1) Sport Modified winner Robby Minten
2) Limited Late Model winner Tommy Grimes
3) Street Stock winner a track champion Wade Jones
4) Pure Stock winner Robby Minten
5) Sport Compact winner and track champion Jamie Garner
6) Go-Kart Senior Division winner and track champion Ryker Hernandez
7) Go-Kart Junior Division winner and track champion Peyton Jones
8) Go-Kart Youth Division winner and track champion Blaine Markgraf
Championship Night @ I-37 Speedway, 11/3/18
By JM Hallas
Pleasanton, TX.,(Nov. 3Rd, 2018) They say all good thing must come to an end and so it was for the regular season at I-37 Speedway. Champions would be crowned in all the local classes except for the Simpson Racing Products IMCA Modifieds. Rick Green(Liberty Hill) was crowned champion several weeks back as the IMCA points concluded in September.
It's seemed again like years since I-37 Speedway saw action on the !/4 mile, semi-banked, dirt oval just outside of town. Another batch of rain outs prolonged the season and Mother Nature may have scored more feature wins for the season than any other driver.
Extra money was on the line tonight in the Limited Late Models, Street Stock, Pure Stock and Sport Compact classes.
Heading into the night in the Sport Modified class Johnny Torres comes in 11 points ahead of Cody Leonard, who was not in attendance, with the Minten brother, Talon and Robby third and fourth respectively. Eddy Ross fills the fifth position coming into action.
The Limited Late Model have multi-time track champ, Trey Votion 10 up on Cody Leonard, with tight fight for third between Howie Marcx(425) and Jason Kelly(422). Defending Street Stock champ, Wade Jones comes into action with a big enough lead over former champ Mike Lynn to all but secure another track championship. Lynn Fox, Shawn Moore and Dennis Hilla round out the top five.
Former Sport Compact track champ, Robert Kelm looks to add a second title to his resume leading William Saunders by 14 markers. Caitlin Leonard, Daniel Preston and Allen Torres have a tight battle for third separated by only 12. After double points night and DQ's last race the Sport Compacts shake out with Jamie Garner four points out front of Kasey Krauss and eight up on Kirk Ball. Brandon McCall and GB Carter complete the top five.
The Sport Modified redraw saw Johnny Torres have the number 1 spot drawn by young fan. Torres auctioned off that spot for $100 and swapped starting spots with Robby Minten(7th). The track added another $100 if Torres could finish first or second.
Minten on the Money in Sport Modified
R. Minten(Castroville) took advantage of swapping spots with Torres and led every lap of the 20-lap feature. On the start R. Minten was first into turn 1 trailed by Anthony Gordon, Talon Minten, Tommy Grimes and Torres, quickly up to fifth. While Gordon took a look high on R. Minten for the lead, Torres worked past Grimes for fourth.
Torres continued his march getting by T. Minten and along side Gordon for second. At halfway it was R. Minten, Torres, Gordon, T. Minten and Grimes in the top five. Gordon's top run ended on lap 13 when he pitted from third. Up front Torres was slowly closing on R. Minten for the lead.
After a couple slips by R. Minten, Torres was within about three car lengths as the laps wound down. Torres then made his own mistake and fell back to five car lengths as the white flag waved. R. Minten in the 3-D Lanscaping, CRS Suspension, Sheppards Racing, Spreen Racing, IRP Chassis held that margin to the checkers.
**Torres second place finish secured his 7th championship, 6 in Sport Modifieds, 1 in Street Stocks.
“I got to start on the pole,” explained Minten. “My car was smooth. I almost lost the race in the shop. We found a bent center link after the heat race. We were able to fix it before the feature. It worked out.”
“I told Johnny(Torres) after the race that I was looking behind me. I shouldn't be doing that. It messed me up a couple times. I was looking.”
