Over 150 race car drivers came to Killeen from near and far to run the Lone Star Series stop at Texas Thunder Speedway on Sunday and several local drivers put up a strong showing.
In fact, Texas Thunder regulars were in the winner's circle after five of the seven features.
Nolanville driver Gary Norman got it started in the Street Stock main event. Only 24 hours removed from being involved in a horrific three-car crash, Norman took it to them, piloting his car to victory lane in a caution-free, flag-to-flag run.
Trevor Egbert, who races out of Belton and is leading the local IMCA Southern SportMod standings, was trailing race leader Michael Martin of Kaufman halfway through the 20-lap finale when Martin spun in turn one. By rule, the resulting single-car caution sent Martin to his trailer, handing Egbert the top spot and eventual win.
The parade of local winners was postponed when the IMCA Stock Cars hit the track. Local favorites Jason Batt and Eric Jones were both on the feature race starting grid, but Batt's car went out with mechanical issues, leaving Jones to contend with an old favorite and a newcomer.
Former Texas Thunder regular Matt Guillaume, who now races at Kennedale Speedway after a job-related move, was chasing the Stephenville-based Dennis Bissonette with Jones close behind. Eight laps in, Guillaume's car took over the lead, but spun out in turn four with three laps to go. Abilene driver Shane Priddy was there to gain the top spot and hold on for the win.
There was no question area drivers would get at least two more victories, since the Texas Twisters and Outlaw Twisters would run back to back in classes that are only found in the local area.
Stephanie Henderson, racing out of Taylor, won the Texas Twister top money leading from green to checkers.
In the Outlaw variety, fans saw a replay of Saturday night, when Lampasas driver Austin Smith ran off and left everybody else, winning by a full straightaway for the second straight night.
Another weekend double came off in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature, when Killeen's Zach Riley wound up in the winner's circle again. Riley didn't have as easy a time as Smith, though.
Riley took over the top spot on lap five, but was pressured by Belton driver Charles Cosper and Waco's Andy Roller. When the checkered flag came in sight, Riley and Roller were fighting tooth and nail and when the computer numbers froze, it was Riley by 0.048 of a second.
The 30-lap IMCA Modified feature race started off with TTS regular Ben Ketteman of Pflugerville holding point for eight laps. After some jockeying for position over the next three circuits, William Gould of Calera, Okla. emerged as the leader.
Gould, making his first-ever appearance at TTS, held off charges from national points leader Keith White and Kevin Sustaire over the remaining 19 laps to claim victory.
It was exciting to see the pits packed full of haulers, which brought in enough cars that B-Main qualifiers were necessary to set the SportMod and Modified fields and to look out over the grandstands and see so many fans coming out on a Sunday night.
Another good feeling was to hear all the driver compliments, which were summed up well by Gould in his post-race interview.
"I just can't say enough about this racetrack," he said. "It was great."
Fast and smooth, that's how we like it too. A good time was had by all.
Happy birthday, America! Fans, have a great Fourth of July and we'll see ya at the track!