Warrior Fest II, A Salute to the Troops @ I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park, 7/7/12
By J M Hallas
Pleasanton, Tx.,(July 7th, 2012) As part of I-37 Raceway’s Independence Day celebrations, the track hosted the 2nd Annual Warrior Fest, Salute to the Troops. Started last year by Andrew and Victoria Hesler, the race supports the Wounded Warrior Foundation and Center for the Intrepid through donations by drivers and fans. Several drivers once again opted to start at the rear of their features, put on a show for the troops and fans, plus donate their winnings.
Hesler, a 14-year veteran before being discharged after an IED injury, was on the charge in his Limited Late Model feature until expiring his motor. Jarrett Payton choose the tail of the Pure Stock race, made his way up to sixth, spun and went to the back again, and finished sixth despite being on seven cylinders.
The IMCA Modified class saw another new winner, the third of the season, with Carson Bednarz holding off a former champ, Bill Pittaway at the finish. In the IMCA Southern Sportmods, two brothers Talon and Robby Minten put on the best show, of the perhaps the year, as they swapped the lead seven times during the 20-lap feature. Talon edged out Robby by about two feet at the checkers.
Jensen Pray returned, after a tech infraction cost him last week’s main, and redeemed himself taking the Limited Late Model honors. Karaline Campbell was on her way to possibly becoming a first time Pure Stock winner until losing the axle under yellow giving way to eventual winner, Adam Torres.
Last week’s hard luck award winner Wade Jones, who had a tire go down under yellow only two laps from the finish, made up for it grabbing the Street Stock win. Dillon Gaither, once again put it on the Front Runner field going flag to flag.
Bednarz Bests Modified Field for First Ever Win
Carson Bednarz ran the race of his young career and it paid off as he scored his first ever IMCA Modified victory. Bednarz got out front at the start of the 20-lap, 13-car main event, with three wide racing behind him for third. As the field sorted out it was Bednarz ahead of last week’s winner, Dennis Taylor, Chuck Chesler, Jason Borlace and Pittaway.
By halfway Bednarz was still holding point ahead of Taylor, while Pittaway made his way to third and Rick Green cracked the top five behind Chesler. In the latter stages, Pittaway got around Taylor for second, with Darin Leonard, coming from the back taking fifth from Green. No one had anything for Bednarz, in the A+ Boat Parts, Custom Classic Upholstery, Janke Race Engines, Qwik Chassis as he took his inaugural checkers.
“It was great,” said Bednarz. “It all finally came together. It feels good to finally get it(first win) under my belt. Now we check the car out, put it back together and try again next week. I could hear them coming. There are a lot bigger motors out here than mine. I learned that if you don’t spin out, you finish better than if you did. It’s a learning experience as I go.”
“I’m glad to see the car count going up. This was probably the biggest field this year. I get a lot of help from Jamie Campbell and Dennis Taylor. I’ve had a lot of good friends help me put this car together. It’s a good team thing. We’re friends during the week and friends on the track.”
“The only thing going through my head this weekend was keeping the front wheels in front and the rear wheels in back. If you keep it on the track things usually turn out pretty good. I prefer the dry slick tracks. When you have low horsepower you can get away with it. Plus it makes you a better driver and have more car control.”
16 Carson Bednarz, 137 Bill Pittaway, 49 Chuck Chesler, 26 Darin Leonard, 87 Dennis Taylor, 82 Rick Green, 21 Jason Borlace, 37b Don Banker, 77 Cory Lovell, 10b Ellis Tracy, 10r Robert Walton, 14x Kevin Schelling, 31 Marlin Samford, 24 Tracy Fink---DNS, 29 Jamie Campbell---DNS
IMCA Modified heats
Heat 1; 82 Rick Green, 31 Marlin Samford, 37b Don Banker, 26 Darin Leonard, 24 Tracy Fink
Heat 2; 87 Dennis Taylor, 137 Bill Pittaway, 16 Carson Bednarz, 10b Ellis Tracy, 10r Robert Walton
Heat 3; 49 Chuck Chesler, 21 Jason Borlace, 14x Kevin Schelling, 77 Cory Lovell, 29 Jamie Campbell
Sportmod Main Sees Sibling Rivalry go to Talon Minten
In certainly the most hotly contested race of the night, and perhaps the year, LaCoste young guns, Talon and Robby Minten put on a show for the fans as they battled each other tooth and nail for the IMCA Southern Sportmod trophy. At the start of the 20-lapper, Hunter Flanagan grabbed the early lead but gave way to T. Minten on lap 3. In the meantime, brother R. Minten was working his way to the front catching him before halfway.
Using the high side, R. Minten got the bumper out front at halfway ahead of T. Minten, Flanagan, Tommy Grimes and JJ Jennings. Unphased, T. Minten, in his uncle Ray Doyon’s car, retook the lead on lap 11, only to give it back to R. Minten on lap 13. T. Minten, having to run a near perfect lap on the bottom got the spot back on lap 15.
R. Minten, staying in the more forgiving high groove, got back on point for lap 16. Try as he could, R. Minten couldn’t shake his brother, who kept plugging along on the low side. Behind them Grimes and Jennings had their own battle for third, while Jason Kelly moved into a top five spot. T. Minten gave his big brother one last run as the white flag flew and with a good run off turn 4, beat him back to the line in the 3-D Landscaping, Doyon Motorsports, Rising Star Bodies, CD Tire, Spreen Race Engines, Express by 89 Chassis.
“I thought for sure he(Robby) had me the last lap,” commented T. Minten. “I guess my car had enough bite off the bottom to pass him coming back to the line. We ran side by side for almost half the race. Yes, I race him like he’s my brother. I race him harder and want to beat him more than the others.”
