Stephens & Whitener Score At East Bay
GIBSONTON, Fla. – It was the final night of the third annual World Street Stock Championship Saturday at East Bay Raceway Park, but it ended just like the first night.
Ritchie Stepens pocketed $1,500 for winning the street-stock finale, while Mark Whitener once again claimed victory in the Fastrak Late Model feature.
Whitener completed a three-day sweep of the Fastrak Late Model events at East Bay, enjoying a $3,000 payday on Saturday night.
When the green flag waved for the street-stock feature it was pole sitter leading the field of cars into turn one. But after the first lap Ronnie Whitley slowed down in turn three to bring out the first caution.
On the restart, Eugene Anderson Jr. and Brian Morgan tangled ending Morgan’s hopes of picking of a second win. Also the leader Thomas Burnside headed to the pits and later returned. That handed the lead over to Brian Hansford.
Hansford led the field on the restart until William Burnside slowed in turn three. Then on lap three, Stephens spun and almost collected the turn two gate and had to go the rear of the field. On the restart on lap three Hansford once again led the field into one and on lap four, the 2011 Champion Calvin Cooke lost a wheel over in turn two bringing out yet another caution.
Several more cautions came out and on lap 10 Stephens once again spun along with Jarod Gay. After several more cautions, Kevin Durden took over the lead on lap 16 and then on the next lap, Bo Slay’s rear end broke on the front stretch and bringing out another caution.
On lap 19, Stephens had moved up to second and appeared to take the lead, but all for none as the caution came out and had to back to the second spot. On lap 21, Stephens after going to the rear twice was now the new leader with Durden on his back bumper.
On lap 26, Eric Moon broke and ended his night and Buck Woodhouse was the only remaining top six in the points still left in the hunt. Four more cautions would come out until the checkered flag waved with Stephens winning his second feature in three nights and capturing the third annual World Street Stock Championship. Crossing the line behind him were Hansford with Jarod Gay, Dennis William and Stephen Hohlbaugh rounding out the top five.
In victory lane Stephens seemed exhausted and said that was the longest race he had run in a long time. In he was quick to thank fellow competitor Calvin Cooke for loaning him a motor for Saturday’s race.
“I was ready to load the car up and Calvin said no, I can change it pretty quick,” Stephens said. “We got it changed and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here right now.”