• October 25, 2014

Mother Nature can’t catch Speedway

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Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:58 am, Mon Feb 17, 2014.

Rain was a-comin'. That was the less-than- welcome word we got from Texas Thunder Speedway promoter David Goode just before 11 p.m. Saturday night, with 20-plus IMCA Modifieds waiting in the lineup chute.

With the weather radar getting uglier by the minute, the drivers hit the dirt and went to town.

Coupland driver Doyle Massa the first three circuits, then a hostile takeover by Salado-based points leader G.W. Egbert IV turned into a chasedown, with Pflugerville's Ben Ketteman trying to reel in Egbert.

Several others got into the mix, but nobody was going to catch Egbert this night, as he rolled into Victory Lane, with lightning flashes adding a surreal touch to his post-race celebration.

Happily, the rain held off until most fans had cleared out and the racers were lined up at the pay window. It only lasted for maybe five minutes, much less than I need for a shower. I could still remember, though, an Indianapolis 500 years ago when a downpour at race's end caused the winning car to take the checkered flag at 30 mph.

This time, our fans got their money's worth.

During the IMCA Southern SportMod feature, Killeen driver Randy Doyle passed Belton's Sarah Goode two laps in. Nine circuits later, Doyle found himself under attack in a three-wide which lasted through two corners.

It was clean racing all the way, with Gatesville's Sid Kiphen coming out on top. Kiphen was able to hold on and outlast Doyle by six car lengths at the finish line.

It looked like Trevor Sparkman, who races out of Liberty Hill in the I-Stocks, might be on the verge of a breakthrough win early in that class's main event. Sparkman was out front for the first five laps, but, like in so many past races, Killeen's Eric Jones got the jump on the leader and ran away to the Winner's Circle.

Harker Heights racer and former track promoter Pat Wilson was running third, but fell out of competition when he suddenly bounced up on one of the large boundary tires. Remind me to ask him if it was a mechanical issue, or if he had help.

Later, when the IMCA Hobby Stocks came out, it was good to see the car count up a little. Several tracks have suffered a downturn in numbers with this class, but 10 cars means a full 40 points to the winner and that's what we had.

Waco driver Anthony Simcik went out front on the green flag and held point until lap 8 when Robert Scrivner of Waco took over.

Scrivner's lead was short-lived, since Lorena's Cody Frank passed by two laps later. Frank was pressured by the 33c of Belton driver Charles Cosper, who couldn't quite catch up and deny Frank the checkered flag.

Street Stock action saw 19 cars answer the green flag and Leander's Gene Burnett out front early, until the 110 of Killeen's Zach Riley passed on the inside with nine to go of a 15-lapper.

Riley had to deal with lapped traffic, a late caution and the ominous presence of Nolanville's Gary Norman, who was close behind.

Moments later, Waco driver Ed Thompson nudged into second spot, but Riley was already gone to Victory Lane.

Riley's celebration didn't last long, since word came from the technical inspection area that his car had failed tech, due to a transmission issue, thereby forfeiting the win to Thompson.

In the Texas Twister main event, Kempner racer Chris Bruner and Harker Heights driver Austin Witt went doorhandle-to-doorhandle on the back straightaway during lap six. Witt slid ahead and went on to score the victory.

The Outlaw Twisters finished up in another runaway win for Lampasas racer Austin Smith, who, despite starting dead last, had taken over by the second circuit.

Smith's win had extra meaning, since it was a pretty good present for his grandmother Irene, who was celebrating her 80th birthday at the track.

Another milestone involved Gene Painter of Austin, whose son Don is a regular in the SportMod class. Gene, who ran his first stock car race in the late 1950s, turned 70 Saturday. He's raced at least once per decade since then and we got to see him bring his No. 2 car home in fifth place.

That's more proof that us senior citizens can still "git 'er done." The Twister claim rule was back in effect after being suspended for two weeks and the 6 car of Jason Miller was bought for $500, which Miller accepted.

So, it was a fun night with a great car count, lots of fans in the house and no smoke escaping from promoter David's ears, none that I saw anyway.

Is it Saturday yet?

See ya at the track!

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