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Mendenhall races to win at Texas Thunder

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Posted: Monday, March 24, 2008 12:00 pm | Updated: 5:01 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Kevin Posival

Killeen Daily Herald

Last week, Chris Florio won just his second Street Stocks feature race and nearly chased down Brian Mendenhall for his second in as many weeks on Saturday night. But Mendenhall held off Florio and 2006 track champion Eric Jones despite three cautions in the final three laps.

"It was a good close race," Mendenhall said. "I just tried to stay in front."

Mendenhall led 11 laps and held a straightaway edge over the second- and third-place cars when the lap 17 caution fell.

Mendenhall had a two-car cushion between himself and Tim Carman Jr. and Chuckee Nourse, running second and third, just before the re-start because Ken Plonsky's No. 4 car and Gene Burnett's No. 43 car, packed behind Mendenhall, were a lap down. But both Plonsky and Burnett were in the pit when the green flag finally dropped.

Less than a lap later, another caution flag fell, Carman and Nourse were in the pit instead of challenging Mendenhall's lead and Florio and Jones sat side by side just behind Mendenhall waiting for the former Texas Twisters driver to hit the gas.

"(Street Stocks) is a totally different deal. It taught me good fundamentals for racing this car," Mendenhall said. "I was just thinking go. I knew (Florio) was on me, I was trying to run a tight race and not give him an opportunity."

Jones passed Florio on the final lap but couldn't catch Mendenhall.

With the third-place finish, however, Florio leapt from fourth to first in the point standings. Trevor Sparkman, who was just ahead of Florio in the points last week, jumped to second. Mendenhall jumped from 11th to sixth. Carman is in third.

Ben Ketteman led all but one lap in the IMCA Modifieds feature. Points leader P.J. Egbert jumped 11 spots and overtook Ketteman on lap 7 for a brief lead and inspired a dogfight on the eighth lap that Ketteman got the best of.

Hardy Henderson finished second.

Egbert leads Jason Hoffman for the points lead and Kirkpatrick jumped from fourth to third.

Jason Batt cruised to an easy I-Stock feature win and moved to third in the points while Jones still leads Michael Walter by 12 points in that class, despite not having a single feature win this season. He finished third for the second consecutive week after a second-place finish on opening night.

Two-time national IMCA Southern SportsMod champion and current track champion Keith White finished as the first IMCA driver to collect his second feature of the season. White leads Eric Tomlinson, who finished second this week, 117-114 in that points race. Shad Stevens sits in the third (108) and finished the same Saturday night.

Matthew Fitzgerald and Tommy Jacobs each won a Texas Twisters feature.

Jacob Wininger won his third Teen Mini-Stocks feature and holds a 62-point advantage over Dylan Sadler, who didn't run in Saturday's race. Taylor Fuller finished behind Wininger and is third in points.

Contact Kevin Posival at kposival@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7562.

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