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I-37 cranks up Saturday nights
PLEASANTON -- In retrospect, it might seem like a bad idea to buy and reopen a racetrack right at the beginning of a recession. On the other hand, I-37 Raceway starts its fourth season this weekend, starting the action Saturday, March 12, at the new time of 7 p.m. giving both drivers and fans a chance to get home a little earlier on race nights.
Despite the recession, most of the sponsors who signed on that first season have stayed with I-37 through three seasons.
What isn’t likely to change is the level of competition, unless it just gets better. Pleasanton driver Richard Bartosh was a popular winner of the Limited Late Model championship. The Pure Stock championship featured two of the best female drivers in South Texas, Brandy Ramzinski and Janel Hilla. Marc Roy, champion and Rookie of the Year in 2009, repeated as champion, beating Hilla by a close margin. She has a new weapon this year, a stick shift, and is determined to take a shot at another title (she won in 2007).
I-37 is quickly becoming not just a local track, but a regional one. Moe VanKirk of Kerrville got a late start, but in just six races won twice -- the only driver to win two in Sports Mod -- and racked up enough points to be named Rookie of the Year. Johnny Torres of Lakehills won another title in the IMCA Sports Mods, with Corpus Christi’s Bill Pittaway notching his first win, which turned into wins and saw him finish not far behind Torres in second place.
Wade Jones of Jourdanton won the Street Stock class, but he had trouble with both A.J. Wernette and Mike Lyon, who finished second and third. Dennis Hilla finished the title run in fourth place.
The Front Runners are nearly as popular with the fans as they are the drivers, and fan fave Hailee Marcx has a new ride this year as well.
It’s an interesting cast of characters, with the fast cars fast and the slower cars still putting on a show. Sometimes the best races of the night are in the Front Runner and Pure Stock classes.
More cars, shorter lines, getting home earlier, and more excitement should be the order of the day at I-37 Raceway in 2011. Remember, the action starts Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m.
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