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Jim DenHamer Photo

BAYSIDE BLITZ: Lee Survives Challenge from Teammate to Win Winternationals Round 3 at East Bay

Hughes sent back to second after ill-timed caution flag, now second in event points

After two sour endings to start off his 2021 DIRTcar UMP Modified Winternationals, Lucas Lee has found redemption.

Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park did not exactly go as well as the Paris, TN-native had hoped in the series opener, cutting a right-rear tire down while running second. Wednesday night didn’t end any better, blowing a right-front tire while running fourth.

But Lee and his Hughes Racing Chassis were able to put it all together on Thursday night, coming from the fifth spot and holding off teammate Jason Hughes, of Watts, OK, after a great battle in the closing stages to claim the $1,500 prize and his third career East Bay Winternationals triumph.

“This was a lot of good work from a lot of good people,” Lee said, speaking about his crew. “I’ve got some good people with me and it shows. They might be rednecks in some parts of the world but they’re good people to me.”

Lee (12) battling with Spencer Hughes (11) for the lead (Jim DenHamer Photo)

Spencer Hughes (no relation to Jason) got the jump from the outside pole and led the first three laps, ripping the top side of the third-mile oval, while Lee was forming a run on the bottom. Swiftly maneuvering past Jason Hughes for second, Lee got a big run down the front-stretch and into Turn 1 underneath Spencer Hughes in a bid for the lead and completed the pass as they came out of Turn 4.

Now with the advantage out front, Lee tried to open up a gap on the field but was halted several times over the proceeding 20 laps by caution flags. The longest stretch of green-flag conditions began inside of 15-to-go, where a great battle for the lead made things interesting for the final stanza.

Lee was content running the middle groove for much of the latter half of the 35-lap contest, while Hughes continued to dig on the bottom. After running closely for several laps, Hughes got his best shot at the lead with six-to-go, pulling right up beside Lee as they dove into Turn 1.

“[The bottom was] kinda where I could go with [Lee] in front of me. There wasn’t much room on the outside. So, I just had to dig down there on the bottom and try to make something happen,” Hughes said.

Hughes won the race into Turn 3 and appeared to have sealed the pass until the dreaded caution lights illuminated the speedway as they were coming to the stripe. Because the lap had not been completed when the caution was thrown, Hughes, by rule, was forced to give the spot back to Lee.

“Them cautions usually bite me,” Hughes said. “And not for the good.”

“I was just looking out of the corner of my eye and I saw [Hughes]. I thought I gave it to him there at the end,” Lee said.

Holding on to the revived opportunity, Lee made sure to protect his inside on the restart and drove his #12 the rest of the distance to pick up the win.

“I hate it for [Hughes], because they’ve been busting their tails too. I’m glad it happened for me, but we’re all on the same team so it would have been the same thing if he won too,” Lee said.

Jim DenHamer Photo

Hughes ended up slipping back to fourth after the final restart, but knowing a teammate got the win after a hard start to the week put a smile on his face.

“I think if we hadn’t got that caution, we would’ve had us a good enough car to win. I could’ve made it a little wider running out in the lead instead of second, but with a team car, you’re definitely not gonna get in there and rub on anybody,” Hughes said.

“We wanted to win, but we’re happy to be a be a part of this deal in [Lee] getting a win.”

The DIRTcar UMP Modified action continues Friday night from East Bay Raceway Park with Round 4 of the 2021 Winternationals with the second of two 35-lap, $1,500-to-win Features. Stay tuned to DIRTcar’s social media channels for live updates throughout the event.

UMP Modified Feature (30 Laps) 1. Lucas Lee Paris, Tn. 2. Spencer Hughes Meridian, Ms. 3. Drake Troutman Hyndman, Pa. 4. Jason Hughes Watts, Ok. 5. Devin Dixon Brandon, Fl. 6. Tyler Nicely Owensboro, Ky. 7. Dave Hess Jr Waterford, Pa. 8. Kevin Adams Cameron, Wi. 9. Nick Allen Wheatfield, In. 10. Travis Varnadore Plant City, Fl. 11. Brad Deyoung Wheatfield, In. 12. Eric Moon Zephyrhills, Fl. 13. Nick Stroupe China Grove, Nc. 14. Mark Dickson Gallipolis, Oh. 15. Brayden Berry West Portsmouth, Oh. 16. Tyler Clem Tampa, Fl. 17. Chris Wilson Louisa, Ky. 18. Devin Wright Rensselaer, In. 19. Jason Jack Riverview, Fl. 20. Brian Skaggs Pedro, Oh. 21. Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, Fl. 22. David Pollen Lakeland, Fl. 23. Jeff Mathews Riverview, Fl. 24. Mavrick Varnadore Dover, Fl.

Modifieds Qualifying 1 1. Drake Troutman Hyndman, Pa. 2. Spencer Hughes Meridian, Ms. 3. Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, Fl. 4. Seth Daniels Jackson, Oh. 5. Dave Hess Jr Waterford, Pa. 6. Mike Potosky Guys Mills, Pa. 7. Todd Neiheiser Panama City, Fl. 8. Jimmy Lennex Jr Maysville, Ky.

Modifieds Qualifying 2 1. Kevin Adams Cameron, Wi. 2. Travis Varnadore Plant City, Fl. 3. Tyler Nicely Owensboro, Ky. 4. Dale Kelley Plant City, Fl. 5. Nick Allen Wheatfield, In. 6. Lj Grimm Seffner, Fl. 7. Brandon Kinzer Lexington, Ky. 8. Tyler Clem Tampa, Fl.

