By Jonathon Masters
Mid-February is upon us and the dirt open wheel crowd in Florida is turning its focus from the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast. After weeks of racing mid-state events and East Coast races, the sprint cars will finally arrive to showcase at “The Clay by the Bay” in Gibstonton, FL.
The final week of the 2018 East Bay Winternationals brings three nights of 360 sprint cars.
The event begins this Thursday, with two nights of preliminary events paying $2,000 top prizes. The week will conclude Saturday with the $10,000-to-win Ronald Laney Memorial. Fans eager to see the sprints in action can also catch an open practice session on Wednesday night before the festivities begin.
Watch the 2018 East Bay Winternationals LIVE on FloRacing
Over the years, the week of sprint action at East Bay has seen both local and touring stars in attendance to take on the famed quarter-mile clay oval. It has not been unusual to see stars of both the 410 sprints and traveling 360 sprint racers make the trip to Gibsonton.
Stars like Elida, Ohio’s Max Stambaugh have announced a return to action at East Bay after already racing 410 events in the region early in the month of February.
Drivers will venture to East Bay from across the country for the event, which has traditionally seen packed stands and full pit areas.
The interesting thing about the 360 sprint week at East Bay’s Winternationals is the mix of talented drivers competing outside their normal division of choice. It is something that only the sprint cars seem to excel at during the monthlong racing nirvana across Florida and Georgia.
During the late model and modified weeks, it's not uncommon to see a couple of drivers pull double duty. It has become a tradition for the sprints to see 410 drivers go for the big 360 wins and USAC wingless drivers venture into the winged category — and vice versa. It is any open wheel fan’s dream.
FloRacing will be there every step of the way, streaming all three nights of racing LIVE. So don’t miss a lap of the action.