I-37 Speedway, 10/7/17
By JM Hallas
Pleasanton, TX.,(Oct. 7Th, 2017) Only two points races remain in the 2017 I-37 Speedway season and points are at a premium, even for heat races. Some classes are extremely tight as drivers begin to drop their one worst finish for the year. Then you drivers there just for the wins or making their first trip to the ¼ mile, semi-banked, dirt oval south of San Antonio.
In the Modifieds Talon Minten has a 22 point edge over Jason Borlace, who is only one ahead of Cody Leonard for second. The Sport Modifieds come into the night showing Talon Minten and Johnny Torres tied for the lead, with Cody Leonard a distant third.
Wade Jones and Cody Leonard have another tight battle for the championship with Jones ahead only by a handful with Shawn Moore in third. In Limited Late Models it's Frank Okruhlik leading the way over Jason Kelly and Howie Marcx.
The two Dakotas(Heinaman and Hurley) battle up front for the Pure Stock championship with Heinaman in the lead and William Saunders in third.
The Sport Compacts show Robert Kelm with good lead over a three-way battle for second between GB Carter, Jamie Garner and Gordon Dowdy.
Dinsmore Dominates Modified Main
After weeks of work and a last minute thrash to get the car finished, Greg Dinsmore(Kerrville) still almost didn't make show. As they were ready to finish loading, the truck wouldn't start. After another thrash on the hauler, they picked up a U-haul for the back of his personal pick up truck.
After the meet-n-greet for the Modifieds where a fan pulled a #2 for the invert, Dinsmore started on the pole along side Cody Leonard. Leonard was able to use the momentum off the top to lead lap 1. Dinsmore had just gotten the bumper back out front when e yellow flag erased the pass. Once back to green Dinsmore found his groove and powered by Leonard for the lead on lap.
Through a couple restarts Dinsmore would put some distance on Leonard who was now battling with Talon Minten for second. At the checkers all the hard work, trials and tribulations paid off as Dinsmore in the Sundowner Performance Diesel Repair, Texas Land Restoration, Performance Towing, Race Safe Technologies, The Alignment Shop, Wehrs, Sanderson Motorsports, Fast Shafts, AFCO, Six-Two Graphics, Friesen crate powered, BMS Chassis scored the win.
“It's really gratifying to get this win,” exclaimed Dinsmore. “We put a lot of work into the car the past couple weeks. Then the truck won't start. It was almost a sign that we shouldn't go. So we picked up a U-haul car carrier and off we went. It worked out.”
“Cody(Leonard) and I had a good race going on the start. Once I got the brakes adjusted and the front end right, it just took off. It was hauling. Everything was working good. I was fighting getting this thing to turn a long time. I think we've finally got it figured out. Getting around the corners has been a struggle until now. I have to thank Kevin Dupont and Nick Roberts. They walked me through some things and it worked.”
“After a caution I could hear a motor for a little bit. I could look off in the corner and eventually didn't see anybody. I just kept hitting my marks from there.”
8g Greg Dinsmore, 12 Cody Leonard, 14t Talon Minten, 17 Cody Tidwell, 77 Robert Liese jr., 55 Mike Morris, 29 Jamie Campbell, 92 Jake Rollins, 137 Bill Pittaway, 125 Jason Borlace---dns
Heat 1; 12 Cody Leonard, 8g Greg Dinsmore, 137 Bill Pittaway, 17 Cody Tidwell, 125 Jason Borlace, 77 Robert Liese jr., 29 Jamie Campbell, 14t Talon MInten, 55 Mike Morris, 92 Jake Rollins
Wire to Wire for Whiteaker
Corpus Christi's Steve Whiteaker jr. is always a contender whenever he rolls the pit gates. Start him on the front row, and he's nearly unstoppable. After taking the heat race win Whiteaker started outside Lawrence Mikulencak for the 20-lap Sport Modified feature. Using the high side drive Whiteaker grabbed the lead from L. Mikulencak on lap 1.
Whiteaker would be able to put some distance on the second place battle between Talon Minten, Marcus Mikulencak and L. Mikulencak. As the checkers waved it was Whiteaker in the DS&S Construction, Cotrell Racing, Performance Graphics, WW Bodies, Churchs Chicken, raceontexas.com, Nasty Cookers, Rhino Rearends, Fletcher Race Engines, Hughes by 89 Motorsports Chassis easily taking the win.
“A win never gets old,” replied Whiteaker. “You never know when your last win might be or your next one will be. You can't take anything for granted. There's a lot cars in the pits the same caliber as ours. It makes it difficult especially when some of these cars are my own and have the same as I have on them. I want them to be fast too.”
“That was anything but smooth. I saw they had a bunch of rain here and did the best they could. I'm not one to knock a track on a bad night. It's just hard on equipment and cars. You had to be up on the wheel. In the end we all had to race on the same thing.”
“I've learned how to run across the ruts. So when I see a rough track, ya I hate it for the car because it's going to get beat up. I don't mind it because you drive it hard and I feel that I can do things on a rough track that a lot of people won't do.”
