• December 21, 2014

Backseat Driver: Massa rolls, Bagent tumbles, both walk away at TTS

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Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:43 am, Mon Nov 5, 2012.

Well, I rolled and I tumbled, cried the whole night long ..." Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Cream and other assorted artists

If you're a blues fan, you know that song well. If you were a race fan at Texas Thunder Speedway on Saturday night, you saw it come to life.

The roll chapter happened to Doyle Massa, racing his No. 31 IMCA Modified out of Coupland, just moments into the class' first of four heat races. Rounding turn three, Massa suddenly went airborne, rolling four times before coming to rest. He was out of the car quickly with both arms raised.

Massa didn't appear to have any help executing his high-flying maneuver. It looked like just one of those weird deals that happen in racing.

Whew! One tragedy averted.

Later, during the Budweiser Racing Texas Twister main event, Monique Bagent joined the TTS Tumbling Twister Club, when the rookie driver found herself sliding into the turn

four fence, winding up on the car's side just below the banking. After being assisted from the car and a checkout by paramedics, Bagent was pronounced shaken, but not stirred.

Harker Heights driver James Cochran won the race in his 1J car.

The night certainly had its thrills and spills, mixed in with some of the best racing I've ever seen at the venerable quarter-mile oval.

Feature race action began in what looked like a snowstorm, but was really an invasion of moths, drawn to the bright lights. The Street Stocks were out first and two young guns were fighting tooth-and-nail early. Cove's Jacob Sakhnini and 15-year-old points leader Tristan Carman duked it out until Killeen resident Carman took over with two to go.

Then it was the AARP's turn.

With a half-lap left, Nolanville driver Gary Norman, like a distance runner on another kind of track, hit the kick button and passed Carman, who had slid up the track and into Victory Lane.

Right off the bat, a six-car schnozzle in turn three delayed the IMCA Southern SportMods, but once that was cleaned up with nothing hurt but a few race cars and the race went green, it was the Ricky Rodriguez show. Rodriguez shot to the lead, but as the laps wound down, Gatesville's Sid Kiphen was inching closer.

Both drivers stated their case on the final run to the flagstand and it was Rodriguez by a bumper, giving the Eddy resident his second straight win.

If that finish was wild, check out the IMCA Stock main event.

After some pinballing between Justin Wierenga and Michael Crandall on the back straightaway, which resulted in Waco driver Adam Schwarz getting black-flagged for rough driving, things were just heating up.

A front straightaway skirmish between Salado's Tony McPherson Sr. and points leader Jason Batt, which wound up with Batt hitting the tractor tire boundary marker in turn one, got McPherson parked by officials.

Killeen driver Eric Jones had taken over the top spot, but lost the rub bar of his 84X, causing a debris caution.

Back to green.

Former Shoemaker football star Peter Delavan was off and running and appeared to be on his way to a first-ever win. The white flag had waved when, for reasons that are unclear, Delavan smacked the lapped car of Florence driver Jesse James Cox Jr. The impact turned Cox's car completely around, Delavan was DQ'd for the hit and Anthony Otken, who was trailing the incident in his Killeen-based 489, was declared the winner.

Later, Jones showed up in the tower with his rub bar, which he autographed and told us to auction, give it away, whatever, since he "never wanted to see it again," because it cost him the race. After numerous attempts to unload the piece, a lady in the front row finally took it. Only she knows what her plans are for a small piece of racing history.

The IMCA Hobby Stock feature was pretty much drama-free, with Belton driver Charles Cosper fending off Bellmead's Andy Roller most of the way. Cosper won it.

It was smooth sailing for Lampasas driver Austin Smith, who ran away with the Outlaw Twister main. Once the race went green, Smith waved bye-bye to the other five cars trying to catch up.

Even though the night had turned nippy by race time for the IMCA Modifieds, most of the large crowd of fans were still in their seats and it was worth the wait.

During four heats, 12 cars had qualified for the feature and another eight were brought in through a 15-lap B-Main. Early on, Cove's Cham Savage Jr. led, with Round Rock driver Mike McCarthy on his rear bumper. After several caution flags, officials decreed a single-file restart with Belton's Kenny Stone leading the parade. Stone stayed a step up on McCarthy and Savage to seal the deal and earn a trip down Victory Lane.

In the night's final event, Cove driver Chris Florio won a series of two-lap shootouts to claim the 2012 Street Stock King of the Hill honors. The win capped a great weekend for the Florio team, since Chris's daughter Taylor had won the Junior MiniStock feature a night earlier at Heart O' Texas Speedway in Elm Mott.

What would you say if I told you that 25 to 30 race cars sporting 800 horsepower stuffed into a 1,200-pound winged frame were coming to town?

That's what you'll see this week when the American Sprint Car Series makes its first-ever stop in Killeen for the outfit's North-South Shootout.

If you're like me, you'd say ... bring it on!

See ya at the track!

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