Ghosts, goblins, UFOs and two great nights of racing were all on display during Texas Thunder Speedway’s Spooky Sprint Car Finale, which capped the 2012 season Saturday night.
Did I say UFOs?
Two eerie sets of lights could be seen high in the sky west of the track starting at dark, but once it was established they were radio-controlled sailplanes, the focus turned back to watching cars from all over going for big bucks at the pay window.
Friday had been set aside for qualifying eight cars into each A-Main for Saturday, when heat races and B-Mains would finish the fields. Once all the final spots were decided and the children in attendance got to meet the drivers on the track, do some trick-or- treating and compete in the costume contest, it was time to get serious.
When the Street Stock feature went green, a three-car wreck started things off before even one lap was done. Nobody was hurt and neither was Troy driver Kevin Ashley, who rolled his No. 2 car in turn three two laps later. Every thing went smoothly after that, as Street Stocks go, until Copperas Cove’s Chris Florio, who had started on the pole, finished his flag-to-flag win on Victory Lane for the ninth time this season.
Another potentially dangerous situation marked the Texas Twister main event. Killeen racer Brian Bagent had a big lead on lap four when a red flag stopped the race cold, since the car of Cove’s Wendy Martel careened into the red-yellow gate area and clipped infield steward Wayne Alvord’s elbow. He was sore, but OK, after the races.
Martel, meanwhile, was able to back her car out of Wayne’s World and rejoin the fray. Bagent got a good jump on the restart and ran away to the Winner’s Circle.
Bagent tried for a double-up one race later when the Outlaw Twisters came out. In that one, Copperas Cove driver Rick Smith and Nolanville’s Jeff Kipp traded the top spot twice, with Kipp taking over on a restart, leaving Smith and Troy’s Shad Stevens to fight it out for second. It was Kipp’s first career win.
Matt Guillaume of Haslet, starting from the pole, led the first 20 circuits of the IMCA Stock Car feature, but fell out of contention when a back-stretch tangle with Lampasas racer Tony Hamil sent him down and around to the infield.
Robinson driver B.J. Dulock was also involved, bouncing up in the air, but maintaining control and moving into the lead. Dulock took care of business for the final five laps and grabbed his first win at TTS.
When the IMCA Hobby Stocks rolled out, many fans wondered if track champion Charles Cosper, who’s moving up to I-Stocks in 2013, could ride his Belton-based 33C to one more win before it goes into storage or onto the sale block.
Cosper left no doubt, with a flag-to-flag victory.
IMCA Southern SportMod action began with two Belton drivers slugging it out for the first five circuits. David Goode Jr. and Kenny Ware were neck and neck until Goode got the advantage on lap six. The field was bunched up after Ware and Salado’s Trevor Egbert got together. Goode and Egbert went tooth and nail until Goode moved back ahead and got the win.
The IMCA Modified main event got rolling just after midnight and several hundred frozen fans saw Cove driver Cham Savage Jr. take his C4 out front for the first 16 laps, all the while holding off Kempner’s P.J. Egbert. Egbert, who holds national modified championships in points and as a rookie of the year, slipped past Savage and held on for another trip to the Winner’s Circle.
Fans were also treated to the Sprint Series of Texas, which brought 19 teams in for the touring group’s annual appearance at Texas Thunder. The feature win went to Dustin Woods of Forney, who’s also the IMCA Racesaver Sprint Car state champion. Woods took over the top spot on lap six, after race leader Drew Wright, racing out of Gunter, tangled with Waco’s Mike Klis.
The track’s final night was wrapped up with mechanics and employees races. Scott Boettcher of Leander won both Twister matchups, while Walter Humphries was tops in the combined Street Stock-Hobby Stock race. Cory Tecal took the I-Stock victory and in the Modified-SportMod five-lapper, Markiss Harcrow, who does race-night play by play on Supercentex.com, roared to Victory Lane.
Once out of the car he had borrowed from Randy Doyle, and didn’t wreck, by the way, Harcrow sprinted across the track and channeled local driver Eric Jones’ fence-climbing routine.
So now we’re done until March.
Big thank you’s to all the drivers and fans who make Texas Thunder such a fun place to work and to the staff, led by promoter David Goode.
Over this season, TTS had the best IMCA Modified car counts of all Texas tracks, and the other classes were strong, too. It proves the “Mad Scientist” and crew are doing something right.
I also want to say thanks to my announcing partner Bill “Sarge” Masom. After several seasons of working the track tower with him, Bill is cutting back. He’ll still announce the Friday night races at Heart O’ Texas Speedway in Elm Mott, but will spend Saturdays on family, day job and pursuit of his college degree. Best of luck, partner.
Now, how do I get through until opening night 2013?
After seeing those radio-controlled sailplanes, the decision is made. I have got to get me one of those things! Santa, be watching for an email from me.
Of course I’ve been good.
See ya at the track!