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Reb's Race Report

I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park, June 30

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J.M. Hallas is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

July 2, 2012 | 2,453 views | Post a comment

Pleasanton, TX.,(June 30th, 2012) I-37 Raceway dodged Mother Nature Saturday night getting their full slate of racing in on the 1Ž4 mile, semi-banked, dirt oval. While showers dotted the area, the track saw ne’ery a drop as drivers, crews and fans filed in for the nights action. Several new drivers made their appearance with other tracks taking the night off allowing guys from the coast to the valley a chance to come up and race.

It was a near perfect night for racing with clouds blocking the sun and a breeze from the east keeping it cool after the past heat wave that saw temperatures above the 100 for several straight days.

With all the strange events throughout the evening you’d have thought it was a full moon.....But no. Three drivers who led in the final lap(s) didn’t get the win, two drivers scored first time wins and a partridge was found in a pear tree. Well maybe it was just a sea gull in a hackberry.

On the nights racing card were the IMCA Modifieds and Sportmods, Limited Late Models, Street and Pure stocks, plus the Front Runners and Go-Karts.

Taylor Flag to Flag for First Modified Feature
Dennis Taylor(Live Oak) took home his first IMCA Modified trophy leading the 20-lapper, flag to flag. Taylor beat polesitter Marlin Samford off turn 2 for the lead at the start. Several cautions before halfway kept it close between him and Jason Borlace early. The final half of the race was run under green allowing Taylor to pull away to a big lead at the checkers.

Taylor was able to get the advantage on Samford as the 11-car fired off. Borlace, Tracy Fink, Chuck Chesler and Samford fell in line behind Taylor.
After nearly a caution per lap, the race reached halfway with Taylor, Borlace, Fink, Darin Leonard and Pittaway, recovering from a pit stop to remove loose sheet metal, in fifth.

As Taylor pulled away from Borlace, Leonard battled his way around Fink for third. Taylor built his margin over Borlace to a half straightaway as he continued to hold his edge to the checkers in his familysponsored, Hughes Chassis.

“I’ve never won a Modified race here in a 4-link car,” exclaimed Taylor. “It’s been a real battle trying to get it right. I knew starting on the outside of the front row I had the car to get out front. After that I just had to be smooth. There was plenty of bite up top, but it was avery line to run. I have a good set up sheet for the car. We had the wrong springs in the front, but never really paid attention to it. I got it worked out and it made a world of difference.”

“This is my old car with an anniversary number on it. My wife and I were married in ’87 and together for 25 years. It’s been good luck so far. Last week we had a good run going and the motor just shut off. We thought it was going to be bad, but the coil bracket broke and pulled the coil wire out. I wasn’t worried about that again, more about hitting my marks, be consistent and find the right brake bias.”

“The track changed a little bit, but it wasn’t that drastic. There were a couple times when a certain spot would get slick and I compensated for it. Actually if you slowed down a bit you wouldn’t make mistakes. It’s all about who makes the least mistakes.”

IMCA Modifieds
87 Dennis Taylor, 21 Jason Borlace, 26 Darin Leonard, 24 Tracy Fink, 137 Bill Pittaway, 37b Matt Banker, 16 Carson Bednarz, 29 JamieCampbell, 98 Art Rodriguez, 49 Chuck Chesler, 31 Marlin Samford, 141 Rob Sanderson---DNS

IMCA Modified heats
Heat 1; 21 Jason Borlace, 87 Dennis Taylor, 49 Chuck Chesler, 29 Jamie Campbell, 16 Carson Bednarz, 37b Matt Banker

Heat 2; 31 Marlin Samford, 137 Bill Pittaway, 141 Rob Sanderson, 24 Tracy Fink, 98 Art Rodriguez, 26 Darin Leonard

In one of the most controversial races Michael Hernandez was awarded the victory after track officials used video replay to determine ‘cause’ in a last lap incident between the leaders. Lost in all the confusion was agood, spirited battle between defending track champ, Johnny Torres and young gun, Michael Hernandez for the win. Torres was originally deemed the victordespite never crossing the finish line. After further review, officials overturned the win giving the checkers to Hernandez.

As green flew on the 18-car field, Pat Lyon was first into turn 1, but it was three wide coming off turn 2 with Tommy Grimes getting the point. Greg Lackey, Lyon, Hernandez and Jason Kelly sorted out in the top five. Larry Jernigan, Cody Leonard and JJ Jennings began working the high side and their way forward with Jernigan and Lenard grabbing fourth and fifth.

