I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park April 28
J.M. Hallas is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Pleasanton, Tx.(April 28th, 2012) After a scheduled week off, and another weekend of the Vintage Dirt Track Racing Association motorcycles, I-37 Raceway returned to action for stock cars Saturday night. Over 80 cars and drivers signed in for the nights events on the 14 mile, semi-banked, clay track just south of Pleasanton.
Warmer temperatures and high winds quickly dried out the racing surface making for some tricky track conditions early in the night. Drivers and crew were able to adapt with both the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods seeing a last lap pass for the lead.
Darin Leonard picked up his first IMCA Modified win of the season, while Frank Okruhlik, Landon Sowder, Greg Dinsmore and Jarrett Payton found their way back to the Winners Circle. Johnny Torres was awarded the IMCA Southern Sportmod victory after first time I-37 winner, John Heil couldn’t pass on the tech pad.
Leonard’s Last Lap Pass Secures Win
Darin Leonard(Sinton) saw his son Cody take his first IMCA Sportmod feature win one month ago. Not to be out-done by the youngster, Darin finally broke through to the winners column, but it wasn’t easy. Friend, Harris Chassis team mate and sponsor, Bill Pittaway kept the pressure on Leonard throughout the 20-lapper. Pittaway was able to sneak past Leonard for the lead on lap 19, but Leonard fought back to retake the point coming to the checkers.
Carson Bednarz led from the pole into turn 1, but it was Leonard, on the top side coming off turn 2 with the lead. Jason Borlace, Pittaway, Bednarz and Chuck Chesler fell in line with Greg Dinsmore, Jamie Campbell and Bednarz three wide on lap 2. Dinsmore and Campbell again went three abreast, this time with Chesler for fourth.
As the top five finally sorted out it was Leonard, Pittaway, Campbell and Campbell up front, while Borlace, Chesler and Dinsmore were fighting for fourth. The top three checked out by halfway leaving Borlace, Chesler and Dinsmore three wide behind them. In the waning laps Campbell took a look under Pittaway for second, but Pittaway held steady and put some heat on Leonard.
The leaders came up on slower cars with Leonard and Pittaway going three wide. Pittaway came away with the lead as the white flag waved, with Leonard on his tail. Leonard got inside Pittaway in turns 1-2, but Pittaway held the edge on the back stretch. Leonard used the bottom in turns 3-4 to creep ahead coming to the checkers in his CD Electric, CC Coatings, Ace Transmission, Coastal Diesel, New Vision Graphics, Harris Chassis.
“I had to show the kid his dad still had it,” replied Leonard. “Cody has been teaching me quite a bit. Traveling to other shows at other tracks has given me the ability to work on the set up for my car too. It’s helped me in the long run as well as helping him.”
“I’m glad I got to race with Bill(Pittaway) for the win. We’re good friends and it was fun. That lapped car made it interesting. When I threw it into the turn, I thought I was going to hit the lapped car, but hepushed and I missed him and was able to get back by Bill at the finish. It was a good race. Awesome.”
“Bill talks quite a bit with the Harris Chassis guys and that has helped me a lot with this older car. We’ve both been doing some experimental stuff. I’m incorporating some of the newer stuff into this car. The changes I made this week really helped the car. I have to thank my main pit guy, Cody, and my wife and family for their support.”
IMCA Modifieds; 26 Darin Leonard, 37 Bill Pittaway, 29 Jamie Campbell, 21 Jason Borlace, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 49 Chuck Chesler, 37b Donald Banker, 16 Carson Bednarz, 10b Ellis Tracy, 31c Marlin Samford
IMCA Modified heats
Heat 1; 21 Jason Borlace, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 49 Chuck Chesler, 16 Carson Bednarz, 37b Donald Banker
Heat 2; 26 Darin Leonard, 37 Bill Pittaway, 29 Jamie Campbell, 10b Ellis Tracy, 31c Marlin Samford
Torres Tops After Tech in Sportmods
Defending track champ, Johnny Torres(San Antonio) got edged out in the final laps by John Heil after a late caution, but Heil wasunable to pass tech inspection. This gave the win to Torres who chased down and passed early leader Anthony Gordon with five to go. A green, white, checkerfinish set up the chance for Heil to get under Torres for the lead coming to the white flag. Torres tried to fight back, but fell short until inspectionfound Heil with illegally grooved tires.
