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Whitener Opens East Bay Weekend Victorious

Whitener Opens East Bay Weekend Victorious

GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 4) — While loading his car for the trip to East Bay Raceway Park to compete in a 30-lap main event that kicked off a three-race weekend for the Newsome Raceway Parts-sponsored Crate Racin’ USA Winter Shootout Series, Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., suffered an injury to his foot.

The 40-year-old driver was rolling his car into the team’s hauler at their shop, stepped into a void space near the liftgate, and ended up with a badly-bruised and very sore appendage that he said could have easily been much worse.

“I’ve got a big bruise on my leg, and it’s hurting pretty bad,” Whitener said. “I had some trouble with it here, and fell a couple more times at the track. The one bad leg is causing me to trip up more while using the other one. I’m gimped up pretty bad right now, but it didn’t really affect me in the race car.
“Right where the liftgate is located, I fell between the door and the actual trailer. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up with a broken femur. It’s been really bothering me all day.”

No Doctor Needed
It sure didn’t affect his ability to push an accelerator pedal, as Whitener outqualified a 78-car field with a lap clocked at 15.995 seconds, won one of the night’s eight heat races, and then prevailed in a competitive feature event that featured a close battle for the lead between front-row mates Whitener and pole position starter Joseph Joiner of Milton, Fla.

Whitener was able to pull an advantage on his fellow competitor during the latter stages, but Joiner held tough until hopping over the cushion between turns three and four with six laps remaining, striking the outside wall.

Whitener, who’d earlier taken the lead from Joiner on the 14th circuit as the pair negotiated lapped traffic, actually led the final 17 circuits to earn a $2,500 victory in the 30-lapper. He took the checkered flag ahead of Kyle Lukon, who was making his first-ever start at the famed “Clay by the Bay.”

After a wreck with a car that spun in front of him while leading by a large margin in a consolation event, Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., used a provisional starting spot to make the field, and then raged through the pack to post a strong third-place finish after a last-minute thrash session to repair his damaged car.
Completing the top five were Ashton Winger and Kyle Hardy.

Early Advantage
Joiner got the jump on Whitener and led the first 13 circuits from the outside of the front row, opening a decent lead until the eventual winner tracked him down in lapped traffic.

Splitting Keith Nosbisch’s machine on the 14th circuit, Whitener used the low groove to steal the point from Joiner, who took a much wider route around Nosbisch’s car. After giving up the lead, Joiner was later was able to close to within a couple car lengths, and seriously challenge for the point with 10 laps remaining.

The pair battled back and forth, separated by not much, but with seven circular trips remaining, Whitener ducked low to sneak past Jason Welshan’s slower machine in turn one amid lapped traffic, and Joiner went high to offer a serious challenge for the point.

The leaders reached turn three with Whitener a car length or two ahead. Joiner’s car jumped the cushion and rode up on the wall in the fourth corner, dropping him to a disappointing 16th-place showing in a 25-car field.

Whitener went on to claim the victory in a car owned and fielded by him and his wife Bridgette. It was a solid night for the 40-year-old driver, who admitted he was very surprised to see nearly 80 cars on hand for the event at the facility.

“It would have never crossed my mind to see that many cars here for this race,” Whitener said. “That really makes it mean a lot more when you can win against a field that big, and I really had a lot of fun out there. I had to get up on the wheel, and when I saw Joseph Joiner out there beside me, I knew I was gonna have to give er’ hell to beat him.”

The Details
Lance Wright, son of long timed chassis builder Barry Wright of Cowpens, S.C., was on hand to lend Whitener and his crew a helping hand.

Nevin Gainey’s win in the seventh heat race came via disqualification of apparent winner Chad Tuten, who refused to provide series officials with a tire sample.
The next two Winter Shootout Series events will be held at the same track on Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 as the second and third installments of a giant tripleheader weekend for the Adairsville, Ga-based organization.

The economical aluminum head, steel block Chevrolet Performance 604 Circle Track Engine is utilized by competitors on the series. It’s in stock and available for free, next-day delivery from Newsome Raceway Parts in Hartsville, S.C.
The company gives a portion of the sales from each engine sold back to the series point funds in four different divisions. 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 about the series, visit the organization’s website at www.crateracinusa.com, or follow our extensive social media programs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Florida Winternationals (Night #1):

  1. Mark Whitener, 2. Kyle Lukon, 3. Cory Hedgecock, 4. Ashton Winger, 5. Kyle Hardy, 6. Frankie Lloyd, 7. Jake Rainey, 8. Dylan Knowles, 9. Jake Knowles, 10. Jeremy Shaw, 11. Logan Roberson, 12. Jason Welshan, 13. Chris Bragg, 14. Garrett Mosley, 15. Drew Kennedy, 16. Joseph Joiner, 17. Richie Stephens, 18. Kerry King, 19. Phillip Cobb, 20. Keith Nosbisch, 21. Nevin Gainey, 22. Colton Leyendecker, 23. Mack McCarter, 24. Todd Cooney, 25. Tyler Riggs.

2021 Winter Series Shootout Points Standings:

  1. Jason Welshan, 340 points; 2. Dylan Knowles, 328; 3. Jake Knowles, 318; 4. Mark Whitener, 282; 5. Cory Hedgecock, 278; 6. Drew Kennedy, 256; 7. Cody Overton, 252; 8. Mack McCarter, 246; 9. Joseph Joiner, 240; 10. Todd Cooney, 198.

Total entries: 78
Boyd-Bilt Fast Qualifier: Mark Whitener, 15.995 seconds.
Provisionals: Cory Hedgecock
Lap leaders: Joiner 1-13, Whitener 14-30.
Cautions: 5
Margin of victory: 2.566 seconds

KRC Power Steering Heat Winners:
Richie Stephens, Jeremy Shaw, Ashton Winger, Joseph Joiner, Dylan Knowles, Kyle Lukon, Nevin Gainey and Mark Whitener.

KRC Power Steering B-main winners:
Logan Roberson, Colton Leyendecker, Jason Welshan, Garrett Mosley.


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