By Justin Boyd
Killeen Daily Herald
For Keith White, last week's 16th place finish in the IMCA Modified feature race at Texas Thunder Speedway was a rare occurrence.
But the chances of him following it up with another sub-par performance Saturday night proved to be next to impossible.
Starting back in row six, the Academy driver quickly worked his way through the field, leading 13 of 20 laps en route to his fifth feature win of the season.
Copperas Cove racer P.J. Egbert finished second, marking the ninth time this season at TTS that White and Egbert had finished in the top two positions. Hardy Henderson, who is second in the point standings, took third.
White's finish last week is notable for several reasons. It was not only his worst finish of the year but also the first time this season that the Modified points leader had finished outside the top five in a feature race.
"Last week was real tough for us, by far the worst of the year," White said. "Tonight, though, finding the good spots in the track was the key to the win.
"The track was heavy right through the middle and we could get to it and our car wouldn't push."
White admitted that last week's finish was disappointing but the blow was softened a little bit by the $2000 winner-take-all purse he received for winning the Top Gun Shootout, a 15-lap, 10-car race at Heart O' Texas Speedway in Waco the night before.
White followed that up with another strong finish at HOT Speedway, running second in the Modified feature June 18.
While White is the reigning king of the Modified division, having won the track championship in 2002 and a co-championship in 2003, he was not, however, crowned the Modified King of the Hill. David Smith II took the one-on-one, two-lap shootout tournament, besting 11 other cars, including White in the semi-finals.
In the Mini-Stock feature race, Larry Ware took advantage of defending track champion Jason Hoffman's misfortune, as he chalked up his second win of the season.
Hoffman, looking to have the win sewn up with a sizable lead over the second-place Ware, was involved in an accident with a lapped car in turn four on lap 14. Ware took the checkered flag and Daniel Shipler finished second while Hoffman was able to recover enough to take fifth.
"If a lapped car hadn't have got in (Hoffman's) way, I would have run second," Ware said after the victory.
With a third-place finish, Kenny Ware maintained the top spot in the Mini-Stock standings with 488 points on the season.
Eric Jones' bid to win three straight I-Stock feature races at TTS was denied as Troy driver Chad Estes admittedly got a little help from the yellow flag.
A caution on Lap 12 positioned Estes, who was running a distant second to Jones, directly behind the leader.
Two laps later, Jones spun out allowing Estes to tally his second victory of the season.
"If it wasn't for that caution I probably wouldn't have caught (Jones)," Estes said.
Douglas Lorenz took second place, Chris Ochoa, whose engine was claimed by Jason Batt after the event, garnered third while Jones came away with 13th place finish.
Richard Riley sits atop the I-Stock standings with 443 points, followed closely by Anthony Otken (435) and Derrick Sears (432).
Killeen driver Jacob Dunn held off Corey Stepan and Bobby Norton in the Thunder Stock feature race for his first career victory.
With a sixth place finish, Trevor Sparkman holds a three-point edge over Jessie James Cox Jr. in the thunder Stock point chase.
Robert Simmerman placed his No. 21 car in the winner's circle for the third time at TTS this season, claiming he Street Stock feature event.
Joe Fuller was runner-up and Copperas Cove driver T.Y. Hawkey, who lead 10 of the first 12 laps, finished in he third spot.
Andrew Simmerman is the Street Stock point leader with 80 points. 20 points back in second is Fuller with Hawkey a close third (457).
Contact Justin Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org