How can a driver be disqualified and still win a feature race? One man went from the outhouse to the penthouse, all in one night at Texas Thunder Speedway.
Killeen racer Zach Riley runs two classes at TTS. We see him every week in both the Street Stocks and IMCA Hobby Stocks and it was the Hobby class heat race, which brought out a side of this talented young guy I'd never seen before.
Just before the lights went out again on the track's east side and were restored in just over 10 minutes, a dustup occurred between Riley's car and Temple driver Damian Snyder. On the restart, Riley laid in wait at turn one for Snyder and went after him in turn two, where, thank goodness, he missed.
Naturally, a black flag came out and Riley was told to put it on the trailer. Game over, in this class anyway.
When the heat got going again, Belton driver Charles Cosper's car broke, leaving a liquid trail on the surface, which we felt had probably done him in for the night.
To the rescue came Zach Riley, who offered points leader Cosper his car to run the feature event.
At feature race time, 19 Street Stocks took the green flag and guess who led from flag to flag? You got it, Zach Riley.
In his post-race interview, Riley apologized for his earlier actions, saying "I lost it. I'm sorry."
Not to worry, Zach. I'm sure you learned a valuable lesson and it was classy the way you let Cosper have your car to stay high in the points chase. It takes a big man to admit he's wrong.
With Abilene Speedway closed due to the promoter's illness, we expected several drivers from West Texas to join us and one in particular had a big night in the IMCA Modified class.
Some 34 modifieds had signed in and it took a 17-car B Main to set the 20-driver feature-race field.
Once the green dropped, Kempner's P.J. Egbert spurred his 707 to the front, where he stayed for the first nine laps. Behind him, Abilene racer Josh McGaha was patiently working his way forward, picking off cars and caught up with local fan fave Egbert on the 13th circuit.
Josh made the inside pass and took a lead he'd keep to the checkered flag, ending a caution-free run. It was McGaha's second win this season at Texas Thunder.
A driver who got his first 2012 feature win will remember it for the rest of his life.
After several seasons of plugging away in the IMCA Stock Car division, Lampasas racer Tony Hamil had finished second before, but never experienced the euphoria of winning.
Hamil was out front from the start, but things looked iffy when points leader Eric Jones started making his move on lap 10, passing former track promoter Pat Wilson and moving into second place. Hamil was not denied on this night, leading all the way to the end.
While we're on first-win euphoria, hats off to Temple racer Jarrett Roberts, a youngster who is no stranger to victory lane, since he was the Junior MiniStock champ at Waco's Heart of Texas Speedway last year.
Roberts, who's running second in the IMCA Hobby Stock region rookie standings, has been looking for his car's first victory in the class and it looked almost too easy Saturday night, once he passed race leader Snyder four laps in, he won going away, never being seriously challenged.
In the IMCA Southern SportMod main event, Belton's David Goode Jr. didn't have to come from as far back as last week, when he went from worst to first.
This time, Goode started sixth, quickly snagged the lead, but had to contend with points leader Trevor Egbert, who was nipping at his rear bumper. Goode had to push hard for his second-straight win, beating Egbert to the line by 0.188 of a second.
Austin Witt had no problems, posting a flag-to-flag victory in the Outlaw Twister feature, which had a full 10-car field for the first time.
There was a little more give and take in the original Texas Twister class, which saw Killeen's John Femrite pilot out front on lap two.
Five circuits later, Femrite was bumped off the point, turning the lead over to Taylor driver Stephanie Henderson. Two laps later, Femrite regained the top spot and held on for his first win this year.
Wrapping up the night was a five-lap grudge race between Street Stock points leader Tristan Carman and his Dad, former class champion Tim Carman Jr. Tim, driving Robin Batt's I-Stock, never really had much of a chance against his son, who won by a healthy margin, setting the stage for his dad to pay the price, on the Winner's Circle, before family, friends and fans.
The bet was the loser had to kiss a pig right on the snout. Tim's first try at smooching the future guest at someone's breakfast table came to naught, since the piglet wanted no part of that. Dad's second try was more successful.
It just goes to prove anything can happen and usually does at Texas Thunder Speedway.
See ya at the track!