Former ROMCO Super Late Model champ, Tommy Grimes was first into turn 1 at the start of the 20-lap, 18-car IMCA Southern Sportmodmain. Anthony Gordon, who continues to be on the verge of his first ever Sportmod win, beat Grimes off turn 4 to lead lap 1. Grimes fell in line second followed by Greg Lackey and a three wide scramble between Robert Williams, Larry Jernigan and Talon Minton for fourth.
Wiliams’ night ended early after a tangle with JJ Jennings sent him sailing over an infield tire. T. Minten got third from Lackey, while Heil and Torres ran wheel to wheel for sixth. As T. Minten picked off second from Grimes, Heil took fifth from Jernigan in the mad scramble for fourth on back that saw position change in every corner.
As they sorted out coming to halfway it was Gordon, T. Minten, Heil, Torres and Grimes in the top five. As Heil tried low on T. Minten, Torres took the high groove going around both for second, with Heilfollowing to third. Torres then reeled in Gordon and took over the top spot on lap 16 bringing Heil along to second a lap later.
Torres was on his way to the victory as the leaders came to take the white flag, but a spin by Robbie Minten in turn 2 prompted the flagman to throw a yellow before the leaders got to the corner. Heil used the restart to duck inside Torres in turns 1-2 and alongside on the back stretch, Heil got the lead coming off turn 4 to the white. Torres, in the 24/7 Towing, Tator Plumbing, Rising Star Bodies, Rays Auto & Truck, Swenson Racing Products, Screen Pro Graphics, Spreen RaceEngines, Vato Chassis, tried a crossover move, but came up short leaving Heil to take the checkers, that he later gave up in tech.
“We’re still getting the bugs worked out of the new car,” said Torres. “I really haven’t gotten some of the breaks that it takes to win from the 6th row most nights. I felt like we had the car to beat till the hooking bumpers and banging on the green, white, checker, finish.”
IMCA Southern Sportmods; 66 Johnny Torres, 118 Anthony Gordon, 18 Larry Jernigan, 14t Talon Minten, 26g JJ Jennings, 9 Ray Doyon III, 2r Michael Hernandez, 2g Greg Lackey, 57 Jason Kelly, 37 Cody Leonard, 22 Randy Bennett, 60 Pat Lyon, 22t Tommy Grimes, 4r Robbie Minten, 11 Tom Grothues, 21(94) Allen Torres, 02 Robert Williams, D30 John Heil---DQ(Tech/tires)
IMCA SSM heats
Heat 1; 26g JJ Jennings, 66 Johnny Torres, 22t Tommy Grimes, 18 Larry Jernigan, 11 Tom Grothues, 57 Jason Kelly
Heat 2; 118 Anthony Gordon, 37 Cody Leonard, 9 Ray Doyon III, 2g Greg Lackey, 4r Robby Minten, 21 Barry Codling
Heat 3; 14t Talon Minten, 02 Robert Williams, D30 John Heil, 2r Michael Hernandez, 60 Pat Lyon, 22 Randy Bennett
Dinsmore Dominates Limited Late Models
After a somewhat mediocre run, by his own standards, in the IMCA Modified main, Kerrville’s Greg Dinsmore rebounded and took it out on the Limited Late Model field. Dinsmore led flag to flag in the 15 feature driving the MK Wallace owned, Dirt Guys Motorsports, Cowans on the Creek, Miss Sharon, Wilson Brothers Septic, Guilott Realty, Metal Mart, MFI, Brutal OffRoad, Dinsmore powered, Chevy.
Taking no prisoners, Dinsmore quickly jumped into the lead chased by Ron Sprayue, Craig Crawley, Andrew Hesler and Richard Bartosh. Bartosh and Hesler made contact sending Hesler around and Bartosh to the rear. Dinsmore got a good jump on the restart and began pulling away leaving Sprayue, Crawley, Hesler and Chris Brock battling for second.
As Dinsmore continued to build his lead Hesler was challenging Crawley for third finally taking the position on lap 13. Heslerkept up the late charge getting second from Sprayue on the final lap, whileDinsmore, with over a full straightaway lead, was cruising to the victory.
