12th Annual OctoberFast @ San Antonio Speedway, 10/18-19/13
Michael Kourkoubes Mini Stock winner with trophy girls / Photos by Jeff Garvin
J.M. Hallas is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
The Last Round-Up
San Antonio, TX.,(Oct. 19th, 2013) Saturday was a bittersweet day for racers, crews and fans as San Antonio Speedway readied for its final race on the historic high banks, again. Many people put a lot of money and sweat equity into reviving the old half mile speedway, buteconomics took its toll even with the abbreviated race schedule.
This one last round-up gave seven drivers a final chance to pick up one the collectible trophies made out of old seating from the previous grandstands. Many drivers have graced the track throughout the years including former NASCAR Champion, Terry Labonte from Corpus Christi who ranmany laps and scored a title here.
I’m certain other parts of the rejuvenated track will be going home in haulers before the vandals return to the, again, vacant property.
The after race parties will no doubt last long into the early morning as everyone shares their San Antonio Speedway stories among friends and fellow racers, before the lights go out on yet another race track. Behind the track one can still see faint remains of the old Alamo Dragway that ranalongside, while no traces of Texas Dirt Speedway are left on what once was the most raced corner of Texas.
I’ve always said that if you want to see “action” on the track the two best times are during full moons and end-of-season shows. Combine the two and you have what we had tonight. As if Friday night heat race carnage wasn’t enough, tonight capped it off.
They did not go gently into the night....
The on and off track action did keep the crowd entertained and the local law enforcement officials busy. You can easily say the track went out with a bang, literally and figuratively, though I’m not certain that was the intent at the beginning of the night.
Right Place for Reininger in Pro Late Models
Admittedly, San Antonio’s Mike Reininger comes to the track in an unsponsored, under-funded, Underdog role, but tonight was his night. After watching both of his girls run their first Mini Stock races, Reininger was in the right place at the right time when the lead duo got together in the late stages of the 50-lap Pro Late Model event. Reininger, who was content with a third place finish assumed the lead after Casey Smith and George Hagy tangled with eight to go. From there Reininger held the point over former ROMCO Super Late Model Champion, Tommy Grimes, to finally end his string of bad luck this year.
Starting the weekend the Pro Late Model points chase came down to Smith with a one point lead over Chris Davidson. Smith picked up another point on Davidson after qualifying Friday. It didn’t take long after the start that the Pro Late Model title was decided.
On the second start Grimes, who got the front row after the invert, grabbed the lead ahead of Hagy, Austin Wayne Self, Davidson andDerek Scott Jr. As Hagy pressured Grimes for the lead, Smith got by Scott for fifth. While fighting for third Self and Davidson made contact on the frontstretch sending Davidson sliding hard into the turn 1 wall, ending his night and championship hopes.
Once back to green, Hagy beat Grimes into turn 1 to take the top spot with Smith getting past Grimes for second a lap later. Smith ran down Hagy and was putting the heat on until Hagy spun on his own coming off turn 4. With Smith now on point, Reininger, Grimes, Self and Scott trailed on the restart.
Smith began to gap the field while Self, Scott and Hagy swapped positions. By halfway Smith had nearly a full straightaway advantage over Reininger, Hagy, Self and Grimes. Hagy closed in on Reininger, while Chris Swenson got past Grimes for fifth. With ten to go Smith had a half track lead over Hagy as Swenson worked on Self for fourth.
The big turn(no pun intended) came on lap 45 when Swenson and Self got together in turn 2 sending Self around and into the wall for acaution. This erased Smiths huge lead and put Hagy alongside for the restart. Hagy got the jump on Smith going into turn 1 and the lead duo got hooked coming off turn 2 sending both into the back stretch grass with Smith making contact with the inside wall.
Smith took exception to the contact and chased down Hagy under caution punting him on the front stretch and pushing him around. Hagymade it back to the pits and was greeted by Smith who did a hood dance on Hagy’s car before order was restored. Despite being done for the night, Smith still secured the Pro Late Model title.
