S. TX Modified & Sportmod/Limited Modified Championship @ I-37
J.M. Hallas is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Pleasanton, Tx., (Oct. 1, 2011) I-37 Raceway wrapped up the 2011 IMCA Modified And Southern Sportmod points season last week with Kerrvilles Greg Dinsmore(Modified) and Johnny Torres(San Antonio) taking home the hardware. This weekend the fender-class cars concluded their points races for Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and Front Runners.
Two of the four class titles were still closely contested with defending champ Wade Jones eight points ahead of AJ Dancer in the Street Stocks. The Front Runners championship is even closer with the elder statesman of the class, Jimmy Carroll a mere three markers ahead of young gun, Cody Earnhardt.
TreyVotion added to his Limited Late Model points lead after his competitors were all caught up in multi-car melee. Votion, with a 29 point lead, basically has to take the green flag to lock out defending champ, Richard Bartosh. Depending on car count, Frank Okruhlik has a similar scenario coming into the night with a 24 point lead on the 2007 Pure Stock champ, Janel Hilla.
Adding some additional money to the pot and opening up the rules for the Modifieds and Sportmod/Limited Modifieds, both classes saw an increased payday for the South Texas Modified and Sportmod/Limited Modified Championship event. Several other outside sponsors/racers contributed to the purse, Greg Dinsmore(Sundowner RV Repair), Russel Gordon(Screen Pro Graphics), Mark O'Donnell(Custom Control Modules), Bill Pittaway(C-D Electric), Ray Doyon III(3-D Landscaping), Frank Torres(24/7 Towing), Tom Grothues(M-G Building Supply, Gary and Cassie Hunter(Taz Racing), Bruce Barber and Billy Becka
I-37 Raceway concludes their 2011 racing season with their annual $1000 Buck Shootout on Oct. 21st and 22nd with classes split between Friday and Saturday.
In Modified qualifying Liberty Hills' Rick Green was fastest around the 14 mile with a 16.73 second lap and will draw 4-8 for the Modified feature invert. Track champ, Johnny Torres was quickest of the Sportmod/Limited Modifieds turning a lap of 17.02. Torres will draw from 4-12 for the invert on their feature.
Campbell Cashes in S. Tx. Modified Championship
La Vernias Jamie Campbell capitalized on good starting position and miscues of others to grab the payday in the Modified main. After the draw for invert, Campbell started on the pole of the 20-lap feature that saw fast qualifier Green made contact with the wall and another driver early. Track champion Greg Dinsmore worked his way up behind Campbell, but on a restart clipped an infield tire ending his night. This left Campbell all alone at the front of the pack to cruise to the victory.
As green waved on the Modified feature Campbell jumped out front trailed by Cody Tidwell, Jason Borlace, Robert Liese jr. and Billy Meyer. Green ended up in front stretch wall coming to complete lap 1, then drove into the side of Joe Spillman under caution prompting the black flag. On the second start Campbell again was out first chased by Borlace, Tidwell, Spillman and Dinsmore. Meyer went around on the front straight to bring out a lap 1 caution.
Campbell eased away from Borlace on the restart while Dinsmore fought his way past Spillman for fourth. Spillman came back on Dinsmore as yellow waved on lap 3 for a spin by Liese in turn 4. When green waved again, Dinsmore and Spillman continued their battle while Borlace and Tidwell had a similar fight going on for second allowing Campbell to pull out to a good lead.
Meyerand Jerry Frydrych tangled on lap 7 to bring out a yellow erasing Campbells lead Dinsmore got around Tidwell for third on the lap 7 restart and tracked down Borlace for second. After a brief side by side battle Dinsmore got the spot coming to halfway. At the crossed flags it was Campbell, Dinsmore, Borlace, Tidwell and Spillman, with Spillman getting by Tidwell on lap 10.
A spin by Frydrych on lap 11 put Dinsmore on the tail of Campbell for the restart, but as green waved Dinsmore clipped an infield tire sending him to the infield. This left Campbell unchallenged out front as he increased his lead over Borlace and Spillman. Campbell was able to cruise away to the win the win in the aplusboats.com, Screen Pro Graphics, Carson Small Engine Repair, Swenson Racing Shocks, VP Race Fuels, Performance Machine Shop, Swenson Race Chassis.
“I got the luck of the draw for the pole,” commented Campbell. I ran the bottom the first couple of laps, but went up top because that's where my car likes it. The car was good the entire race except for the last couple laps it felt like a tire was going down. I think it might have just sealed the tires over since they were all up at the finish.”
