BATESVILLE, Ark. (Sept. 25) – There were storylines aplenty as Batesville Motor Speedway’s 50th anniversary season proved golden for Zane DeVilbiss.
The New Mexico driver went into the Race For Hope 71 main event for IMCA Modifieds with a fast car, a front row starting spot and plenty of confidence.
He ended the Saturday night special with the first of what he hopes becomes two $50,000 feature wins at the famed Arkansas speedplant.
DeVilbiss somehow survived a lap 22 spin after contact with Terry Phillips running at the front of the field, regained the lead with 16 circuits left and then checked out on everybody following a restart late in the 71-lapper.
“We’ve had a real good car the last couple months and had a lot of confidence after winning the Thursday night qualifier,” DeVilbiss said following his career-best payday and 197th victory in the division. “Our program is right where we want it and to have a car that good was unbelievable. It was the perfect night for that.”
Phillips ended in second, with Tripp Gaylord, 14th starting Peyton Taylor and Jacob Hobscheidt completing the top five. Hard charger Jordan Grabouski moved up 21 spots to finish sixth.
Ethan Dotson paced the first 11 laps from the pole with outside row one starter DeVilbiss close behind the first 11 laps. Phillips passed both the next time around and the frontrunners quickly found themselves right behind traffic.
DeVilbiss got the lead back on lap 18. He was running side-by-side with Phillips two laps later when the pair made contact in turn one, where DeVilbiss spun but never let off the gas, then restarted fourth because he had kept going and blended into the field in that position.
“God blessed us on that,” he said. “It was crazy. I wasn’t sure what happened but we dodged a bullet.”
DeVilbiss was back up to second before the mandatory caution on lap 41 for fuel. Gaylord was already settled into third and the fourth running Dotson came to a stop three laps later.
The front pair pulled away on the restart with DeVilbiss regaining the lead on lap 56, then avoiding a multi-car tangle that brought out a lap 61 caution. The final yellow came out on lap 66 but DeVilbiss was not challenged en route to the rich checkers.
“It was definitely a relief when the race was over. There were so many emotions. A million things went through my mind,” DeVilbiss said. “I’ve never been that sore before at the end of a race. I must have been tensed up. I was strapped in and loaded for bear.”
He’d helped put final touches on both his own and teammate Scott Bloomquist’s cars right before opening night and was headed home the next day to get his other ride ready for the next $50,000 to win anniversary event at Batesville, the Oct. 13-16 World IMCA Stock Car Championship presented by IMCA.TV.
Ricky Alvarado and Richie Tosh raced their way onto the starting grid for the Modified main event by running 1-2 in the Saturday “B” feature. Marcus Yarie topped the “C” feature, Wayne Brooks the “D” feature.
One hundred Modifieds from 16 states and Canada vied in the fifth annual special. The event doubles as a fundraiser for the Miracle League of Arkansas.
Feature results – 1. Zane DeVilbiss, Farmington, N.M.; 2. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.; 3. Tripp Gaylord, Lakewood, Colo.; 4. Peyton Taylor, Batesville; 5. Jacob Hobscheidt, Plattsmouth, Neb.; 6. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 7. Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis.; 8. D.J. Shannon, Merced, Calif.; 9. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 10. Collin Thirlby, Traverse City, Mich.; 11. Wendell Wallace, Batesville; 12. Troy Morris III, Bakersfield, Calif.; 13. John Hansen, Brush, Colo.; 14. Tom Berry Jr., Des Moines, Iowa; 15. Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa; 16. Adam Maple, Batesville; 17. Tanner Black, Otis, Kan.; 18. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, Iowa; 19. Brandon Smith, Floral; 20. Rusty Jeffrey, Batesville; 21. Jeff Taylor, Cave City; 22. Sawyer Crigler, Alton, Mo.; 23. Mike Mullen, Seymour, Wis.; 24. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, Nev.; 25. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, Iowa; 26. Roger Witt, Batesville; 27. Ricky Alvarado, Delta, Colo.; 28. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 29. Justin O’Brien, West Union, Iowa; 30. Richie Tosh, Salado.