The Cardiac Kid came close to giving some front row fans cardiac arrest Saturday night.
If you weren't around Texas Thunder Speedway in 1998, Bradley Sims of Copperas Cove got that nickname with his almost weekly last-lap heroics that resulted in many IMCA Stock Car wins, similar to what we see nowadays from Jason Batt and Eric Jones. Sims was involved in another heart-stopping finish last time out, but he didn't win and he wasn't alone.
Sims, who splits time in the no. 74 Street Stock with stepdad Dave Meadows, knew there was no catching Waco driver Ed Thompson, who had wrested the lead from Cove's Jacob Sakhnini on lap 10, when Sakhnini went high to avoid lapped traffic. Thompson won the Street Stock feature, but didn't see what was happening behind him.
With one turn left before the finish line, Sims, Nolanville's Gary Norman and James Hammack came screaming around the corner three wide, going for second place. The trio became entangled and slammed into the concrete retaining wall, setting off what looked like a whole package of Fourth of July sparklers, with the impact launching Sims up and over. His car came down on the driver's side with the right wheels pointing skyward and sitting on the roof of Hammack's car.
Norman escaped the worst of it and happily, all three drivers walked away from the chaos and mayhem.
That's how Bell County Iron and Metal night's main events got started. Later, Batt and Jones were involved in another crazy ending.
Lampasas racer Tony Hamil was using a high-groove slingshot strategy to keep ahead of Batt's Harker Heights-based 50 and Hutto driver Mike McCarthy in the I-Stocks. By lap six, Batt and Hamil were trading paint on the back straightaway, with Batt taking the top spot and watching for Killeen's Jones to appear over his shoulder.
That happened on circuit nine and the two went doorhandle-to-doorhandle on laps 13 and 14, but Jones got loose on the last turn, sending Batt to Victory Lane.
During a post-race inspection, though, Batt's car was found to have too short a wheelbase, resulting in its disqualification and putting Jones in the Winner's Circle.
Batt, who's leading his class in the Lone Star Series, was set to go for the title Sunday.
With several visiting drivers in town testing the waters for Sunday's IMCA Lone Star Series, Kevin Sustaire of Emory his trip worthwhile with a victory in the IMCA Modified feature.
Sustaire snatched the lead from McCarthy on lap 12, weathered a pair of late cautions, then held off McCarthy and the 717 of points leader and Salado resident G.W. Egbert IV for his second win ever at Texas
David Goode, Jr. of Belton won the IMCA Southern SportMod main event with a dominating run, taking his car by Robinson driver and national rookie points leader Michael Guenat early. Goode lengthened his advantage to a full straightaway by mid-race and eventually won by six car lengths.
In the IMCA Hobby Stock feature, points leader Charles Cosper of Belton, whose car had experienced mechanical problems in his heat race, came from the back to second, but couldn't catch winner Zach
Riley's KIlleen-based 110 car. Riley had snared the lead on lap seven when he passed Temple driver Jarrett Roberts.
The Texas Twister main event saw Kempner driver Chris Bruner shoot way ahead of everybody on the start, taking a straightaway lead by mid-race and winning by three-fourths of a lap.
It was pretty much the same scenario when the Goode Towing Outlaw Twisters hit the track. Lampasas racer Austin Smith, who started his car in the rear — about 30 yards back — kicked in a flying start on the green flag and took eight laps to catch leader Rick Smith's Copperas Cove-based 3 car.
Austin Smith was then gone to the house, winning by a full straightaway.
Did I mention that each feature race winner got to fire a vintage artillery piece that some folks brought out? They did, except for Smith and Sustaire, neither of whom pulled the lanyard straight, or something.
The blast reminded me of that cannon the First Cav Horse Detachment uses at their shows. It was loud and certainly gave a whole new definition to Texas Thunder's catch phrase of "Boom, Boom, Boom."
See ya at the track!