Records were set at Texas Thunder Speedway Saturday night.
No, it wasn’t for speeds or number of cars signed in, but elapsed time, driver milestones and a disqualification I’d never dreamed of.
First, elapsed time. No question there was fear that rain might arrive and shut down the show, which prompted track promoter David Goode to radio the tower at 7:50 p.m. and say “Let’s roll.”
The heat races began five minutes later and were completed in 45 minutes, which is the fastest I can remember. Hats off to the drivers, who were careful-fast, with only one caution flag over 72 total laps involving five car classes. That hustle-it-up mindset allowed the feature races to crank up at 8:43 p.m., which is unheard of.
Five races into the show, a dramatic moment stopped everything in mid-stream when a new member was inducted into Texas Thunder’s Tumbling Twister Club.
Many were watching the Outlaw Twister A-main to see if Young Guns Hall of Fame inductee James “Digger” Cochran II of Harker Heights would be taken to the woodshed by his father, James Sr., who said he “would show the kid how to race.”
With Kempner racer Chris Bruner leading the parade after four laps, young Cochran rolled his car on the front straightaway, winding up roof down after hitting the wall. Digger was out quickly, no worse the wear as he joined an elite group of drivers, all of whom would gladly give up membership in that circle.
In minutes, Cochran was in the tower, telling fans he would be back next time, saying the only way Pop could beat him was if he flipped his car. Gotta love these kids.
Kelvin Harper of Harker Heights eventually brought his No. 1 home for the win.
The night’s closest finish came in the original Texas Twister race, which started with Belton’s Larry Underwood out front. Jesse Johnson, who was going for his second in a row, had the lead by inches into the final turn, virtually neck-and-neck with Killeen racer John Femrite. As they crossed the finish line, the electric eye said it was Johnson in the 69 car by 0.045 of a second, or about two blinks of an eye.
Shortly after 10 p.m., the night’s final event, starring the IMCA Modifieds, came out, which brings us around to our second record-setting event, at least to me.
Each race winner has to pass technical inspection and the International Motor Contest Association rulebook is quite clear on these limitations, such as acceptable equipment.
The race saw Hutto’s Mike McCarthy edge his car around leader and Fredericksburg resident Matt Fox four laps in. Five circuits later, it was Josh Magaha’s turn to ride the point, and that’s where he stayed until the checkered flag waved.
Magaha has brought his car to TTS from Abilene four times this year and it was the third time he’d parked in Victory Lane.
Trouble is, this win didn’t count after all.
Magaha’s car was found to have an illegal rev-limiter chip, a part that keeps the engine from turning too much RPM. Similar, I’m told, to NASCAR’s restrictor plate. IMCA says no more than 7800 RPMs in modifieds, where Magaha’s engine was rated at 8200, causing a disqualification, which moved the second-place car of Killeen driver Doug Lorenz to the top spot.
Being the mechanically-challenged person I am, this was a new one on me. Maybe I’d better read the rulebook before Saturday.
Another milestone was posted by Belton racer Charles Cosper, who jumped away to lead the IMCA Hobby Stock feature as soon as it went green. Cosper, who announced he will compete in the IMCA Stock Car class in 2013, rode his car flag to flag for win No. 11 of the year and 50th all-time, while unofficially clinching the class championship.
Cosper’s move up will pit him against drivers like Killeen’s Eric Jones, who won his milestone 12th I-Stock main event of the season. Jones eased his 84x around McCarthy’s car on lap nine for the lead, running away to the Winner’s Circle.
In the IMCA Southern SportMod feature, Belton driver David Goode Jr. and Killeen’s Randy Doyle jockeyed for position over the first three circuits, then Goode was able to open some breathing room, pulled ahead and moved away to win a caution-free 20-lapper.
No yellow flags came out in the Street Stock main, won by Elgin racer Tommy Gural, who took the lead three laps into the run, facing no serious pressure.
Unofficially, with two points nights to go, track titles have been clinched in the IMCA Stock Car and Hobby Stock classes, plus the Street Stocks. It won’t be official until the track announces it, but looking at the standings, both Modified classes and each Twister class is still up for grabs.
It’s about to get real serious.
See ya at the track!