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News

Virginian Kyle Hardy Adds to East Bay Success

Virginian Kyle Hardy Adds to East Bay Success

GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 3) — Kyle Hardy closed out last year’s version of the three-race Florida Winternationals with a bang, sealing a $5,000 victory in the Crate Racin’ USA Winter Shootout Series weekend finale at East Bay Raceway Park. He returned to the third-mile facility Thursday night to open the ’22 version of the weekend tripleheader in the same Chuck and Rosie Bowie-fielded entry, and fired yet another shot with his second victory in a row at the highly-competitive oval.

“That’s two in a row at East Bay, and there were a ton of cars here tonight, so we’re pretty proud to win this one,” Hardy said after steadily moving forward from the outside of the sixth row. “My car owners Chuck and Rosie [Bowie]…they’re really great people and they’ve been racing a long time. They’ve got plenty of experience in the sport, so they understand the industry, and it’s a really fun deal for all of us.”

Hardy also drove for them during the 2021 season on the Vicki Emig-promoted Flynn’s Tire-sponsored RUSH Racing Series, winning both the touring series and weekly racing championships with the Pulaski, Penn-based organization that’s presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply and Born2Run Lubricants.

Winning Maneuvers
He didn’t make the winning move in the 30-lap event until the final moments after using a calculated high-side charge over the waning laps, riding the top side to victory over local favorite Tanner Cobb. Cobb had taken the early lead from pole position starter and early leader Jimmy Waldrop, who paced the first 10 circuits until pulling out of the event. Cobb then paced laps 11-29 before succumbing to Hardy’s outside-lane momentum on the final trip around the third-mile oval, which relegated Cobb to a disappointing second-place finish in a 28-car field.

“We stayed up there on the top basically the whole race,” Hardy said. “I felt like I seen something happening up there earlier in the night that made me believe that groove might come in late in the race, and that’s how it played out. I knew I had to stay out there and run consistent laps, or it wouldn’t have worked out the way it did. We might have pulled the trigger at the last minute, but I feel like it was a calculated approach. It’s pretty intense up there. One mistake, and you’re in the wall here.”

Local Makes Good
Tanner Cobb competes at the track on a regular basis, and has returned to the driver’s seat after a year away from the sport. He paced 19 circuits, spending that time at the head of the field after early leader Jimmy Waldrop dropped from contention while leading.

Cobb was headed for the winner’s circle with Bayne in tow when Hardy’s high-side dramatics suddenly changed the hastily-scribbled name on the cardboard winner’s check. However, Cobb found a silver lining in the disappointment of losing on the last lap.

“Our car was just a bare frame a month ago, so we’re not really too disappointed,” Cobb said. “Sure you wanna win in those situations, but the best crate racers in the country are down here in Florida for these events, and just to make the show is a big accomplishment. We didn’t even have time to put a new body on the car. We bought some sides, put a nose on it, and went racing.”

Regarding the lengthy nose-to-tail battle with his chief challenger Bayne, Cobb explained his reasoning for sticking to the low lane when Hardy approached late in the race and was riding the top side.

“The track was so slick there were places I couldn’t even touch the gas pedal, so I concentrated on protecting the bottom,” Cobb said. “I wasn’t wanting to get passed on the bottom, so I felt it was best to stay where I was running, and make him [Bayne] go around me. That worked until Hardy got there, and there was a slower car in front of me in turn two. That’s when Kyle [Hardy] went around the outside, and then when we got to the last corner, it also didn’t help me a lot when a car went spinning to the infield. I got off the gas, and that killed any chances we had to win.”

Bayne Survives Late Brush
During the wild conclusion to the 30-lap event, Bayne survived a last-lap, fender-scraping incident with Daniel Woody’s slower machine during a multi-car scramble in the fourth turn that sent JC Wilson spinning to the infield. Bayne, who was running third behind Cobb during the final moments until Hardy appeared on the scene, rode up the left-rear corner of Woody’s car in the fourth corner, getting briefly hooked on its damaged sheet metal.

Bayne’s machine shook loose just in time for him to continue his journey, and he crossed the stripe to edge Florida-based veteran Nevin Gainey for third place. That left Gainey with a fourth-place effort over Rodney Wing of Meridian, Miss.