“Driving my uncle’s car made it easier to run the bottom. When you hit the brakes in his car it pitches it in, unlike my car that pushes more if you hit the brakes. Ray(Doyon) told me if I won I’d get to run his car at the Aaron Hudgeons Memorial in Edna next weekend.”
“I planned on using the bottom and it worked out. My friend Hunter(Flanagan) pushed up and I was able to get under him for the lead. “
IMCA Southern Sportmods
9(14t) Talon Minten, 4r Robby Minten, 26g JJ Jennings, 22t Tommy Grimes, 57 Jason Kelly, 2r Michael Hernandez, 37 Cody Leonard, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 18 Larry Jernigan, 2g Greg Lackey, 60 Pat Lyon, 14t(35) Eddy Ross, 11 Tom Grothues, 21 Barry Codling, 118 Anthony Gordon
IMCA SSM Heats
Heat 1; 26g JJ Jennings, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 2r Michael Hernandez, 57 Jason Kelly, 2g Greg Lackey
Heat 2; 118 Anthony Gordon, 9 Talon Minten, 18 Larry Jernigan, 14t Eddy Ross, 60 Pat Lyon
Heat 3; 22t Tommy Grimes, 37 Cody Leonard, 21 Barry Codling, 11 Tom Grothues, 4r Robby Minten
Pray Preys on Limited Late Model Field
After a disappointing disqualification last week for a technical infraction(wheels), McAllen’s Jensen Pray returned with one thing in mind, win legal. That’s just what he did. Ron Sprayue was first out front as green waved on the 20-lap feature, but gave up the lead to Pray on lap 6. As Pray started to pull away, Hesler who was on a charge from the back blew up to bring out a yellow.
Once back to green flag racing Pray wasted little time rebuilding his advantage over Sprayue who now had defending track champ, Trey Votion on his tail. Votion was finally to get the runner-up spot, but was far behind Pray who was on cruise control making his way to the finish in his McAllen Automotive, Tim Pray powered, CJ Rayburn Chassis.
“This makes up for losing the win last week,” stated Pray. “It’s great to go home with a win after driving three and half hours to come race with these guys. We wanted to come back and prove to everyone we could win legally, plus we’re trying to help build the class and support the troops. We try to come here when we can and the track in Corpus is off.”
“We got lucky today with the track. I love dry slick and our car turns real good and rotates on them. We had a good show tonight. I came up here hearing there were some fast cars up here. There’s not a lot of set up difference between here and Corpus. Basically all we had to do was change some air pressure.”
Limited Late Models
1* Jensen Pray, 99 Trey Votion, 42 Ron Sprayue, 6 Craig Crawley, 23 Richard Schelling, 7 Richard Bartosh, 10 Chris Brock, 14 Gary Hunter, 1x Andrew Hesler, 117/13 Howie Marcx
Limited Late Model heat winners; 1* Jensen Pray, 99 Trey Votion
Street Stock Scramble Goes to Jones
After seeing victory snatched from his hands the previous week in the final laps, Jourdanton’s Wade Jones returned with a vengeance and took it out on a stout Street Stock field. Richard Wells got out front as the 20-lap, 16-car event began. Wells ceded the lead to AJ Wernette on lap 4, but after Wernette spun battling with Wells, both were sent to the tail.
This gave the lead to Curtis Opiela who had Jones challenging as the race went back to green. Jones was just making the pass when Dathan Faulkner and Rick Schroat slapped the wall to bring out a yellow and erase the pass. Jones wasted little time back under green getting by Opiela, driving Jones’ championship car from previous years.
Last week’s benefactor, Brain Becka got second from Opiela and closed to Jones’ rear bumper under caution. But history would not repeat itself as Jones kept all four tires under him as was able to ease away to grab the win in his Opiela Mechanical, SABFI Transportation, Mission Race Engines, Mobil 1, Swenson Racing, 74 Ranch Resort, Cowgirl Creations, Camaro.
“I needed the win,” replied Jones. “It eases the pain of last week’s loss. I know now not to groove my tires so deep. I really didn’t take that easy on Curtis(Opiela) in the heat race. He was running the groove and had the line. He beat me fair and square. He’s ready to win his first feature. Maybe next week I’ll let him run out front a little longer.”
“I was glad to see seventeen cars tonight. This class just continues to grow. The more cars the better. Starting further back in the field is fun, but tearing up cars isn’t. I had no idea what groove to run ahead of time. I thought the bottom was going to be good, but it was slick. The top felt real good.”
“We’ll be running the Street Stock Shootout in Edna next weekend and I hope it goes dry slick.” added the defending Shootout champion. “I won down there last year and another win would be awesome. We use a little less roll out down there than here, and we use a lot more brake.”
Alamo Hot Rod Parts Street Stocks
41 Wade Jones , 9 Brian Becka, 141 Curtis Opiela, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 15 Tommy Casey, 37 AJ Wernette, 7 Justin Henley, 18 Shawn Moore, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 2x Dennis Hilla, 1 Tator Mason, 10 David Grobe, 82 Richard Wells, 11w Dathan Faulkner, 5 Rick Schroat, 40 Mike Lyon---DQ(Unsportsmanlike conduct)
Street Stock heat winners; 7 Justin Henley, 141 Curtis Opiela, 37 AJ Wernette
Torres Tops in Pure Stocks
San Antonio’s Adam Torres was best of the bunch again as he backed up last week’s win in the 24/7 Towing, Tator Plumbing, Screen Pro Graphics, Chevy. At the start Karaline Campbell, coming back from a hard crash the previous race, jumped to the lead, while Payton made his Wounded Warrior charge from the back.
