EAST MANATEE -- Bushnell's Shane Butler grew up watching his father, Stan, race against sprint-car legend Frank Riddle.
Butler made a move on the final turn of the final lap of Saturday night's Safety-Kleen TBARA 40-lap Frank Riddle Memorial at Desoto Speedway that would have made Riddle proud, grabbing the lead fewer than 300 feet from the finish to take the win.
Troy DeCaire, a former series champion making his first start in Florida in three years, was the early star of Saturday night's show. He started 24th in the 27-car field and passed 11 cars in the first two laps of the race.
DeCaire was already up to seventh when the caution flew for Scotty Adema's spin in Turn 4 on Lap 7. Chris Gimmler slammed into Adema's stopped car on the track. Neither driver was injured.
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DeCaire needed just three laps after the restart to get to second place. He spent the next couple of laps stalking leader Mickey Kempgens and took the lead on a three-wide pass around lapped traffic on Lap 15.
In a little more than five laps, DeCaire stretched his lead to more than two seconds. As the leaders were headed down the back stretch on Lap 24, Ernie Teed Jr. blew an engine and soaked the track with fluid in Turn 3. Tommy Nichols spun in the debris and collected several cars, including Decaire, who backed into the wall in Turn 4.
With DeCaire relegated to eighth place after stopping on the track, Kempgens reassumed the lead on the restart. DeCaire got back up to third before getting loose in Turn 4 and nearly spinning into the infield with 10 laps to go, ending his shot at a win.
Kempgens and Butler were left to settle things at the front of the field. The duo worked its way through lapped traffic as the laps wound down and Butler inched closer and closer to Kempgens.
Kempgens held the lead as the field took the white flag, but Butler went low going into Turn 1. They raced side by side down the backstretch with Butler getting the edge going into Turn 3. He completed the pass coming out of Turn 4 and took the checkers by about a car length over Kempgens.
"We just never give up," said Butler, who climbed into the flag stand with the checkered flag to honor former TBARA flagman Bud Allen, who lost his life last month in a racing accident. "This means a lot to me."
Kempgens, and Larry J. Brazil rounded out the top three. Kempgens won K&N Filters heat race 1; Matt Alfonso won Auto Meter heat race 2; and Mark Gimmer won Hawk Performance heat race 3.
In other action Saturday night, Chris Hooker held off Jeff Firestine to win the 50-lap Modified Mini feature; Palmetto's Nick Hernandez won the 30-lap Desoto Pro Truck feature; Jessie Hidenthal took his first career feature win in the Rookie 4 division; Jim Miltner won the DAARA Vintage Sprint Car feature; John Atherton won the Dwarf Car feature; and Josh Todd won the bomber feature.
Next week, the Bright House Challenge Super Late Model series will crown its champion with a 100-lap feature at Desoto Speedway in the Jack Smith Memorial race. Also racing that night will be the Street Stock for 50 laps, Pure Stock, Modified Mini and Bombers.