JoJo HELBERG WINS WINGED SPRINT RACE, BUTTRICK, CORRY & WINSLOW POST WINS
The 2013 regular season got off to a fantastic start this weekend at Mobile International Speedway, leaving Race Fans anxious for the next event in what may be the most competitive season in recent years. With Mother Nature playing a role, Saturday’s rained out Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series event was moved to what turned out to be a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and included a star studded field of local drivers in three support divisions.
Defending Must See Sprint Series champion JoJo Helberg overcame the slippery track conditions, and a backup car to lead all 30 laps and take home the $3,000 prize in the Royal Oak Southern Shootout.
Helberg, who had to switch to a backup car after blowing an engine just prior to qualifying, endured multiple restarts in the 30 Lap Main event, but won in commanding fashion over Brian Gerster and Brian Olson.
The restarts were the result of several spins as most teams found themselves unprepared for an uncharacteristically hot and sunny day. Helberg is grateful for the victory and already looking forward to repairing his primary car.
“I’m going to have to use the money for the win tonight to pay for the repairs to the primary engine,” Helberg said. “I just want to thank Royal Oak Charcoal, TruFuel, Mobile International Speedway and all these great fans for the support because we couldn’t do it without any of them.”
Brian Gerster, who had set the fastest time in qualifying, was the only real threat to Helberg’s victory.
“When Gerster challenged me that one time on the restart, I realized I had to do my starts a little bit different,” Helberg continued. “He was able to get a big run on me and that’s usually what I get to do with my big Mopar engine.But we had the small engine in and I really had to keep my momentum going so I could get up off the corners, especially on the restarts.”
Praytor Realty Super Stocks
Bubba Winslow held off Gary Sutton on a late-race restart with three laps to go to win the first Praytor Realty Super Stock feature of the 2013 season.
The late race caution dropped as a result of Bobby Baria spinning out off of turn two at a point where most of the field was well-strung out, generating an unexpected three-lap shootout to the finish. Winslow was assisted on the restart by third-place Okie Mason, giving him a steady shove coming to the green flag off of turn four. Mason followed Winslow into second-place and that’s ultimately how they would finish.
Winslow had the field covered all afternoon, capturing the pole but starting third due to the random invert determined by a roll of the dice. It took just three laps for Winslow to pick off Mason for second-place and seven to pass Baria, who had started from the top spot and led the opening third of the race.
The difference was clear: Winslow was able to rotate the center of the corner much easier than the rest of the field. Making matters more complicated is that the sunny skies and slippery track conditions generated far less grip than a traditional Saturday night feature. Winslow was the best under these conditions and he treated himself to a season-opening victory to open the afternoon of racing.
Jeffrey Belt, Jason Johnson, Michael Sanford, James Devitt, Baria and Randy Thompson completed the full-field rundown.
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman
Steve Buttrick resumed his incredible run of dominance to start the 2013 season, winning again on Sunday afternoon in the Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman division at Mobile International Speedway. The victory is his third-straight, including Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway, and second at the high-banked Alabama half-mile.
Buttrick capitalized on a restart with three laps to go, pulling away from second-place Bob Bryant who immediately found himself under attack from Mark Barnhill. Bryant was unable to hold off Barnhill but gave Buttrick enough time to pull away and win the second Sportsman feature of the season by three seconds over the dueling Barnhill and Bryant.
“The guys raced me clean and I appreciate that,” Buttrick said. “I just want to thank everyone who helps me out on this, my sponsors, and the fans for coming out and supporting us. We’re going to try to run as many races as we can, at both tracks, this season and maybe we can keep this momentum going.”
Buttrick also set the fastest time in qualifying (21.807) and had luck of his side as well – rolling no invert during the prerace dice roll. Defending Series champion Brannon Fowler started second but faced terrible starts and restarts all afternoon. His car had speed during the long-run but his restarts would relegate him to a seventh-place finish.
Buttrick led every single lap, but faced a stout challenge in the middle stages of the race from Bryant, who seemed like the only driver who could hang with Buttrick. Barnhill had the speed that would see him ultimately finish second but his sixth-place starting spot was just too much of an uphill battle to overcome.
The final caution on lap 22 occurred as a result Chad Robinson coming down off the bumper of Jonathan Langham and sending the latter’s no. 1 around off the exit of turn four. The cars were fighting for fourth-place and the rest of the field would avoid making contact.
Buttrick pulled away on the final restart and would win over Barnhill, Bryant, Randy Thompson and Robinson.
Jayme Corry was the third driver to win from the pole on Sunday afternoon, capturing his first Island Motors II Bombers victory of the season at Mobile International Speedway, but it didn’t come without a little bit of dramatics.
Matt Jackson cleared Corry on the final restart but the lap down car of Collin Kraft was slow coming off of turn four and bottled the leaders up behind him. This allowed Corry to peek under Jackson and clear him coming off of turn four to take the victory.
“The car handled awesome the first half of the race,” Corry said. “Throughout the race it gradually started to fall off and push making it difficult to make any moves to pass the no. 79. The lapped car caused the 79 to get loose and push up enough leaving me a door just big enough to squeeze through to get the win.
“Luck was apparently on my side today.”
Handling problems first befell Corry during a lap 11 restart when Jackson was able to make a pass on the outside. Corry fell back to third was quickly able to retake second from BJ Leytham. Corry was in pursuit of Jackson for the rest of the race and finally was able to capitalize during the last turn shenanigans.
Several of the frontrunners were sideways behind Kraft, generating one of the wildest finishes of recent memory. Jackson finished second but was disqualified in post-race technical inspection, allowing Leytham to finish second. Tracy Soles, Ralph Rogers and David Johnson completed the top-five.
Mobile International Speedway returns to action on April 6 with a card packed with the bombers, sportsman, modifieds and pro trucks. This will be the first event of the season for the Mod Squad and pro trucks divisions. Remember that the racing will start an hour earlier this season, kicking off at 7 p.m. during the 2013 season.
Must See Xtreme Sprint Series: 1.) JoJo Helbert 2.) Brian Gerster
3.) Brian Olson 4.)Jacob Wilson 5.) Aaron Pierce
Praytor Realty Super Stocks: 1.) Bubba Winslow 2.) Okie Mason 3.) Gary Suton 4.) Jeffrey Belt 5.) Jason Johnson
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman: 1.) Steve Buttrick 2.) Mark Barnhill 3.) Bob Bryant 4.) Randy Thompson 5.) Chad Robinson
Island Motors II Bombers: 1.) Jayme Corry 2.) William Leytham 3.)Tracy Soles 4.) Ralph Rogers 5.) David Johnson