Finally back to racing, almost, with Swenson and Hagy getting tangled on the restart. Hagy surrendered his car and walked to the pits while Swenson got unhooked. Swenson came looking for Hagy in the car, but found no one, just an empty cockpit.
From there the finish was kind of anticlimactic, with the exception of Reininger picking up the biggest win of his career and ending a streak of bad racing luck that plagued Reininger all year. Reininger, in his unsponsored, 604 GM crate motor powered, Dillon Chassis, was able to hold off Grimes the final few circuits, while Swenson limped home in his wounded ride third.
“I’ll take the luck,” commented an excited Reininger. “We’ve had zero luck the entire season here and at Kyle(Central Texas Speedway). So I’ll take the win any way I can get it. I knew something was going to happen(between the leaders) so I just waited for it and it happened. After that I just protected my lead the last few laps.”
“I saw two fast cars, that both wanted the same space. There’s only so much space you can have and that’s all I’ll say about that. The rest was watching behind me so I didn’t get hit from the back. After they got tangled I was just looking for a hole to get through.”
“I was actually alright with accepting third. I’m underpowered, underfunded and unsponsored. When I saw (George)Hagy on my bumper I just let him go and figured if a caution came out he and Casey(Smith) would start side by side and something might happen. It just worked out.”
“It’s been a huge weekend with my girls racing out here too. After watching how well my girls did I really didn’t have to race. It was the first time on this track or that they’ve ever raced and they impressed me.”
“I think I came off the ground when Kelly got the lead briefly. She rolled the corners perfectly to get the lead, but got repassed by horsepower. If it wasn’t for them I might have given up racing. After the last race here I wrecked it pretty good and told them I was probably done. They tearfully told me that ‘no dad you’re not’ so I had to put it back together and at least finish out San Antonio.”
Pro Late Models(50 laps)
3 Mike Reininger, 22 Tommy Grimes, 48 Chris Swenson, 01 Derek Scott jr., 2 Davin Cravens, 47 George Hagy, 99 Casey Smith, 07 AustinWayne Self, 5 Rusty Chambers, 14 Chris Davidson
Kruger KO’s Competition in Modifieds
Jake Kruger(Bastrop) completed the weekend sweep after setting fast time on Friday, Kruger took over the lead near the 14 mark from early leader James Cole. After some restart gamesmanship that saw Cole sent to the back, Kruger then motored away from Bayley Currey the last half of the race. At the finish Kruger held nearly a full straightaway advantage over Currey, while Cole recovered and closed on Currey.
In the Modified points chase it came down to a three-way battle between Dillon Spreen, Matt Merrell and Kruger. After qualifying Kruger had picked a couple point on Spreen leaving the three drivers within three points of each other.
As the 14-car field took the green, Cole jr. jumped ahead from the front row with JC Umscheid, Kruger, Spreen and Currey in pursuit. The front of the pack broke up into two three-car groups as Merrell grabbed thesecond pack. After a lazy spin by James Cole sr. slowed the action the restart games began.
Kruger was able to get the jump on Cole jr. to take thelead on the second attempt, but action was slowed again quickly as Spreen got turned around and backed into the wall. Spreen was able to continue, but rear suspension damage left him struggling with an ill handling car, ending his title chances.
Kruger and Cole jr. continued their restart games with the pack getting stacked up behind them causing Merrell to get into the turn 2 wall and Bruce Beddoe into the grass. Merrell was done for night leaving Kruger with a clear shot at the championship.
The next restart saw Cole Jr. get sent to the back after another traffic jam saw Logan Bearden and past Late Model champ, Brandon Bendele make contact breaking the right front on Bendele’s car. Once racing resumed Kruger, Currey and Umscheid got away from Spreen, Bearden and Cole Jr.
Cole jr. slowly worked his way back up and at halfway it was Kruger, Currey, Cole jr., Bearden and Beddoe in the top five. With five to go, Kruger had stretched out his margin to a full straightaway over Currey, who had Cole Jr. closing fast. At the checkers it was Kruger in the Wildchild Motorsports(Rick Pollaro), Rack in Motion, MLH Trucking, Kruger Motorsports, 14 Outdoors, BMF Shocks, Mission Racing powered, BMF Chassis taking home the win and championship.
