Dinsmore wins two at I-37
By T.Q. Jones
PLEASANTON -- For the second week in a row, Kerrville’s Greg Dinsmore was involved in swapping parts at I-37 raceway. This time it was an axle plate he lent to another racer. Last week he won the Modified race on opening night using an engine borrowed from Bill Pittaway. Pittaway went on to finish second in the IMCA Modified last week, and chased Dinsmore to the checkers again this week.
Those from other sports always seem surprised to learn that racers will not only lend each other parts, but will even help work on a damaged or disabled car to get it into the race, even if the car and driver are in their own class.
Another defending champion, Lakehills’ Johnny Torres, had a tougher night as he raced from the back of the pack to the win in the IMCA Southern Sports Modified feature. Kerrville driver Moe VanKirk worked hard to finish second and to stay ahead of Randy Bennett and Comfort’s Randy Yount. Bennett and Yount finished third and fourth.
The Limited Late Model class was Dinsmore’s second romp of the night, as it took him only two laps to get to the lead in the only race that seemed affected by the “Super Full Moon.” The rest of the field had plenty of chances to take a shot at Dinsmore, as it seemed there was a yellow flag about every two to three laps to bunch the field and give everybody a fresh start.
As it did last week, the race turned into a battle among Trey Votion, defending LLM champ Richard Bartosh of Pleasanton, San Antonio’s Craig Crowley (back after a year off) and new driver Matt Hodge, who plans to race at I-37 all season. The popular Bartosh battled mightily to hold off Crowley and Hodge, who finished fourth and fifth.
Nearly a dozen Street Stocks were at I-37 for the opening race, but only half that many showed up for the second race. Not to worry, though, as the six that were there were likely to have run in the top five or six anyway. A.J. Wernette has been hampered both weeks by not having his new engine yet, but the Floresville driver battled with defending champ Wade Jones of Jourdanton early until both Dennis Hilla and A.J. Dancer presented a challenge. Mike Lyon was also in the mix until the last two laps when he spun and caused the race to finish under the “green, white, checker” rule. Jones got the win with Dancer second and Hilla third, but none of these drivers, and a few others, should be counted out of the championship chase.
While 15 cars started the feature in the Pure Stock class, the heat races almost predicted the finish. The race started with a mishmash that necessitated a complete restart, but once they got under way, the race looked to be a fight among the three heat-race winners -- Frank Okruhlik, Brandy Ramzinski, and Janel Hilla. Justin Henley had other ideas, though, fighting past each of the heat-race winners and going for the lead as he challenged Okruhlik.
Of course it wasn’t easy, and the final order was in doubt right up until the last lap. Okruhlik was leading as they came to the white flag, but he went wide in turn four and gave Henley an opening. Henley took it, and slipped under Okruhlik to take the lead. Ramzinski and Hilla finished third and fourth.
Eleven Front Runners started the feature, but one was gone almost immediately as Roy Easler Jr. spun in turn two and was hit by two other cars, ending his night in the rapid Geo Metro. Only 10 cars restarted, including Hailee Marcx in eighth in her new car. She ran to a strong fourth-place finish, while up front, Jimmy Carroll was holding off Cody Earnhardt and Eric Jenkins for the win.
The racing action will continue this Saturday, March 26. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m., and the action starts at 7 p.m.