Winslow Gives Fans Reasons to Roar With Outlaws Win on Meet the Drivers Night

Winslow Gives Fans Reasons to Roar With Outlaws Win on Meet the Drivers Night

By Chuck Corder

There were only four drivers who got to hoist checkered flags Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.

But the number of champions around the half-mile asphalt oval ranged in the thousands.

Before the night of racing got underway, throngs of fans spilled onto Five Flags’ abrasive asphalt for the track’s annual Meet the Drivers Night.

Like ants filing across a checkerboard picnic blanket, the crowd made its way through the narrow gate under the flag stand. Once feet hit pavement, their heads twisted every which way, hunting what Friday night warrior they wanted to meet first.

Once the green flag dropped on the night of racing, Faith Chapel Outlaws driver Bubba Winslow wasted no time thrilling those who he had just signed autographs and handed out hero cards.

Winslow started on the outside of Row 1 in the 17-car Faith Chapel Outlaws 35-lap feature Friday night.

The 28-year-old Cantonment hotshoe rocketed off on the outside and cleared pole sitter Jeremy Pate before the field reached Turn No. 1.

   

Winslow, the 2017 Outlaws Snowball Derby champion, never broke a sweat. He did it lightning fast, too, as there were no cautions the entirety of the race.

“We weren’t quite sure what we’d have,” Winslow said. “I didn’t think we’d have enough at the end, but it turns out we did. It means a lot for folks that stayed and watched us race.”

Chris Cotto, the veteran Milton driver who surprised when he won the Outlaws season opener in March, finished as runner-up and defending Outlaws Derby champion Jeremy Pate rounded out the podium.

Cotto also won a heat race earlier in the night.

“The car was just tight from Lap 1,” Cotto said after the feature. “I was hoping it would loosen up, but it over-adjusted on us.”

WCIparts.com Pro Trucks

It had been a while since Logan Boyett felt whole.

But a trip to Victory Lane has a way of lifting the spirits and raising the morale of the defending WCIparts.com Pro Trucks track champion.

After subpar performances in the first two features this season, Boyett woke up this morning and felt like any lingering injuries and ailments that had been bothering him had subsided finally.

Pain-free, the Pensacola driver was able to keep the 10-truck field in his rearview to snatch his first WCIparts.com Pro Trucks 25-lap feature of the season Friday night.

Boyett sprang out of Turn No. 2 and sped down the backstretch to swipe the lead from pole sitter Joshua Hicks early on and never relinquished it. It was, by no means, a smooth trip to Victory Lane for Boyett.

“(Car owner) Gerald Boyd built a great truck,” Boyett said. “Everything on it is brand new except for the transmission.”

Hicks, the defending Pro Trucks Derby champion, finished runner-up and young 13-year-old Grant Thompson came home in third.

“I had to be at 110 per to beat Boyett in that race,” Hicks said. “I missed a shift, and I shouldn’t have let him get to far ahead.”

The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen

The writing was clearly on the wall early in the night.

When Mark Barnhill rolled a 1 to set the invert for The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen 25-lap feature, Barnhill’s rivals knew they had their work cut out for them.

The Theodore, Ala., driver has yet to lose at Five Flags Speedway this season. Barnhill extended his unblemished streak to three races Friday night at the Pensacola’s high banks.

For his third consecutive victory, Barnhill also received a bull’s-eye on his No. 3. The driver who tops Banrhill at the Sportsmen Spectacular (May 24) will receive a $250 bounty.

Tommie Blocker came in second and B.J. Leytham was third.

“I didn’t like seeing Tommie in the mirror there at the end,” Barnhill said. “But, all in all, it was a good night and good race.”

Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks

Perhaps Michael Moody’s biggest advantage in the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks class happens miles away from Five Flags Speedway.

When short-track legends like Dave Mader III started answering Moody’s questions, he knew it was only a matter of time before he got his program dialed in.

It has already happened in a major way in two short months. Moody won his third consecutive 20-lap feature on Friday, his fourth of the season at Pensacola’s high banks.

“This car actually starts handling better at the end of the race,” Moody said. “It starts out free, but by Lap 12 it starts getting good. I saw ‘little Daryl’ (McDonald) closing in on me, so I knew I needed to go.”

That he did, leaving young Daryl McDonald III and Robert Balkum to finish second and third, respectively.

Moody made his maneuver on Caleb Burkett no Lap 3 as the two raced door-to-door down the backstretch.

Moody cleared him and never broke a sweat for the final 17 laps.

“It was a pleasure come out here and race,” McDonald said. “The car was good. We just didn’t have enough power to beat Moody.”