“I just saved my tires and didn’t wear my stuff out,” said Kruger. “I was easy on the throttle and kept the right rear under me. It was all there at the end. I never really running it that hard while everyone else wore their stuff out.”
“I can’t thank Rick Pollaro enough. He believed in me from the minute he saw me in a TSRS Late Model and put me in one of his cars.”
“In practice we were on old tires and pretty much a fifth place car. In qualifying we hit a lap and had everyone by about a tenth. It held strong during the race. I thought Bayley(Currey) might have had something for me at the end but after the race I went over and hisright rear tire was flat.”
“During the race I wasn’t thinking about points, but all this week I was. We just did everything we had to do. We set fast time and got those bonus points and won the race. That’s all we could have done. I knew right away when the others had problems. I was able to be a little more aggressive knowing Matt(Merrell) was on the hook and Dillon(Spreen) had a bent suspension”
97 Jake Kruger, 05 Bayley Currey, 14 James Cole jr., 66 Logan Bearden, 18 Bruce Beddoe, 72 John Walker, 13 Ian Webster, 81 Dillon Spreen, 0 JC Umscheid, 30 Matt Merrell, 23 Brandon Bendele, 33 Jason Morman, 1 James Cole sr., 96 Robert Barker
Upper Hand to Umscheid in Trucks
JC Umscheid(Lillian) wasn’t expecting to be racing a Truck this weekend, but Terry James stepped aside midway through Friday practice giving the ride to Umscheid. After taking a heat race win, Umscheid started outside Cody Beddoe for the feature. Umscheid grabbed the lead coming off of turn 2, then proceeded to lead all fifty laps in the feature. Beddoechased Umscheid early giving way to point’s contender, Rick Pollaro in the mid stages. Cary Stapp got by Pollaro after a late race restart, but couldn’t challenge Umscheid who went flag to flag for the win.
The Truck points chase was another battle between a triad of drivers with Pollaro holding a slight edge over Cary Stapp and Jesse Salazar while Bryon Reed was not in attendance.
The front row of Cody Beddoe and Umscheid stayed side by side through turns 1-2 before Umscheid grabbed the advantage on the back stretch. Beddoe fell in line second with Pollaro, Mason Teague and Salazar on his tail. The top five pulled away, as Mark Chrudimsky made his way to sixth after repairs from last night’s crash.
Just as Umscheid started to put a gap on Beddoe, Teague spun while battling with Pollaro for third. Umscheid got clear on green, with Pollaro moving up to second and Stapp into the top five. At halfway Umscheid was pulling ahead leaving Pollaro, Beddoe and Stapp nose to tail and Teagueworking his way back to fifth.
Keith Riethmeyer had a solo spin off turn 4 to slow the action at the midway point. Once back to green Beddoe retook second from Pollaro who also lost third to Teague. After a short side by side battle Stapp put Pollaro back another spot. Teague, who was getting overcome with exhaust fumes, spun again on lap 34 pinching Stapp high in turn 2 and causing Pollaro to spin.
Teague was checked out by EMS crews and released after taking some oxygen. Stapp and Pollaro were able to continue and not chargedwith the caution. Umscheid again got a good jump on green with Beddoe, Pollaro, Stapp and Jim Nides in pursuit. As Umscheid eased away Pollaro and Stapp got by Beddoe for second and third.
Stapp picked up second from Pollaro with about ten to go, but needed a caution to catch Umscheid. That chance came when Chrudimsky blew up and spun in his own fluid. James Lynch did a 360 spin and kept on trucking trying to miss Chrudimsky. On the restart Beddoe got turned into the back stretch wall after contact with Salazar, who was down several laps after pitting earlier.
On the final restart Pollaro snuck past Stapp for second giving Umscheid the chance to get out slightly. Stapp was able to retake the spot a couple laps later, but had lost ground to Umscheid. Riethmeyer recovering from his spin was able to get past Pollaro for third in the final laps. Umscheid took the checkers unchallenged in the Umscheid Race Services, GM crate motor powered, TRC Chassis. Pollaro’s fourth place finish was enough to secure the championship over Stapp.
