Stambaugh Finds Speed, Nearly Hard Charger at East Bay Raceway Park
Tampa, FL (Friday, February 17, 2023) - As the King of 360 rolls on at East Bay Raceway Park, night two on Friday night looked like it might be a dud for drivers who frequent the Great Lakes region. After issues on night one, Phil Gressman did not unload for night two. Home Pro Sprint Car Racing driver Cole Macedo missed his heat race due to a mechanical issue, and Conner Morrell and Max Stambaugh were forced to run Last Chance Qualifiers for their chance at making the big dance.
In Heat Race Number One, Stambaugh, the defending Great Lakes Super Sprints Presented by Engine Pro and ARP, couldn't find an avenue to the front, finishing where he started, in sixth. Heat two is where Macedo should have rolled off in Michigan's Shannon Eifert-owned no. 50YR. Morell managed to grab one spot during his third heat race, finishing third, but it wasn't enough to punch his ticket into the main event. Former GLSS driver, Dylan Westbrook struggled in his fifth heat race, sliding back a spot to finish eighth.
Rolling off on the pin, Morrell held the top spot all 10 laps of B-Main number one, holding off Kokomo, Indiana's Parker Price-Miller for the win and transfer. Scotland, Ontario, Canada's Westbrook charged through the field three positions in his B-Main, but was one spot short in making the $2,000-to-win main event. In the Third Heat Race, Stambaugh came from the outside of row number two to transfer into the dance. The Elida, Ohio driver came home second in the final transfer spot. Macedo, who started trunk, was able to gain two positions in his final B-Main of the evening, came short of the top two finish he needed to transfer after winning the night before.
In the main event, Aaron Reutzel and Danny Martin, Jr went head-to-head in a thrilling battle for the win. Lost in the race was the hard charge through the field by Smith Motorsports driver, Max Stambaugh. Starting in the 23rd spot, Stambaugh had his work cut out for him to make moves through the field. After two rain delays, including one in the middle of B-Main action, the track was tacked up and didn't have many lanes to choose from at the start of the race. That didn't stop Stambaugh, though, who powered to a 12th place finish, passing 11 cars in the course of 25 laps. The only driver to pass more cars was Price-Miller who finished eighth, passing 13 cars.
The 360 Sprint Cars return to action tonight from East Bay Raceway Park with $10K on the line for the Saturday night main event. The race will also cap the 2023 Winternationals, the penultimate Winternationals event at the Speedway which is expected to close in 2024.
Story - Zach Hiser
Photo - Smith Motorsports