By Justin Boyd
Killeen Daily Herald
For the first time in over a month, Keith White didn't win a single race at Texas Thunder Speedway on Saturday night.
The current national IMCA Southern SportMod points leader and three-time defending TTS Modified champ was shut out in both the SportMod and Modified features as he finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Still, White's car owner, Greg Atwood, had plenty to smile about.
Driving his No. 23 car, Atwood scored his first win of the season as he held off current track points leader Brian Killingsworth to take the Modified feature.
"I'm excited to finally win," said Atwood, who like White competes in both the Modified and SportMod classes. "It feels like it's been forever. I just haven't had much luck this season. It seems like every week something happens. And hopefully this will help turn it around and I'd like to finish up real strong."
Atwood gained control of the race at the start of lap 6 and then proceeded to extend his advantage over the rest of the field.
However, as Atwood worked his way through lapped traffic, Killingsworth, who was running second, caught up and made several passing attempts. Atwood denied each one and held on for the victory but afterward admitted that's not the situation he prefers.
"I got a little conservative in traffic and (Killingsworth) started reeling me in and, honestly, I didn't even know he was coming," Atwood said. "If he would have showed on me, I would have picked the pace up a hair. I just didn't want to make a mistake leading the race. When you're chasing it's easier not to be cautious. I'm not a very good leader, I do better chasing people."
Not known as a points racer, Atwood said he is focused on trying to win the Southern SportMod Summer Challenge, a two-track, six-week special racing series that will award the points winner $2,000.
"I figure consistency will pay off," he said. "I'm just going to try to keep it in the top five every week."
Atwood did just that on Saturday night as he finished fifth in the SportMod feature, which was won by Gatesville's Sid Kiphen. The win was Kiphen's second at TTS this season.
For the second straight week, the Street Stock feature produced a Simmerman 1-2 finish. Except this week it was defending track champ and younger brother Andrew Simmerman taking the checkered flag, with current class points leader Robert Simmerman rolling home in the second spot.
"The track was rough tonight," Andrew Simmerman said after the win. "Whoever didn't crash was going to win and I was lucky enough to not crash."
Later in the evening another Simmerman found her way to the winner's circle.
Driving her husband Robert's No. 21 Street Stock, Tammy Simmerman won the six-car, 10-lap powder puff derby.
In the I-Stock feature, Copperas Cove driver D.J. MacWilliams started up front and finished up front.
MacWilliams bested I-Stock points leader Cham Savage Jr., Nick Gabaree and Jacob Dunn for his first career feature win.
In the Mini Stock feature, Larry Ware led flag-to-flag to pick up his first win at TTS in quite some time.
"It's about time I got back up here," Ware said.
"We've got a lot of good drivers out here and I want to thank them for letting me win this one."
Last week's winner Kevin West finished second, four-time class champion Jason Hoffman took third, with Tanner Reid and current points leader Shad Stevens finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Piloting Robin Rasmussen's No. 3 car, J.P. Dowell ran away with the Thunder Stock feature as he led all 15 laps.
Trevor Sparkman took second followed by Corey Stepan, Jeff Medlock and class points leader Bobby Norton.
In the Jr-Mini Stock feature, Brad VanMarter led only one lap of the 10-lap event for drivers ages 12-16.
However, it was the only lap that matters: the final one.
Class points leader Colton Monroe seemed to have the race in hand as he led the first nine laps but in turn 4 on the final lap, Monroe wobbled a bit allowing VanMarter, who was running close behind, to pick up the victory. Monroe finished second followed by Ryan Ellis, Taylor Moore, Tanya Hardman and Cody Jacob.
Contact Justin Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org