“The track was pretty similar to hows it usually. It did have some bite on the bottom. I didn't know that Greg(Dinsmore) was behind me on that restart. My sister was giving me signals but I didn't know it was the 8 car. They said I had a big lead when the yellows came out. The spoiler made a big difference, I had to free my car up a lot.”
“If we had raced right after qualifying I wouldn't have had anything for Rick Green, my car was horrible. I think I was better running the feature when we did and would have had something for them even if I had to start fourth. This kind of makes up for losing the championship to Greg, especially if we can win again in three weeks.”
“I have to thank my mom, dad and Karaline for supporting me all year and my crew guys, Carson and Landon for all their help. I couldn't have done any of this without all of them.”
29 Jamie Campbell, 21 Jason Borlace, 44s Joe Spillman, 17 Cody Tidwell, 67 Robert Liese jr., 53x Matt Fox, 10k Ellis Tracy, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 20B Jerry Frydrych, 99 Billy Meyer, 82 Rick Green---BF(unsportsmanlike conduct), 37 Bill Pittaway---DNS, 49 Chuck Chesler---DNS
49 Chuck Chesler, DNT, 53x Matt Fox, 33.22, NT, 67 Robert Liese jr., 17.80, 17.73, 82 Rick Green, 16.79, 16.73, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 19.10, 18.56, 29 Jamie Campbell, 17.31, 18.21, 17 Cody Tidwell, 17.52, 17.77, 20B Jerry Frydrych, 19.30, 20.05, 10K Ellis Tracy, 17.97, 17.89, 44 Joe Spillman, 17.65, 17.81, 37 Bill Pittaway, 17.16, 17.97, 21 Jason Borlace, 17.15, 17.21, 99 Billy Meyer, 21.91, 18.03
Torres Topples Field
After setting the quickest time, Torres drew a five for the invert putting himself fifth, and Robby Minten on the pole for the 25-lap Sportmod/Limited Modified feature. In his usual manner, Torres methodically worked his way up through the pack and got the lead from Minten coming to halfway. From there Torres was able to ease ahead and maintain a comfortable lead to the checkers.
Minten broke out front early as the 18-car field took the green with Robert Williams, Jeff Nix, Ray Doyon III and Torres in pursuit. Nix got past Williams for second on lap 1, with Torres getting fourth from Doyon. Torres made a bold move on lap 2 splitting Nix and Williams three wide for second. Greg Rohmer brought out the races only yellow when he jumped wheels with another car and slapped the front stretch wall on lap 4.
On green Minten got out by two car lengths on Torres, while Doyon and Newton Barta jr. battled for fifth. Torres closed in on Minten and got inside going to turn 3. The two raced wheel to wheel through the corners with Torres getting the advantage on lap 12. Coming to halfway a lap later it was Torres, Minten, Doyon, Williams and Barta in the top five with Barta grabbing fourth from Williams.
Friends and team mates, of sorts, Doyon and Barta resumed their own personal battle, this time for third. Up front, Torres, with a decent margin on Minten caught slower traffic with ten to go. Williams and Nix ran side by side for several laps for fifth. Torres cleared traffic with an eight car lead on Minten coming to lap 20. Torres held the same advantage as the white flag waved, while Williams slowed from fifth. At the checkers it was Torres in the 24/7 Towing, Tator Plumbing, Rising Star Bodies, Screen Pro Graphics, Spreen Race Engines, Driveline Chassis grabbing another season win.
“I was trying not to use my tires early,” said Torres. “Twenty five laps is longer than our races usually are. I didn't want him(Minten) to get too big of a lead on me though. He slipped up once and I took advantage of it. It was smooth sailing from there. I was just trying to keep the tires cool. I thought there would have been a lot more cautions. The lapped traffic was pretty heavy, but everything worked out good.”
“When I drew the five and that put Robby on the pole I knew I had to go. He's been good especially on a dry track so I knew I'd have to hurry. I wanted to get behind him at least so I could keep him in sight so I saw the middle open up and split Robert(Williams) and Jeff(Nix).”
“Besides the $1000 Buck Shootout I'd really like to go to Abilene(Southern Challenge) this year. We'll see how everything works out. I've missed that race the past couple of years, but really like going up there.”
“We're building a Street Stock for the 2012 Shootout Series next year. I'll be getting a new Sportmod for next year and giving this one to my brother, Allen.”
