I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park, 9/24/11
J.M. Hallas is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Pleasanton, Tx.,(Sept., 24th, 2011) As the track points season winds down good finishes become critical as drivers compete for 2011 championship titles on the 1/4 mile, semi-banked, dirt track south of San Antonio. In the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods points chases end this weekend. The Limited Late Models, Street Stock, Pure Stock and Front Runners, who earn points in both heat and features, see their season officially end on Oct. 1st.
In IMCA Modifieds, Kerrville’s Greg Dinsmore looks to grab his third track championship having picked up the 2005 Hill Country Raceway and 2008 I-37 Raceway titles. Dinsmore holds a 15 point margin over Atkins' Jamie Campbell, who is seeking his first IMCA Modified title.
The IMCA Southern Sportmod championship saw defending champ, Johnny Torres(San Antonio) lock up the points last weekend for his 4th Sportmod title, and 5th championship overall. Torres locked out Moe Van Kirk(Kerrville) and Randy Yount(Boerne) with a third place finish on Sept. 17th leaving VanKirk and Yount in the 2nd place battle.
At times during the Limited Late Models one might have thought it was full moon racing at its finest. After an early melee that took out nearly half the field, the race came down to a final lap photo finish. Fortunately the track had recently installed a video camera and monitor to replay the finish to determine the winner.
Next Saturday night I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park hosts the South Texas Sportmod/Limited Modified Championship with a $700 to win payday up for grabs. Also on the racing card are the IMCA Modifieds, and season ending races for the fender class cars.
Dinsmore Dashes to Daily Double
With a short field of cars all Dinsmore had to do to secure the championship is take the green flag. But that's not Dinsmores style. Dinsmore dodged an early multi-car tangle, grabbed the lead, then held off the hard charging Campbell to take the win and his second track title. Dinsmores wife, crew chief and head cook, Candace, gave him a surprise anniversary celebration during the Winners Circle presentation.
On the initial start Tracy Fink got out front with a three wide battle for second, but yellow waved quickly for a jump start and a second try. The second attempt wasn't much better as Fink had trouble with his car and collected Billy Meyer and Dennis Taylor trying to get to the infield. Robert Liese jr. led the single file third start to green but Gilbert Amezquita stalled in turn 2.
Finally getting a green flag lap in the books, Campbell and Matt Fox had separate spins to bring out another yellow hankie. Once back to green, Dinsmore wasted little time picking off Jason Borlace for second, and Liese for the lead on lap 2. Campbell quickly worked his back up getting up to second and closing on Dinsmores bumper after a spin by Fox saw the caution back out on lap 4.
Campbell hung on to Dinsmore all he could trying to find a way around Dinsmore who held the preferred line. At halfway it was Dinsmore, Campbell, Borlace, Amezquita and Liese in the top five. Campbell gave Dinsmore a couple runs but would overdrive the corner and give up ground each time. As the checkered flag waved it was Dinsmore by a couple car lengths in the Sundowner RV Repair, racetechinfo.com, JBHotshots, Wells Designs, NAPA, Guadalupe Electric, Ryan Bard Safety Foundation, Hoffman Construction, Cen-Tex Motorsports powered Harris Chassis winning the battle and season long war.
“It feels good to finally this sewed up,” replied Dinsmore. “It was a little nerve wracking. I just wanted to go out in the heat and survive to start the feature. I wasn't sure what I'd get for points if I didn't start the feature. I didn't want to wreck it or blow the motor so I kind of laid back there a bit.”
“I knew Jamie(Campbell) was back there. His car has a distinct sound. The preferred line was up top. I was hammer down for a while, but once you get the line you can put it on cruise. I'd look and see he was two or three cars back and I just tried to keep that distance. I didn't want to blow it in and spin out. I just kept my line and kept on moving. I just tried to keep from over driving the car.”
“I saw that wreck at the start begin to happen and I went up high to stay out of it even if it cost me a couple spots. I was worried about what was going on, but we didn't complete a lap so it worked out.”
“I had no idea that Candace had that anniversary thing planned. She's full of surprises. It's been a blessing to be married to her this long. I'm surprised that she still put up with me. She's a big part of my life and my race team. I couldn't and wouldn't do this without her.”
“My plans next year are to race. The wife says it's alright and Harris is working on another car for 2012. They've got one on order for me. Jimmy Gustin says the '12 was smoking fast at the Super Nationals. I sold my last championship car, but Harris wants this one back. It's their deal. They say the new one is faster, with a different wheelbase and front end geometry and I believe them. Bob Harris, John Logue and the other Harris team cars are all there with me. They're always there for any help I need.”
