He doesn’t wear a cape or blue tights over his firesuit, and the only way Chris Florio can fly is around the Texas Thunder Speedway oval, but he did that again Saturday night.
Starting midpack in the Street Stock class feature race, Florio calmly picked off one car after another while watching leaders Kevin Finsley of Lampasas and Waco driver Thomas Schmidt go at it up front for the first five laps. When he slid by Schmidt’s driver’s side door panel and hammered down ... well ... if Tony Soprano had been watching, he’d have said “fuhgeddaboutit.”
Florio proceeded to open up a full straightaway lead before being brought back to Earth by caution flags, three of them, on laps 14,15 and 17, but on each restart, he slammed the No. 21 into warp drive and ran away, gathering his fourth straight win and continuing his reign as the only undefeated racer at TTS.
Before suggesting that Chris renumber his Chevy from 21 to the Superman logo, it’ll be interesting to see how he does in the Street Stock King of the Hill competition this week, where drivers compete in a series of two-lap shootouts, with the final winner getting bragging rights for the next year.
That was the night’s first main event and in the program final there was more excitement when the IMCA Modifieds hit the track.
It started off with an early-lap minor accident, as Gatesville’s Ricky Kizer and Killeen racer Lee Chasse got together on the back straightaway. Salado driver Trevor Egbert was ahead by then, but here came Belton’s Kenny Stone, who made an inside pass on lap five for the lead. Five circuits later, it was Pat McGuire’s turn to run out front in his Belton-based No. 9, and he was able to stay there and collect his first win of the season.
The IMCA Stock Car A-Main started off with another runaway. Killeen racer Anthony Otken powered his car out to a good lead early and maintained it for a dozen laps, but Harker Heights driver Jason Batt and Killeen’s Tristan Carman had begun to whittle down Otken’s advantage. Batt passed Otken on the inside, held off the charging Carman and cruised into Victory Lane.
It was an especially gratifying win, since Jason’s family from New York was in the stands to watch it.
There were 17 IMCA Southern SportMods lined up for their class feature when polesitter Dennis Purrington raced his Killeen-based 05 into an early lead. After four laps, Killeen’s Mike McDougal charged low around Purrington, putting his No. 224 into a lead that lasted until circuit seven, when Belton racer G.W. Egbert IV sailed around the front-runner’s right side and into clean air, where he would stay until the checkered flag waved.
Killeen driver Bill Siegman Jr. hooked it up off the IMCA Hobby Stock feature race’s green flag, but then fans saw a gutsy move by two other drivers.
While Siegmann held his line, Chilton’s Jeremy Oliver pushed his car to the left, while Waco’s Andy Roller went right, both passing the leader on opposite sides at the same moment. The two were virtually even-up until lap seven, when Roller inched ahead and stayed ahead of Oliver to claim the win.
Both Twister features were flag-to-flag affairs. James Enyeart was not challenged in the Texas Twister final, while Jerry Kipp, racing out of Nolanville, got the Outlaw Twister victory with no problem.
Not a bad night, considering there was a question if it would even get to go at all.
If you’ve been to the track, you know that promoter David Goode is a stickler for starting the program at straight up 8 p.m. At 7:55 it was discovered that the running lights in turns one and three had gone to sleep and wouldn’t wake up.
To the rescue came driver Jerry Frydrych, who with the track staff’s help got one set semi-working.
When we finally saw color in the corners, it couldn’t have come at a better time, since Ken Essenburg and I had totally run out of jokes.
We are sorry for the ones we told, but at least we didn’t sing.
See ya at the track!