PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – Troy DeCaire trailed L.J. Grimm for most of Saturday night’s Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series event at Showtime Speedway, but pounced when it counted.
DeCaire took advantage of a lap-24 caution and a subsequent double-file restart to capture his fifth series victory of the season.
Daniel Miller got the night started off after setting quick time in qualifying with a lap of 12.532 seconds around the quarter-mile, slightly banked asphalt oval near St. Petersburg.
After the invert, the front row was comprised of LJ Grimm on the pole and teammate Sport Allen on the outside in the bright yellow Taylor Andrews-owned Hurricane Chassis cars.
Grimm immediately got the jump and lead the first 13 circuits before the yellow waved for the stalled car of Joey Aguilar in turn two.
To the surprise of many, Grimm chose the outside lane for the double-file restart. Grimm once again took command of the event from his outside starting position.
DeCaire trailed closely and was able to get alongside Grimm several times over the next 11 laps as Grimm’s machine began to drift high exciting turn two, just before the final caution waved on lap 24.
Grimm once again chose the outside lane with DeCaire on the inside point. This time DeCaire took command of the event for the first time on the restart and never looked back, leading the final 20 circuits, and winning by a margin of 2.855 seconds in the 44-lap feature event over second-place Grimm.
John Inman rounded out the top three.
Shane Butler, who was originally scheduled to compete in a Top Gun dirt event at Hendry County Motorsports Park before it was rained out, started last and finished an impressive fourth.
Butler had gotten as high as third place before making contact with another car and having to restart at the tail of the field late in the race.
With DeCaire’s fifth win, he now finds himself tied with Idaho’s Cory Lockwood for most pavement sprint car wins in the country this year.
DeCaire also appears to be in the driver’s seat to win the title for the second consecutive year, with three more events left on the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series calendar.
The Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series will be in action again Nov. 14 at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, Fla.
1. Troy DeCaire; 2. LJ Grimm; 3. John Inman; 4. Shane Butler; 5. Tommy Nichols; 6. Travis Bliemeister; 7. Mike Tharp; 8. Gary Wiggins; 9. Daniel Miller; 10. Sport Allen; 11. Joey Aguilar.