Opening Weekend; I-37 Raceway at Newsome Motor Park, 3/16-17/12 By J M Hallas Pleasanton, Tx.,(March 17th, 2012) Racing season kicked off at I-37 Raceway’s ¼ mile, semi-banked, clay oval, Saturday night with familiar faces in familiar places, as well as some new or returning drivers. Friday night was one final test-n-tune for drivers/teams to get their cars dialed in for the first race of the year for many, while others with a few races already under their belts did some fine tuning. Saturday night’s turnout saw an overflow in the pits with teams having to pit in the outer parking area and a good crowd of spectators filling the stands. Despite the Friday practice session and strong southerly winds, the track held up throughout the night with drivers finding bite on the high and low side during the features. Looking to defend their 2011 championships are Greg Dinsmore(IMCA Modified), Johnny Torres(IMCA Southern Sportmod), Trey Votion(Limited Late Model) and Wade Jones(Street Stock). Pure Stock champion, Frank Okruhlik moves to a variety of classes for 2012, while Front Runner champ, Cody Earnhardt gets his introduction into the Pure Stocks. Dinsmore, Votion and Jones all scored feature wins, Torres gave JJ Jennings a good run in the Sportmods but came up one position short, with Okruhlik falling out of both the Pure and Street Stock events. Cody Earnhardt’s Pure Stock debut was delayed after they were unable to complete the car in time. Dinsmore un-Deniable in Modified Main Kerrville’s Greg Dinsmore picked up in the 2012 season where he ended in the final points battle, first. Campaigning a new Harris Chassis this year Dinsmore worked his way from the third row to the front before halfway using a set-up from fellow Harris driver Jimmy Gustin, and the low side of the track. After picking up the lead from 2010 track champ, Bill Pittaway, Dinsmore was chased at the finish by last year’s points rival, Jamie Campbell. Pittaway grabbed the early lead as the 20-lap IMCA Modified main fired off trailed by Chuck Chesler, Campbell and Dennis Taylor. Darin Leonard had immediate problems and pulled off, leaving Dinsmore fifth. Dinsmore began picking them off one by one when caution flew for a car stopped in the pit exit on lap 3. Once back to green Dinsmore snagged second from Chesler and closed on Pittaway for the lead. Ducking low in turn 1, Dinsmore got alongside Pittaway and by in turns 3-4 to get the lead on lap 6. Campbell, using the top went around Chesler then Pittaway for second, but well behind Dinsmore. At the crossed flags it was Dinsmore, Campbell, Pittaway, Jason Borlace and Chesler in the top five. Borlace was able to get third from Pittaway on lap 13 while Taylor and Chesler swapped fifth. Campbell was able to cut into Dinsmore’s lead at one point but gave the ground back trying to pass a lapped car running in his line. As the white flag waved it was Dinsmore holding a ¾ straightaway margin over Campbell that he held to the checkers. It was the car’s second win of the season after Iowa’s, Jimmy Gustin grabbed the season opener at Mountain Creek Speedway in the racetechinfo.com, Custom Concrete, Guadalupe Electric, JB Hotshots, Wells Designs, Ryan Bard Safety Foundation, J&V NAPA, KS Engineering, Harris Chassis. “The car was crazy fast,” replied Dinsmore. “It was great. The new car was set up just right, and the borrowed motor was really fast. It was awesome. I watched Jimmy Gustin run around the tires when he drove it. I tried to stick the left front near the infield tires and found some moisture there. The car had good bite coming off on the straightaway. I’d lose a bit in (turns 3-4), but gain it back in (turns)1-2.” “The low line started going away near the end and I thought about trying the top. I didn’t hear anyone back there and I tried to look back in the corners but didn’t see anyone. I was just holding on to what I had and it worked out.” “The car is set up the way Jimmy was going to run it; it even still has number on one side and seat in it. I had to change my driving style some to fit his set up. He drives it through the corner deeper than I normally do. Plus he runs a lot more rear brake than I do, and the car was a little tight. I think in talking with Jimmy and Bob(Harris) we can get it closer to my style.” “I don’t know if I’m going run for a championship this year. I’m just looking to