“The way the car was handling the first couple laps I knew I wouldn't have to worry about anyone pressuring me too much. When I got on the gas, it went. When I turned, it turned. You couldn't ask for anything more for those track conditions.”
89c Steve Whiteaker jr., 9t Talon Minten, 03 Marcus Mikulencak, 9m Lawrence Mikulencak, 26g JJ Jennings, 66 Johnny Torres, 12 Cody Leonard, 17 Michael Maraschick, 48 Chris Swenson, 77 Cody Beddoe, 25t Michael Keylich, 7 Bruce Hinsen, 11t Tom Grothues, 18 Larry Jernigan, 24r Robby Minten, 31 Chase Havely, 48m Max Calles, 174 Max Helms, 2 Robert Boyd, 55r Rusty Head, 21c Barry Codling---dns, 42 Jason Marshall---dns
Sport Modified heats
Heat 1; 9m Lawrence Mikulencak, 17 Michael Maraschick, 174 Max Helms, 31 Chase Havely, 48 Chris Swenson, 7 Bruce Hinsen, 18 Larry Jernigan, 21c Barry Codling
Heat 2; 89c Steve Whiteaker jr., 26g JJ Jennings, 03 Marcus Mikulencak, 77 Cody Beddoe, 25t Michael Keylich, 2 Robert Boyd, 11t Tom Grothues
Heat 3; 12 Cody Leonard, 9t Talon Minten, 66 Johnny Torres, 55r Rusty Head, 48m Max Calles, 42 Jason Marshall, 24r Robby Minten
Votion Victorious in Limited Lates
Trey Votion(San Antonio) took home the Limited Late Model hardware, but it wasn't easy. Committed to the bottom line, Votion saw Frank Okruhlik go around him on the outside to lead a couple laps near the mid-way point of the 20 lap feature.
Votion retook the top spot a couple laps later as Okruhlik began battling with Aaron Leddy, then Quentin Henderson. In the final laps Votion got through slower traffic better to build a slight margin for the win in his ZDT's Amusement Park, Champion Signs, Mission Race Engines powered, Kelly Racing Chassis, Ford.
“Once I saw Franko up there I figured I better run a little harder,” said Votion. “I was just cruising on the bottom because it was smoother down there. I was waiting for someone to go by on the top side. I saw him there for a couple laps, then he was gone.”
“I was going to stay on the bottom no matter what. I knew it was rougher, higher up. I committed to it. If they were going to get me, they were going to get me.”
“Missing two races has put me out of contention for defending my championship. I just couldn't get the car done in time for the first race I missed. I'm pretty sure I have the highest points average, but that doesn't get me anything. I'm just out here for the wins now.”
Limited Late Model
99v Trey Votion, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 44 Quentin Henderson, 57 Jason Kelly, 13 Howie Marcx, 22 Rene Mares, 15 John Owens, 93 Aaron Leddy, 43 Robby Minten, 37 AJ Wernette, 42 Ron Sprayue, 8 DJ Schroat
Heat 1; 99v Trey Votion, 57 Jason Kelly, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 44 Quentin Henderson, 13 Howie Marcx, 22 Rene Mares
Heat 2; 43 Robby Minten, 93 Aaron Leddy, 42 Ron Sprayue, 8 DJ Schroat, 37 AJ Wernette, 15 John Owens
Jourdanton's Jones Takes Street Stock Sweep
In a race that was shortened by time limits, it was Wade Jones adding another trophy to his collection. Jones took over the lead early from Cody Leonard who pitted with a flat and have to try to fight his way back up from the tail. Jones then a couple new contenders to deal with. First to try Jones was Cotton Bowl Speedway's NeSmith Stock track champ, Bryan Meredith who try to get the nose under Jones on restarts.
After Meredith pulled off it was Heath Stewart on the final green, white, checkered restart on Jones' bumper. Jones got a good jump on the that restart and was able to go on to the victory in his SABFI Transportation, Opiela Mechanical, Mission Auto Parts, Chevy Camaro powered by an in-house motor.
“Winning never gets old,” commented Jones. “Winning is everything. I'll take every win I can get. All night I was wondering where everyone else was running on the choppy track. It was smooth middle-high in (turns) 1-2, through (turns) 3-4 it felt good way high or on the bottom.”
“I saw the 30 car(Bryan Meredith) on the bottom so I adjusted my line down there. He drove a good race. I hope those guys come back. The more competitive cars the better. I've raced with Heath(Stewart) before in the Street Stock Shootout. It's always fun racing with guys on your level. I saw Cody(Leonard) hit the ruts in (turns) 3-4. If you hit one with these with tires on low air pressure it will break the bead.”
“I can't thank my grandpa enough for his help. He does all my motor work. I go to work and come home to find he's got everything done on the car.”