With Campbell still holding the point, Payton made his way to sixth before looping his ride trying to get fifth. Torres worked up to second behind Campbell and during a caution got the lead when the axle from Campbell’s car slid out in turn 4 ending her chance for a first win. Torres was able to get away from former champ, Janel Hilla back under green, while Payton marched his way back a sixth place finish.
“It was tough out there tonight,” said Torres. “There was a different line in each turn. I almost lost it by myself twice, but got ahold of the wheel and kept on trucking. That was a bad break for Karaline(Campbell). She’s tough. I tried to get past under her, but she was running the (fast) line.”
“I run everyone the same. We have three ladies in the class and I run them like anyone else. I’m just looking to finish in the top three and get those points for the championship. Without having Johnny(Torres) in his Sportmod out it kind of hurts me because we help other out on which line to run. But I came home with the win tonight.”
“I’m leading the points and just want to stay ahead in case I break or have a bad night. We get to drop our worst two races so it doesn’t hurt our points as bad as the IMCA cars that can’t drop any races.”
66 Adam Torres, 7x Janel Hilla, 5 Ryan Doyon, 95 Jerry Jones, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 9s Jarrett Payton, 117 Devin Adler, 15 William Cavender, 14 Trey Heald, 83 Kary Scott, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 10c Karaline Campbell, 1c2 Dustin Blessing, 28 Darrin Blevins, 60 Adam McKinley, 57 Ben Franke
Pure Stock heat winners; 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 1c2 Dustin Blessing, 10c Karaline Campbell
Gaither Goes Green to Checkers
Adding to his championship bid, Dillon Gaither(Floresville) once again showed the Front Runner field nothing but the rear bumper of his First Choice House Leveling, Rohmer Racing, CNC Grafix, Rays Auto & Truck, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, TJ Hopper, Tiburon. Gaither made a quick start and was out front as the 12-car, 15-lap Front Runner feature took the green flag. Gaither, who lost the heat race to Landon Sowder in traffic, sliced through slower cars as he put distance on Sowder, Jordan Sandoval and Trevor Bettis.
“I just tried to get to the front and go,” commented Gaither. “That was pretty much my plan on the start. I didn’t really think I jumped the initial start, but I saw Steve(Ramzinski) shaking his finger at me. I was right there with them at the flag stand and didn’t think I passed too soon.”
“I didn’t know how close anyone was to me. I just get out there and drive my own race. If Landon(Sowder) got around me, then he got around me. I just try to do my own thing. I took it a little easy in heat race with slower cars, just see how the car would be for the feature.”
5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder, 69 Jordan Sandoval, 57 Trevor Bettis, 8k Bill McCall, 17 Kirstin Blevins, 05 Taylor Collins, 113 Hailee Marcx, 67 Jimmy Carroll, 82 Sam Markgraf, 4 Jeremy Witt, 8t Thomas Franklin
Front Runner heat winners; 4Jeremy Witt, 08 Landon Sowder
Jr. Division; 93 Cavin Leddy, 48 Isaiah Lambert, 60 Chase Schanen, 07 Lauren Wells
Sr. Division; 60 Logan Schanen, 37 Aaron Trevino, 11 Caitlyn Leddy, 9 Camryn Leddy, 07 Duell Arnold, 82 Andrew Garcia
I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park, 6/23/12
By J M Hallas
Pleasanton, Tx.,(June 23rd, 2012) After a scheduled week off, I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park returned to action on the ¼ mile, semi-banked dirt track. Being the first race of summer, the on-track action in Sportmods, Street Stocks and Pure Stock was as hot as the south Texas sun as drivers battled to the finish on the dry slick track conditions at feature time.
In action tonight were the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods, Limited Late Models, Street and Pure Stocks, Front Runners and making their I-37 Raceway debut, the Texana Dwarf Cars. This club is kind of a marriage of the Dwarf Cars and Modifieds, with a Dwarf Car chassis and motorcycle motor, but Modified sheet metal body styles.
Pittaway Picks up Modified Payday
After several runs as a bridesmaid, Corpus Christi’s Bill Pittaway finally grabbed his first win of the season. Pittaway, a two-time I-37 track champion, got by Carson Bednarz for the lead near halfway using the high side to go around for the spot. From there Pittaway was able to ease away to a comfortable lead in the 15-lap main.
On the initial start Marlin Samford, from the pole, spun in front of the field. Darin Leonard, Chuck Chesler and Pittaway all got caught up in the scramble. The second try saw Leonard back over the turn 3 hill. Finally under green, Samford led through turns 1-2, but it was Rob Sanderson with the advantage coming off turn 4 with the lead and Samford, Bednarz, Jason Borlace and Chesler hot on his heels.
Bednarz and Borlace got by Samford for second and third on lap 1, followed by Chesler to fourth on lap 2. Sanderson slid too high in turn 2 giving up the lead to Bednarz on lap 4. Borlace moved in to challenge Bednarz, while Jamie Campbell made his way up to fourth. Chesler made contact with Campbell on lap 5 sending Chesler around for a yellow that saw Dennis Taylor stop under caution.
On the restart Borlace slowed and pulled to the infield with a blown motor. Pittaway caught Bednarz for the lead on lap 7 and made his way by to lead lap 8. Coming to halfway it was Pittaway, Bednarz, Leonard, Sanderson and Chesler in the top five. Chesler and Campbell both worked past Sanderson on lap 10 for fourth and fifth.
Campbell then put Chesler in his wake while Pittaway was easing away. With two to go Pittaway had a big lead over Bednarz and Leonard, who now had Campbell on their bumper. Campbell made a last lap pass on both for second, but Pittaway was cruising to the win in his CD Electric, Wells Racing Engines, Harris Chassis.
