MANATEE COUNTY -- Shane Butler only needed a few laps of practice to know that his car was going to be a rocket ship during Saturday night's 40-lap non-wing sprint car feature at Desoto Speedway.
Butler's early thought proved to be correct as he went on to sweep both the heat race and feature events at the Bradenton facility.
Sport Allen, who easily won the last time the sprint cars ran on the 3/8-mile oval, started on the pole and quickly caught the back of the of the 22-car field. As Allen began lapping traffic, Butler made it three-wide and took the lead coming to the line at the end of the eighth lap.
Allen lost several spots while trying to lap traffic, with Mickey Kempgens and Collin Cabre taking second and third. The leaders ran nose-to-tail through the traffic, at times going three and four-wide.
Dave Retzlaff spun on lap 16 to bring out the yellow. While the cars were slowing down to avoid Retzlaff's stopped car in turn one, Kurt Taylor hit the wall hard but was uninjured.
Kempgens got back to second around Cabre lap 27. He was all over Butler for several laps until the yellow flew for Matt Alfonso's spin on lap 35.
Butler got the jump on the final restart and pulled away for the win.
"We unloaded early and went out for one hot lap...and we just parked it," said Butler, who was also celebrating his birthday in victory lane. "We didn't know anything else we could do to make it better. We put three new tires on before the heat race and went like hell."
Kempgens, Cabre, Allen and Keith Butler rounded out the top five.
After a long time spent in tech were Kempgens and Cabre did not pass that moved the 88 of Sport Allen, 19 Keith Butler, 2 Larry Brazil, 99 Kyle Bookmiller
up to the top five.
The J.D. Byrider Open Wheel Modifieds were the other main event on Open Wheel Appreciation Night. L.J. Grimm led the early stages and was locked in a three-way battle for the lead with Josh Todd and Nick Hernandez until a spin by Cameron Ray and Troy Robinson brought out the yellow on lap 13.
Todd passed Hernandez for second lap 15. Hernandez brought out the next caution when he spun on his own in turn three two laps later.
On the ensuing restart Todd got loose in the middle of turns one and two, triggering a chain reaction incident through the field that collected Wayne Jefferson and Kyle Bookmiller.
Grimm and Todd spent nearly 10 laps battling for the lead, even getting side by side several times in the process. On lap 26, Todd went high in turn one, opening the door for Cody Stickler. Todd and Stickler got together, sending both cars into the infield. Todd was sent to the rear of the field for causing the incident.
An apparent mechanical problem for Grimm on the restart gave the lead to Stickler. Stickler survived the final restart and pulled away for a comfortable win.
"Our car wasn't the best tonight, but sometimes you need some luck to go your way," Stickler said while celebrating his fourth win at Desoto this year. "That's what you need sometimes."
Dalton Nelson, Eric Purcell, Wayne Jefferson and John Inman rounded out the top five.
In other action Saturday night, Aaron Williamson won the Take Aim Gun Range Sportsman feature; Josh Hall took the win in the Bomber feature; Jimmy Best won the Rookie 4 feature; Darren Bass won the Dwarf Car feature; and Ronnie Robinson beat Randy Johnson in a photo finish in the Mini Stock feature.
Desoto Speedway is closed next weekend and will return to action on August 30 with the Pro Late Models.
DESOTO SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS
1. 18 Shane Butler Bushnell...
2.. 88 Sport Allen Pinellas Park
3. 19 Keith Butler Riverview
4. 2 Larry Brazil Tampa
5. 99 Kyle Bookmiller Riverview
6. 25 Steve Heisler Plant City
7. 84 Ernie Teed Jr. Sarasota
8. 9 Matt Alfonso Tampa
9. 2x Todd Donaldson Mulberry
10. 4 Geoff Steiner Cape Coral
11. 69 Ricd Voisey Wesley Chapel
12. 55 Tommy Nichols Plant City
13. 39 Alan Randisi Port Charlotte
14. 10x Sean Clark North Port
15. 1 Ty Decaire Tampa
16. 3 Travis Bliemeister Venice
17. 92 Dave Retzlaff Brooksville
18. 8 Kurk Taylor Tampa
19. 14 Rickie Corr Plant City
20 63 Terry Taylor Dunedin
21. 21 Collin Cambre Temple Terrace D.Q.
22. 5 Mickey Kempgens Tampa D.Q.
1. 13 Aaron Williamson Lakeland
2. 56 Brandon Morris Mulberry
3. 47 Ryan Pancoast N. Ft. Myers
4. 9 Brooke Storer Zeypherhills
5. 35 Greg Krom Sarasota
6. 4r Rick Reed Punta Gorda
7. 12 David Williamson Lakeland
Open Wheel Modified
1. 99 Cody Stickler Pinellas Park
2. 94 Dalton nelson Pinellas Park
3. 51 Eric Purcell St. Cloud
4. 3 Wayne Jefferson Pinellas Park
5. 59x John Inman Dover
6. 03 Kyle Bookmiller Riverview
7. 75 Bobby Blake Lake County
8. 84 Rob Haygood Bradenton
9. 25 L.J. Grimm Seffner
10. 0x Troy Robinson Wesley Chapel
11. 6 Dwayne Dempsey
12. 26 Jerry Cutting Tampa
13. 0 Josh Todd Polk City
14. 37 Nick Hernandez Palmetto
15. 4 Bobby Baldwin Oldsmar
16. 9 Camron Ray Homosassa
1. 21 Josh Hall Polk City
2. 75 Carl Thompson Auburndale
3. 22 Ann Marie Ricardi Naples
4. 57 Aaron Holmes Auburndale
5. 43 Mark Petty Venice
1. 05 Ronnie Robinson Bradenton
2. 73 Randy Johnson Bradenton
3. 91 Jessica Ostrovskis St. Pete
4. 3 Sherry Best Myakka
5. 91c Cameron Cruse Bradenton
6. 99 Johnny Marra Port Charlotte
7. 67 Jimmie Best Sarasota
1. 25 Darren Bass Clarcona
2. 26 J.D. Gordon Grand Island
3. 56 Larry Hubbard Jr. Cape Coral
4. 21 John Atherton Cape Coral
5. 33 Roger Richmond Port Charlotte
6. 36J Larry Hubbard Sr. Cape Coral
7. 17 John Bailey Sarasota
1. 67 Jimmy Best Sarasota
2. 15 Jorden Miller Bradenton
3. 42 Dustin Wilson Bradenton
4. 68 Jesse Hidenthal
5. 7 Kristen Milthaler North Port
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