66 Johnny Torres, 4 Robby Minten, 9 Ray Doyon III, 14 Newton Barta jr., 85 Jeff Nix, 37 Bill Pittaway, 11 Tom Grothues, 17b Bruce Barber, 18 Larry Jernigan, 82jp James Parks, 21 Jason Borlace, 33 Eddy Ross, 02 Robert Williams, 12 Roly Rodriguez, 72 Manny Trevino, 77 Gary Harris, 60 Pat Lyon, 51 Greg Rohmer
Sportmod/Limited Modified Qualifying
85 Jeff Nix, 17.40, 17.41, 66 Johnny Torres, 17.24, 17.02, 02 Robert Williams, 17.50, 17.25, 82jp James Parks, 17.95, 17.64, 21 Jason Borlace, 17.81, 17.68, 77 Gary Harris, 18.13, 18.12, 60 Pat Lyon, 19.16, 18.78, 14 Newton Barta jr., 17.52, 17.57, 11 Tom Grothues, 17.60, 17.50, 4 Robby Minten, 17.49, 17.40, 17b Bruce Barber, 17.65, 17.54, 9 Ray Doyon III, 17.32, 17.15, 72 Manny Trevino, 18.39, 18.25, 18 Larry Jernigan, 17.74, 17.68, 12 Roly Rodriguez, 17.72, 17.79, 33 Eddy Ross, 17.85, 18.31, 37 Bill Pittaway, 17.58, 17.67, 51 Greg Rohmer, 17.47, 17.69
Votion in Motion for Limited Late Model Win and Title
Last week points leader Trey Votion edged out Craig Crawley by only an inch and it looked like Crawley would get what he gave up. Crawley led from the drop of the green.....until lap 19 34 when Votion snuck past coming to checkers taking the victory and wrapping up the points championship, this time by 12 car length, in the Northside Ford, Mission Racing, Kelly Automotive, BG Products, Kelly Chassis.
As the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature feature took the green, Crawley beat Gary Hunter into turn 1. Leland Waddell got by Hunter for second, with Howie Marcx and Richard Bartosh falling in behind Hunter. Waddell did a 12 spin in turn 2 giving up spots with AJ Dancer moving up to fourth in the scramble. Marcx, Robert Danielson and Votion were three wide on lap 2 for fifth as Votion made his way forward. Mike Davenport expired a motor dropping fluid on the track for a lap 3 caution.
Bartosh got under Hunter on the restart for second, while Votion charged past Dancer and Hunter for third. Votion then picked off Bartosh for second, but found himself quite a bit behind Crawley. Votion tried every groove trying to make up ground on Crawley, but still trailed by eight car lengths with three to go. A couple slips by Crawley gave Votion the chance to close. Votion got under Crawley in turn 3 and edged past coming to the checkers by a 12 car.
**(In two races Crawley has lost wins to Votion by less than a car length....combined)
“I'd like to say I was just hanging back knowing I had the title,” replied Votion. “But that's not the way it was. I couldn't gain on him there for a while. I finally changed how I was going into the corners and was able to get more turning speed and gain on him. There on the last lap was the hardest I threw it into turn 3, and it stuck. I was able to get him at the line. I think he did like I did last week, didn't hear anyone until the final turn. I had just enough.”
“I didn't want to make the same mistake as last week. The top was better than the bottom then. Tonight I tried the top, but knew it wasn't as good and went to the bottom and changed my entry into the corners. That's what allowed me to catch him and get the win. I drove the car the same as any other night in the feature. I was planning on taking it easy in heat. After talking to my brother we decided not to chance anything. Once we made a lap I was out for everything I could get.”
“I had to work for this one tonight. Craig is good every weekend and he's going to be there all year next season. It was gratifying to win at the end like that after not leading a single lap but last 14 of one. That was awesome”
“I'm very happy with this year. It was our goal to finish every race and keep the car clean enough to run all year. We were close in 2008, but a couple DNF's messed up that run for a title. The car has been awesome. I've got no complaints. “
Limited Late Models
99 Trey Votion, 6 Craig Crawley, 7 Richard Bartosh, 32 AJ Dancer, 1x Andrew Hesler, 14 Gary Hunter, 13 Howie Marcx, 49 Robert Danielson, 70 Mike Davenport, 28 Leland Waddell
Limited Late Model heat winners; 7 Richard Bartosh, 28 Leland Waddell
Dancer Wins Battle, Jones the War
As you would figure the final Street Stock feature would come down to a battle between the two points contestants and class hot dogs. Wade Jones and AJ Dancer didn't disappoint the crowd. Dancer caught race long leader Jones in the final laps and put a perfect slide job on Jones on the final lap to get the win, but Jones' second place finish was enough to give him another track championship.
Mike Lyon led the pack into turns 1-2 at the start of the 15-lap Street Stock feature, but Jones got the run off turn 4 to lead lap 1. Dancer and Hilla got by Lyon, with Frank Okruhlik following. Dancer took a look under Jones on lap 2, but Donny Horelka went around in turn 4 for a caution. Dancer kept the heat on Jones as the race resumed, while Johnny Torres got past Hilla for for fifth.