41 Wade Jones, 2 Heath Stewart, 52 Kyle Speer, 2x Dennis Hilla, 20 Mike Lyon, 87 Robert Danielson, 7 Cody Leonard, 1 Chuck Barber, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 18 Shawn Moore, 30 Bryan Meredith, 8 Jacob Crow, 99 Wayne Wernette, 81 Doug Ripple, 82 Dwayne Markgraf---dns
Street Stock heats
Heat 1; 7 Cody Leonard, 52 Kyle Speer, 8 Jacob Crow, 1 Chuck Barber, 31 Jeff Hendricks
Heat 2; 41 Wade Jones, 2x Dennis Hilla, 87 Robert Danielson, 20 Mike Lyon, 81 Doug Ripple
Heat 3; 30 Bryan Meredith, 18 Shawn Moore, 2 Heath Stewart, 99 Wayne Wernette, 82 Dwayne Markgraf
Torres Tops for Pure Payday
Adam Torres(San Antonio) worked the top, and worked the top, and finally made it pay off on a late restart to get the lead and the win. Ii was a race that saw a lot of action, on and off track, for the points contenders in particular. Dakota Hurley got the early lead and saw his rival Dakota Heinaman get turned around after Aaron Leddy tried a three wide move, clipping William Saunders, sending him into Heinaman.
With Heinaman back in his spot, the two Dakotas continued to battle for the lead. Meantime Torres, sneaking around the top was coming from his third row starting spot. After a mid-way caution, and time running out, the race was cut to 15 laps. Torres, using the top still, went by the lead duo on lap 13 and took the victory in Allens 24/7 Towing, Chevy, his second of the season.
“I was able to make the outside work,” said Torres. “I saw everyone bouncing around on the bottom. The top was smooth going through the turns. I just stayed up there and it worked out for me.”
“I was just aiming at my marks. I was able to do it all night and it worked out for me. This car is actually running the same motor from the car we raced in 2012 and has the same set up on it we used. I won't make any changes. We'll just stay with the 2012 set up.”
66 Adam Torres, 6 Daniel Preston, 13j Justin Randol, 93 Aaron Leddy, 97 James Aramendia jr., 58 Cheyloh Brodnax, 98 William Saunders, 44k Michael Keylich, 9c Caitlin Leonard, d68 Kenny Wright, 13 Kris Workman, 48 Jimmy Carroll, 30 Riley Heil, 38x Josh Sewell, 95s Les Bettis, 09 Clint Montanio, 15d Jamie Dear, 5 Dillon Gaither, 15 William Cavender, 53 Treyler Caulfield, 56 Bob Caulfield, 46 Lee Vincent, 40---dq(unsportsmanlike conduct in tech), 441---dq(unsportsmanlike conduct in tech)
Pure Stock heats
Heat 1; 98 William Saunders, 441 Dakota Heinaman, 15d Jamie Dear, 30 Riley Heil, 95s Les Bettis, 09 Clint Montanio, 48 Jimmy Carroll, 46 Lee Vincent
Heat 2; 40 Dakota Heinaman, 38x Josh Sewell, 6 Daniel Preston, 58 Cheyloh Brodnax, d68 Kenny Wright, 13 Kris Workman, 56 Bob Caulfield, 53 Treyler Caulfield
Heat 3; 93 Aaron Leddy, 66 Adam Torres, 97 James Aramendia jr., 5 Dillon Gaither, 13j Justin Randol, 9c Caitlin Leonard, 44k Michael Keylich, 15 William Cavender
Easler Eases Away to Sport Compact Cash
After seeing his 8-race win streak come to an end last race, Robert Kelm looked to start a new string of victories. Kelm got out front at the start of the 20-lap Sport Compact feature after a brief fight with Jamie Garner. Coming from the eighth starting, Roy Easler was on the move.
Easler made his move for the lead on lap 3 and quickly pulled out to a good advantage. After one early caution the race went caution free giving Easler the chance to increase his margin and take his Pep Boys, Geo Metro into victory lane.
“This is the first time for this car to get a win,” replied Easler. “I was able to get around him(Robert Kelm) and get out front. I could hear him back there. With a few laps to go I was able to look back from turn 2 and see him entering turn 1. At that point I just tried to keep it straight and drive around lapped traffic.”
“On that track sometimes this car was a plane, sometimes it was a boat. I was just doing what I could to keep it on the ground and keep the tires on the rims.”
12 Roy Easler, 8 Robert Kelm, 57 Trevor Bettis, 3 Jamie Garner, 5a Abel Solis, 63 Gordon Dowdy, 44 Sergio Hexsel, 38 Kirk Ball, 53 Caleb Dowdy, 56 Justin Todd, 13m Jeremy Watson, 74 Arthur Olson, 117 Casey Lowe, 69 Felipe Ruiz, 51Brian Schneider---dns, 6 Ethan Jenkins---dns
Sport Compact heats
Heat 1; 8 Robert Kelm, 63 Gordon Dowdy, 5a Abel Solis, 74 Arthur Olson, 51 Brian Schneider, 69 Felipe Ruiz, 13m Jeremy Watson, 56 Justin Todd
Heat 2; 3 Jamie Garner, 44 Sergio Hexsel, 57 Trevor Bettis, 12 Roy Easler, 38 Kirk Ball, 53 Caleb Dowdy, 6 Ethan Jenkins, 117 Casey Lowe