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Texas Thunder Speedway drivers pay tribute to West, Boston

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Posted: Monday, April 22, 2013 4:30 am

It was a moving sight that I won’t soon forget.

More than 100 race cars, an ambulance and each of the Texas Thunder Speedway safety vehicles gathered together on the track surface in a continuous, four-abreast lineup to make several slow-speed, opposite-direction memorial laps, all in remembrance of those who lost their lives and were injured in the tragic events in West and Boston.

This was just another demonstration of the spirit these drivers show in tough times, giving up 15 or so minutes they would normally use in final prep and tuneups, which can be crucial, as anybody who has ever raced knows well, to show their support for those who need it.

Hats off to each and every one!

Feature race action on that clear and cold night got underway with the Street Stock main event, and everyone was waiting to see if Chris Florio could maintain his perfect record.  

Things didn’t look good early for Texas Thunder’s only undefeated driver, when he was involved in a five-car wreck before one lap was finished.  With his No. 21 showing damage, Florio restarted third from the back, then methodically picked off cars until he made it up to third.

While Gene Burnett and Chris Cockrell dueled for the lead, something apparently went wrong with Florio’s car, since he pulled off, leaving the door open for the first different winner since opening night.  The two front-runners battled into the race’s final turn, with Cockrell bursting ahead to claim his first-ever feature win.

We hadn’t heard the last of Florio. Later in the night, he came to the pressbox and donated his night’s winnings to help out the situation in West.

See? Another classy racer just wanting to help.

Next, it was the Outlaw Twisters’ turn, and Chris Bruner got the win, even though he finished second.

What happened was Bruner took over the top spot when Stephanie Henderson, running first, was black- flagged and no longer scored, even though she continued to race without reporting to an official.

In the IMCA Stock Car feature, Robin Batt took over the lead on circuit four. With laps winding down and getting tremendous pressure from husband Jason’s No. 9, Tristan Carman and Eric Jones, Mrs. Batt was able to beat the boys down one last straightaway and park in the Winner’s Circle.

Once the dust cleared, everyone saw Justin Wierenga had pulled his car up to the claim area and announced he was claiming Jason Batt’s engine. After a lengthy discussion and an engine swap agreement was apparently made, Wierenga said “forget it” and both drivers left with the equipment they had brought.

However, promoter David Goode said Sunday that fines are pending from IMCA due to claim rules violations, most likely against both drivers. Stay tuned.

There wasn’t any drama in the Texas Twister main event, with Bill Enyeart taking his car to a caution-free, flag-to-flag winning run.

When the IMCA Southern SportMod feature went green, Kempner’s Colton Monroe ran away and led the first six laps. He drifted high, but managed to hold on against hard-charging Sid Kiphen, who muscled into the lead four circuits later. With three to go, G.W. Egbert IV had gotten alongside Kiphen and the two traded paint in turn one, with Kiphen able to meet the challenge and take the win.

After five laps of the IMCA Hobby Stock main event, Waco’s Paul Scrivner drove by race leader Bill Siegman Jr. and was fighting off a challenge from Andy Roller. On lap eight, Scrivner pulled up behind a lapped car, allowing Roller to drop down low and make the inside pass, giving him a lead he wouldn’t give up.

With several extra IMCA Modifieds in the house, due to a rainout at the Abilene track, a B-Main was necessary to set the feature field and when the 20 cars who made it got going, the race became a two-horse show up front, with two cousins giving no quarter and asking for none.

Former IMCA national champion P.J. Egbert took the lead two laps in when he passed Jake Henderson.  Holding on to second was Egbert cousin J.P. Dowell, and the pair stayed close from then on. Egbert ran up on lapped traffic, but had no problems with that and kept Dowell at bay until the checkered flag waved.

It’ll be a short week for race fans with the United States Modified Touring Series coming to town Thursday night with both modifieds and limited modifieds on the 7 p.m. race card. Gates open at 5 p.m.

If you’ve never seen these cars, don’t miss it. They are fast!

Truthfully, they’re faster than me getting to the table when Sherry says “supper’s ready.”

See ya at the track!

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