A lap 4 caution for debris erased Grimes’ lead and gave Hernandez the chance to challenge Lackey on the restart. Hernandez got the spot on lap 5 while Robby Minten made his way to fifth. Hernandez, using the top, drove around Grimes for the top spot on lap 9, with R. Minten going under Grimes for second a lap later.

At the crossed flags it was Hernandez, R. Minten, Grimes, Jernigan and Leonard in the top five. R. Minten was looking under Hernandezwhen Grimes looped it after being passed by Jernigan. The ensuing restart was aborted when Zach Tesch stalled off turn 4. Finally back under green Jennings, Johnny Torres and Leonard all got by Jernigan, who slipped high off turn 2.

R. Minten got the lead on lap 14, with Torres getting third from Jennings. R. Minten lead was short as he spun in turn 4, giving the position back to Hernandez. Torres quickly put the heat on Hernandez once back to green and was able to get the nose out front. Hernandez fought back and after a slip by Torres, retook the top spot on lap 16.

The two continued to slug it out until a caution for debris slowed the action. On the restart Torres dove low with the two running wheel to wheel for the lead on lap 18. Torres got the advantage coming to the white flag, but the two made contact in turns 1-2 sending Torres around. The race continued to the checkers with Hernandez in the racelogic.com, Emerson Race Car first back to the line.

Initially Torres was given the win under the premise of the ‘spin the leader’ rule. After much discussion, and viewing two different video replays, Hernandez emerged as the victor. This poses a volatile question, should video replay be used in making race calls....

“We were just racing hard,” replied Hernandez. “I drove it in as hard as I could on the last lap. I saw him(Johnny Torres) on the bottom and all of a sudden he slid up on me. I tapped the brakes as much as I could without spinning myself out and got into him a little bit. I felt really bad for him and apologized after I crossed the finish line. I feel bad for way it ended.”

“We had some contact earlier when he tried a slide job and we got together. He was a bit upset about that under caution. I’m just out there trying to have fun. I was able to hold off three of the best guys outhere and happy with what I did. My dad really had the car set up tonight. We missed some races early making sure the car was ready. We’d spend around five hours a night on it.”

“I was a really big jump moving from the Mini Sprints to a Sportmod. The Mini Sprints are so small, so fast and so light and I had to adjust going to these big cars. Last year we just got a car and threw a seat in not knowing what we were doing. It was rough on me. We took a break, tore the car down and went to Eddie Martin’s racelogic chassis school. He’s helped out a lot.”

IMCA Southern Sportmods
2r Michael Hernandez, 26g JJ Jennings, 37 Cody Leonard, 9 Ray Doyon III, 18 Larry Jernigan, 118 Anthony Gordon, 57 Jason Kelly, 12r Roly Rodriguez, 4r Robby Minten, 2g Greg Lackey, 22t Tommy Grimes, 22 Randy Bennett, 14t Talon Minten, 60 Pat Lyon, 66 Johnny Torres, 101 Tanner Whitmire, 11 Tom Grothues, 72 Zack Tesch, 58 Hunter Flanagan---DNS

IMCA Southern Sportmod heats
Heat 1; 18 Larry Jernigan, 26g JJ Jennings, 37 Cody Leonard, 60 Pat Lyon, 14t Talon Minten, 58 Hunter Flanagan

Heat 2; 57 Jason Kelly, 9 Ray Doyon III, 4r Robby Minten, 2g Greg Lackey, 12r Roly Rodriguez, 22 Randy Bennett

Heat 3; 2r Michael Hernandez, 66 Johnny Torres, 101Tanner Whitmire, 22t Tommy Grimes, 118 Anthony Gordon, 72 Zack Tesch, 11 Tom Grothues

Hesler Handed Hardware in Tech
Mc Allen’s Jensen Pray was first to cross the finish line in the Limited Late Model feature, but a technical infraction took away the win and gave it to Andrew Hesler who had led early in the 15-lap event. Pray admitted not changing tires and wheels was an oversight on their part from their normal track. The win for Hesler, who is spearheading next weekends “Wounded Warrior” event, was his first of the season.