“This championship was the toughest one of the other two. Jamie was always there in the points. He's was good competition all year and always came with his game on. I really had to be on my 'A' game with him. There were some other cars that were tough, but he sticks out in my mind the most.”
“I'm not too disappointed finishing second in points to Greg(Dinsmore),” commented Campbell. “We had a good season compared to my others and our goal was to finish every race, and we got a couple wins. I was happy to be able to stay this close to him in the points race.”
8g Greg Dinsmore, 29 Jamie Campbell, 21 Jason Borlace, 13 Gilbert Amezquita, 67 Robert Liese jr., 53x Matt Fox, 24 Tracy Fink, 99 Billy Meyer, 38 Dennis Taylor, 37 Bill Pittaway---DNS
IMCA Modified heats
Heat 1; 24 Tracy Fink, 38 Dennis Taylor, 29 Jamie Campbell, 53x Matt Fox, 67 Robert Liese jr.
Heat 2; 21 Jason Borlace, 37 Bill Pittaway, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 99 Billy Meyer, 13 Gilbert Amezquita
Williams Wins Sportmod Scramble
In only his second race after a 3 year hiatus, Robert Williams found his way to the Winners Circle. Williams used the pole position to pull out to a big lead early over a three car battle between Jason Kelly, Tom Grothues and track champ Johnny Torres. After a couple cautions re-bunched the field Williams again stretched out his advantage cruising to the victory unchallenged in the Screen Pro Graphics, Spreen Racing Engines, Swenson Chassis.
As the green flag waved Williams beat Jesse James into to turn 1 for the lead. James fell in line second trailed by Kelly, Larry Jernigan and Grothues. As Kelly and Grothues got by James for second and third, Torres, Bruce Barber and Jernigan were three wide for fifth. The three played a little tag in turn 1 with Torres coming out with the Barber getting the spot. Barber and Torres the went around James.
Coming to the crossed flags it was Williams, Kelly, Grothues, Barber and Torres in the top five. Randy Yount went around after bouncing off two cars for a lap 12 yellow that erased Williams huge lead. Williams quickly jumped ahead while Torres challenged Grothues for third. Ray Doyon III found an infield tire and spun on lap 12 to restack the pack.
Back under green Williams again eased away with Kelly and Grothues side by side for second. Torres joined that battle making it almost three abreast to second on lap 14. While fighting it out Torres and Kelly hooked bumpers giving up spots to Barber, James and Jernigan before getting loose from each other. Up front Williams was edging ahead leaving Barber and Grothues side by side for second. Williams easily grabbed the win, while Barber edged out Grothues for second.
“I got lucky and started up front,” said Williams. “It's not to hard to win when you out as the leader. It's been about three years since I've raced so I had some experience in a Sportmod, plus the Pure and Street Stocks before. I've won championships here before in the Street Stocks and Sportmods. We're looking forward to running a full season next year.”
“(Chris) Swenson built the car and did all the set up work on it. It's got a Spreen Racing Engine so it's got all the winning parts. I was just the guy that was able to drive it to the victory. Knowing the track from before helped me make some minor adjustments, so the previous track experience helped me too.”
IMCA Southern Sportmods
02 Robert Williams, 17b Bruce Barber, 11 Tom Grothues, 3j Jesse James, 18 Larry Jernigan, 57 Jason Kelly, 60 Pat Lyon, 66y Randy Yount, 66 Johnny Torres, 9d Ray Doyon III
IMCA SSM heats
Heat 1; 02 Robert Williams, 17b Bruce Barber, 66y Randy Yount, 57 Jason Kelly, 60 Pat Lyon
Heat 2; 3j Jesse James, 9d Ray Doyon III, 18 Larry Jernigan, 11 Tom Grothues, 66 Johnny Torres
Votion by an Inch, Literally, in Limited Late Model Slug-fest
As the checkered flag waved on the shortened Limited Late Model feature no one was certain who was actually the winner. Track officials were split 50/50 depending on view angle so it was referred to video replay. After fifteen minutes of review Votion was declared the victor. Craig Crawley, made a gallant charge coming back from an early race incident, but fell short by a mere inch at the flag stand.
Shane Moore led the way into turn 1 of the scheduled 20-lap feature, but as Chris Brock and Matt Hodge tried to go three wide in turn 3, Hodge went around scattering the field. The second try saw Brock lead the field only to spin in turn 2 starting a multi-car pile car with Richard Bartosh, Moore, Crawley, Gary Hunter and JR Robinson. All drivers were alright but only Crawley and Robinson were able to continue. A lengthy clean up prompted officials to cut the race to 15 laps.