Torres continued his move forward getting third from Okruhlik on lap 5 and picked up third when Lyon lost a wheel while running in that spot. Yellow waved a lap later for Lyon who was stuck in the pit exit. On the restart Jones got away clean with Dancer, Okruhlik and Torres nose to tail. Dancer closed the gap and put the pressure on Jones taking looks low through the corners.
With five to go, Jones had eased ahead by a few car lengths on Dancer, while Torres, Hilla and Bobby Jack raced for fourth through sixth. Jones slipped too high in turns 3-4 giving Dancer the chance to close the gap. Jones took the white flag with a car length lead, but Dancer dove in low, slid up in front of Jones in turn 2 then held on for the win in the
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“Well we didn't win the points battle, but we won the race,” replied Dancer. “That was all we could do. Maybe next year. I really don't run for points anymore. I've won a few championships before and really only tried to win the TOBA championship. The other we just ran all year and the points worked out. I just try to go out and win each race.”
“I just had to give him a shot on the bottom. There's no reason to just follow him around on top. I knew I was faster on the top, but didn't have any room to pass. Most of the race I was trying to find some place to run on the bottom. What's that old Dale Earnhardt sr. line, 'It's not always that fastest driver that wins, but the one that refuses to lose.' That's kind of the way it was. I didn't want to finish second tonight.”
“Winning a third championship is special,” said Jones. “Three in a row. Something to look forward to next year. It was pretty close between me and AJ(Dancer) this year. We went back and forth(in points). I just tried to finish strong every might and it paid off. I wanted that race bad. I got up in the loose stuff and saw him down there. I over drove the corner again and he got by me clean. I wanted the win, with the championship.”
52 AJ Dancer, 41 Wade Jones, 37w Frank Okruhlik, 66 Johnny Torres, 88j Bobby Jack, 2x Dennis Hilla, 44 Hannah Spillman, 53 Brian Becka, 2 Scott Stubbs, 14 Donny Horelka, 37 AJ Wernette, 40 Mike Lyon
Street Stock heat winners; 41 Wade Jones, 52 AJ Dancer
Hilla with First Season Win, Okruhlik Secures Pure Stock Title
Janel Hilla, then 2007 Pure Stock champion, took her first win of the season in the 20-lap feature. Hilla got by Adam Torres after halfway then built up a good lead as Torres and Frank Okruhlik battled for second. Hilla, the first female champion at I-37 Raceway, came up short in the points to Okruhlik who finished third despite breaking an axle in the waning stages.
Justin Henley led the 21-car starting field into turn 1, but it was Jarrett Payton coming off turn 2 to lead Henley, Torres, Jerry Jones, who were three wide for second. Henley held the spot while Brandy Ramzinski made it three wide with Jones and Torres. After a lap 2 yellow for a spin by Patricia Lucas, Torres got by Jones for third with Ramzinski following to fourth. Torres then picked off Henley second and ran down Payton for the lead.
Torres and Payton were door to door when caution came out for a tangle between Richard Wells and Philip Haywood. Yellow came out quickly after the restart for Eric Watson going around. Once back to green the top six sorted out single file with Okruhlik and Jones side by side for seventh. Cameron Smith and Henley were along side each other for fifth, but it was Okruhlik dispensing of Jones getting past both for fifth.
Ramzinski spun from her top five spot on lap 10 to bring out a yellow. Once back to green Payton and Torres were side by side for lead with Payton spinning in front of the pack and was lucky to get missed by everyone. This put Torres up front for the lap 12 restart, but Hilla quickly got by as the race resumed to lead lap 13. A spin on that lap by Bernie Jureski brought out the yellow.
The restart got ugly fast when Ryan Doyon went around collecting Smith and Jeremy Hernandez sending the field scattering. On the final restart Okruhlik tried Hilla high, then low looking for a way around. This gave Torres a chance to get along side Okruhlik, who began to slow. Hilla took the white flag with a good lead on Torres and Okruhlik, who was nursing a wounded car home while Hilla in the NAPA, Riley Welding, Alamo Bolt & Screw, Q-Hauling, Paloma Cattle Co., Johnny Paint & Body, Premium Water Well Service, Alpha Machine, Mission Racing, Chevy took the win.
“It was hard work that paid off with the win,” replied Hilla. “The track was slick. I just tried to go low and stay low. That was the key. There was no way I could have caught Frank(Okruhlik) in the points unless he didn't show up. All he had to do was sign in and the championship was his. I'm OK with what I did this year. I had a good, successful year.”
