In what was described by some as a rough and tumble at times event at the Talladega Super Speedway for East Coast Thunder, it was John Docman of Olathe, KS taking the checkers first in the 9th Annual Helloween 500. Docman started twenty-sixth in the twenty-eight car starting field but showed his strength in the first practice as he paced the tune-up session prior to the main event.
The 9th annual edition of this very prestigious event was led to green by Bobby Ambroceo (Walpole, MA) and Chuck McClure (Moundsville, WV). Both would enjoy success in the event but found themselves on opposite ends of the finishing order as Ambroceo blew a valve just twenty-one laps shy of the finish. The #78 car did lead thirteen of the ninety-four laps around the 2.66-mile oval on Sunday. In comparison, front row starter Chuck McClure positioned his #17 SK Modified near the front, also led thirteen laps but came home with a fourth place run.
Survival soon became the goal for the drivers as the tricks played out for eleven caution flags and the treats would come for the front runners who kept their noses and nerf bars clean. A late caution would set up a two lap, green-white-checkered finish to the race with Docman leading McClure, Dave Soja (Amherst, OH), Rick Craddock (Mt. Washington, KY) and Gregg Trogdon (Richmond, VA). On the back straightaway on lap ninety three, Trogdon and Soja made contact, sending those cars around in circles and the rest of the field racing back to the yellow and white flags. Only eight drivers made it through the wreckage to battle for the win, including Trogdon who had gathered his #41 up. As Docman and McClure went nerf bar-to-nerf bar for the win, Ben Becze (Beaver, PA) used the draft to pull up to Docman and would give the #87 a shot going through the tri-oval. The bump-draft propelled Docman into McClure, sending McClure into the wall and Docman to the finish line, barely edging out Becze.
Trogdon managed to come home in third place while McClure slid across the line backward to take fourth ahead of Jeff Bacchus (Bradenton, FL). Eleven yellows showed the event but did not slow the competition up front as nine drivers swapped the lead twenty-two times. Twenty-eight SK Modifieds started the race with eighteen crossing the finish line at the checkered flag. Vinnie Muti led the most laps in the event (twenty-nine) but found himself in the garage area just seven laps shy of the finish.
For more information on East Coast Thunder, please visit their website at EastCoastThunder.com and “feel the Thunder” with ECT. Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!