason Sides took the early lead before McCarl snatched it away on the second lap. Smith moved up to second to challenge McCarl, getting by the leader as the field faced lapped traffic.
Smith worked through the lapped cars, a feat he had to do in each of the previous two nights. A lap-seven restart put a lapped car between Smith and McCarl and Smith used that chance to scoot away.
McCarl had his hands full with Matt Kurtz, who had started ninth but quickly made his way into the top three. Also on the move was Sam Hafertepe Jr., who grabbed fourth on lap 15. Cory Eliason was on the move, entering the top-five while Smith continued to lead.
McCarl regained second on lap 22 and kept it when the second caution appeared on lap 24. Smith would still pull away the restart, forcing McCarl to chase him. With two laps to go problems for Mississippi’s Dale Howard brought his car to a halt and the field refiled for the restart. McCarl swung by Smith for the lead and the eventual win.
Robby Hoffmann made a return visit to victory lane, capturing the Mini Sprint 25-lapper. Hoffmann got by Oklahoma racer Daison Pursley, who claimed his third top five finish of the week at the checkered flag.
Kevin Strife made it back-to-back for the Micro Sprints. The reigning East Bay Raceway Park track champion had the lead by the third turn and was never caught on his road to the win.
Terry McCarl, Mark Smith, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Cory Eliason, Matt Kurtz, Tim Shaffer, Todd Gracey, Wayne Johnson, Seth Bergman, Phil Gressman, Travis Rilat, Dylan Westbrook, Mason Daniel, Josh Baughman, Greg Wilson, Danny Martin Jr., Dale Howard, Danny Sams III, Lucas Wolfe, Jason Sides, Brett Wright, Shawn Dancer, Frank Beck.