“I just ran a smooth, consistent race,” explained Pittaway. “We put a new body on the car and Darin(Leonard) came over and tweaked on the suspension some. The track was really dry slick. You had to go to the top. There was nothing in the middle or bottom. I tried to keep it up on the bars and it ran real smooth.”
“Patience! You can’t get in a hurry. Guys that got in a hurry got their cars torn up. I’m glad to take mine home and not have to work on it this week. I do have some changed I want to make though. Still have a few tricks up my sleeve. I was fortunate to have Ron Efkamp come down from Harris and help me with the new chassis. It’s nice to have the manufacturer come give hands-on help with the car.”
“I do think about running for points even though I’ve won championships in 2006 and 2010. Right now we’re pretty tight in points. I was in third behind Jamie(Campbell) and Chuck(Chesler). I picked up a point on first and should be tied for second now. I have a good time racing with Jamie, Chuck, Darin and Jason(Borlace). We’re all good friends and have fun racing. That’s what it’s all about.”
137 Bill Pittaway, 29 Jamie Campbell, 16 Carson Bednarz, 26 Darin Leonard, 49 Chuck Chesler, 24 Tracy Fink, 141 Rob Sanderson, 31 Marlin Samford, 21 Jason Borlace, 87 Dennis Taylor, 37b Matt Banker---DNTG
IMCA Modified heats
Heat 1; 26 Darin Leonard, 49 Chuck Chesler, 21 Jason Borlace, 16 Carson Bednarz, 31 Marlin Samford, 37b Matt Banker
Heat 2; 87 Dennis Taylor, 137 Bill Pittaway, 29 Jamie Campbell, 24 Tracy Fink, 141 Rob Sanderson
Minten Out-Muscles Sportmod Field for Win
Robby Minten(La Coste) had the battle of young career with Patrick Kelly at the beginning of the IMCA Southern Sportmod feature. R. Minten would get inside P. Kelly coming off the corner, but P. Kelly with the momentum up top would hold the point. After several attempts off turn 2, R. Minten tried off turn 4 and eased by coming to the crossed flags. A late caution put multi-time winner, JJ Jennings on his tail, but R. Minten held off Jennings to pick up the victory.
As the 16-car IMCA Southern Sportmod main took the green P. Kelly jumped ahead with R. Minten making a charge to second chased by Jason Kelly, Michael Hernandez and Tommy Grimes. Hernandez and Grimes got past J. Kelly, but Grimes lost positions after slipping high in turn 4. R. Minten made his first challenge on P. Kelly during lap 2.
Back in the back, Anthony Gordon and JJ Jennings were cutting through the field moving to fifth and sixth. Gordon continued his march getting fourth from Grimes on lap 4 and third from Hernandez a lap later. R. Minten again gave P. Kelly a good look on lap 6, but was unable to get clear. Johnny Torres made contact with Hernandez sending him around, and J. Torres to the tail on lap 7.
R. Minten ducked low again on the restart, but P. Kelly held the line. R. Minten tried again in turn 4 this time and got enough bite off the bottom to get the spot on lap 9, with Gordon following to second. Coming to the crossed flags it was R. Minten, Gordon, Grimes, Jennings and P. Kelly, giving up a couple more positions.
As R. Minten and Gordon inched ahead, Jennings and Grimes were side by side for third, P. Kelly and Cody Leonard wheel to wheel for fifth, with Ray Doyon III, Hernandez and Larry Jernigan three wide for seventh. After three laps, Jennings finally got the spot from Grimes, with p. Kelly, Leonard and Jernigan now three abreast.
R. Minten ran up on his brother, Talon Minten and finally had to lap him adding a buffer between him and Gordon. Jennings took over that spot on lap 18, but nowhere near R. Minten. Jennings got his chance when Doyon, R. Minten’s uncle got spun by Jernigan for a lap 19 caution. R. Minten got a good jump on green leaving Jennings behind as he tallied the win in the 3-D Landscaping, Doyon Motorsports, Ace Transmission, Shepherds Racing Engines, Empire Chassis. The middle of the pack was forced to scatter after Grimes did a 360 spin that sent Alan Torres into the wall.
“I had to keep it up top,” commented Minten. “I couldn’t get by the 84(Patrick Kelly) on the low side. He gave me a hell of a run, but I finally got by him and got away. It was pretty fun. I wanted to win tonight. I had it in my head to win.”
“I knew the high line was going to be the line. I know that JJ(Jennings) is real good on the low line and that he would be coming sooner or later. He came up next to me under that last caution and we gave each other the ‘thumbs up’, let’s race.”
“I tried to stay behind Talon and not lap him. I finally had to go past him because I was afraid someone would go by on the bottom if I followed him around the top. There was too much left in the race.
IMCA Southern Sportmods
4r Robby Minten, 26g JJ Jennings, 118 Anthony Gordon, 37 Cody Leonard, 9 Ray Doyon III, 84k Patrick Kelly, 2r Michael Hernandez, 11 Tom Grothues, 57 Jason Kelly, 18 Larry Jernigan, 10 Eric Robbins jr., 22t Tommy Grimes, 94 Alan Torres, 14t Talon Minten, 60 Pat Lyon, 66 Johnny Torres
IMCA SSM heats
Heat 1; 118 Anthony Gordon, 57 Jason Kelly, 26g JJ Jennings, 84k Patrick Kelly, 14t Talon Minten
Heat 2; 22t Tommy Grimes, 37 Cody Leonard, 4r Robby Minten, 60 Pat Lyon, 10jr Eric Robbins Jr.