Swenson Racing Products Sport Modifieds
24r Robby Minten, 66 Johnny Torres, 2 Talon Minten, 41t Tommy Grimes, 84f Dude Farris, 31 Chase Havely, 22m Anthony Gordon
Sport Modified heat
Heat 1; 2 Talon Minten, 22m Anthony Gordon, 24r Robby Minten, 66 Johnny Torres, 41t Tommy Grimes, 84f Dude Farris, 31 Chase Havely
Green to Checkers for Grimes
Former pavement Late Model ace Tommy Grimes(San Antonio) picked up his third victory of the year in convincing fashion. Grimes jumped out front quickly on the start while the 2018 track champion, Trey Votion, fought his way from the back after the redraw. Grimes was chased early by Jason Kelly, Howie Marcx, Votion and Ron Sprayue.
Grimes increased his lead as Votion took third from Marcx and DJ Schroat went by Sprayue for fifth. A lap 8 spin by Jerry Jones erased Grimes' big lead putting Kelly and Votion on his tail for the restart. Grimes got away as Kelly and Votion ran side by side for second.
Votion was finally able to secure second with four to go, but was three quarters of a straightaway behind Grimes. Votion tried to cut the margin, but ran out of laps as Grimes in the NAPA Family Parts Co., Tracy Rail Systems, Longs Machine Shop, Shaw Chassis ran unchallenged to the checkers.
“”Three for this year,” exclaimed Grimes. “We've really had the car come on at the end of the year. It's been a good second half to the year. Chris Swenson has helped a lot with getting it going. I told Chris that I wanted this thing to drive like my pavement car. He got it as close as he could. He could get me to the center of the corner, getting off, it's still a dirt car.”
“I think I'm learning more driving the Sport Mod because it doesn't have the big big or all the adjustments. When the car isn't right, on the Late Model I can adjust it and make it better. On the Sport Mod you've got to find the line to make it good. It took me half the race tonight watching the guys ahead of me. You can't even drive them the same. It's totally different.”
“It's a lot of fun. I love working on these things. The racing is just part of it. I like learning the differences. I haven't learned to read the dirt yet orhunting the grip on that little 8” tire that they run. There's guys out here that are really good that. As long as I ran asphalt I could go to a track that I've never been to and look at it and know what groove we were going to run.”
“I can compare this Late Model to my Late Model on asphalt, I can get it to do what I want. The Sport Mod you have to keep your momentum up. It's almost like the old NASCAR Late Models used to be with the little 350 carburetors. It's all about momentum. You can't slow down, you can't brake it. You've got to just get it in the corner, let it take its set and go.”
“We're going to run both cars out here 90-95% of the time next year. I'd like to make some the big year end shows in the Sport Mod. That seems like it would be blast. You can learn a lot, but you've got to be ready, because the other guys are. We're going learn more next year. I learned a lot racing with Trey(Votion) this year and following him, watching him.”
Nogalitos Gear Limited Late Models
22t Tommy Grimes, 99 Trey Votion, 57 Jason Kelly, 5 DJ Schroat, 15 Ron Sprayue, 95 Jerry Jones, 13 Howie Marcx, 53 Matt Fox
Limited Late Model heat
Heat 1; 22t Tommy Grimes, 99 Trey Votion, 5 DJ Schroat, 13 Howie Marcx, 53 Matt Fox, 15 Ron Sprayue, 57 Jason Kelly, 95 Jerry Jones---dns
Jones Jousts for the Win
Jordanton's Wade Jones capped of his seventh track championship with the win in the 20-lap Street Stock feature, but it wasn't easy. At the start Aaron Leddy beat Tryton Temple into turn 1 for lead followed by Anthony Gordon, Temple, Jones and Daniel Gaudette. Gordon took a look low on Leddy and got along side on the back stretch.
Jones took third from Temple and joined the battle for the lead with the top three nose to tail. Gordon got hung up behind a slower car and slapped the wall breaking the right front suspension. This left Jones on Leddy's bumper as the two ran through traffic.
Jones tried high on lap 12, but was unable to find a way past. On lap 14 Jones found room on the bottom to get inside Leddy and get the lead. Leddy tried to crossover but couldn't make it stick. At the white flag Jones, in the Opiela Mechanical, SABFI Transportation, Mission Auto Parts, Camaro had five car lengths on Leddy as he ran to the win.
“I think's it seven championships here and one with the Street Stock Shootout, I'm really not sure,” replied Jones. “I didn't even know it was Aaron(Leddy) driving that car tonight until he got out. He's picked it up. He surprised me. I don't if they changed some things or what.”