On green, Ron Sprayue quickly grabbed the lead trailed by Hesler, Pray, Richard Bartosh and Trey Votion. Sprayue drifted too high in turn 2 giving Hesler an opening to get the lead on lap 3. Pray followed Hesler through the hole, bring Votion along to third. As the top three broke away,Pray began looking low on Hesler for the lead until Sprayue went around on lap 6 for a caution.

Pray used the high side on the restart to alongside Hesler coming to lap 7, then ease out front on lap 8. From there Pray was able to build a huge advantage taking the checkers by a full Straightaway. In tech the tires and Wheels on Pray’s car were too wide, giving the victory to Hesler in the Custom Control Modules, Hesler Motorsports, Danielson Motorsports, 8g Racing, Walter Newman Chassis.

“It’s not really the way you want to win,” said Hesler. “But the rules are the rules. If you’re going to win, you have to make sure you’re legal. I was kind of nervous about the car smoking the heat race, but it was only a valve cover that wasn’t sealing. When he(Jensen Pray) got around I made a mistake and I just held my line and drove my race after that. I just let him and made sure I didn’t overdrive after that.”

“Last year we started “Warrior Fest” and after 14 years I got out as a wounded warrior. This is just I wanted to do to give back to the facility. The Center for the Intrepid Takes care of all the wounded warriors and their families. I’ve kind of dedicated my racing career to that. These guys are why we get to do. It’s my way of saying thank you to all of them since I’ve been on the other side. It was something my wife and I came up with and we hope it continues to get bigger every year. Lots of people have donated to the CFI through our race out here. Last year we collected about $3,000 from drivers, fans and sponsors.”

“The wounded warriors and service men and women are what empower us. Every time I start the car I say, ‘this is for you guys.’

Limited Late Models
1x Andrew Hesler, 99 Trey Votion, 7 Richard Bartosh, 6 Craig Crawley, 42 Ron Sprayue, 77 Landon Farquar, 1* Jensen Pray---DQ(tech tires/wheels)

Limited Late Model heat winner; 1x Andrew Hesler

No Billboard for Becka, Picks up Checka
After a trip into the backstretch billboards last week, Brian Becka rebounded for a win, but it came with a bit of luck. Becka gave up the lead to multi-time track champ Wade Jones who looked to be cruising on to another victory until a late caution. Under yellow Jones had a tire go down and was easy prey for Becka on the restart who got by and went on to take the checkers.

Becka got a good from the front row to get out front in the 14-car Street Stock feature chased by Tommy Casey, Richard Wells, Curtis Opiela and Mike Lyon. Opiela and Lyon got by Wells for third and fourth, while Jones worked his way into the mix for fifth. Jones wasted little time on his march to the front going by Opiela and Casey for second.

Opiela went around in turn 2 collecting AJ Dancer, ending his night. On the restart, Jones got under Becka and snagged the point on lap 6. After a couple restart for spins, Jones began pulling away from Becka, who was being pressured by Lyon, and as Frank Okruhlik made a late charge to fourth.

Jones looked to be on his way until Kevin Hyland brought out a late yellow. Jones right rear went down during yellow leaving his easy picking for Becka on the restart. As Becka got the lead back, Lyon, Casey and Okruhlik filed past the wounded ride of Jones. Becka eased away the final lap for the win in the Rays Auto & Truck, Tator Plumbing, CNC Grafix, Shepherds Race Engine powered Chevy.

“I didn’t know Wade(Jones) had a problem until I heard on the receiver that he had a tire going flat.” commented Becka. “That’s what helped me out. It wasn’t the way I wanted to beat him. I’d rather beat him fair, racing for it. After the way my luck has been recently maybe I was due to get the win.”

“He had a pretty good lead on us tonight. I watched where he was running and used the bottom like he was. On the last restart I was hoping he’d take off, but not spin out. This is my first full year in this car. We ran a couple races last year. I think I’ve come a long way since just starting and never being in a racecar.”

“Last week I was running the high side and each lap get a little higher and higher. Coming out of turn 2 it got loose and shot me up the track. I let off and straightened up but when I got back on the gas it tookoff. The next thing I know, I’m in the billboards. I closed my eyes when I saw wood start to fly.”

