EAST MANATEE -- On a night that saw several cars spinning and even more tempers flaring, Travis Roland found himself standing in the winner's circle at the end of Saturday night's J.D. Byrider Open Wheel Modified 40-lap feature at Desoto Speedway.
Devin McLeod started on the pole and paced the field for the first 16 laps. During that time, Nick Hernandez and Doug Moff worked their way to the front of the field. McLeod looked to be holding up the field as the top seven cars ran nose to tail around the three-eighths mile oval.
As the field came to complete Lap 17, second-place runner Dalton Nelson appeared to make contact with Hernandez coming high out of Turn 4. Hernandez caught the wall hard and Moff, who had nowhere to go in the tight pack of cars, also hit the wall. Both cars were seriously damaged and done for the night. Hernandez voiced his displeasure with Nelson as he walked back to the pits.
McLeod held off several on restarts and found himself in a battle with Roland, who was running around fifth before the rash of spins. On a Lap 27 restart, McLeod and Roland got together going down the back stretch. McLeod got the worst end of the contact, with the resulting damage sending him to the pits for repairs.
"You have to be there at the end, and I know I wasn't cutting Devin any slack," Roland said. "I didn't mean to ruin his night. When it's time to go, it's time to go."
Roland got away on the subsequent restart and was never seriously challenged again for the lead over the final 12 laps. On the final lap, Steve Arnold and Nelson made contact and spun in Turn 4, allowing Eric Purcell to finish second and Kyle Bookmiller, himself the victim of a couple of spins during the race, finishing third. Bookmiller voiced his displeasure with several drivers after the race, going as far as saying a couple of drivers "were hitting everything on the track" during the race.
Rob Haygood and Joey Logan rounded out the top five. McLeod even parked his car right next to Roland after the event, where a "friendly" discussion ensued.
In the Pro 4 feature, Ronnie Robinson and Randy Johnson staged a fierce battle over the final five laps of the 25-lap main event. The duo swapped the lead three times in the final four laps, but it was Robinson edging out Johnson by less than half a car length at the line. The finish was a payback of sorts for Robinson, who lost a race to Johnson on a last-lap pass a couple of weeks ago.
In other regular racing action Saturday night, Camron Ray won the 25-lap Pure Stock feature that saw Duane Best and Chad Cummings spinning across the line while taking the checkered flag. Best was credited with second place, while Cummings was scored in fifth.
Brandon Morris took the lead from Ryan Pancoast around the halfway point of the 30-lap Take Aim Gun Range Sportsman feature. Pancoast finished second. Ren Wright led all 25 laps of the Mini Stock feature; Jimmy Best won the Rookie 4 main event.
After the intermission, the crowd was treated to a night of crash-and-bash style racing that included school bus figure 8s, flagpole races and a skid plate race where cars race with their rear wheels removed from the car and skid plates put in their place. Mike Gamache won both the school bus race and the 4-cylinder road course race; Joe Lombardi won the V8 and 6-cylinder flag pole race; Chris Larson won the 4-cylinder flagpole race; Josh Widner won the road course race through the track's infield; and Aaron Yahnke won the skid plate race.
Next week, Desoto Speedway will host the Turner Tree and Landscape Super Late Models in addition to a full card of racing.SATURDAY'S RESULTS
Open Wheel Modified
1. 55 Travis Roland, 2. 51 Eric Purcell, 3. 03 Kyle Bookmiller, 4. 84 Rob Haygood, 5. 45 Joey Logan, 6. 94 Dalton Nelson, 7. 21 Devin McLeod, 8. 37 Nich Hernandez, 9. 46 Doug Moff, 10. 12 Eric Rudd, 11. 25 L. J. Grimm, 12. 19 Steve Arnold D.Q., 13. 59. John Inman, D.N.S., 14. 75 Bobby Blake D.N.S., 15. 9. Camron Ray D.N.S.Sportsman1. 56 Brandon Morris, 2. 47 Ryan Pancoast, 3. 13 Aaron Williamson, 4. 07 Scott Garrity, 5. 73 Mark Patterson, 6. 11 Mark Nelson, 7. 80 Richard Nelson, 8. 19 Chris Lewellen, 9. 12 David Williamson, 10. 4 Rick Reed, 11. 75 John Hendenthal.Pure Stock1. 9 Camron Ray, 2. 3 Duane Best, 3. 81 James Dellea, 4. 18 Troy Thiem, 5. 80x Chad Cummings, 6. 67 Jimmy Best, 7. 22 Anna Marie Ricardi, 8. 75 Alan Burton, 9. 74 Paul Huffstetler, 10. 96 Rob Vigilo, 11. 63 Kyle Best, 12. 44 Rick Hess.Mini Stock1. 008 Ren Wright Jr., 2. 91 Jessica Ostrovskis, 3. 98 Chris Larson, 4. 85 Mike Gimache, 5. 19b George IIngram, 6. 131 Bryan Walters, 7. x66 Cody Riley, 8. 31 James Prochaska, 9. 19 Rodney Crowe D.N.S.Pro 41. 05 Ronald Robinson, 2. 73 Randy Johnson, 3. 91 Jessica Ostrovskis, 4. 99 Johnny Marra, 5. 008 Ren Wright Jr., 6. 98 Chris Larson, 7. 131 Bryan Walters, 8. 8 James Widner, 9. 19b George Ingram, 10. 41 Mark Petty, 11. 3 Sherry Best, 12. 13 Cody Benoit Buckingham 13. 19 Rodney Crowe D.N.S.Rookie 41. 67 Jimmy Best, 2. 41 Marina Petty, 3. 8 Josh Widner, 4. 13 Ryan Ferguson.School Bus Figure 81. 0 Mike Gimache, 2. 4 Jason Graham, 3. 76 James Volk, 4. 25 Jeremy Bates, 5. 47 Bryan Donahue, 6. 88 Crazy Larry, 7. 90 Craig Johnson, 8. 14 Wild Man.Flag Pole 4 Cyl.1. 98 Chris Larson, 2. 88 Jason Godwin.Road Course V-8 -V-61. 8 Jason Wildner, 2. 5 Aaron Yahnke, 3. 53 Mark Jackson.Flag Pole V-8-V-61. 869 Joe Lambardi, 2. 8 Josh Widner, 3. 53 Mark Jackson Bradenton.Roadcourse 4Cyl.1. 85 Mike Gamanche, 2. 98 Chris Larson, 3. 88 Jason Godwin, 4. 27, 5. 166 Cody RileySkid Plate1. 5Y Aaron Yanke, 2. 869 Joe Lombardi