“I just rode,” replied Umscheid. “I was the lucky guy in the seat. Terry James built a good truck and my dad helps set it up. When Colt gets in this truck and it goes fast. He just had some brake issues last time. Terry ran the truck in practice and decided he didn’t want to run it, so he asked me.”
“After driving my modified I have to adjust since the trucks are more about momentum and keeping it through the center of the corners. Last night in the heat I had to figure that out.”
“I just rode most of the race. After that last red flag they finally let me turn it loose. We didn’t change much on the truck all weekend. It was dialed in from the shop and unloaded fast. We put some new tires on the right side for the feature, that’s about it.”
“The track actually started taking a lot of rubber tonight. You could see it. I had my dad in the spotters stand telling me the gap I had and calling lap times out. I just tried to stay consistent.”
North Park Toyota Trucks(50 laps)
15 JC Umscheid, 99 Cary Stapp, 14 Keith Riethmeyer, 96 Rick Pollaro, 79 Matthew Villareal, 13 James Lynch, 8 Jim Nides, 97 Cody Beddoe, 39 Mark Chrudimsky, 16 Mason Teague, 18 Jesse Salazar, 28 Shawn Paul Lehman---DNS(crash in heat), 1 Beau Bukowski---DNS(crash in heat)
Barker Best in Street Stock Bash
Boerne’s Robert Barker found himself in a place he’s seen many times in the past, the Winners Circle. The former San Antonio Speedway and Texas Super Racing Series Late Model champion took advantage of a mid-race caution to close the gap on early leader, Kenny Hurley. Barker looked outside on the restart, then ducked under Hurley a couple laps later to take the point. David Webster tried to hang with Barker after a yellow with ten to go, but Barker inched away the final circuits to snag the checkers.
Coming into the final weekend RL Alexander had a fairly comfortable point’s margin over Paul Reyes III with third and fourth, Jason Stanley and Mark Hudler not making the trip for the last race.
As the 17-car field took the green it was Hurley beating Alexander into turn 1 for the lead trailed by Barker, Brandon Spreen and Aaron Leddy alongside Matt Kaminski for fifth. As Hurley motored out to a lead Barker was pressuring Alexander for second while Spreen, Kaminski and Levi Krauss ran nose to tail for fourth.
Barker got by Alexander who started to fall back giving up spots to Kaminski and Krauss. Kaminski had a tire go down sending him into the back stretch was ending his top five run and brining out a caution thaterased Hurley’s big lead. Barker held on to Hurley on the restart as they got away from Alexander, Krauss and Spreen.
Lap 14 saw yellow wave for a multi-car tangle between Reyes, Steve Varnes and David Sevilla jr. Brian Schneider spun coming to the yellow and backed into the inside wall. Barker tried the high side on the restart but fell back in line with David Webster making his way to the top five from the back.
After trying high, Barker ducked low and got the noseinside Hurley on the back stretch. The two ran door to door at the start/finish line and through turns 1-2 before Barker was able to get the advantage leading on lap 18. At the crossed flags it was Barker Hurley, Webster, Krauss and Spreen in the top five.
Barker quickly put some distance on the field up to nearly a half straightaway with ten laps to go. But Varnes spun in turn 3 with Hurley going around trying to avoid Varnes who rolled down the banking clipping Hurley slightly. The damage was enough to force Hurley out a few laps after the restart.
Barker was able to fend off Webster, Krauss and Spreen whenthe green waved again for the final ten circuits. Barker again began to pull away and as the white flag waved he had a half straightaway margin on Webster. From there Barker, in the Mission Auto Parts, Circle K Construction, BMF Shocks, Rack in Motion, Mission Race Engines, Chevy walked away with another San Antonio Speedway trophy.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in victory lane here,” exclaimed Barker. “I’m glad we were able to get one here before this place was done. Hopefully someone can come along and keep this place going. It’s an awesome place to race and always has a good show.”