have some fun. I want to race, but don’t want to get so serious about it that I have to worry about breaking something.” IMCA Modifieds 8g Greg Dinsmore, 29 Jamie Campbell, 21 Jason Borlace, 37 Bill Pittaway, 49 Chuck Chesler, 38 Dennis Taylor, 16 Carson Bednarz, 24 Tracy Fink, 26 Darin Leonard IMCA Modified heats Heat 1; 8g Greg Dinsmore, 21 Jason Borlace, 26 Darin Leonard, 16 Carson Bednarz, 24 Tracey Fink---DNS Heat 2; 37 Bill Pittaway, 49 Chuck Chesler, 38 Dennis Taylor, 29 Jamie Campbell Jennings Jammin’ in Sportmod Scramble JJ Jennings(Corpus Christi) parlayed a front row starting position into a Sportmod victory leading nearly every lap. Jennings got passed on the start by Talon Minten on lap 1, but retook the top spot on lap 2. Multi-time track champ, Johnny Torres closed in on the tail of Jennings during the mid-stages of the 20-lapper, but Jennings was able to pull away at the end leaving Torres battling with newcomer, John Heil. As the 18-car IMCA Southern Sportmod main took the green, Jennings was first into turn 1. Talon Minten went around on the high side to lead lap 1, but Jennings got the lead back on lap 2. Defending champ, J. Torres took second from T. Minten with Heil trying to follow. Heil had just made the pass when yellow waved for a tangle between Gene Hyde, Greg Rohmer and Patrick Kelly. On the restart Heil used the top to get past T. Minten, but did a half spin and fell back to sixth. J. Torres was on Jennings tail as they came to halfway with T. Minten, Bruce Barber and Robby Minten holding the top five spots. As Barber worked on T. Minten, Heil got back by R. Minten for fifth, then under Barber for fourth. Heil was again just making a pass on T. Minten only to have caution come out for a spin by Mickey Helms after contact by Cody Leonard, who was sent to the tail. Jennings got a good jump on J. Torres as the race resumed, but R. Minten spun off turn 4, with Craig Lepore spinning behind. It wasn’t long after the restart when Alan Torres and Randy Bennett got together for the races final slow down. Once back to green, Jennings eased out from J. Torres with Heil and T. Minten side by side for third. Heil got the spot on lap 17, while Jennings continued to add to his margin. Heil caught J. Torres on the final lap, but it was Jennings in the G&M Services, Bud Light, P&K, WFI Waste Management, CB’s Race Engines, Western Flyer Race Car taking the win. “My brother’s wife drew a one on the redraw, that helped me a lot,” stated Jennings. “That’s the second time she’s done that, and starting up front always helps. It’s always fun to come up here. A week and a half ago this car was bare. The guys up at Western Flyer hooked us up. We stayed up late Thursday and all day Friday getting it ready. It’s been a long three days, but it was worth it.” “There’s something messed up in the steering box, quickener or power steering, it kept getting stuck. I wasn’t going to pull off unless it stuck all the way. It lasted long enough to finish, but we’ll be taking it all off and checking it out.” “I thought I was done when Talon(Minten) went around me. He went by me on the outside like I was standing still. That kid is going to be good, just give him some time. He and his brother will be winning some races. I’m glad he raced me clean and we didn’t tear up anything. We went over to Ray(Doyons) shop and put the wrap on it today. They’re good people.” “I’ve got to thank my brother for putting all the money into getting this car to get it done and my wife for putting up with all this. It’s all his car. I just show up, pay my pit pass and get to drive it. My whole family is involved. My grandpa is going to be 82 and he comes to watch. That’s what it’s all about.” IMCA Southern Sportmods 26g JJ Jennings, 66 Johnny Torres, D30 John Heil, 14t Talon Minten, 174 Mickey Helms, 17b Bruce Barber, 02 Robert Williams, 4r Robbie Minten, 85 Jeff Nix, 18 Larry Jernigan, 22 Randy Bennett, 2 Craig Lapore, 60 Pat Lyon, 37 Cody Leonard, 94 Alan Torres, 44h Gene Hyde, 84k Patrick Kelly, 51 Greg Rohmer, 17 Jim Blevins---DNS, 9 Ray Doyon III---DNS, 12 Roly Rodriguez---DNS IMCA SSM heats Heat 1; 22 Randy Bennett, 66 Johnny Torres, 174 Mickey Helms, 26g JJ Jennings, 94 Alan Torres, 51 Greg Rohmer, 60 Pat Lyon Heat 2; D30 John Heil, 84k Patrick Kelly, 18 Larry Jernigan, 37 Cody Leonard, 44h Gene Hyde, 2 Craig Lepore, 12 Roly