Shaffer Thunders To East Bay Glory

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Tim Shaffer (Mike Horne photo)
Tim Shaffer (Mike Horne photo)

GIBSONTON, Fla. — After a runner-up finish on opening night, Tim Shaffer was determined to better his fate when the second night of the three-race King of the 360 series hit the track on Friday night at East Bay Raceway Park.

Shaffer prevailed by making a lap 11 pass on the backstretch, having exchanged the top spot on several occasions with fellow Pennsylvania racer Mark Smith.

Smith and Shaffer shared the front row for the 25-lap feature.

When the 25-car field roared to the green flag, Smith jumped to the lead with Shaffer and Eric Riggins Jr. chasing.

The leaders caught the back of the field on lap five as Smith worked to find racing room. This turn of events allowed Shaffer to close the gap, sweeping past Smith on lap seven.

The new leader could not gain a significant advantage and it took just a couple of laps for Smith to find his way back to the lead. Now, it was Shaffer’s turn to be the hunter and he powered down the back straightaway on lap 11 to take the lead despite the lapped cars in front.

The first caution flag came on lap 15 for a Brett Wright incident. When the race resumed, Thursday winner Danny Martin Jr. was the man on the move, squeezing past Terry McCarl and Riggins to grab third.

A lap later, Smith fell to Martin’s advances as Shaffer sought refuge among lapped traffic. The top two drivers matched lines as Martin tried to power closer. It looked like Shaffer would get the win, but a Matt Kurtz spin on lap 24 settled the field for a green-white-checkered restart.

Shaffer had no issue keeping the field back, but Smith was determined to get back to second. He swung low on the track and pulled ahead of Martin in turn one, racing back to the checkered as the runner-up.

The top six drivers, based on passing points and feature finish points, are locked in the Saturday night “King of the 360s” feature event while the remainder will battle in heats for a starting spot. Those exempt six are Dale Howard, Shaffer, McCarl, Smith, Martin and Eric Riggins.

Jim Kradel made the best of an infrequent start at East Bay with his first win at the track, holding off Steve Diamond Jr. for the mini sprint main. Jerod Meyers was the best of the bunch in the micro sprint class.

The finish:

Feature: 1. Tim Shaffer Aliquippa, Pa. 2. Mark Smith Sunbury, Pa. 3. Danny Martin Jr. Sarasota, Fl. 4. Eric Riggins Jr. Charlotte, Nc. 5. Terry McCarl Altoona, Ia. 6. Dale Howard Byhalia, Ms. 7. Max Stambaugh Lima, Oh. 8. Carson McCarl Altoona, Ia. 9. Cody Bova Struthers, Oh. 10. Zane Devault Plymouth, In. 11. Ben Brown Marshall, Mo. 12. Paul Colagiovanni Jr Central Square, Ny. 13. Denny Peebles Lowville, Ny. 14. Garet Williamson Columbia, Mo. 15. Slater Helt Cactus Flats, Mo. 16. Davie Franek Sussex, Nj. 17. Tyler Gunn Napoleon, Oh. 18. Connor Leoffler Myrtle Beach, Sc. 19. Phil Gressman Fremont, Oh. 20. Robbie Stillwaggon Burlington, Nj. 21. Cale Conley Vienna, Wv. 22. Nick Snyder Marco Island, Fl. 23. Matt Kurtz Jacksonville, Fl. 24. Brett Wright East Chatham, Ny. 25. A.J. Maddox Valrico, Fl