By SCOTT LOCKWOOD
For the first three quarters of the 30th running of the Icebreaker 100 this weekend at Desoto Speedway, 2014 Brighthouse Series and Desoto track champion Jesse Dutilly looked like he’d start 2015 in a place he found quite often in 2014: victory lane.
But after a mechanical failure 26 laps from the end of the race brought the Bradenton’s driver’s hopes of winning the track’s biggest race of the year to a screeching halt it was veteran driver Jeff Scofield who was left holding the trophy in front of the sun-drenched crowd in Eastern Manatee County.
Dutilly started on the pole and led the first five laps before being overtaken by Scofield for the top spot. As Scofield, Dutilly, Chris Fontaine and Anthony Cataldi battled for the top spot Cataldi and Fontaine tangled, triggering a melee that collected several cars and sending Cataldi to the pits with damage. He was able to rejoin the field before the restart after quick repairs.
Dutilly passed Scofield for the lead on the outside on a lap 21 restart and wasted no time pulling out to a 10 car-length lead over Scofield, Fontaine and defending race winner Joe Boyd. He had over a one-second advantage over Scofield when the caution flew for Troy McNabb’s spin in turn four.
On the restart Dutilly held off a challenge from Scofield, Fontaine, Boyd and 14 year-old rookie Tyler Dipper, a dirt modified driver from New York making his first-ever start on asphalt. Dipper was challenging Boyd and Fontaine for fourth when he and Michael Atwell got together in turn two, sending Dipper into a spin.
Scofield and Boyd both got past Dutilly on the lap 51 restart. Dutilly finally got back around Boyd 10 laps later and needed only two more laps to pull off the outside pass on Scofield to get back out front.
As Dutilly began pulling away fluid began spraying out of the rear of his car. On lap 74 a large plume of smoke came from Dutilly’s car and two lapped cars spun in the oil. After several trips to the pits to repair the car, Dutilly’s day came to an end with an apparent rear end failure.
Boyd inherited the lead with 24 laps to go, but was passed by both Scofield and the restart. Dipper was challenging Boyd for third on lap 84 when he lost control of his car and slammed the wall in second corner.
Scofield, who said the oil left by Dutilly’s car made the track very slippery over the closing laps, held off a challenge from Fontaine with seven laps to go and went on to collect another Icebreaker 100 win.
“I’ve got to hand it to Chris and Joe because we hit that oil and we were bumping and grinding – and we kept our cool and showed some good sportsmanship,” Scofield said. “I’m not going to lie – I’m happy Dutilly broke because nobody could run with him. I’m not sure what he’s got…but he was gone.”
The runner-up finish was a good start of the season for Fontaine, who will run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona in two weeks.
“That was probably the cleanest Jeff and I have ever race,” Fontaine said. “It was fun but I wish we had a little more. None of us had anything for the 30 (Dutilly).”
Boyd followed up last year’s win with a third place finish. He said he needed about 20 more laps to give Scofield a serious challenge for the victory.
“We could have given him a run for his money,” Boyd said.
Nick Neri and Dylan Bigley rounded out the top five. Atwell, Billy Bigley, Scott Walters, Cataldi and Tyler Scofield finsihed sixth through 10th, respectively.
Sunday’s 50-lap Open Wheel Modified feature was another event that went down to the wire. Just one lap into the race, Steve Arnold and Doug Moff were racing down the back stretch side-by-side for the lead. The two cars made contact and spun directly in front of the 22-car field. Both cars were able to continue with Moff, who set fast time in qualifying, being sent to the rear.
After a rash of caution flags Arnold found himself in a fight for the lead with Devin McCleod and Travis Roland. Roland eventually got to the lead on lap 11 and was starting to pull away when the yellow flew again for Robert Haygood’s spin on lap 15.
Roland had built a solid lead before Wayne Jefferson began reeling him in over the final 10 laps. Roland and Jefferson made contact a couple of times and Jefferson appeared poised to take the lead when the caution flew for Travis Todd’s spin on lap 46.
Jefferson made Roland pay for taking the outside lane on the restart and easily took the lead as the field made its way on to the back stretch. On another restart Roland got into the back of Jefferson and caused him to spin, and Roland was sent to the rear of the field with just two laps left.
Jefferson would hold off a challenge from Cody Stickler on the final restart to take the win. Moff rallied to finish third, while Cameron Ray and L.J. Grimm rounded out the top five.