Alamo Hot Rod Parts Street Stocks
9 Brian Becka, 40 Mike Lyon, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 15 Tommy Casey, 41 Wade Jones, 141 Curtis Opiela, 04 Nathan Robins, 22 Patricia Lucas, 66 Johnny Torres, 72 Kevin Hyland, 1 Tator Mason, 66 Johnny Torres, 82 RichardWells, 37 AJ Wernette, 52 AJ Dancer

Street Stock heat winners; 41 Wade Jones, 82 Richard Wells

Torres Takes Pure Payday
After a disappointing loss while battling for the win on the final lap last weekend, Adam Torres came back with a vengeance to take the 20-car Pure Stock main. Torres got the top spot from early leader Trey Heald, who’s finding the handle on his new car. In the latter stages Torres held off a challenge from Brandy Ramzinski after a caution, then inched away for the victory.

Heald beat the 17-car Pure Stock field into turn 2 to lead followed by William Cavender, Adam McKinley and Jerry Jones, with Torres side by side with Ben Franke for fifth. Franke got the spot, then third from Jones after he slid too high. Franke got into McKinley sending him around, then got tagged by Karaline Campbell, who had to nowhere to go.

This put Torres on Heald’s bumper for the restart and he immediately turned the heat up once green waved again. Heald tried holding his ground, but Torres was too tough getting the lead on lap 8. Jarrett Payton had snuck his way getting second from Heald, only to blow up on lap 9, ending agood run early.

As the top four took off back under green, Ryan Doyon made his way past Jones to fifth. Ramzinski made her way past Heald and Cavender to take over second, while Jones retook fifth. After a late caution for a spin by Jay Dancer, Torres was able to hold off Ramzinski and ease ahead to the checkers in the 24/7 Towing, Tator Plumbing, Screen Pro Graphics, Chevy.

“This makes up for the finish last weekend,” said Torres. “It also helps us out in the points. I’m just trying to go for the championship this year and go up to Street Stock next year.”

“I heard someone back behind me, but I don’t worry about who. I just try to run my race, and hit my line. I was able to stay on the bottom and hold my line and it worked out.”

“With Frank(Okruhlik) moving up a class it’s kind of opened the Pure Stocks up this year. I think it’s going to be my year. I’ve been trying for a championship for a long time, about 8 years.”

Pure Stocks
66 Adam Torres, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 95 Jerry Jones, 15 William Cavender, 5 Ryan Doyon, 7x Janel Hilla, 14 Trey Heald, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 117 Devin Adler, 54 Kevin Sullivan, 49 Jay Dancer, 83 Jeff Poole, 1c2 Dustin Blessing, 9s Jarrett Payton, 60 Adam McKinley, 57 Ben Franke, 10c Karaline Campbell

Pure Stock heat winners; 95 Jerry Jones, 15 William Cavender, 66 Adam Torres

Gaither Again in Front Runners
Once again young Dillon Gaither picked up the honors in the 15-lap Front Runner feature. Gaither got past early leader Landon Sowder, who had trouble on a restart, then held off Sowder as the duo pulled away from the field the final five laps.

Sowder grabbed the early lead of the Front Runner feature with Gaither Hailee Marcx, Jimmy Carroll and TJ Troendle on his tail. Sowder had Gaither hot on his heels until getting a slight advantage before a caution Lauren Blessing stopped on track. On the restart, Sowder’s car sputtered and Gaither went past as the top three gapped the field. Gaither, in the RohmerRacing, Rays Auto & Truck, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, TJ Hopper, CNC Grafix, Tiburon was chased the remaining laps by Sowder, though he could never mount a serious challenge.

“It wasn’t so easy tonight,” replied Gaither. “His(Landon Sowder) car is fast. We got up on the high side where our cars like to run and it was a good race. He missed a shift on that restart and I was about to avoid(hitting) him and was able to get the win.”

“I could hear he was still back there, but didn’t know how close he was. It just stayed focused and drove my own race. Right now we’re leading points and I’m working on my first championship. We have a Pure Stock at the house we’re getting ready. Depending on points I might jump in it towards the end of the year.

Front Runners
5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder, 113 Hailee Marcx, 69 Jordan Sandoval, 01 TJ Toendle, 8t Ryan Franklin, 67 Jimmy Carroll, 57 Trevor Bettis, 00 Billy Kinneman, 05 Lauren Blessing

Front Runner heat winners; 69 Jordan Sandoval, 5 Dillon Gaither

Go Karts
Senior Division
12j Jacob Sharber
82 Andrew Garcia
37 Aaron Trevino
1 Evan Lambert
51 Logan Schanen
07 Duell Arnold

Junior Division
07 Lauren Wells
48 Isaiah Lambert
60 Chase Schanen
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