Heat 3; 66 Johnny Torres, 2r Michael Hernandez, 9d Ray Doyon III, 18 Larry Jernigan, 94 Alan Torres, 11 Tom Grothues
Crawley Captures Limited Late Model Loot
San Antonio’s Craig Crawley found what no one else did during the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature, grip. Crawley, using the low groove caught early leader Chris Brock and got the top spot before halfway. Once clear Crawley, in the Odie Racing, Duffin Engine Service, Ron and Nina Crawley, Garfield and Ruth Shanklin, Danny’s Bar-B-Q, CNC Graffix, Chevy motored away for the win.
Brock led the pack into turn 1 at the start, trailed by Howie Marcx, Richard Bartosh, Crawley and Gary Hunter. Crawley wasted little time getting by Bartosh and Marcx for second, bringing Bartosh along to third while Trey Votion moved past Hunter to fifth. Crawley caught Brock on lap 5 and worked his way past for the top spot on lap 6.
As Crawley started to gap the field, Votion got fourth from Marcx. With Crawley sailing away, Bartosh reeled in Brock for second, with Votion closing on both. As Crawley was cruising to the checkers, Votion slipped in turn 2 losing ground, while Brock and Bartosh traded some paint off turn 4 as they fought to the finish.
“We made some adjustments between the heat and feature,” said Crawley. “We changed a spring and pumped up the tires like we were running asphalt and it worked like a charm. Hitting the line tonight was all about throttle control. I missed it a few times. As long as you could get it to rotate through the corner and stay on the bottom I could get traction with the left rear tire.”
“I slowly worked my way up past the others to Chris Brock. It was slow reeling him in. Once I got up next to him I knew I could get by him. I had no idea where anyone was behind me, I thought for sure there would be a freight train coming. It felt like I was running really slow.”
Limited Late Models
6 Craig Crawley, 10 Chris Brock, 7 Richard Bartosh, 99 Trey Votion, 13 Howie Marcx, 1x Andrew Hesler, 42 Ron Sprayue, 14 Gary Hunter
Limited Late Model heat winners; 7 Richard Bartosh, 13 Howie Marcx
Gordon Grabs Green in Street Stocks
After picking up his first Street Stock feature win the previous race, Anthony Gordon(San Antonio) backed it up with another trophy. In a hotly contested race that saw numerous lead changes and a three abreast scrap for the lead, the young hot shoe finally secured the lead as the race reached the mid-point. Gordon then had to hold off multi-time track champ, Wade Jones and was able to pull away to snag the win.
Brian Becka was first into turn 1 as the 13-car Street Stock feature fired off. AJ Wernette gave Becka a look low off turn 2, but fell in line with Gordon, Dennis Hilla and Jones in pursuit. Wernette got alongside Becka again on lap 1, but had Gordon sneak past for second. Gordon then went side by side with Becka and got the nose out front on lap 4.
Becka fought back retook the point on lap 5, with Jones now joining the fight and making it three wide for the lead. Jones got spot as they hit lap 6 with Becka on his flank. A spin by Nathan Robins slowed the action on lap 7. On the restart Gordon got by Becka for second while Johnny Torres took fourth from Wernette.
Gordon tried the high side and got beside Jones taking the lead back as the field hit halfway, with Becka, Torres and Wernette rounding out the top five. Becka’s top run turned ugly when he slid off the back stretch into the billboards. He was alright, but the car was unable to continue. Once back to green Okruhlik, challenged his teammate Wernette for fourth, as they swapped the spot.
Up front Gordon was beginning to build an advantage over Jones, while Mike Lyon got around Okruhlik for the fifth spot. As the white flag waved it was Gordon now by a half straightaway going unchallenged to the checkers in the Alamo Hot Rod Parts, Screen Pro Graphics, Dewalt Tools, RTM Construction, Swenson Race Products, Delivery made Simple, Rising Star Racing Bodies, Mission Race Engines, Swenson Chassis.
“It’s definitely a competitive class,” replied Gordon. “Jumping into it(this class) we knew that Wade(Jones) was going to be tough and Frank(Okruhlik) was moving up and to be in the mix we really had to be on our A game. We’re just dialing the car in race by race.”
“Knowing I was three wide I mainly just wanted to keep the fenders on the car. It’s a great bunch of guys and we’re all clean racers. It kind of takes your breath away going three wide and not know what’s going to happen, especially on dirt. I let them go to battle it out and capitalized when it mattered.”
“After racing in the Sportmod I knew the groove was going to be up top. I ran higher than I’ve probably ever been here. Starting seventh I had to search for my line. I tried the middle and the bottom and found the high side was the way to go. No one could touch me up there.”
“I was glad to see Brian(Becka) get out of his car. When we went by under yellow I saw his car sitting on a 45% angle in the billboard. It’s good he was alright.”
Alamo Hot Rod Street Stocks
118 Anthony Gordon, 41 Wade Jones, 1 Johnny Torres, 37 AJ Wernette, 40 Mike Lyon, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 3 Abraham Mares III, 2x Dennis Hilla, 726 Robert Robbins, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 04 Nathan Robins 141 Curtis Opiela, 9 Brian Becka, 82 Richard Wells---DNS, 11w Nathan Faulkner---DNS
Alamo Hot Rod Street Stock heat winners; 118 Anthony Gordon, 9 Brian Becka
Lucky Leddy Takes Pure Stocks
They say ‘it’s better to be lucky, than good’, but being good enough to capitalize on the chance to be lucky is part of the equation. Aaron Leddy(Von Ormy), in an unfamiliar ride from the Earnhardt Racing stable, found himself in the right place at the right time at the Pure Stock finish. Leddy, third at the time, watched as Adam Torres and Ryan Doyon got together in turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. As the duo hooked up and headed towards the infield, Leddy snuck past to steal the victory.
