By Tony Veneziano
The winners list of the Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360s at East Bay Raceway in Gibsonton, Florida, is a who’s who of the sport. From a pair of Hall of Famers to a World of Outlaws champion, accomplishments abound among the past winners of the season-opening classic.
The 2018 edition of the Ronald Laney Memorial will hit the track as part of the 42nd annual Winternationals at East Bay on February 15-17.
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To gear up for this year’s season-opening event, we're looking back at past winners and their racing resumes to help set the stage for what is always one of the strongest fields of the season for any sprint car event.
The 2013 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion won the Ronald Laney Memorial King of the 360s in 2011, while driving a Pennsylvania-based car for Mike Heffner. The native of Owasso, OK, who now calls the Indianapolis area home, is among the top 10 on the all-time win list with the World of Outlaws, with 68 A-feature triumphs. Among those are the Kings Royal at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio. Pittman also won the Historical Big One at Eldora. In addition, the veteran driver has nine-career wins with the All Stars and six with the ASCS.
Johnson, who claimed five ASCS titles, before advancing to race with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, won the Ronald Laney Memorial Kings of the 360s in 2008. He claimed the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year with the Outlaws in 2015 and scored the biggest win of his career in 2016, stopping Donny Schatz's five-race win streak in the Knoxville Nationals to win the sport’s biggest event. Johnson is second to Gary Wright on the ASCS all-time win list with 79 victories and is the winningest driver in ASCS Gulf South Region history.
The five-time Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions title winner won at East Bay in 2005. That is the same year he hit the road full-time with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, earning rookie honors. Kemenah has 33 career wins with the All Stars and six with the Outlaws.
The 2005 winner of the Kings Royal at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio claimed the crown in the King of the 360s in 2002. Sides has 15 career wins with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series as well as a pair in ASCS competition.
The former champion at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania added his name to the prestigious list of past winners of the Ronald Laney Memorial Kings of the 360s in 2013. Holtgraver also is a past winner with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
Hockett, who was the 2006 the Sprint Bandits champion, won at East Bay in 2009. Hockett was known for racing anything, anytime. He had four-career ASCS National Tour wins, along with nine wins with the ASCS Warrior Region and a pair of triumphs in Midwest Region competition. The late driver, who hailed from Warsaw, Missouri, also had four wins with the USAC National Sprint Car Series in his career, showing his versatility without the wing.
The owner of Ohsweken Speedway in Canada scored the biggest win of his career in 2012, capturing the finale at East Bay. Styres is a multi-time champion with the Southern Ontario Sprints (SOS). The Canadian is also the winningest driver in sprint car competition at Ohsweken Speedway, which runs 360-sprints on a weekly basis.