“We were real happy with everything. The car was awesome tonight. We felt like we were a little bit better than Kenny(Hurley) this weekend. He was way ahead of us when I finally got into to second. I was a little concerned but cautions helped us and his car went away. I was able to get underneath him and make a clean pass. He’s a good, clean driver and I trust his every move. It was a good race. I really felt we had the car to beat this weekend.”
“It’s always a big help when you’ve got the number of laps we have on this track. You know the feel you want to have, when and where to turn in, use the brakes. Experience is everything. Fortunately I have a lot of that here and it paid off. It was a lot of fun.”
Street Stocks(50 laps)
17 Robert Barker, 81 David Webster, 32 Levi Krauss, 88 Brandon Spreen, 69 Michael Pollaro, 80 RL Alexander, 37 AJ Wernette, 97 John Henry Witzsche, 40 Kenny Hurley, 28 David Schooman, 93 Aaron Leddy, 64 Steve Varnes, 24 Paul Reyes III, 49 Brian Schneider, 19 David Sevilla jr., 7 MattKaminski, 90 Brian Bell, 68 Kenny Wright---DNS(crash in heat), 98 Brandon Gaither---DNS(crash in heat), 8 Brandon Moeller---DNS(crash in heat)
Chrudimsky Claims Charger Cash
Mark Chrudimsky(Hutto) scored the victory in the 30-lap Charger feature coming from near the back of the 13-car field. Brent Reevesheld the advantage early while Chrudimsky quickly made his way into the topfive. Point’s contender, Hunter Montgomery got by Reeves in traffic with Chrudimsky now up to third. Montgomery’s lead was short as Chrudimsky got the top spot at halfway then eased away the last half for the victory.
Tator Plumbing Chargers(30 laps)
30 Mark Chrudimsky, 15 Hunter Montgomery, 5 Dillon Gaither, 38 JR Eichelberger, 14 Trey Heald, 95 Sterling Tausch, 2 Darin Blevins, 60 William Cavender, 58 Matthew Hodge, 12 Chris Birmingham, 19 Brent Reeves, 19k Brent Karulak, 83 Paul Lipp, 99 Tommy Temple---DNS(injured after practice), 56 Bob Caulfield---DNS(broke in practice), 01 Wes Walker---DNS(broke in practice)
Sturtz Streaks to Grand Stock Gold
Coming out of the Corpus Christi area, Nathan Sturtz took the hardware back down south in the 20-lap Grand Stock feature. Sturtz got out the lead early until being chased down by Mark Chrudimsky who was able to sneak past in traffic. Just when it looked like Chrudimsky would ran away to the win, Michael Weaver spun in front of the leader with Chrudimsky finding a piece of the wall. Chrudimsky had to pit for repairs handing the lead to Sturtz. Chrudimsky used the “madhouse style” restart to come back to challenge Sturtz at the finish, but it was Sturtz first across the line.
Grand Stocks(20 laps)
84 Nathan Sturtz, 30 Mark Chrudimsky, 578 Les Bettis, 88 Mike Farish, 3 Sean Folsom, 86 Chris Trevino, 13 James Lynch, 29 Casey Simon, 81 Michael Weaver, 8 Joshua McCain, 21 Eric Ramos, 91 Marcia Moore, 58 Kevin Carroll, 139 Bryon Reed---DNS
Kourkoubes Doubles in Mini Stocks
Last night’s Mini Stock winner, Michael Kourkoubes completed the weekend double taking home the 20-lap feature trophy. Kourkoubes grabbed the early but gave it up to Kelly Reininger just past halfway on a restart. Kourkoubes used his horsepower to retake the top spot from K. Reininger a few laps later then inched away in the final laps for the victory.
Premier Minerals/Aramendia Motorsports Mini Stocks(20 laps)
41 Michael Kouroubes, 12 Kelly Reininger, 17 Steve Dalton, 28 Sterling Beck, 5 Michelle Reininger, 7 Kris Wilson, 2 Delina Walker, 4 Matthew Kempf, 14 Robert Henson