“Lapped traffic played a big part in that win. I don't know what happened to Anthony(Gordon). I think he got into it with a lapped car and that helped me out too. Just some luck tonight, I guess.”
“I'm going to give it my best shot for the win even knowing I'm locked into the championship. You don't want to cause a wreck or anything like that, but we came here to win the race no matter what.”
“My sons championship is far more gratifying to me. It's his third in a row. He won here this year and last and at L87 Speedway. Honestly I do more work on the Go-Kart than my own car. My grandpa helps a lot while I'm at work. Watching him race with the other kids is better. He's got a few more years before we put him in a Pure Stock and he'll have to graduate high school before he gets in my seat.”
SABFI Transportation Street Stocks
41 Wade Jones, 36 Aaron Leddy, 3 Daniel Gaudette, 33jp Tryton Temple, 37 AJ Wernette, 20 Mike Lyon, 18 Shawn Moore, 2x Dennis Hilla, 81 Tony Bernal, 28 Abel Arredondo, 95s Sterling Tausch, 33h Cody Henderson, 22m Anthony Gordon, 19 Brent Reeves, 69j Jeff Rabedeau---dns, 31 Jeff Hendricks---dns
Street Stock heats
Heat 1; 36 Aaron Leddy, 22m Anthony Gordon, 41 Wade Jones, 18 Shawn Moore, 20 Mike Lypn, 33h Cody Henderson, 28 Abel Arredondo---dns
Heat 2; 33jp Tryton Temple, 3 Daniel Gaudette, 2x Dennis Hilla, 37 AJ Wernette, 81 Tony Bernal, 95s Sterling Tausch, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 19 Brent Reeves, 69j Jeff Rabedeau
Pure Stock Pay Day To Minten
Debuting a new car out of the Empire Chassis shop Robby Minten was able to fight off Ben Mikulencak in one of the best battles of the night. On green Mikulencak beat Johnny Torres into turn 1 with Minten, Les Bettis and Jarrett Payton in pursuit. As J. Torres looked low on Mikulencak, Minten was trying the high side of Torres.
Torres and Mikulencak ran door to door for the lead while Jamie Dear grabbed fifth from Payton. As Dear and Bettis fought for fourth the two made contact sending Dear around and Bettis to the tail. On the retstart J. Torres kept the pressure on Mikulencak for the lead taking peeks low before slowing and pulling off.
This left Minten on Mikulencaks bumper while Dear, Adam Torres and Payton were three wide for third. Just before halfway Cheyloh Brodnax spun to slow the action. On the restart Minten looked low in turn 1 on Mikulencak for the lead. The duo traded a little paint in turns 3-4 with Mikulencak holding him off at the crossed flags followed by Dear, A. Torres and Aaron Leddy.
After a quick yellow for a track tire, Minten reapplied the pressure on Mikulencak for the lead while Dear, A. Torres and Leddy went three wide. Minten tried the low side twice before finally getting door to door with Mikulencak on lap 15. They were still tied at the A-posts for the lead on lap 16.
Minten finally got the got the advantage and the lead on lap 17 by a car length, with A. Torres and Leddy swapping third. Minten added a couple more car lengths breathing room coming to the checkers in the 3-D Landscaping, Doyon Motorsports, All in Designs, Ace Transmission, Nogalitos Gear, Longs Machine Shop, Empire Race Cars.
**Former Sport Compact champ, Robert Kelm finished ahead of William Saunders and wrapped up another track championship.
“I've only driven a Pure Stock twice before,” said Minten. “I've driven Mike(Keylichs) and Ray(Doyons) car once before. There's not a whole lot you can do set-up wise. You just have to drive them smooth and hope the car is fast. There's not much you can do to fix it.”
“Ben(Mikulencak) was fast. I had to do everything I could to pass him. He was really smooth and I was down in the ruts. Once I was able to get around him and move up my car was smooth.”
“Johnny and I had a pre-race bet that I'd beat him in the Pure Stock. I had my heat race won, but the throttle hung and ended up getting second so I had to start behind him in the feature. When they were racing side by side I was bumping Johnny trying to get around them. I really didn't want him to break since we were talking a lot of smack during the week, I wanted to be able to beat him on the track.