Rodriguez---DNS Heat 3 4r Robbie Minten, 14t Talon Minten, 17b Bruce Barber, 02 Robert Williams, 85 Jeff Nix, 17 Jim Blevins, 9 Ray Doyon III---DNS Victory for Votion in Limited Late Models Defending track champ, Trey Votion showed why he won last year’s championship taking home the hardware in the 15-lap feature. Craig Crawley took over the point from Howie Marcx, making his return, but Crawley failed to go on a restart giving up the lead to Votion. As Votion eased away, Bo Beckner and 2010 champ, Richard Bartosh battled it out for second leaving Votion unchallenged at the checkers. Marcx jumped out front as green waved on the Limited Late Model feature with Crawley looking low. Marcx led lap 1, but gave up the lead to Crawley with Ron Sprayue and Bartosh getting past Gary Hunter. Sprayue and Bartosh then got around Marcx for second and third, with Votion following to fourth. Sprayue’s run up front ended when he spun from second in turn 4. As green waved again, Crawley’s car failed to go with Votion squirting through a hole to grab the lead on lap 6. Bo Beckner came out the stack up with third as Crawley fell back. As Votion eased away, Beckner got second from Bartosh. Votion in the Northside Ford, BG Products, Mission Racing, ZDT Amusement Park, Kelly Automotive, Northside Collision, Kelly Chassis, held his advantage over Beckner at the finish. “Definitely feels pretty good,” commented Votion. “It was kind of scary after that crash in the heat race. I thought for we tore out the whole rear end. I was just hoping it wouldn’t vibrate or something. It was a lot freer than it normally is, but it still worked pretty well. I was happy to be able to finish the race and run well.” “I just went out to see what the car was going to be able to do. The track was a bit slicker, so I was just taking my time to get anything and it worked out.” “With John Heil running, and Greg Dinsmore getting a car ready, that’s going to be some stiff competition. That’s what this class needs, more good cars and more good drivers. Hopefully we can keep the fenders on them, have fun and go at it.” “We’re looking at this year like the last one. I want to come out here and be able run without tearing anything up all year. If it works out, I’m going to try to back up my championship, but we’ll see what happens.” Limited Late Models 99 Trey Votion, 75 Bo Beckner, 7 Richard Bartosh, 6 Craig Crawley, 1x Andrew Hesler, 42 Ron Sprayue, 13 Howie Marcx, 14 Gary Hunter, 13s Jason Smith, D30 John Heil---DNS Limited Late Model heat winners; 6 Craig Crawley, 7 Richard Bartosh Jourdanton’s Jones Sweeps Street Stock Despite being sick, Wade Jones was still able to stick it out and sweep the Street Stock feature and heat race wins. Jones, who went wire to wire in the 15-lap feature, was chased throughout the race by AJ Wernette. Wernette closed the gap in traffic, but once clear Jones held his margin to the finish line. The 13-car Street Stock feature saw Jones leading into turn 1 followed by Brian Becka, Wernette, Dennis Hilla and Frank Okruhlik. Wernette and Hilla both got past Becka for second and third as the top three separated out. This left Becka, Okruhlik and Mike Lyon battling for fourth until Okruhlik pulled off early. Wernette was able to shorten the gap some after Jones hit traffic, but once clear; Jones still had a good margin. The only battle left for Jones the final laps was a 100 degree temperature and flu-like symptoms. At the checkers it was Jones in the Opiela Mechanical, Horelka Racing, Mission Auto Parts, SABFI, Mobil 1, Jeff's Auto Rebuilders, 74 Ranch & Resort, Camaro with the win. “The track was great,” said Jones. “I was worried about being a little rusty from the off-season going into the first race. I think the set up on the car helped carry me through. I was running a 100 degree fever, but once we got going I forgot all about being sick. I really have to thank my G’ma and G’pa, plus all my family and sponsors.” Street Stocks 41 Wade Jones, 37 AJ Wernette, 2x Dennis Hilla, 40 Mike Lyon, 52 AJ Dancer, 53 Brian Becka, 15 Tommy Casey, 19 Jarrett Barber, 22 Patricia Lucas, 141 Curtis Opiela, 37w(99) Frank Okruhlik, 82 Richard Wells, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 00 Mikey Faulkner---DNS Street Stock heat winners; 2x Dennis Hilla, 41 Wade Jones Pure Stock Honors to Hilla After Tech Robert Danielson looked to be