By Kevin Posival
Kenny Ware started the IMCA Southern Sports Modifieds feature three rows back while track champion Keith White and Eric Tomlinson saddled up next to each other in row four. Ware slipped into fourth before the end of the first lap and had third locked up after two. On lap five, he took to the inside corner around turn two and passed both Mike Autrey, who led from the pole, and Mike McDougal and led through lap eight, of the 15-lap race, when the caution dropped.
Tomlinson, positioned third with White up his exhaust in the fourth, watched and waited for Ware to make his push and took the lead underneath Ware around turn two and won his first feature race in two years at Texas Thunder Speedway on Saturday night.
“I was worried under the caution,” Tomlinson said. “Eighty-three (Ware) is consistent with his re-starts running to the top. I waited for him to make that push and got under him. It was probably the best piece of driving I’ve ever made.”
With both White and Ware easily running away from the field in their heat races, it looked as if one or the other would, again, park in the winner’s circle and Tomlinson, who finished behind Ware in the heat race, would again have to settle for points and, hopefully, a second- or third-place trophy.
After Tomlinson made his move, Ware fell to second and then dropped to third on lap 10 when White started his push from fourth.
White got around Ware into third and trailed McDougal for less than a lap before he too was behind White. But, try as he did, White never got around Tomlinson for their familiar 1-2 finish.
Before Saturday night, White won four of the five races and only twice did Tomlinson not finish directly behind him and just once had Tomlinson bested the two-time SportsMod national champion — five weeks ago when he finished third ahead of White’s fourth-place finish and Ware ran away from the lot of the them.
“Crazy. That’s a good word for it,” Tomlinson said after the race. “In the re-start, the bottom was the place to be. I don’t know exactly how it happened. The cars were packed and then there was a hole and then we’re running three-wide down the stretch. They were going, pushing me good. I had to do some setting up. I don’t know, it was just crazy.”
Like Tomlinson, Jason Bogard finally found his way to the winner’s circle this season after his IMCA Stock car feature win.
“The past couple of weeks have been good, the trouble was I was in a big hurry getting up there, then something would happen,” Bogard said. “I decided to just be patient. A lot of cars passed me at the start, but then it all kind of worked out well.”
Bogard started fifth and worked his way to third and then passed both Michael Walter and Jason Batt around turn one on lap seven to grab the lead and never trailed.
“It was like it was handed to me,” Bogard said. “As long as I kept my lines, I’d be fine. They kept on the low side and I just thought I’d stick to the high side. I think they (Walter and Batt) got together and it was good luck for me.”
David Dunn finished second and Walter finished third. Points leader Eric Jones finished 15th after winning his first feature of the year earlier in the night in the Street Stocks class. Walter’s third-place finish puts him just three points behind Jones.
Chris Florio still holds the Street Stocks points lead, but Tim Carman Jr. cut into that a tad with a second-place finish behind Jones. Florio finished third.
P.J. Egbert won his third-straight IMCA Modifieds feature, and his fourth of the year, convincingly.
“It went by pretty quick. I started in my usual place, in the middle of the pack. I got the lead on (lap) six and just had to run smooth and go fast.”
After taking the lead from Brian Killingsworth, who led from the onset, Egbert built a straightaway lead on rookie and 2007 I-Stock track champion Benji Kirkpatrick that was negated seven laps into his lead on lap 13 when the race’s second caution flag dropped. Out of the re-start, the third dropped and packed the cars into a single-file re-start with Kirkpatrick right behind Egbert.
Kirkpatrick pushed Egbert around turns one and two for the next few laps, but Egbert was always able to hold him off for his own surge around turns three and four and get another trip to the winner’s circle.
“I think he’s followed me a lot this year,” Egbert said of Kirkpatrick. “We see each other a lot both here and in Waco (Elm Mott’s Heart O’ Texas Speedway) and we help each other a lot. If either of us needs something, the other will give it to them. It’s kind of like a teammate deal.”
Matthew Fitzgerald and Gage Fuller each picked up Texas Twister wins, but T.J. Jacobs and Randy Doyle still lead in points, 220 and 218, respectively.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.