Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Drake Troutman Smokes Modified Field at East Bay

Winning Moment: Eighteen-year-old Drake Troutman blasted past Tyler Nicely on lap 8 and never looked back, easily winning the 25-lap opening feature of the UMP modifieds week of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park Tuesday (Jan. 31).

Dramatic Moment: The best on-track battle of the night came in the third B-main, with Ashmore, Ill.’s Denny Schwartz prevailing by inches over hometown driver Mavrick Varnadore for the final spot in Tuesday’s feature. 

In a Nutshell: Monday’s feature will hardly go down in the annals of East Bay lore, but a weekday racing program with the feature done well before 10 p.m. ET leaves little to complain about.

What They’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

It was a relief to hear confirmation during Flo Racing’s broadcast Tuesday that the Winternationals will be again contested at East Bay in 2024, though that will likely be the final time the seminal Speedweeks event will be contested before the track is shut down. Start making your travel plans for Tampa ’24 folks. 

Is there anything Longhorn Chassis won’t win this Speedweeks?

Turns 1 and 2 definitely had some character come feature time, but there were two grooves in play during the 25-lap main event at East Bay Tuesday despite the track using the same one-division format that Bubba Raceway Park struggled with Monday and Tuesday with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Flo Racing repeated ad nauseam during their coverage of the Wild West Shootout that a good racetrack will cure all ails. East Bay Raceway Park is a damn good racetrack.

The first half of Tuesday’s feature was a little challenging for those watching via streaming, as there was a very glaring disconnect between the action the announcer was focusing on throughout the pack and what the camera was showing, which was solely the top two or three cars. Flo’s switch to a split-screen view should have happened 10 laps earlier than it did.

Moving away from East Bay, the same XR Events team that just over the weekend further consolidated its XR Super Series super late model tour announced that they were also creating another super late model tour. Dubbed the XR Workin’ Man Tour, XR now adds another 13 $10,000-to-win shows to their schedule, complete with open-trailer bonuses and a pay structure that will supposedly discourage competitors from parking early.

The super late model fan in never will say no to seeing more races on the schedule. However, there’s got to be an over-saturation point for this school of racing at some point. And considering the Southern super late model teams already have the Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series added to their dockets as well, I’m not sold that car count isn’t going to be an issue for this tour.

Lastly, a public service announcement to dirt racing competitors and fans alike. Racing on dirt does not mean leaving a racetrack dirty.

They wonder why it costs so much to get in at different tracks we run at…. This is one parking spot Sunday morning at…

Posted by Philip Pittman on Monday, January 30, 2023

Hero of the Day

Race winner Troutman made a strong case for this honor after taking fast qualifier honors and dominating Tuesday’s feature, but Longhorn drivers don’t need any more trophies right now.

Instead, the shoutout goes to race runner-up Buzzy Adams of Wisconsin. Though Adams was unable to catch Troutman in the closing laps, his early commitment to the extreme high side of East Bay’s racing surface (and the fact he ran down modified standout Nicely doing it) made the No. 40 every bit as much a show as Troutman was up front.

Victim of the Day

There were five cars collected in the lap 2 wreck during Tuesday’s feature, but enduring the hardest luck of the night in my book was St. Petersburg, Fla.’s Mason Love, who endured a hard hit during the second B-main after Brad Goff couldn’t pull off a second dramatic save of the night; Goff avoided a major spin during his heat race but lost control and spun out during the B-main.

Numbers Game

1

Dirt track that ran oval track racing programs Tuesday night in the U.S.

11

Number of states represented in Tuesday’s modified field at East Bay.

59

Nation’s largest car count Tuesday, the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park. 

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Thursday morning (Feb. 2) with continued coverage of the UMP modified portion of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park. Streaming coverage can be found on Flo Racing. 

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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