By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
The competitive up-and-comers flexed a little race-car muscle and kept all but one of last week's opening-night feature winners out of the winner's circle on Saturday night at Texas Thunder Speedway.
"It feels great," Chris Florio said of his second Street Stocks win in the last two years. "I waited all season long (to get my first win) last year. To get my first one this early is a great way to start."
Florio started 10 cars deep on the opening lap and sprinted around Danny Dunn and Dean Silva on lap two and trailed leader Gene Burnett for just two laps before utilizing turn two to propel himself into the lead. But, Florio was held up three laps later with the second of four caution flags in the race.
"You always have that in the back of your mind when you're out front," Florio said of the cautions. "I mixed up my starts to keep them off-balance."
Florio waited until the slope of turn four before opening the field after that second caution and then sprinted out before turn three on the ensuing.
With three-time Street Stocks champion Robert Simmerman running with the IMCA Modifieds, Florio said this year's Street Stocks field is loaded with competitors.
"There are a lot of really good cars this year," Florio said. "I'd say from the mid-pack on up is full of great cars and all of them are going to race really tough."
Overall points co-leader Tim Carman, Jr. (77) and Trevor Sparkman (75) finshed 1-2 behind Florio (74) and Dave Meadows, who's tied with Carman for the points lead, finished fourth.
Last year's IMCA Stock car track champion Benji Kirkpatrick held off early surges by the last two IMCA Modifieds track champions to get his first win in only his third Modified feature race.
"I've worked pretty hard on my car all week," Kirkpatrick said. "It feels good."
Kirkpatrick had to outlast 2007 Modified's champion Pat McGuire and 2006 champion P.J. Egbert early in the race but as the former champions jockeyed for position, they got tangled and lost their position.
Egbert fell to the back of pack after a 17th-lap caution but worked himself up from seventh to second in just four laps. Still, Egbert ran out of laps before he could make a serious attempt to overtake Kirkpatrick.
Former Teen Mini-Stock runner-up Joseph Charnock is making himself into a contender in the IMCA Stock car class. He had an eighth-place finish for his second top-10 finish in as many weeks driving an I-Stock and trails overall points leader Eric Jones by just eight points.
Charnock's Mini-Stock rival Colton Monroe led the feature's first six laps before being de-seated by Shad Stevens around turn two on lap seven. Monroe finished 12th and trails Charnock by 16 in the points race.
Stevens held the lead until David Dunn bumped him into the turn-four infield on lap 11.
"I guess I got into the leader (Stevens) a bit and pushed him into the infield," Dunn said. "I hated to do it but the track there was a little slick and he slowed down."
Dunn had trailed Stevens from lap five before he made his move on 11 to lead the field through the checkered flag.
Michael Walter and Jones finished second and third.
Kenny Ware led all 15 laps of the Southern SportsMod feature to get his first win of the season but Keith White still holds the points lead after his fourth-place finish.
Jason Styczynski and Randy Doyle each picked up Texas Twisters feature wins. T.J. Yagalla and Keith Desmarais still hold the points advantage with 77 points apiece.
Jacob Wininger, uncontested last week in the Mini-Stocks, beat out Taylor Fuller in that feature and holds a commanding 61-30 lead in the standings.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.