the easy winner in the 20-lap Pure Stock feature going flag to flag with nearly a full straightaway advantage at the end. Unfortunately Danielson’s car failed post-race tech inspection giving the victory to 2007 Pure Stock titlist, Janel Hilla. At the start of the 21-car Pure Stock feature Danielson quickly got out front but in the pack Bill McCall and Trey Heald got together with Heald pounding the front stretch wall. On the second start, Danielson again eased out front of Jerry Jones, with Janel Hilla and Brandy Ramzinski in pursuit. Jay Dancer brought out another early caution when he tagged an infield tire and spun. On the restart Jones and Hilla made contact fighting for second with Hilla getting the spot. Ramzinski followed to third, but yielded that spot for Charles Earnhardt III. Coming to lap Dancer, the three made contact with Dancer finding the wall. Earnhardt and Ramzinski both made pit stops, but would retire later from damages. Back under green, Hilla took a peek under Danielson for the lead when Okruhlik and Kary Scott tangled in turn 2. Danielson and Hilla broke away on green from Devin Adler, Ryan Doyon and Phillip Haywood. Haywood and Adam Torres made contact scraping for fifth with Torres going for a spin, but Haywood was deemed responsible and sent to the tail. Again Danielson and Hilla eased ahead, with Doyon trying Adler high for third. Torres found a hole low and snuck past both for the spot on lap 13. Danielson was able to pull out to a full straight lead over on his way to the checkers, but would fail on the tech pad. This handed the win to Hilla in the NAPA, Riley Welding, Alamo Bolt & Screw, Q-Hauling, Paloma Cattle Co., Johnny’s Paint & Body, Premium Water Well Service, Alpha Machine, Mission Racing, Chevy. Pure Stocks 7x Janel Hilla, 66 Adam Torres, 117 Devin Adler, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 1 Tim Watson, 15 William Cavender, 4 James Watson, 10c Karoline Campbell, 43 Eric Watson, 33 Nerida Major, 9 Phillip Haywood, 5 Ryan Doyon, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 83 Kary Scott, 33c Charles Earnhardt III, 44 Frank Okruhlik, 49 Jay Dancer, 95 Jerry Jones, 14 Trey Heald, 3½ Bill McCall, 186 Robert Danielson---DQ(Tech) Pure Stock heat winners; 7x Janel Hilla, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 117 Devin Adler Snider Swipes First Front Runner Win After over two years of trying, Cindy Snider(Orange Grove) picked up her first ever Front Runner feature win. Snider, who had been plagued with mechanical issues in the past, battled with Hailee Marcx and Roy Easler jr. in the waning laps. Coming out of a three wide fight for the lead, Snider got the spot with two to go and held on for the victory. At the start of the 15-lap Front Runner feature Dillon Gaither jumped out front with Easler and Marcx on his tail. Gaither and Easler eased ahead with Marcx, Landon Sowder and Snider battling for third. Lindy Schroat got sideways while being lapped and tagged by Easler for a lap 5 caution. Gaither and Sowder pulled away on green as Easler worked back up. Gaither saw his lead end when it appeared the car broke and he spun in turn 2. This gave the top spot to Sowder, but he was unable to get going as green waved with Marcx assuming the lead on lap 9. Marcx was challenged by Easler and Snider. They were three wide on lap 11, but Marcx held the spot with Snider on her side. Snider finally secured the spot on lap 13 and held off Easler in the Sandoval Motorsports, Snider Racing, Stannard Photography, Twisted Motors, Ford Probe to grab win number one. “I’m on cloud nine,” replied Snider on her first ever feature win. “I’ve been trying for two and a half years. I picked up this new car from the Sandoval’s over the off season. They ran it last year at CC Speedway. Prior to that it was run here by Brandy Ramzinski, so it’s back home. I’ve got a good car now. I knew it was good when I got it.” “I was surprised when I was able to get by (Roy) Easler and Hailee(Marcx) there at the end. When I took the white flag and realized I was in the lead I was yelling all the way down the back stretch. I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited.” Front Runners 66c Cindy Snider, 12 Roy Easler jr., 113 Hailee Marcx, D3 Kirsten Blevins, 01 Lindy Schroat, 08 Landon Sowder, 5 Dillon Gaither, 33 N/A---DNS Front Runner heat winner; 12 Roy Easler jr.