“We started 11th and had a good race car,” Bayne said. “We got lucky on restarts, and the track in a lot of places was slicked off, and other places you were sliding around. We chased the leader [Tanner Cobb] for a bunch of laps, and I got underneath him one time, but we never could get by him and finish the move. That No. 14 car [Kyle Hardy] came out of nowhere to pass both of us, and then we got hung on the fender of the No. 29 [Daniel Woody] on the last lap. Fortunately we goy unhung, and crossed the line third.”

Hardy’s late-race heroics thrilled a mid-week audience in the grandstands, and placed $2,500 in the driver’s pockets for claiming his second-career win at the historic track. While he waited for the final thrilling moments to fire the winning volley in Cobb’s direction, Hardy’s high-side approach allowed him to sneak past Bayne with a lap to go. He culminated his charge into the top spot as the leaders approached the third and fourth turns, driving around Cobb as the race leader got momentarily trapped on the low side behind slower traffic.

Hardy’s entry carried sponsorship from WMD Race Cars, Allen’s Automotive Inc., Advanced Elevator, Ingram Engines, ML Performance, Evans Waterless Engine Coolant, Superior Rail & Home Improvement and All About Wraps.

The economical Chevrolet Performance 602 and 604 Circle Track Engine is utilized by competitors in the various divisions presented by Crate Racin’ USA. It’s in stock and available for free, next-day delivery from Newsome Raceway Parts in Hartsville, S.C.

Each engine is built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications. To place an order, call 1-877-497-3624.
For more information and rules, visit the organization’s website at www.crateracinusa.com, or follow our extensive social media programs on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Newsome Raceway Parts, a division of Raceway Chevrolet in Hartsville, S.C., is the title sponsor of Crate Racin’ USA. E-Z-GO Golf Carts is the title sponsor of the newly-established E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge.

Chevrolet Performance is an official sponsor of the organization, along with Advanced Laser & Machine, Cruise with the Champions, Hoosier Racing Tire, KRC Power Steering, Knowles Race Parts and Bodies, My Race Pass, VP Racing Fuels and Lubricants and Willy’s Carburetors.

Official chassis sponsors include Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis and CVR Race Cars.

Florida Winternationals (Night One): 1. Kyle Hardy, 2. Tanner Cobb, 3. Trey Bayne, 4. Nevin Gainey, 5. Rodney Wing, 6. Wil Herrington, 7. Chuck Kimble, 8. Cory Hedgecock, 9. Garrett Mosley, 10. Trevor Collins, 11. Jason Welshan, 12. Travis Varnadore, 13. Keith Nosbisch, 14. Dillon Brown, 15. Kenny Monahan, 16. Brian Smith, 17. T.J. Brittain, 18. Daniel Woody, 19. Jamie Burford, 20. Jody Knowles, 21. JC Wilson, 22. Jimmy Waldrop, 23. Mack McCarter, 24. Tyler Neal, 25. Matt Cooper, 26. Steven Stratton Sr., 27. David Showers Jr., 28. Rodgerick Dykes.

Winter Shootout Series (current points): 1. Cory Hedgecock, 278 points; 2. Jody Knowles, 234; 3. Jason Welshan, 218; 4. Jamie Burford, 186; 5. Nevin Gainey, 184; 6. (tie) Jake Knowles and Rodgerick Dykes, 164; 8. T.J. Brittain, 142; 9. Wil Herrington, 138; 10. Garrett Mosley, 136; 11. Tim Clark, 134; 12. Jeremy Steele, 126; 13. Cody Ballard, 112; 14. Austin Yarbrough, 104; 15. (tie) Mark Whitener and Kyle Hardy, 100; 17. (tie) Shan Smith, Tanner Cobb and David Showers Jr., 96; 20. Josh Adkins and Trey Bayne, 94.

Entries: 75
Boyd-Bilt Fabrication Fast Qualifier: Jimmy Waldrop, 16.082 seconds
Lap leaders: Jimmy Waldrop, 1-10, Tanner Cobb 11-29, Kyle Hardy 30.
Cautions: 4
KRC Power Steering Heat winners: Garrett Mosley, Tanner Cobb, Rodney Wing, Steven Stratton Sr., Chuck Kimble, Kenny Monahan, Nevin Gainey, Jimmy Waldrop.
KRC Power Steering B-main winners: Mack McCarter, Wil Herrington, Travis Varnadore, Cory Hedgecock.