Winged Sprint Cars were the final headline event of the weekend. Dave Steele, who picked up the win in Saturday night’s 40-lap, non-wing sprint car event, started fourth in Sunday’s 50-lap feature and needed just half a lap to get to the tail of polesitter and early leader Ty DeCaire.
DeCaire put a little distance on Steele before catching traffic about 20 laps into the race. That allowed Steele, a three-time Little 500 champion to close quickly and eventually pass DeCaire for the lead at the halfway point. Steele went unchallenged the rest of the way to pick up the victory. DeCaire had a career-best second place finish, while Mickey Kempghens – the only other car to finish on the lead lap – was third.
In other action this weekend, Steve Darvalics led from flag-to-flag to take the 50-lap Pro Truck feature; Palmetto’s Billy Carlbert won the 30-lap Pure Stock feature; Rob Kohler won the three-quarter midget feature; Darin Coker won the 20-lap Legends feature; Bobby Mobley won Saturday’s 35-lap Street Stock feature; Kenny Gibson and James Wright III won Saturday and Sunday’s 30-lap Bomber features; and Mike Gamache won Saturday’s School Bus Figure 8 race.
Desoto Speedway returns to action on Feb. 28 . Pro Late Models, Street Stock, Pure Stock, Mini Stock, Rookie 4 and Bombers. It will also be Harley Davidson Night were Bubba Blackwell will be jumping over Harley Davidsons. Visit our web site at desotospeedway.net
DESOTO SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS
Super Late Model
1. 07s Jeff Scoffield Plant city…
2. 47 Chris Fontain Lakeland
3. 5 Joe Boyd Riverview
4. 17 Nick Neri Palmetto
5. 128 Dylan Bigley Napled
6. 51 Michael Atwell Naples
7. 28 Billy Bigley Jr. Naples
8. 13 Scott Waters Naples
9. 00 Anthony Cataldi Umatilla
10. 07 Tyler Scoffield Plant City
11. 72 Troy McNabb Naples
12.4 2 Eric Borges Naples
13.59x Dustin Dunn
14. 81 Tyler Dippele New York
15. 20 Anthony Sergi Geneva
16. 30 Jesse Dutilly Bradenton
17. 59 Jake Perkins Ocala
18. 4 Nick Hernandez Palmetto
19. 2 Brad Bowman Clearwater
20. 27 Coty Lane Port Richey D.N.S.
1. 88 Dave Steele Tampa
2. Ty Decaire Tampa
3. 5 Mickey Kempgens Tampa
4. 18 Shane Butler Bushnell
5. 92 Dave Retzlaff Brooksville
6. 22 Johnny Gilbertson Tampa
7. 15 Stan Butler Bushnell
8. 33 Ernie Teed Jr. Sarasota
9. 84 Mathew Hall Alpolo Beach
10. 3 Travis Bliemmeister Venice
11. 11 Joey Aguilar Tampa
1. 11c Billy Carlbert Palmetto
2. 63 Kyle Best Myakka City
3. 80x Chad Cummings Palmetto
4.98 Johnny Allen Lehigh
5. 8 Shane Leonard Cape Coral
6. 11h Casey Hill Zepherhills
7. 29f Donny Funk Orlando
8. 94 Rodney Tower St. Pete
9. 44 Rick Hess Englewood
10. 72 Roger Dufresne Bradenton
11. 36x James Widner Bradenton
12. 93 Dean Butrum Venice
13. 29l Brad Tindal Sarasota
14. 67 Jimmy Best Sarasota
15. 57 Aaron Holmes Auburndale
16. 25 Roy Healey Auburndale
17. X Cody Benoit Ft. Myers
18. 15 Clint Snyder North Port
19. 24 James Dellea 3rd. Port Charlotte
20. 26 Brian Hillyer North Port D.N.S.