All in Design Pure Stocks
3 Robby Minten, 182 Ben Mikulencak, 66 Adam Torres, 93 Aaron Leddy, 15d Jamie Dear, 38 Josh Sewell, 48 Robert Kelm, 98 William Saunders, 9s Jarrett Payton, 44k Kathrine Keylich, 68 Kenny Wright, 57b Les Bettis, 127 Jerry Walter, 50 Gary Jones, 58 Cheyloh Brodnax, 75 Jerry Miller, 88 Johnny Torres, 92b Robby Keylich, 15 William Cavender, 17 Casey Lowe, 43 Jamie Fuller---dns
Pure Stock heats
Heat 1; 182 Ben Mikulencak, 3 Robby Minten, 66 Adam Torres, 58 Cheyloh Brodnax, 93 Aaron Leddy, 50 Gary Jones, 44k Kathrine Keylich
Heat 2; 88 Johnny Torres, 15d Jamie Dear, 17 Casey Lowe, 48 Robert Kelm, 15 William Cavender, 75 Jerry Miller, 92b Robby Keylich
Heat 3; 57b Les Bettis, 9s Jarrett Payton, 98 William Saunders, 127 Jerry Walter, 38 Josh Sewell, 68 Kenny Wright, 43 Jamie Fuller---dns
Garner Grabs Gusto in Sport Compact
Jamie Garner took home the win and track championship in the Sport Compact feature after a spirited battle with Austin Smith. At the start of the 20-lapper, Smith led the way chased by Trevor Bettis, Garner, Kasey Krauss and Brandon McCall. Bettis, Garner and Krauss were three wide for second on lap 2 with Garner getting the spot.
Garner, using the high side, got beside Smith for the lead on lap 4. The two were side by side with Garner edging out Smith for the lead on lap 5. The two continued running door to door with Smith, a past I-37 Enduro winner, retaking the point on lap 7.
Garner was able to regroup and make another charge on Smith as the laps clicked off while Krauss closed on both. Garner was able to get the bumper back out front on lap 14 with the duo again door to door. As the white waved Garner, Smith and Krauss were bumper to bumper with Garner holding on for the win in the Austin VeeDub, Pick-n-Pull, Krystal Ball Communication, Up Top Roofing, VW Sirocco.
“I'm not sure yet on the track championship, but we'll see,” replied Garner. “I hope so. Hopefully the 'drop race' will move me up. With the drop race, who knows. Don't count your chickens too fast.”
“He(Austin Smith) is no rookie, that's for sure. After racing with him in the heat race and watching him drive, I knew it was safe to run with him. Some guys are all over the place, mostly the new guys. But he's obviously not a new guy. It was a lot of fun racing with him. He's a very good driver. We raced each other clean. The whole time I don't think we ever touched. That was a lot of fun.”
“We'll be back in this class next year. My next move up will be to the couch. I want to thank Pick-n-Pull for sponsoring the track, Brown Chevrolet for sponsoring our class. I've got also thank Kirk Ball, Charles “TJ” Hopper. All those guys made it possible for me to make it to the races. In the middle of the season we were down and out and these guys came up with the finances to get us through the season.”
Brown Chevrolet Sport Compacts
33 Jamie Garner, 313 Austin Smith, 23 Kasey Krauss, 14 Brandon McCall, 57 Trevor Bettis 38 Kirk Ball, 29t Bo Tracy, 30 Bill Cox, 74 Arthur Olsen---dns
Sport Compact heats
Heat 1; 313 Austin Smith, 57 Trevor Bettis, 23 Kasey Krauss, 33 Jamie Garner, 14 Brandon McCall, 38 Kirk Ball, 74 Arthur Olson, 30 Billy Cox
Russ Parker Construction Go-Karts
Senior; Ryker Hernandez(track champion), Hannah Miller, Charles Flanagan
Junior: Peyton Jones(track champion), Cody Clegg
Youth; Blaine Markgraf(track champion), Berkley Keylich, Hayes Bettis