EAST MANATEE -- Bradenton's Jesse Dutilly really wanted to win one of the six Bright House Challenge Series races that are contested throughout the year at various race tracks around Florida.
Dutilly made his wish come true Saturday night, thrilling his hometown fans on the way to a win in the Jack Smith Memorial and locking up the Bright House Series championship in the process.
Bright House title combatants Dutilly, Joe Boyd and Rich Clouser started the 100-lap main event in the top three positions. Boyd got the jump on the start and led the first 15 laps of the race. The caution flew for debris as Dutilly was trying to make a move for the lead in Turn 4 on Lap 16.
Caution flew again for Tim Sozio's spin on Lap 20. On the restart, Dutilly got the jump on Boyd and took the lead for the first time as the field completed the 24th lap. He was quickly stretching his lead when the yellow flew for debris just three laps later.
Never miss a local story.
"We didn't think we could keep up with Boyd in the beginning," Dutilly said. "We had our car set up for long runs, and we were really tight."
Boyd spent the next several laps stalking Dutilly around the 3/8-mile oval and was right on his tail when the caution flew for Tyler Scofield's spin on Lap 42. On the next restart, Troy McNabb and Harold Crooms got together going down the back stretch and went hard into the wall. Both cars sustained heavy damage in the wreck, but neither driver was injured.
Dutilly started stretching his lead after the restart and held nearly a straightaway lead when Steve Gill lost an engine to bring out the caution again on Lap 64.
Boyd retook the lead from Dutilly on another restart on Lap 76. On another restart a lap later, Dutilly and Jeff Scofield both got by Boyd, whose car began suffering a mechanical problem that forced him to drop back through the field. He went behind the wall during a caution on Lap 78, effectively ending his Bright House Series title hopes. Dutilly looked like he was well on his way to a win when the caution flew yet again for a spin involving George Gorham and Dylan Bigley 11 laps from the finish. He held off Scofield on two restarts in the final five laps to take the win.
"I wanted to win one of these Challenge series before the year was over," Dutilly said. "I did everything I could to win this race. When you get yellows with two to go and four to go, it's on and you've got to pull out everything you've got to win one of these things because anything can happen."
Anthony Sergi, who ran third most of the night, got by Scofield for second coming to the white flag. Scofield, Gorham and Clouser rounded out the top five. Boyd, who needed to finish ninth or better to win the championship, finished 14th.
The Sun Belt Rentals of Fort Myers Street Stocks followed with a 50-lap feature event. Palmetto's Nick Hernandez moved into second on Lap 3 and passed Wilson for the lead just before a caution came out for a spin by Tim Miller Jr. During the yellow, points leader Ander Jackson, who accepted a $200 challenge to win the race from the rear of the field, pulled into the pits with a mechanical failure.
James Nanney got by Wilson for second on Lap 19. Hernandez was pulling away from the rest of the field when David Blachard's spin brought out the yellow just past the halfway point.
Nanney and Wilson staged a side-by-side battle for second for several laps after the restart, allowing Hernandez to pull away from the rest of the pack. Hernandez went unchallenged the rest of the way, adding to his feature wins in Open Wheel Modifieds and Desoto Pro Trucks this season.
"It was a fun ride tonight," said Hernandez, who was making his first start in a street stock car, driving for car owner Mike Karrivan. "It was really fast."
Nanney, Wilson, James Dellea III and Bobby Fischer rounded out the top five. After tech inspections were complete, the following cars did not pass: Hernandez, Wilson and Fischer, which moved the 6 of James Nanney to the winner followed by James Dellea III and Dave Bowman third.
In other action Saturday night, Duane Best led a Best family sweep of the top three spots in the LKQ Pick Your Part Pure Stock 25-lap feature. Jimmie Best and Kyle Best finished second and third, respectively. Jeff Firestine won the Modified Mini feature.
Next week, the Safety Kleen TBARA winged sprint cars return to Desoto Speedway for their season finale. The Joey Coulter Florida Pro Trucks will be on hand for their 75-lap season finale, and the J.D. Byrider Open Wheel Modifieds will have a 75-lap Shootout. Pure Stocks, Rookie 4s and Mini Stocks will also be in action.Desoto SpeedwaySATURDAY'S RESULT
Super Late Model
1. 30 Jesse Dutilly, 2. 20 Anthony Sergi, 3. 6 Jeff Scofield, 4. 10 George Gorham Lake Wales, 5. 9 Rich Clouser Deland, 6. 128 Dylan Bigley, 7. 17 Nick Neri, 8. 07 Tyler Scofield, 9. 47 Chris Fontaine, 10. 5a Jerry artuso, 11. 16 Tim Sozio, 12. 28d T. J. Duke South West Ranches, 13. 77 Scott Walters, 14. 5 Joe Boyd, 15. 5x Steve Gill, 16. 42 Troy McNabb, 17. 32 Harold Grooms, 18. 4 Dennis Colletti, 19. 14 Mario Maresca, 20. 28 Billy Bigley D.N.S.Street Stock1. 6 James Nanney, 2. 77 James Dellea 3rd, 3. 64 Dave Bowman, 4. 98 Cody Benoit, 5. 10 Tim Miller, 6. 27 John Heidenthal, 7. 57 Jim Bremmer, 8. 50 David Blanchard, 9. 33 Brian Tetters, 10. 91 Ander Jackson, 11. 7 James Dellea, 12. 2 Bobby Fischer DQ in tech, 13. 42 Dennis Wilson DQ in tech, 14. 45 Nick Hernandez DQ in tech.Pure Stock1. 3 Duane Best, 2. 67 Jimmy Best, 3. 63 Kyle Best, 4. 97 Chris Scott, 5. 29 Brad Tindall, 6. 36x James Widner, 7. 44 Rick Hess, 8. 98 Cody Benoit, 9. 57 Aaron Holmes D.N.S.Modified Mini1. 93 Jeff Firestine, 2. 32 Dean Butrum, 3. 6 Dave Davis, 4. 95 Ronnie Brock Jr.Bombers1. 1 Jeff Firestine, 2. 75 Carl Thompson, 3. 63 James Wright, 4. 10 Triston Collins, 5. 32 Shawn Shinault, 6. 57 Aaron Holmes D.N.S.