Open Wheel Modified
1. 61 Wayne Jefferson Pineallas Park
2. 99 Cody Stickler Pinellas Park
3. 46 Doug Moff Ft. Myers Fast time
4. 9 Camron Ray Homosassa
5. 25 L.J. Grimm Seffner
6. 9x John Inman Dover
7.84 Rob Haygood Bradenton
8. 94 Dalton Nelson Pinellas Park
9. 37 Nick Hernandez Palmetto
10. 21 Devin McLeod Zephyrhills
11 75 Bobby Blake Lake County
12. 555 Ttravis Roland Lake Alfred
13. Ox Troy Robinson Wesley Chapel
14. 73 Donny Duchesne Lithia
15. 19 Steve Arnold Cape Coral
16. 56 Wayne Morris Mulberry
17. 2 Ralph Bowman Pinellas Park
18.00 Travis Todd Polk City
19. 0 Josh Todd Polk City
20. 98 Robby Cooper Bronson
21. 45 Greg Krom Sarasota
22. Cody Allen Ft. Myers
1. 56 James Wright Adale
2. 23x Brandon Dduchscherer Adale
3. 57 Aaron Holmes Adale
4. 6 Danny Burtchfield Adale
5. 25 Roy Healey Adale
6. 15 Clint Snyder North Port
7. 22 Ann Marie Ricardi Naples
8. 51 Roger Blivens Eagle Lake
9. 22x Randy Spicer New Port Richey
10. 10 Tristen Collins North Port
11. 24 Jeff Pacheco Port Charlotte
12. 23 Kenny Gibson Venice
13. 93 Jeff Firestine Venice
T. Q. Midgets
1.30 Rob Kohler Naples
2. 11 Jimmy Wilkins 3rd. Fort Pierce
3. 63 Mike Belusar Punta Gorda
4.7 Sam Mancuso Naples
5. 17 Mike Nelson Brandon
DESOTO SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS
1. 88 Dave Steele Tampa
2. 5 Mickey Kempgens Tampa
3. 18 Shane Butler Bushnell
4. 92 Dave Retzlaff Brooksville
5. 11 Joey Aguilar Tampa
6. 15 Stan Butler Bushnell
7. 3 Travis Bliemeiter Venice
8. 33 Ernie Teed Jr. Sarasota
9. Scotty Adema Ft. Myers
10.. 6 Matt Alfonso Tampa
11 22 Johnny Gilbertson Tampa
12. 84 Matthew Hall Apollo Beach D.N.S.
13. 1 Garrett Green Valrico DQ
1. 41 Steve Darvalics Venice
2. 50 Danny Anderson Bradenton
3. 36 Chad Chastain Alva
4. 59x Becca Monopoli Lakeland
5. 64 Brent Huber Venice
6. 14 Sam Scott Naples
7. 28 Cory Bigley Naples
8. 12 Scott Hogan Naples
9. 51 Phil Ellis Port Charlotte
10. 99 Cody Martell Arcadia
11. 5 Richard Griffis West Palm
12. 32 Dean Butrum Venice
13. 47 Timothy Bagnall Daytona Beach
14. 77 Randy Leonard Lake Placid
1. 29 Bobby Mobley Eagle Lake
2. 91 Andy Jackson Punta Gorda
3. 27 John Heidenthal Myakka city
4. 45 Mike Karrivan Bradenton
5. 77 James Dellea 3rd. Port Charlotte
6. 93x Joe Gentry Punta Gorda
7 1 Drew Allen Naples
8 29x Donnie Funk
9. 72 Roger Dufresne Bradenton
10. 93 Jeff Firestine Venice
11. 88 Jimmy Castleberry Bartow
12. 33 Ronnie Brock Jr. Sebring D.N.S.
1. 23 Kenny Gibson Venice
2.6 Danny Burchfield Auburndale
3.57 Aaron Holmes Auburndale
4. 93 Jeff Firestine Venice
5. 15 Clint Snyder North Port
6.25 No Name
7. 10 Tristan Collins North Port
8. 22 Anna Marie Ricardi Naples
9. 24 Jeff Pacheco Port Charlotte
10. 22x Randy Spicer New Port Richie
11 75 Josh Todd
12. 29 Bobby Mobley Eagle Lake
13. 0 Jimmy Castleberry Bartow
14. 34 Jody Gill Auburndale
15. 23x Bandon Duchscherer Aburndale D.N.S.
1. 00 Darin Coker Palm Beach
2. 5 Seth Adams Lakeland
3. 21 Devin McLeod Zephyhills
4. 7 Mike Verhaagh Ft.Myers
5. 26 Joey Langis Coral Springs
6.. 48fl Carl Haag Port St. Lucy
7. 23 Kenny Gibson Venice
8. 54 Tony Steinbuck Tamarac
9. 01 Doug Hall St. Pete
1. 0 Mike Gamache Tarpon Springs
2. 49 No Name
3. 25 No Name
4. 26 David McClafin Myakka City
5. 90 No Name
6. 4 Henry Petrowwicz Bradenton
7. 01 Amy Jones
8. 31 Shawn Senokossoff Clearwater