The second season of the Short Track Simulation Circuit (STSC) started in dramatic fashion, as Cooter Bigsby won the Winter Warmup at Watermelon Capital Speedway after a mid-race incident with Satoshi Nakata.
The Toad Suck, Arkansas driver dominated the 90-lap race at the Cordele, Georgia facility, but the win doesn’t come without controversy. That is a result of an incident between himself and Nakata as the two drivers battled for the top spot on lap 53.
Nakata led the first 22 laps of the race after starting on the pole, but Bigsby closed the gap to Nakata when the Japanese driver encountered lapped traffic before taking the lead on lap 23. The two would engage in another battle for the lead near the 50-lap mark, leading to their dramatic incident.
While battling for the lead, the duo went three-wide with the lapped car of Red Clifford. Exiting turn four, Nakata and Bigsby made contact, sending themselves and Clifford into the wall. Bigsby drove away from the incident relatively unscathed, able to stay ahead of Spark Spencer III to keep the lead. However, Nakata fell to seventh as a result of the incident.
From there, Bigsby led the rest of the race, taking the first win of the season. Carl Downey finished third, followed by Rick James, Spencer, and Adderall Allmendinger.
Rookie of the Race: Naturally, Cooter Bigsby is the rookie of the race as the highest finishing driver out of the Season 2 class (and overall).
Golden Wheel: Bigsby takes the first step towards earning this season’s STSC Golden Wheel, awarded to the driver with the most victories each season.
Lapsetter: With a lap time of 17.096 seconds, Satoshi Nakata takes the first pole of the season, earning five bonus points for his effort.
Lead Dog Award: Bigsby led 66 of the 90 laps in the race, earning the five bonus points awarded to the “Lead Dog” at each event.