• August 31, 2014

Backseat Driver: Troy driver hits daily double at Texas Thunder

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Posted: Monday, June 4, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:05 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

What does double dip mean to you?

To some, it's calling for one scoop each of vanilla and chocolate on a cone. It might bring back memories to me of Gary "Double Dip" Gibbs, a guy I worked with in the mid-70's at KTON in Belton.

None of the above, though, for Shad Stevens, unless he celebrated after the fact at Texas Thunder Speedway's snow cone shoppe Saturday night.

Stevens, who's been away from dirt-track racing for several years after running roughshod over the old Mini Stock class, is back with a vengeance, winning feature races in two different car classes on the same night.

Dan Corbin, who worked with me in the absence of newlywed Sarge Masom, racked his brain, while I was also trying to think of the last time this feat was pulled off. We agreed, as best we could remember, it was P.J. Egbert a few years back, but without

the archives handy, that was only an educated guess.

Shad's exploits are all fact, witnessed by a full house of fans.

He started his big night by coming up through the Street Stock field, patiently reeling in Killeen's Danny Dunn and Jacob Sakhnini of Copperas Cove, who had taken over on lap 11, then sliding by Sakhnini a circuit later and taking the 231 car to Victory Lane.

With barely enough time to slug a bottle of water, Stevens reappeared minutes later for the Outlaw Twister main event. He got his car off to a big lead early, but as the laps wound down, Killeen driver Brian Bagent was catching up. Stevens punched it hard and drove to the Winner's Circle, cementing his history-making night.

During his second post-race interview in 20 minutes, Stevens, in a masterpiece of understatement, admitted to the crowd that he was "worn out."

After all that, I'd have wanted more than two scoops on a cone, as long as it was sugar-free.

That's how the night got going, and while fans (and announcers) were still jacked up over Stevens' adventures, it was time for the IMCA Stock Car feature.

Both Robin and Jason Batt had another committment and didn't run, so Killeen's Eric Jones would probably have been considered the odds-on favorite. However, an early mechanical issue put Jones on the sideline. He had been trying to whittle down a large lead opened by Hutto driver Mike McCarthy. Weathering two late cautions and a white-flag-lap lead change, McCarthy roared around the final turn, running doorhandle to doorhandle with former track promoter Pat Wilson. Using every ounce of horsepower, McCarthy edged Wilson by 0.249 seconds, or a quarter tick of a watch's second hand.

Multiple back-and-forth lead changes highlighted the first three laps of the IMCA Southern SportMod main. When the scoreboard lap counter clicked to four, Killeen driver Randy Doyle, Salado's George Egbert III and Killeen racer Mike McDougal had separated from the 17-car field and were battling for the top spot, which McDougal claimed on lap 11, making it stand up to the checkered flag.

In the IMCA Hobby Stock feature, Belton driver Charles Cosper took an early lead and was pressured the whole way by Temple's Jarrett Roberts. Cosper spurred his way to a seven-length lead by race's end and won his third straight.

Caution flag city was one way to describe attempts to get the IMCA Modifieds started.

After three yellows before one lap was recorded, track officials decreed that a single-file beginning might offset the on-track issues.

Once the race got rolling, Chuck Chesler of Lake Hills took his 149 car to the front, then by lap seven, Liberty Hill driver Rick Green had taken over. By lap 14 of 20, G.W. Egbert IV was leading, then came the see-saw effect.

It was Green leading, then Egbert, then Green again, with the knife-edge give-and-take continuing until the checkered flag waved and it was Egbert in Victory Lane.

The Texas Twister main event looked like it might be another Chris Bruner win, since the Kempner driver led after four circuits, but rapidly gaining ground was Harker Heights racer Austin Witt, who squirmed his way around Bruner, going on to win by a full straightaway.

Then, it was on to drama class, as the cars and drivers gathered around officials in the infield, since two fans had paid the $500 claim fee, meaning they had bought a race car right off the track.

Witt's car was claimed by a drawing. He refused to sell. Witt now loses all points accrued and must pay a $500 fine to the track before he can race Twisters again at TTS. Bruner's car was also claimed by drawing. He agreed to the sale.

With Witt's suspension, Brandon Harcrow was elevated to the Winner's Circle and that's when some grumbling started.

I overheard a fan say "That's (expletive deleted)."

Wrong. It's the rules.

Each and every Twister class driver knows when they sign up, that their car is subject to being bought. They know the penalties for refusing a claim. It's all right there in black and white, spelled out in Rules 14 and 15 on page 14 of the Texas Thunder Speedway rule book.

No driver wants to part with a car they've spent time and money on, but it can happen, like everybody knows. It's not (expletive deleted).

It's the rules.

See ya at the track!

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