Captain America is on a mission.
This time, he doesn’t have backup from the Avengers, and the villainous Red Skull is nowhere to be seen.
It’s not a movie or comic book we’re talking about, but the weekly drama of IMCA Modified racing at Texas Thunder Speedway, where Keith White, aka Captain America, for the cartoon hero’s image on his No. 1 car, is on a two-week winning streak.
By lap 10 of Saturday night’s feature race, White had worked his way forward from midpack to close within a car length of leader Dillon Smith. The defending national champion passed Smith after a restart on lap 11, then ... another caution.
On the restart, he got a good jump and sped away from the field, then ... another caution ... and here came the orange cone to signify a single-file restart.
To make a long story short, the Captain, whose home port is Little River, called for full speed ahead and cranked it up, beating the Waco-based Smith to the checkered flag by that one car length for his second straight win and control of the modified leaderboard. White has 119 of a possible 120 points, one short of perfection.
How long can he keep up this pace? Other drivers have won more in a row, only to see their streak come to a halt in a wreck or with a flat tire ... there’s any number of ways when you’re talking about humans and machines. But with 26 races to go, it’ll be interesting to watch.
A point shy of being perfect is good for any sportsman, but one driver has the upper hand, because he’s won three in a row for a maxout of 120 points, and that’s Copperas Cove Street Stock stalwart Chris Florio.
For the first six laps of that class’s main event, Florio watched as Killeen driver Bobby Norton led the pack in a two- and three-wide battle, then Florio charged ahead to gain the top spot. Once there, it was no contest, as Florio ran away, lengthening his final victory margin to a full straightaway.
Another close finish marked the IMCA Southern SportMod feature and at the end, a familiar car was perched on the Winner’s Circle.
The race started off with Bruceville’s Brian Walker jumping to a quick lead, and he was soon being pressured by Gatesville driver Sid Kiphen and Cove’s David Goode Jr.. When chief official Jeff Bauser showed the crossed flags for halfway, defending track champ Kiphen edged ahead with Goode coming on fast, but it was Sid the Kid who had enough to grab the caution-free win.
In a gesture which showed that Kiphen is not only a great racer but a great man, he brought his trophy across the track and gave it to a little girl in the stands. You could see her eyes light up and she held that hunk of metal and marble tight the rest of the night. What a class thing to do. Thank you, Sid!
Something happened in the IMCA Stock Car main event that hasn’t been seen at TTS in no telling how many years.
It wasn’t in the race itself. That was taken care of early when Killeen driver Zach Riley passed leader Tristan Carman’s Killeen-based No. 4 on the second circuit and cruised to Victory Lane.
We had a claim.
IMCA rules make it possible for drivers to buy an opponent’s engine, or swap yours for theirs, with other parts up for grabs as well. In this case, Killeen’s Anthony Otken claimed Riley’s carburetor and the two agreed to a swap.
IMCA Hobby Stock national points leader Jeremy Oliver, who races out of Chilton, and Belton driver Kenny Ware were chasing Killeen’s Bill Siegman Jr. for the first seven laps of their class feature when Ware took over leadership. Ware was running hard trying to keep ahead of Waco driver Andy Roller, who was pushing to get close enough for a pass, but couldn’t quite pull it off. Ware got the win.
In the Texas Twister feature race, leader Wyatt Engahl’s 44 car got together with the No. 13 of Cory Vankirk, did some paint trading and Vankirk got a momentary lead out of the lap seven rub. Vankirk then appeared to get loose, which put Engdahl back up front and he hung on from there to drive down Victory Lane.
The Outlaw Twister main event was another tight finish with Chris Bruner holding on just enough to outsprint Taylor Florio down the final straightaway to the checkers.
Once again, it was a great race night, but now, it’s time to sample some of that sugar-free candy I found in my basket yesterday.
Hopefully, you and your family had a great Easter, but beware. This is a day where you need to watch your back, especially if you work with or live with practical jokers.
April Fools Day has always been rough on me, since my picture is beside the dictionary entry for gullible. That’s why I’m not going anywhere near David Goode, Ken Essenburg, Jack Welch or my mother-in-law today.
Good luck to you dodging the pranks. If you’re like me, you’ll need it.
See ya at the track!