“I feel good about leading the way to get more women into our sport. I'm happy that they're doing it. I'd like to see a lot more do it to show the boys we can kick their tails. It's good for the sport. It's good for the fans. Did you hear the cheers I got for winning tonight. That's the most applause I've heard.”
“It's a lot of work to be a racer, mom and work. My husband(Dennis) does a lot to the racecar. He takes care of it all. I don't have to anything but get in and drive it. Danny at Mission does a great job with my motor.”
“Ya sure enough we won the war.” commented Okruhlik on taking the Pure Stock title. “If my axle hadn't broke we might have been able to win the war too. If it had been a 25-lap feature it might have been a bad deal, but I really just had to take the green to lock it up(Championship). After finishing second to Marc Roy in points last year, winning this one is very gratifying. We had a good points battle until the end when I got a little distance on them.”
7x Janel Hilla, 24 Adam Torres, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 14 Trey Heald, 18 Raymond Sevilla, 95 Jerry Jones, 43 Eric Watson, 10c Karaline Campbell, 22 Patricia Lucas, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 15 William Cavender, 22x Bernie Jureski, 9s Jarrett Payton, 89 Ryan Doyon, 44 Justin Henley, 13 Cameron Smith, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 013 David Jackson, 9 Philip Haywood, 82 Richard Wells, 117 Devin Adler, 21 Darin Blevins----DNS, F5 Kevin Vasbinder---DNS
Pure Stock heat winners; 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 24 Adam Torres, 13 Cameron Smith
Earnhardt Enjoys Win and Championship
After the heats Cody Earnhardt had trimmed a point off Jimmy Carroll's three point lead. Co. Earnhardt caught a break early when Carroll was forced to pit with a flat and fell two laps down. His only challenge now was car troubles that plagued him all year long. Co. Earnhardt, who ran a comfortable second behind Trevor Bettis throughout the race, went for the win on the final lap going side by side with Bettis. Bettis got into Co. Earnhardt coming to the checkers and was first to cross, but was black flagged for rough driving handing the win and track title to Co. Earnhardt.
After Charles Earnhardt III lost the hood on the initial start, Bettis led the next start pursued by Co. Earnhardt, Hailee Marcx, Ch. Earnhardt and Carroll. Cindy Snyder lost a wheel on lap 1 for a quick yellow that saw Carroll pit with a deflating right rear tire. As Bettis eased away as green flew, Carroll returned, but two laps down.
The top four broke away from the field all holding a similar margin during the middle stages of the 15-lap event. As the race wound down, Co. Earnhardt began to pressure Bettis for the lead. Coming to the white flag they were side by side with Co. Earnhardt getting the edge. Bettis drove in turns 3-4 deep making contact with Co. Earnhardt. Bettis won the drag race to the checkers, but was put back giving the win to Co. Earnhardt in the
Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, Big Lou's Pizza, Rushmore Plumbing, C&C Signs and Graphics, Texas Industrial Radiator, Mazda.
“It's a big relief,” replied Co. Earnhardt. “We had a lot of bad luckthis year. It finally paid off getting this win and championship. I saw Jimmy(Carroll) pull off the track, but didn't know if he was lapped. I tried not to think about where he was too much, but it was in my mind.”
“I was definitely concerned about my car after all the problems we've had. We had some issues still tonight. The car was pushing, but it paid off in the end. I was just trying to be cautious. When I saw how many laps we had run I just decided to go for it(win). I held back a little early in the race.”
“I was extremely nervous,” added proud father and former San Antonio Speedway driver, Charles Earnhardt. “I just kept pacing the pits. I can't tell you how many miles I walked tonight. I really hate that we got the championship over Jimmy(Carroll) the way we did. He's a good guy and good driver.
33c Cody Earnhardt, 113 Hailee Marcx, 33 Charles Earnhardt III, 24(08) Landon Sowder, 13 Jason Smith, 19 Steven Stanley, 223 Karey Scott, 57 Trevor Bettis---BF(Rough driving), 67 Jimmy Carroll, 96 Kirsten Blevins, 66c Cindy Snider, 98 Will Holder, 08(24) Nicole Wells---DNS(gave up car to Landon Sowder)
Front Runner heat winners; 33 Charles Earnhardt III, 33c Cody Earnhardt
82 Andrew Garcia, 37, Aaron Trevino, 137 Alex Trevino
**Aaron Trevino track championship
07 Deull Arnold, 11 Caitlyn Leddy, 53x Chandler Fox, 1 Evan Lambert, 8g Logan Dinsmore
**Deull Arnold track championship