The opening night of the East Bay Winternationals saw five different drivers lead at some point during the 30-lap A-Main for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard and Kyle Bronson all led during the first two-thirds of the event before a caution for a Sheppard spin, which occurred after contact with Bronson, changed the outlook of the race.
Ohio driver Devin Moran would be the ultimate beneficiary, taking the lead away from Tyler Erb with eight laps to go to score his second-career Lucas Oil Late Model win and first at East Bay. He and Erb took advantage of a mistake by Bronson with nine to go to move into the top two spots, with Moran making the race-winning move one lap later.
“Kyle (Bronson)’s kind of the one that showed me. This place gets so sketchy around the top and he was just balls to the wall up there,” Moran said on the MAVTV broadcast. “I knew three and four were faster up there but it was rough and I didn’t want to mess myself up, but he did that.”
The ‘Million Dollar Kid’s’ only other Lucas Oil Late Model win came at his home track of Muskingum County Speedway in 2013. After going winless in a full-time effort for Dunn-Benson Motorsports one year ago, finding victory lane once again and doing so at what he considers his favorite track makes it all the more sweeter.
“We finally got this first one here at East Bay and first Lucas Oil win I’ve had in five, six years, I don’t know,” he said. “This is awesome, I’m so glad that we got this one past us.”
Local favorite Kyle Bronson looked to be in the catbird seat after he and Sheppard got together with 10 laps to go, but he slid up the track in turns three and four with nine to go, losing multiple positions in the process. He was able to work his way back to a runner-up result by race’s end.
“Our car was really, really good tonight. Me and Sheppard got together late in the race and bent a tie-rod or something because I couldn’t turn after that. It took until the last couple of laps to learn how to drive it again,” Bronson said. “All these guys are tough and you just got to go. I’m tired of this second and fifth and tenth, we’re going to give it all we got all week long and we’re going to win us a couple of these damn races.”
Tyler Erb would finish third, followed by Jonathan Davenport, who worked from last to finish fourth. West Virginia racer Chris Garnes rounded out the top five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Heath Lawson