After the planned July hiatus, regular season action returned to East Bay Raceway Park with a six-division program that included the third appearance of the Top Gun Sprints.
The August 1 program marked the sixth appearance of the season schedule for the Top Gun Sprints, who have had to endure everything from pandemic to weather issues in putting the 2020 schedule to work. The series had its last appearance on June 13, so racers were anxious to get back on track. A field of 19 cars past through the pit gate, including 14 of the 15 cars in the point standings.
Heat races were won by Steve Diamond (with an exciting last lap pass), Brandon Grubaugh and Andrew Griffin. This trio of drivers put themselves in position to claim the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial award, which paid an additional $300 if a heat winner could repeat in the feature.
Luke Hill would start the 25-lap main on the pole with the three heat winners filling up the next spots. Diamond would take the early lead, but Hill bounced right back to take the top spot on lap two. Griffin moved to second on the next lap as mechanical issues ended Diamond’s challenge. When the caution came out, two-time East Bay Top Gun winner Garrett Green had moved to fourth and started picking off spots when the race returned the faster paced action. Green would secure the lead, bypassing Hill on lap 9 just before a caution was displayed. Grubaugh charged into third near the halfway mark and Shane Butler advanced into the top five by lap 14.
Disaster struck for the race leader on lap 17 as Green suffered a flat tire and the same situation also send Justin Webster to the pits. The crews were able to get the changes made and get the cars back onto the track without losing a lap, but they tagged the end of the field. Hill regained the lead with Grubaugh in second, ahead of 2018 series champion Hayden Campbell. Hill would suffer a flat right rear on the next lap, yielding the top spot to Grubaugh. Campbell grabbed the lead on lap 21 after Grubaugh’s tire issue and a Shane Butler spin tightened the field with Green now in the top three. On the restart, Green moved to second to hunt down Campbell’s whose race ended on lap 24. From the final restart, no one could catch the series point leader, who added his third feature win of the year.
TOP GUN SPRINTS
Feature: Garrett Green (82), Justin Webster (21), Frank Carlsson (20), Luke Hill (41), Stan Butler (81), Scott Baldwin (4), Jimmy Miltner (4x4), Cole Nichols (N20), Hayden Campbell (5), Shane Butler (18), Robbie Smith (6S), Brandon Grubaugh (G6), Billy Bridges (11B), Bryan Eckley (12B), Andrew Griffin (27), A.J. Maddox (3A), Steve Diamond (9D). DNS – Tim George (1*), James Alexander (113)