“That car was fast tonight,” said Dinsmore. “It was perfect. I think it could have out done my Modified tonight. Once I got stretched out I started easing through the corners, not try to slide and just maintain the lead you have. Basically just hit your marks and not try to overdrive the car. Look at as a slower is faster thing.”
“Running the Modified first really didn’t help me any tonight. That thing was all over the map. I changed the shock on Late Model, but they have such big tires, It’s really hard to spin them. After driving the smaller tired Modified, this car just hooks up.”
Limited Late Models; 48 Greg Dinsmore, 1x Andrew Hesler, 42 Ron Sprayue, 6 Craig Crawley, 10 Chris Brock, 14 Gary Hunter, 13 Howie Marcx, D30 John Heil---DNS
Limited Late Model heat winners; 48 Greg Dinsmore, 42 Ron Sprayue
Okruhlik Outruns Jones in Street Stock Scramble
In what is quickly becoming more than a two-horse race in the Street Stock class this year, former Pure Stock champ, Frank Okruhlik held off defending champ Wade Jones for the victory. AJ Wernette, got by Jones and racing stable mate Okruhlik for the lead, but mechanical issues sidelined Wernette giving the lead back to Okruhlik, who edged out Jones at the finish.
After two aborted attempts, the 16-car Street Stock feature finally got underway with Multi-time track champ, Wade Jones getting the lead trailed by Shawn Moore, Dennis Hilla and AJ Wernette and a three wide battle for fifth that saw Okruhlik get that spot. The two Wernette Racing team mates, Okruhlik and Wernette began their charge to the front early in the 20-lap feature.
Okruhlik was able to get alongside and past Jones for the top spot on lap 7, bringing Wernette along to second. Wernette then got past Okruhlik for the lead on lap 8, while Jones, Justin Henley and Mike Lyon went three wide for third. Wernette put some distance on Okruhlik and looked have the win in his sights until drivetrain problems put him out. This handed the point back to Okruhlik, in the Wernette Racing, B&B Construction, Hot Rod Welding, JB Wastewater, WWI Trucking, Mission Race Engines, Chevy, who was chased to the checkers by Jones.
“I had nothing for AJ(Wernette) before he broke,” stated Okruhlik. “He had it sewn up. The best we can tell right now it was the transmission that let go. You never get tired winning though. It’s always something different. I was kind of worried where Wade(Jones) and AJ(Dancer) were. Those two have been the fast guys inthis class for a while now. I figured they were back there just waiting for me to mess up.”
“It took me a little while to get use to driving a Street Stock. I think I got it now. This car is a lot faster than my Pure Stock, and you get more suspension on these cars to adjust on. Winning will happen again, shortly.”
Street Stocks; 99 Frank Okruhlik, 41 Wade Jones, 40 Mike Lyon, 141 Curtis Opiela, 7 Justin Henley, 18 Shawn Moore, 2x Dennis Hilla, 04 Nathan Robins, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 82 Richard Wells, 37 AJ Wernette, 53 Brian Becka, 33 David Faulkner, 22 Patricia Lucas, 93 Aaron Leddy, 52 AJ Dancer, 118 Anthony Gordon---DNS
Street Stock heat winners; 37 AJ Wernette, 93 Aaron Leddy, 2x Dennis Hilla
Payton Takes Pure Stock Family Feud
San Antonio’s Jarrett Payton out-battled his sister, Brandy Ramzinski for top honors in the 20-lap Pure Stock feature. Payton, who took his first win of the season last race, made his way from tenth starting spot to scrap it out with Ramzinski after the midway point. Payton got the lead on lap 13, then inched away at the finish for the win in his Rowdy Yates Services, Roosevelt U-Pull-It, Bettis Storage, 5A Graphics, Mission Auto, Chevy Nova
Cameron Smith grabbed the early lead from the 18-car starting field trailed by Jamie Campbell, Ramzinski, Jerry Jones and Kary Scott. Janel Hilla made her way to battle with Ramzinski for third, while Payton started his march to the front. Ramzinski got by Campbell for second, then alongside Smith for the lead at the midway point. In the meantime Peyton and Hilla were slugging it out for fourth.