Howie Marcx led the remaining cars back to green for the single file start with Votion going around Andrew Hesler up top for second. Votion then tried the bottom on Marcx, but got sideways, then straightened out by Hesler. Votion the reeled Marcx back in and got by to lead lap 8. Votion then began motoring away while Marcx, Crawley and Hesler fought it out for second.
Marcx spun on lap 12 after a tap by Hesler who immediately took responsibility and fell to the tail. Votion got away clean on green with Crawley going past Marcx for second followed by Leland Waddell. Crawley, using the top, closed on Votion as the white flag waved. Using the high side momentum Crawley got run coming off turn 4 to the checkers, but lost to Votion in the Northside Ford, Mission Racing, BG Products, Kelly Chassis, by a whisker.
“I really had no idea who won it,” commented Votion. “I knew it was really close, but didn't realize it was that close. I pulled around to turn 3 waiting for someone to point at one of us. They held us both while they looked at the video. I didn't have any idea that he was even there until I heard him in turn 4. I really didn't think anyone could pass me on the outside.”
“After that big pile up in turn 2 the track turned from good grip to nothing. It's fastest I've ever seen it do that. I thought I lost the right rear tire it was so loose. I backed it down a bit and thought I was doing good until I heard him on the last lap.”
“I got a little piece of that big wreck and bent up the nose a bit. I'm glad I was where I was at the time. I saw them all piling up and darted to the right to try to stay clear of it. I hate to see that, there's lots of good cars that got torn up. I guess that happens sometimes.”
“I'd have been happy with second. Craig(Crawley) is a good guy. It was a good race. The fans got to see good finish. I really have to thank my wife and family for putting up with this racing life. I appreciate them being a part of it. Depending on how many cars make back next week I'm pretty sure I've locked up the championship. I may only have to start the main.”
“I thought I might have got him,” added Crawley. “But it was too close to tell for sure. If the video shows that Trey(Votion) got it, then I'm good with that. I don't know how I made it that close. After being caught up in that crash my car was junk. It's hurt so bad I'm not sure I can get it fixed before next week.”
Limited Late Models
99 Trey Votion, 6 Craig Crawley, 28 Leland Waddell, 13 Howie Marcx, 49 Robert Danielson, 1x Andrew Hesler, 36 J.R. Robinson, 10 Chris Brock, 18 Shane Moore, 7 Richard Bartosh, 14 Gary Hunter, 58 Matt Hodge, 25 Bob Lienweber---DNS
Limited Late Model heat winners; 18 Shane Moore, 99 Trey Votion
Okruhlik Outlasts Jones and Dancer in Street Stock
Driving the Team Wernette back up car, Pure Stock hot shoe Frank Okruhlik showed he could get the job done in Street Stocks as well. Okruhlik got the lead early from Aaron Leddy then was chased by Wade Jones and AJ Dancer. Jones, the defending champ and points leader, threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Okruhlik, to no avail.
Leddy was first into turn 1 as the 15-lap Street Stock feature fired off, but Okruhlik was quickly along side with Jones, Dancer and AJ Wernette in pursuit. Okruhlik got the top spot on lap 2 with Jones following to second. Wernette went around in turn 4 to bring out a yellow on lap 2. Okruhlik and Jones got away on the restart leaving Leddy and Dancer fighting for third. As Jones began his assault on Okruhlik, Dancer went around Leddy for third using the top.
Jones was keeping the pressure on Okruhlik taking looks low when a spin by Mike Lyon in turn 4 slowed the pace. Jones took up where he had left off showing Okruhlik the nose on the restart. Jones kept the heat turned up, with Dancer now making it a threesome up front. With two to go Jones gave Okruhlik a little bumper tap, but Okruhlik stayed steady. One last try by Jones at the checkers came up short as Okruhlik in the TruLine, Radio Shack, Cross Connections, Dixon Automotive, Hot Rod Welding, City Auto, Chevy scored the victory.
“I was hoping they(Jones and Dancer) would take each other out and I wouldn't have to worry about them,” replied Okruhlik. “I was holding my line and guess I was taking the best line away from them. I wanted though, I wanted it bad. He wasn't going to get it for free.”
“I saw Wade(Jones) show his nose a couple times and I was worried. He just encouraged me with that little tap on the bumper. If he would have taken me out it would have ended different I guess. I made some minor changes on the motor, but it's the same set up.”
“I really have to thank Wayne Wernette. He's the one that has given me the chance to drive this car. He pays for everything and I don't have to put a dime in this car. I think my driving style suits the car and I've got more seat time on dirt.”
