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Stambaugh Survives Wild King of 360s at East Bay

Tampa, FL (Saturday, February 18, 2023) - In the finale of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park, a $10,000, 40-lap feature capped off the King of 360s weekend. Nearly 50 cars were on the property looking for a chance to make the field and have an opportunity to compete for the win. Of those, defending Great Lakes Super Sprints Presented by Engine Pro and ARP Champion, Max Stambaugh made the field out of his heat race and was settled in for the race.

Stambaugh rolled off in the 14th spot, his best starting position of the three days. The track was a tough one for drivers and crews to get a hold of taking rubber early and wreaking havoc on right rear tires. The abrasive surface at East Bay started eating away at the Hoosier Racing Tires shortly after the green flag. By the halfway point of the race, issues started developing as tires started going flat after being run to the cords.

After a crash on the speedway, an Open Red was declared for teams to refuel their cars. After the red, a number of other drivers began having tire issues. In fact, there were as many cautions as laps left in the race with 10 to go, or so it seemed. While drivers struggled to keep tires underneath them, Lima, Ohio’s Max Stambaugh methodically worked his way through the field, saving what was left of his tires.

The strategy paid off for Stambaugh who found himself in second spot with just 10 to go. On a restart, Stambaugh got to the lead momentarily down the backstretch. His time at the front was short-lived as Sam Hafertepe, Jr was charging hard with a fresh right rear tire. Hafertepe had blown the tire earlier in the race, giving him the freshest rubber at the front of the field.

Despite all the cautions, Stambaugh held on to the second spot and was the only driver in the top five who did not get a new right rear at some point. The finish was Stambaugh’s best at East Bay. Hafertepe held on for the win.

Story - Zach Hiser

Photo - Mike Horne

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