Ramzinski got the lead on lap 11, while Payton took second on lap 12. Action in three of the four corners brought out a yellow on lap 12 when Scott spun in turn 2, Charles Earnhardt III looped it in turn 3 and Adam Torres got hooked with Hilla in turn 4. Payton capitalized on the restart getting under Ramzinski for the lead on lap 13. From there, Payton was able to ease away the remaining circuits for the victory.
“She(Brandy) gave me that race,” explained Payton. “After that last caution she drifted up too high and left the bottom wide open for me. She’s just another racecar driver when we’re out there so I don’t really cut her any slack. I won’t hit her out though, unless she’s in my way. Not really, I treat her like anyone else out there. She came up and said I could have let her win. I said ‘No! A race is a race.’
“I went out there tonight thinking that I was just going to have fun and not be able to challenge for a win. Everything just kind ofplayed out for me, I made my way through traffic, and it worked out.”
“I really had no plan to make it up starting that far back. Just passed them as I got to them. I found a groove down low that carreally liked so I stayed on the bottom. People would go in and slip up high, and I was able get by underneath.”
“I’m not going to say that I’m running for the championship, because once I do, bad things will start happening. I’m just out to have fun and if it falls into my lap, then I’ll take it.”
Pure Stocks; 9s Jarrett Payton, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 5 Ryan Doyon, 10c Jamie Campbell, 66 Adam Torres, 13 Cameron Smith, 7x Janel Hilla, 117 Devin Adler, 95 Jerry Jones, 14 Trey Heald, 33 Merida Major, 15 William Cavender, 83 Kary Scott, 33c Charles Earnhardt III, 4 Tim Watson, 49 Jay Dancer, 9 Philip Haywood, 6p Jeremy Hernandez
Pure Stock heat winners; 7x Janel Hilla, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 10c Jamie Campbell
Sowder Fastest Front Runner
Landon Sowder was fastest of the 10-car Front Runner in their 15-lap feature. Sowder took over from early leader Hailee Marcx on lap 4. Multi-time winner, Dillon Gaither, had trouble early retiring from the event. Sowder and Marcx continued to battle for the lead with Marcx briefly getting back around Sowder. After a mid-race caution, Sowder was able to put some distance on Marcx and take the win his RicWell Construction, Chevy Cavalier.
“It took some had work,” commented Sowder. “I started pretty far back and was hard working my up and passing everyone. It was a fun race. I really enjoyed it. I like racing against Hailee(Marcx), she’s a good, clean racer and It’s always fun to race her. I’m hoping to shoot for the championship this year, but if I don’t it’s all good fun racing.”
“We’ve got a new car for this year and it’s pretty fast. We put some new tires on it and it’s made it go much better. Next year I’m looking to move up to Street Stock. Wayne Wernette has helped my dad and I a lot and we looking to get the 37w car.”
Front Runners; 08 Landon Sowder, 113 Hailee Marcx, 82 Kristine Opiela, 66c Cindy Snyder, 17 Kristen Blevins, 67 Jimmy Carroll, 00Jamison Pace, 01 Lindi Schroat, 4 Jeremy Witt, 5 Dillon Gaither, 13 Cody Smith---DNS
Front Runner heat winners; 66c Cindy Snyder, 5 Dillon Gaither
Riley Heil, in only her third race, took home her second checkered flag win the win in Jr. Go-Kart Division.
“My dad helps me a lot on my set up,” replied Heil. “BMF Shocks and Chassis sponsor’s my Kart. I’m not scared to race with the boys out there. This is my second win and my third race. I came out here to win. I’m going to move up in classes when I’m old enough. I want to drive a car just like my dad’s car.”
30 Riley Heil
93 Cavin Leddy
48 Isaiah Lambert
14 Adisyn Ramzinski
07 Duell Arnold
11 Caitlyn Leddy
37 Aaron Trevino
1 Evan Lambert
82 Andrew Garcia
12j Jacob Sharber
3 Mason Doyon
**Ed. note; This was my first return to a track since my heart attack. It was nice to be back at the races, and even nicer to have so many people come up and ask how I was doing. It’s great to have so many extended racing family members. By the end of the night I was a little out of gas, especially since most of the winners were out back, but slowly I’m getting back to normal.