The 18-car, 20-lap Pure Stock feature saw Jeremy Hernandez lead the initial start, but Ben Franke and Trey Heald got tangled as Torres beat Hernandez back to the line. Hernandez fell in line second, with Karaline Campbell, Doyon and Darin Blevins in pursuit. Janel Hilla got past Blevins and Jarrett Payton for fifth. Doyon began his move to the front getting by Campbell on lap 5 and Hernandez on lap 6.
Behind him, Campbell and Hilla were door to door, with Brandy Ramzinski catching the two other Pure Stock ladies. Once past Campbell, Hilla went after Hernandez for third as Ramzinski took fifth. Enter Leddy, who after starting dead last, made the top five on lap 13. Leddy then passed Ramzinski for fourth and then by Hilla before she spun on lap 16.
Once back to green, Torres Doyon and Leddy pulled ahead, as Doyon took a look low off turn 4. Doyon and Leddy were side by side on lap 17, but Torres held the faster line. While the duo scrapped it out for the lead, Leddy looked for an opening or mistake. With two to go Leddy was looking outside Doyon for second but Doyon not only held the spot, but kept the pressure on Torres.
Doyon got under coming off turn 2 on the final lap, but Torres inched back ahead on the back stretch. Doyon again ducked low in turn 4 and as the two touched and hooked up, Leddy, in the Big Lou’s Pizza, Bubbas Burgers, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, CNC Graffix, Reflective Wrecker Service, Auto Care Paint & Body, Custom Control Modules, Chevy, slipped past to snag the win. Torres and Doyon, the two points leaders, stayed hooked and crossed the line, literally, door to door.
“Charles(Earnhardt) took me to drive it like I stole it,” joked Leddy. “So, I did. Those two were running pretty strong in front of me. Once I saw then get together, I saw the door open up. When we took the white flag I was content with settling for third. I just tried to keep with them and hope they made a mistake. They were driving each other hard and the door opened up for me.”
“We had the body rubbing some on the right rear. The body got roughed up last race and we tried to straighten it out. We got most of it but must have missed a spot. So we got lucky that it didn’t cut the tire down.”
33x Aaron Leddy, 66 Adam Torres, 5 Ryan Doyon, 57 Ben Franke, 10c Karaline Campbell, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 117 Devin Adler, 7x Janel Hilla, 1c2 Dustin Blessing, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 14 Trey Heald, 15 William Cavender, 28 Darren Blevins, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 9s Jarrett Payton, 19 Brent Reeves, 95 Jerry Jones, 60 Adam McKinley
Pure Stock heat winners; 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 7x Janel Hilla, 117 Devin Adler
Gaither Green to Checkers in Front Runner
Dillon Gaither(Floresville) put one on the Front Runner field during the 12-lap feature. Gaither jumped out front as green waved and showed the pack nothing but his tail lights as he cruised off to the checkers. The closest anyone got was under a yellow for debris, but Gaither was again to rebuild his lead in the Rohmer Racing, First Choice House Leveling, TJ Hopper, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, Rays Auto & Truck Salvage, CNC Graffix, Tiburon
“I just kept the car out of trouble,” stated Gaither. “I drove my own race, kept the car smooth as I could, working the throttle. When I get out to a big lead sometimes I start over thinking. I almost messed up once in turn 3, but I was able to bring it back down. I guess seat will help with that.”
“I worry about the car failing now and then since it’s happened before. I do go over it every week now and do a nut and bolt check on everything. I guess it helps when you work on it to keep it going.”
5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder, 113 Hailee Marcx, 8t Ryan Franklin, 66c Cindy Snider, 82 Sam Markgraf
Front Runner heat winner; 5 Dillon Gaither
Sexton Sweep Texana Dwarf Cars
In their first appearance at I-37 Raceway, the Texana Dwarf Cars fielded 8 cars for the 15-lap feature. It was the Greg Sexton show as he went wire to wire to pick up the win. Sexton was able to put some distance on his son, Greg Sexton jr. and Mike Christians, who were battling it out for second and losing ground to the leader.
Texana Dwarf Cars
14 Greg Sexton, 7 Greg Sexton jr., 13 Mike Christians, 2ez Easy Casey, 1 Ken Bulsterbaum, 11 Jerry Godfrey, 89 Geoff Youngblood, 24 Victor Vargas
Texana Dwarf Car heat winner; 14 Greg Sexton
37 Aaron Trevino
11 Caitlyn Leddy
82 Andrew Garcia
9 Camryn Leddy
93 Cavin Leddy
South Texas Street Stock Shootout, round 1 @ I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Pak, 5/19/12
South Texas Street Stock Shootout, round 1 @ I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Pak, 5/19/12
By J M Hallas
Pleasanton, Tx.,(May 19th, 2012) I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park hosted round 1 of the Allgayer Inc., South Texas Street Stock Shootout on the ¼ mile, semi-banked clay oval. 36 drivers, representing the five tracks signed in for their chance to pick up the increased prize money, trophy and series bragging rights.
The Street Stocks qualified through 6 heats, taking the top 3 to the A-main, plus 2 B-mains transferring the top 3 finishers. The six heats race winners would run a time trial session with the fastest driver grabbing the pole, and the $100 pole award put up by Opiela Mechanical. Other bonus awards included a $100 hard charger award, for the driver improving the most positions, (2) $25 B-main winner bonuses, all sponsored by Opiela Mechanical and $100 bonus to the winner put up by Alamo Hot Rod.
Included in the night’s action were the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods, Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks, running heats and features, with the Front Runners racing a feature only.