Modifieds Qualifying 3 1. Rick Aukland Zanesville, Oh. 2. Mavrick Varnadore Dover, Fl. 3. Nick Stroupe China Grove, Nc. 4. Percy Gendreau Lima, Oh. 5. Scott Bane Tampa, Fl. 6. Ben McCann Tollesbro, Ky. 7. Mark Dickson Gallipolis, Oh. 8. Shane Burrows Valrico, Fl.

Modifieds Qualifying 4 1. Eric Moon Zephyrhills, Fl. 2. Jason Jack Riverview, Fl. 3. David Pollen Lakeland, Fl. 4. Beau Deyoung Demotte, In. 5. Devin Wright Rensselaer, In. 6. John Bradley Plant City, Fl. 7. Robin Lashley Buffalo, Oh. 8. Kim Edington Marshall, Il.

Modifieds Qualifying 5 1. Jeff Mathews Riverview, Fl. 2. Devin Dixon Brandon, Fl. 3. Jason Hughes Watts, Ok. 4. Brayden Berry West Portsmouth, Oh. 5. Gary Eicher Mckean, Pa. 6. Matt Altiers Lewis Center, Oh. 7. Danny Schwartz Ashmore, Il. 8. Tyler Teegardin Fort Wayne, In.

Modifieds Qualifying 6 1. Lucas Lee Paris, Tn. 2. Chris Wilson Louisa, Ky. 3. Doug Dyal Auburndale, Fl. 4. Brian Skaggs Pedro, Oh. 5. Brad Deyoung Wheatfield, In. 6. Tim Sullivan Knox, In. 7. Thomas Sigler St. Marys, Wv.

Modifieds Heat 1 1. Spencer Hughes Meridian, Ms. 2. Drake Troutman Hyndman, Pa. 3. Dave Hess Jr Waterford, Pa. 4. Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, Fl. 5. Seth Daniels Jackson, Oh. 6. Jimmy Lennex Jr Maysville, Ky. 7. Todd Neiheiser Panama City, Fl. 8. Mike Potosky Guys Mills, Pa.

Modifieds Heat 2 1. Kevin Adams Cameron, Wi. 2. Travis Varnadore Plant City, Fl. 3. Tyler Nicely Owensboro, Ky. 4. Dale Kelley Plant City, Fl. 5. Nick Allen Wheatfield, In. 6. Tyler Clem Tampa, Fl. 7. Lj Grimm Seffner, Fl. 8. Brandon Kinzer Lexington, Ky.

Modifieds Heat 3 1. Nick Stroupe China Grove, Nc. 2. Mavrick Varnadore Dover, Fl. 3. Mark Dickson Gallipolis, Oh. 4. Rick Aukland Zanesville, Oh. 5. Scott Bane Tampa, Fl. 6. Ben McCann Tollesbro, Ky. 7. Percy Gendreau Lima, Oh. DNS. Shane Burrows Valrico, Fl.

Modifieds Heat 4 1. Eric Moon Zephyrhills, Fl. 2. Jason Jack Riverview, Fl. 3. David Pollen Lakeland, Fl. 4. Devin Wright Rensselaer, In. 5. Beau Deyoung Demotte, In. 6. Kim Edington Marshall, Il. 7. Robin Lashley Buffalo, Oh. 8. John Bradley Plant City, Fl.

Modifieds Heat 5 1. Jason Hughes Watts, Ok. 2. Jeff Mathews Riverview, Fl. 3. Devin Dixon Brandon, Fl. 4. Brayden Berry West Portsmouth, Oh. 5. Gary Eicher Mckean, Pa. 6. Matt Altiers Lewis Center, Oh. 7. Danny Schwartz Ashmore, Il. DNS. Tyler Teegardin Fort Wayne, In.

Modifieds Heat 6 1. Lucas Lee Paris, Tn. 2. Chris Wilson Louisa, Ky. 3. Brian Skaggs Pedro, Oh. 4. Brad Deyoung Wheatfield, In. 5. Tim Sullivan Knox, In. 6. Thomas Sigler St. Marys, Wv. 7. Doug Dyal Auburndale, Fl.

Modifieds B-Feature 1 1. Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater, Fl. 2. Tyler Clem Tampa, Fl. 3. Nick Allen Wheatfield, In. 4. Seth Daniels Jackson, Oh. 5. Brandon Kinzer Lexington, Ky. 6. Mike Potosky Guys Mills, Pa. 7. Todd Neiheiser Panama City, Fl. 8. Percy Gendreau Lima, Oh. 9. Scott Bane Tampa, Fl. 10. Ben McCann Tollesbro, Ky. 11. Dale Kelley Plant City, Fl. 12. Jimmy Lennex Jr Maysville, Ky. 13. Lj Grimm Seffner, Fl. 14. Rick Aukland Zanesville, Oh. DNS. Shane Burrows Valrico, Fl.

Modifieds B-Feature 2 1. Brayden Berry West Portsmouth, Oh. 2. Brad Deyoung Wheatfield, In. 3. Devin Wright Rensselaer, In. 4. Gary Eicher Mckean, Pa. 5. Matt Altiers Lewis Center, Oh. 6. Danny Schwartz Ashmore, Il. 7. Tim Sullivan Knox, In. 8. Kim Edington Marshall, Il. 9. Robin Lashley Buffalo, Oh. 10. Thomas Sigler St. Marys, Wv. 11. Tyler Teegardin Fort Wayne, In. 12. Beau Deyoung Demotte, In. DNS. Doug Dyal Auburndale, Fl. DNS. John Bradley Plant City, Fl.