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Lucas Lee Goes Wire-to-Wire for Wednesday East Bay Winternationals Victory




TAMPA, FL (Jan. 31, 2024) – Lucas Lee has been one of the most dominant forces at East Bay Raceway Park’s UMP Modified Winternationals over the past few seasons, and Wednesday night put on another strong display with a sixth career victory in the famed event.

 

Lee, 36, of Paris, TN, has won a Winternationals Feature event in four of the last five years, including the 75-lap Championship Features in 2019 and 2023. He extended that streak to five of the last six years with a win in one of the triple-25s Tuesday night and backed that up Wednesday in the first single-Feature program of the week.

 

Lee earned the outside pole for the 25-lap main event and wasted little time, taking the top spot from teammate Michael Turner on the opening lap. From there, it was smooth sailing for the veteran Modified racer for the next 20 laps as he proceeded to build up an advantage in traffic of over six seconds.

 

With five laps left, the race’s first caution flag was displayed for a slowing Austin Sanders in Turn 2. This erased Lee’s large gap and put Austin Holcombe – winner of Features on Monday and Tuesday night – on his bumper for the restart.

 

The green flag dropped and Lee paced the field into Turn 1. However, when he hit Turn 2, Lee stumbled and pushed up the track just enough for Holcombe to sneak by underneath.

 

“I went in there and got tight I guess,” Lee said. “I wasn’t really worried about it and then [Holcombe] nosed in there, and when he did, he kinda backed to my left-front going down the back-straightaway and I turned underneath him. He kinda tightened-up getting into (Turn) 3 and slid, and when he did I went back underneath him.”

 

Holcombe went through the open door out of Turn 2 to take the lead momentarily, but Lee drove with speed into Turn 3, got underneath Holcombe and took the lead back out of Turn 4. Then, another caution flag appeared.

 

Though Lee was able to regain the lead, the lap was not counted as the yellow was thrown before the lap was complete, reverting to the last restart order of which Lee was the leader. Five more times Lee was forced to restart at the head of the field in the last five laps, including three with only one lap remaining, but he maintained composure and held off all challengers.

 

“Just stay on the bottom, back-up the corner, get down and don’t move up,” Lee said of his last-lap strategy. “I wasn’t getting off the bottom again so, if they were gonna pass me, they were gonna pass me on the outside.”

 

Crossing the stripe right behind Lee was Brad DeYoung, who took the original green flag from inside Row 2 and slipped back as far as fifth in the running order, but was able to make the passes he needed in the final 10 laps to get back to a best career Winternationals finish.

 

Finishing the podium was 18-year-old Cole Czarneski, who climbed all the way from 13th to finish third. After claiming victory in a triple-25 Tuesday night, the Wisconsin-native stayed strong through the final restarts, picking up a few positions from those dropping out in front of him and sealing a podium finish with a fifth-to-third drive on the final lap.

 

UP NEXT

 

UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks continues Thursday night with another full Winternationals program at East Bay Raceway Park. Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate. If you can’t be at the track to watch in person, follow along on X (formerly Twitter)Facebook and Instagram for live updates.

 

RESULTS

 

A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 12L-Lucas Lee[2]; 2. 7-Brad Deyoung[3]; 3. 21CZ-Cole Czarneski[13]; 4. 8A-Austin Holcombe[7]; 5. 2-Devin Dixon[6]; 6. 09-Michael Leach[10]; 7. 14M-Mavrick Varnadore[9]; 8. 8-Jimmy Lennex[8]; 9. 11R-Jeremy Rayburn[11]; 10. 26G-Ryan Gierke[19]; 11. 20-Brian Skaggs[17]; 12. 27T-Michael Turner[1]; 13. 12-Jeff Parsons[15]; 14. 25W-Allen Weisser[22]; 15. 99J-Treb Jacoby[5]; 16. 8S-Kyle Strickler[4]; 17. 33W-Rodney Wing[18]; 18. 27G-Jason Garver[12]; 19. 18C-Miles Cook II[21]; 20. 6B-Dave Baldwin[16]; 21. 24-Zeke McKenzie[23]; 22. M20-Mike Potosky[20]; 23. 64-Austin Sanders[14]; 24. 4SA-Kevin DeYoung[24]


Story - DIRTcar Racing

Photo - Tyler Carr

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