Jourdanton’s Jones Joyous in Winners Circle
Defending series champion, and multi-time Street Stock track titlist, Wade Jones took home the victory in the 25 lap feature event. Jones was positioned to capitalize on the misfortune of Anthony Gordon in the waning laps. Jones, who led lap 1, gave way to Gordon on lap 2 who then pulled out to good margin and looked to be the runaway winner.
But Lady Luck can be unforgiving and bit Gordon as the laps wound down. Gordon, while dicing through traffic had the motor go flat allowing Jones to reel him in. Jones retook the point with two laps to and charged on to the win in the Opiela Mechanical, 74 Ranch Resort, SABFI, Mobil 1, Jeff’s Rebuilders, Mission Race Engines, Camaro.
Gordon, with a sour motor, was able to hang on to second chased by Stephan Danielson. Coming from a B-main, AJ Dancer, who earned the hard charger award, worked his way up to fourth, with Brian Becka rounding out the top five.
41 Wade Jones, 118 Anthony Gordon, 149 Stephan Danielson, 52 AJ Dancer, 9(53) Brian Becka, 31k Brian King, 00 Buster Dean, 3 Abraham Mares III, 88j Bobby Jack, 15 Tommy Casey, 141 Donny Horelka, 4 David McGuire, 77 Chris Shafer, 55 Lauren Chamberlain, 82 Richard Wells, 7 Justin Henley, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 40 Mike Lyon, 11 Shawn Kline, 04 Nathan Robbins, 18 Shawn Moore, 726 Robert Robbins, 35 Tony Blankenship, 93 Aaron Leddy
Street Stock heat winners; 41 Wade Jones, 149 Stephan Danielson, 40 Mike Lyon, 118 Anthony Gordon, 3 Abraham Mares III, 31k Brian King
Pole Time Trials; 41 Wade Jones, 18.32, 118 Anthony Gordon, 18.37, 149 Stephan Danielson, 19.05, 3 Abraham Mares III, 19.35, 40 Mike Lyon, 19.40, 31k Brian King, 19.83
Street Stock B-main winners; 52 AJ Dancer, 15 Tommy Casey
Pole award($100) Wade Jones, Hard Charger award($100) AJ Dancer
Chesler’s Checkers First Ever in IMCA Modified
Newcomer to I-37 Raceway, Chuck Chesler held on for dear life as he captured his first IMCA victory at I-37. After several aborted starts, Chesler took the lead from Marlin Samford on lap 3. Defending track champ, Greg Dinsmore caught Chesler and was on his way by when yellow waved giving Chesler the spot back. Dinsmore kept the pressure on after the ensuing restart until he banged the wall and cut down a tire.
Jamie Campbell was next to take up the challenge after the restart, but was unable to keep pace with Chesler who inched away. 2010 track champ, Bill Pittaway got by Campbell for second, but never got close enough to mount a charge as Chesler in the Avon, Mission Race Engines, ‘Hair’built Chassis motored to his inaugural IMCA win. Campbell held third over Darin Leonard and Tracy Fink.
“This is my first ever win in a Modified,” exclaimed Chesler. “It’s been a lot of hard work, lots of hours in the garage and lots of money. I thought I was going to win one once before, but got dumped head-on into the wall. I’ve been a bridesmaid several time and finished top five in a Modified and won in a Sportmod back up in Minnesota running at our local track in Princeton. Up there we raced under Wis-sota rules with a spec motor, so it’s a little different with IMCA.”
“We moved down here in 2009 after the local economy tanked and started putting this car together. We finally got it finished and have been trying to get it figured out. We’ve finally got it going in the right direction. This is one of the best cars I’ve ever had. A good friend of ours, Stan, helps us out a lot.”
“I saw (Greg) Dinsmore once in turn 2,” added the former motocross and shifter kart racer. “I tried pull away from him the best I could. It felt like the top was going away in turns 3-4, so I changed my line to the bottom. I thought those (fast) guys would be coming, but never saw anyone else after that.”
“I’m just out there to have some fun and hopefully collect some more trophies. I’ve tried points racing before and that takes more time and money than I have to invest right now. We went through five motors and two cars one year trying for points.”
49 Chuck Chesler, 37 Bill Pittaway, 29 Jamie Campbell, 26 Darin Leonard, 24 Tracy Fink, 16 Carson Bednarz, 37b Donald Banker, 31c Marlin Samford, 5t Tommy Warner, 141 Rob Sanderson, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 53x Matt Fox, 21 Jason Borlace, 721 Doug Cameron
IMCA Modified heat winners; 37 Bill Pittaway, 8g Greg Dinsmore
Jennings Jammin’ in Sportmod Scramble
JJ Jennings(Corpus Christi) snagged his fourth win of the season making a late run in the 20-lap feature. Allen Torres got out front early as the pack scrambled for positions. Just past halfway A. Torres gave up the lead to Robbie Minten, while Jennings was working forward from his mid-pack starting spot.
Jennings, in the G&M Oilfield Services, Bud Light, WFI Waste Management, CB’s Race Engines, Western Flyer Chassis, ran down R. Minten and got the spot with three to go. From there, Jennings put some distance on R. Minten as he ran on to the checkers. R. Minten held on to second with Robert Williams making a last lap pass on A. Torres for third and defending champ, Johnny Torres coming home fifth.
