Elated emotions turned to disappointment and vice versa following the checkered flag in Friday night’s 30-lap last chance race, which saw four final drivers punch their $3,000-to-start ticket into a 300-lap potential $30,000 payday at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) on Saturday.
Eureka, California’s Brandon White has seen his share of heartbreak in past Winter Showdown attempts, and despite being unable to crack the top 30 in qualifying this year looked to be on the way to changing fate. He would grab the lead early on in the event and hold on to take the checkered flag first.
Nevertheless, the evening was not over for White and the other top finishers. A measurement from the bottom edge of the nose up to where the fender meets the nose is required to be 11.5 inches at the end of the race. Unfortunately, the result did not meet the requirements set forth by Winter Showdown Technical Director Ricky Brooks.
“We were an inch too low on the right front valance,” a dejected White told Speed51.com. “The track grounded off. The fender’s got a giant hole. That’s not a dead giveaway, but that’s racing. It happens. We’ll be back at it again. This weekend has just been crazy. Let’s just say that.”
The disqualification handed first place over to fellow Eureka resident Luke Hall, who won his second last chance qualifier in as many weekends. Former NASCAR Southwest Tour champion Eddy McKean finished runner-up, three years after being in a transfer spot before fading out of the running to be in the inaugural event.
British Columbia’s Tom Berrow, driving a Fury Race Car with Tony Eury Jr. on hand to call the shots, and teenager Jack Wood waged an incredible battle for what was at the time the final position into the 36-car field. Berrow used patience and experience to ultimately navigate under Wood with less than 10 laps remaining; however, the veteran would face a harsh reality of a similar kind for his left front valance in post-race technical inspection.
“What happened was when I was racing (Wood) for fourth spot he squeezed me down over a bit of a transition from the racetrack to the berm,” Berrow, who towed down approximately 2,000 miles to make the show, explained. “I guess the nose bottomed and pushed the wearstrip up a quarter inch more than we were allowed.”
As for Wood, the Tahoe City, California driver went from the first man out to being able to compete in his biggest career race to date on Saturday.
“We went from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs,” a pleased Wood described. “It sucked at first getting out of the car and missing by one spot and then sat there for 20 minutes and things kind of fell into place. Somebody wants us to be in this race. I don’t know who it is, but I think we definitely figured the car out.”
Granite Bay, California’s John Moore was the final benefactor and will make his second Winter Showdown start after finishing eighth in 2016.
Race fans can watch Saturday’s Winter Showdown via a live broadcast on the Speed51 Network. With support from PFC Brakes, monthly and yearly subscribers to the Speed51 Network will be able to watch for FREE. Click here to sign up for your membership today.
On-demand Trackside Now coverage from Friday at Kern County Raceway can be viewed by clicking here.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
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