January 30, 2020 - The 25-lap Top Gun Sprint feature had no shortage of excitement as the 22 cars battled through three heat races before lining up for the A Main on the opening night of the 2020 racing season. Joe Zuczek, Justin Webster and 2019 Top Gun Sprints champion A.J. Maddox captured the heat races, putting themselves in position to qualify for the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Sweep bonus of $300.
Maddox opened up by powering from the second row into the lead with Brandon Grubaugh in tow. In short order, Shane Butler moved from fourth to second before the first caution waved on lap 3. Danny Sams brought his 1* to third place as the leaders hit lapped traffic. Maddox would have better fortune as he was able to escape the pressure from Butler. Butler did catch and pass Maddox on lap eight, but Maddox returned the favor a lap later. Garrett Green moved into the top five after starting on the outside of the eighth row. On lap 11, Maddox drifted high in turn four and nearly lost the handle, but regained control and kept the lead as the caution came out on lap 14. The restart kept the lapped cars in their spot, which put two cars between Maddox and Butler. The racing picked up and action was all around the race track until a red flag stopped progress on lap 23 when Grubaugh and Tim Fricke collided with Fricke toppling. Both drivers were uninjured, but could not continue the event. On the restart, Green, who had moved to third, stuck the nose of his #82 between the front runners for a three-wide challenge. As the field came down to the checkered flag, it was Green grabbing his first East Bay Raceway Park feature win. The feature marks the start of the 2020 season for the Top Gun Sprints.
Two more nights of racing remain for the Top Gun Sprints in the East Bay Raceway Park Winternationals. Action continues Friday (Jan. 30) and Saturday (Feb. 1). The Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Sweep will move to $600 on the line Friday night.
February 1, 2020 - The final night of Top Gun Sprints racing in the 44th annual Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park saw a similar outcome as the opening event on Thursday, but the path to Victory Lane was a little different for Garrett Green.
After starting in the eighth row on Thursday, Green found himself closer to the front with a spot outside row five. He moved up when eighth starting Brandon Grubaugh could not present (Grubaugh dropped a valve on the last lap of his heat race). On the first start, the field was called back after a Bryan Eckley spin and Green inherited the sixth starting spot for the successful green flag.
When the race started, Green made immediate moves to second by the fourth turn and then swept to the lead just before the first lap was completed. Caution came out shortly after that for a spin by Billy Bridges and Nebraska racer Tim Fricke, but Green had already established himself as race leader, ahead of Matt Kurtz and AJ Maddox. Kurtz lost second, then slowed to a stop to bring out another caution as drivers from the back of the field started advancing into the top 10. On each restart, Green was able to pull away from the field and Maddox had to defend to keep second. Justin Webster moved to the top and shot past Maddox for second on lap seven. Green again encountered lapped traffic and managed to put as many as four cars between himself and Webster.
The race went under a red flag when Kyle Connery flipped, causing heavy damage to his car. The remaining five laps would be just as hectic. Shane Butler, who had taken the initial green flag in 18th, had quietly worked into the top five and then bypassed Maddox for third. That would be as far as he could get as he pressured Webster for second in the waning laps. No one could catch the race winner as Green picked up his second East Bay win, his second series win of the year and asserted himself in the top spot in the point standings. The top three drivers in the point standings from the two nights of racing will claim the Speedweeks Mini Series bonus monies from Creative Power Systems.
No one was able to claim the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep, which moves to $900 for the next series event. Webster, Maddox, Eckley and Joe Zuczek were heat race winners.
Series action moves to Hendry County Motorsports Park on Saturday, March 7.
Feb. 1, 2020 – Feature
Garrett Green (82), Justin Webster (21), Shane Butler (18), Danny Sams III (1*), Hayden Campbell (5), A.J. Maddox (3A), Robbie Smith (6S), Joe Zuczek (50), Luke Hill (41), Andrew Griffin (27), Harley Zimmerman (00), Tim Fricke (43MB), Bruce Durden (17), Freddie McCall (1), Bryan Eckley (12B), Nathan Barouch (13), Larry McVay (83), Johnnie Alexander (113), Scott Baldwin (4), Kyle Connery (91), Cole Nichols (N20), Billy Bridges (11B), Matt Kurtz (20), Brandon Grubaugh (G6)
Top Gun Sprints
Feature: Garrett Green (82), AJ Maddox (3A), Shane Butler (18), Danny Sams (1*), Robbie Smith (6S), Justin Webster (21), Luke Hill (41), Andrew Griffin (27), Joe Zuczek (50), Larry McVay (83), Kyle Connery (91), Billy Bridges (11B), Jeff Bye (26), Matt Kurtz (20), Bryan Eckley (12B), Brandon Grubaugh (G6), Tim Fricke (43MB), Scott Baldwin (4), Bruce Durden (17), Cole Nichols (N20), Nathan Barouch (13)