IMCA Southern Sportmods
26g JJ Jennings, 4r Robbie Minten, 02 Robert Williams, 94 Allen Torres, 66 Johnny Torres, 57 Jason Kelly, 37 Cody Leonard, 22t Tommy Grimes, 118 Anthony Gordon, 18 Larry Jernigan, 14t Talon Minten, 174 Mickey Helms, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 51 Greg Rohmer, 84k Patrick Kelly, 2g Greg Lackey, 11 Tom Grothues, 60 Pat Lyon, 2r Michael Hernandez
IMCA SSM heat winners; 118 Anthony Gordon, 02 Robert Williams, 37 Cody Leonard
Crawley Capture Limited Late Model Loot
San Antonio’s Craig Crawley took home the Limited Late Model hardware going flag to flag for the victory in the 15-lapper. Crawley, driving the Odie Racing, Marteens Body Shop, Edmar Stickers & Graphix, Duffin Race Engines car, had multi-time track champion, Gary Hunter on his tail throughout the race, until he inched away at the end. Coming back from a crash that saw him miss some track time, Trey Votion finished third ahead of Andrew Hesler and former champ, Richard Bartosh.
Limited Late Models
6 Craig Crawley, 14 Gary Hunter, 99 Trey Votion, 1x Andrew Hesler, 7 Richard Bartosh, 13 Howie Marcx, 13s Jason Smith, 3 Abraham Mares, 42 Ron Sprayue, 48 Greg Dinsmore---DNS
Limited Late Model heat winners; 6 Craig Crawley, 13 Howie Marcx
Hilla Hauls in Pure Stock Payday
Let’s get ready to rumble. It was one of the best door to door, paint swappin’, bumper bangin’ features this year in the Pure Stocks. Who’d have thought it would be two of I-37’s lady racers putting on the show and it wasn’t for parking space at the mall. Brandy Ramzinski grabbed the early lead in the 17-car, 20-lap main event. Former champ, Janel Hilla(Pleasanton) closed in and took over the lead on lap 5.
As the duo played a high speed game of bumper tag, trading some paint along the way, Ramzinski was able to get back by Hilla for the top spot on lap 8. Not to be outdone, Hilla fought back by on lap 13 and was able drive off to the victory in the Riley Welding, Johnny’s Paint & Body, Mission Racing, Sunset Beach, Alamo Bolt & Screw, Engineered Explosive Services, Chevy.
It was hugs instead of handshakes in the Winners Circle as the two congratulated each other on the hard fought battle that left all the men in their dust. Ramzinski’s brother, Jarrett Payton made his way to third, while Ryan Doyon and Devin Adler rounded out the top five.
7x Janel Hilla, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 9s Jarrett Payton, 5 Ryan Doyon, 117 Devin Adler, 13 Cameron Smith, 95 Jerry Jones, 83 Kary Scott, 10c Karaline Campbell, 33 Merida Major, 15 William Cavender, 66 Adam Torres, 57 Ben Frankie, 48 Cody Stacey, 33c Charles Earnhardt III, 14 Trey Heald, 49(6p) Jeremy Hernandez
Pure Stock heat winners; 5 Ryan Doyon, 7x Janel Hilla, 88 Brandy Ramzinski
Gaither Gathers Front Runner Feature
Dillon Gaither(Floresville) added another win to his young career taking home the trophy in the Front Runner feature. Gaither worked his way around Hailee Marcx for the lead on lap 2, then held off Landon Sowder after a restart to pull away for the win in the 1st Choice House Leveling, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, Ray's Auto & Truck sales, The Used Car Factory, TJ Hopper, Rohmer Racing, Tiburon.
5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder, 113 Hailee Marcx, 66c Cindy Snyder, 13 Zach Jackson, 98e Will Holder, 82 Ashley Schul, 57 Trevor Bettis
14 yr old takes first ever IMCA Sportmod win, I-37 Raceway
By J M Hallas
Photos available from Jamie Brabson at jbhotshots.com
Pleasanton, Tx.,(March 24th, 2012) After a very successful opening night, driver, crew and fans returned for the second points nights of the season on the semi-banked, ¼ mile clay oval, south of San Antonio. Along with the normal cast of IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods, Limited Late Models, Street and Pure Stocks, plus the Front Runners it was the Dwarf Car Racing Series of Texas making their first appearance of the year.
Earlier in the day, the racing community came together to help JL Wingo, owner of Bubbas Burgers & Fries, who lost his home after a lightning strike and fire during the early week storms. Charles Earnhardt helped spearhead a fundraising event hosted by Track Smack's, Dawn Murphy and Mike Haag at the restaurant, earlier in the day. Wingo, who has been a supporter and sponsor of racing, was overwhelmed by the turnout and support from the racing community.
The racing action was highlighted by several hard fought scraps for the lead in the IMCA Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Street Stock and Pure Stocks and capped off with a first ever main event win for one young IMCA Southern Sportmod driver.
Opening Weekend; I-37 Raceway
By J M Hallas
Pleasanton, Tx.,(March 17th, 2012) Racing season kicked off at I-37 Raceway's ¼ mile, semi-banked, clay oval, Saturday night with familiar faces in familiar places, as well as some new or returning drivers. Friday night was one final test-n-tune for drivers/teams to get their cars dialed in for the first race of the year for many, while others with a few races already under their belts did some fine tuning.
Saturday night's turnout saw an overflow in the pits with teams having to pit in the outer parking area and a good crowd of spectators filling the stands. Despite the Friday practice session and strong southerly winds, the track held up throughout the night with drivers finding bite on the high and low side during the features.
Looking to defend their 2011 championships are Greg Dinsmore(IMCA Modified), Johnny Torres(IMCA Southern Sportmod), Trey Votion(Limited Late Model) and Wade Jones(Street Stock). Pure Stock champion, Frank Okruhlik moves to a variety of classes for 2012, while Front Runner champ, Cody Earnhardt gets his introduction into the Pure Stocks.
Dinsmore, Votion and Jones all scored feature wins, Torres gave JJ Jennings a good run in the Sportmods but came up one position short, with Okruhlik falling out of both the Pure and Street Stock events. Cody Earnhardt's Pure Stock debut was delayed after they were unable to complete the car in time.