By Justin Boyd
Killeen Daily Herald
Ranked 14th in the National IMCA standings, third in the state and second in the South Central region, it's evident that Pat McGuire has had a successful 2004 season.
But the Belton driver was winless in five starts at Texas Thunder Speedway this season.
That changed Saturday night as McGuire fended off track points leader Keith White for 17 laps to put his No. 9 car in the winner's circle.
"That was a real good race," McGuire said after the win.
White came close to passing McGuire several times in the 20-lap event. His best attempt came on lap 15 as White maneuvered his No. 1 car side-by-side with McGuire as the two sped through the backstretch.
But as the two cars entered turn three, McGuire, traveling at the top of the track, was able to edge back in front of the Academy driver, slamming the door shut on his bid for a sixth victory this season.
White's teammate, Greg Atwood, had another strong showing, finishing third followed by Ben Ketteman and David Cooke.
With only five Modified feature races remaining at TTS this season, White has a commanding 62-point lead over Hardy Henderson in the point standings.
Gatesville's Billy White passed Guy Frederick, last week's Mini-Stock feature winner, on lap 10 and never looked back, rolling to his fourth victory of the season.
Mike Deroon finished third, followed by Rickey Reid and Michael Crandall.
Kenny Ware leads the Mini-Stock points chase with a three-point edge (582-579) over Jason Hoffman.
With more than 20 cars, 21 to be exact, the I-Stock division was granted its first 20-lap feature race of the year. But after just three laps, only 16 cars remained. One of those was Chris Ochoa's No. 13 car. Ochoa led flag to flag and held off Justin McGehee and Trace Crawford to score the win.
Anthony Otken retains the I-Stock points lead with 534. Chris Moore is second (522) and Richard Riley (515) occupies the third spot.
Having led the first 12 laps of the Thunder Stock feature, Corey Stepan looked well on his way to another win.
But on Lap 13, Stepan spun out in turn four and lost control of his No. 85 machine as it rolled up and over a giant tire, which is used as a barrier between the track and the infield. The race was red-flagged briefly, as Stepan was able to climb out of his car, which had rested on the driver's side. Stepan, however, did not return to the race.
Danny Dunn, who had been trailing Stepan for much of the race, took control of the lead and turned back Tracey Cole and Jeff Medlock, tallying his third win of the season.
Defending track champion Trevor Sparkman holds a five-point advantage (566-561) over Jessie James Cox Jr. in the Thunder Stock point standings.
For the eighth consecutive week a Simmerman took the checkered flag in the Street Stock feature, and for the third straight week it was points leader Andrew Simmerman.
It was the seventh victory of the season for the Evant driver.
Simmerman made the winning pass on lap 11, getting by Mike McLaughlin, who finished second. Joe Fuller took third.
"Mike's a good competitor," Simmerman said after the win. "It took me a while to get around him."
With 600 points, Simmerman has a 31-point advantage over second place T.Y. Hawkey in the Street Stock standings.
The Southern States Midget Association cars made their first appearance at TTS this season with Houston's Jackie Burke winning the eight-car, 15-lap, caution-free feature race.
Contact Justin Boyd at email@example.com