37w Frank Okruhlik, 41 Wade Jones, 52 AJ Dancer, 93 Aaron Leddy, 37 AJ Wernette, 40 Mike Lyon, 53 Ben Blanford, 2x Dennis Hilla, 14 Donny Horelka
Street Stock heat winners; 37w Frank Okruhlik, 52 AJ Dancer
Okruhlik Outruns Pure Stock Field for second Payday
Points leader Frank Okruhlik scored his own version of a daily double with a second win for the night in the Pure Stock feature. Okruhlik worked his way up to battle with race long leader Cameron Smith getting the spot on lap 15. Once past Okruhlik eased away from the pack while former track champ Janel Hilla challenged Smith for the runner up spot.
The 14-car, 20-lap Pure Stock feature saw Smith break out front trailed by Devin Adler, Hilla, Tim Watson and Richard Wells. Hilla got by Adler for second while Okruhlik, Watson, Bandy Ramzinski and Karoline Campbell went four wide for fifth. Watson slowed and pulled while Okruhlik got the spot, leaving Ramzinski, Campbell and Jerry Jones three wide. Okruhlik closed on Adler with a brief side by side run as Okruhlik took third.
Coming to halfway Okruhlik had run down Hilla for second and using the high side got by. As Smith got into traffic, Okruhlik quickly reeled in the leader giving him a look low on lap 11. Smith and Okruhlik went three wide around a lapped car as slugged it out door to door. Okruhlik finally wrestled the spot away on lap 15 and motored ahead. In the final laps Hilla snagged second from Smith, while Okruhlik in the Odie Racing, Mo Racing Chassis Chevy easily grabbed the checkers.
“I found a little sticky stuff on the outside and took off with it,” added Okruhlik on his Pure Stock win. “I got up there first, nobody else wanted it so I had to take it. I look for a place that works for my car early in the race. If that doesn't work out I just go where the others aren't running.”
99 Frank Okruhlik, 7x Janel Hilla, 13 Cameron Smith, 95 Jerry Jones, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 24 Adam Torres, 89 Talon Minten, 10c Karoline Campbell, 44 Justin Henley, 15 William Cavender, 14 Trey Heald, 82 Richard Wells, 117 Devin Adler, 1 Tim Watson
Pure Stock heat winners; 7x Janel Hilla, 82 Richard Wells
Sowder Sweeps Front Runners
Young Landon Sowder had a clean sweep in the Front Runner class taking both the heat and feature wins. Sowder jumped out front early in the 15-lap feature, but gave way to points chaser Cody Earnhardt. No sooner than Earnhardt got the lead, he broke and handed the spot back to Sowder. From there Sowder was able to ease away from Hailee Marcx at the end.
Sowder led the 10-car field on green chased by Earnhardt, Trevor Bettis, Jimmy Carroll and Cindy Snider. Bettis broke and stopped in the pit exit to bring out a yellow on lap 2. The restart saw Earnhardt and Sowder side by side for the lead with Earnhardt getting out front on lap 3 only to have car failure and pull to the infield, giving the top spot back to Sowder on lap 4. Sowder then began pulling away from Marcx and Jason Smith near halfway.
Carroll, who pitted with a flat under caution, worked his way back up and past Smith for third on lap 7. While battling with Marcx for second, Carroll and Marcx made contact sending both the infield for a lap 10 yellow. After a quick caution for a stalled Kirsten Blevins on lap 11, Sowder broke away going on to win in the Ricwell Construction, Texas Radiator Service, United Rentals, Bar C Racing, Chevy Lumina.
“We put a new motor in this car,” commented Sowder. “I'm fortunate to have a good crew chief and father to help me out with this racing deal. I'm going to stay in this class one more year and then move up to Pure Stock. We're all friends with the 08 Limited Late Model(Kevin Hayden) and 10 Limited Late Model(Chris Brock).”
“I've been racing since March and this is my second win this year. I don't worry about any of the other racers out there. I'm just running my own race, going as fast as I can. I didn't know Hailee(Marcx) was behind me. She ran a good race but couldn't catch me. I was fortunate to get the win.”
08 Landon Sowder, 113 Hailee Marcx, 13 Jason Smith, 93 Preston Leet, 66c Cindy Snider, 96 Kirsten Blevins, 67 Jimmy Carroll, 33c Cody Earnhardt, 27 Jim Knudtson, 57 Trevor Bettis, 98 Will Holder---DNS, 24 Jessica Mares---DNS
Front Runner heat winners; 67 Jimmy Carroll, 08 Landon Sowder