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Texas Two Step/NASCAR LM prerace and qualifying

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Texas Two-Step 150, presented by Express Lube @ San Antonio Speedway 8/5/06

By J M Hallas


San Antonio, Tx., (Aug. 5 2006) After being delayed once because of bad weather, part II of the $5,000 to win, USRA Super Late Model, Texas Two-Step Nationals finally was run on the high-banked ½ mile track just south of San Antonio. Winner of the first race at Texas Motor Speedway in June, Chris Davidson came in as one of the favorites to pick up the added bonus($5,000) for “Two-Step” sweep, as well as holding a mere three point lead over previous race winner, Matt Merrell.


When asked if they would run for $5,000 to win or ‘big picture’ race, the two points contenders quipped.


“We race for the money every weekend,” said C. Davidson “We’ve already won a championship. What do points pay?”


“Can I do both?” stated Merrell. “I certainly won’t force the envelope, but I think we have a car to compete. We have a new 9-1 TESAR motor so we have as much horsepower as the others now.”


Other favorites included, multi-time track champion and former ROMCO Super Late Model titleist, Brandon Bendele, two-time USRA Super Late Model winner on the San Antonio high-banks, Casey Smith, plus past ROMCO Super Late Model champs, Greg Davidson and Tommy Grimes.


In USRA Super Late Model qualifying, B. Bendele paced the 17-car field with a lap of 18.319 in the Premier Minerals, Dodson House Moving, CPU Repair, Oval Components, Lefthander Chassis powered by a Hamner Race Engine. C. Davidson, Grimes, J C Umschied and Merrell rounded out the top five qualifiers. With the draw for the invert, G. Davidson would start on the pole flanked by Umschied. Fast timer, B. Bendele would draw the fourth starting spot.


“It was good lap,” cited B. Bendele. "We put our little qualifying set-up on it. It always does good here. I was concerned about qualifying because it’s so hot out there. These cars are so sensitive to the heat. The front stuck good and the back stuck better coming off(the corners) than I thought. We’ll see how it holds up in the race.”


“We’ll see where we’re at. Right now I’m 80% sure we’ll change two tires. Last race we changed two, but didn’t make the right adjustment. I feel if we had that could have gone through the field and caught Casey(Smith). Last race we saw some blistering on the right rear. I think it happened because we were going out on sticker tires. This time we’re going out on scuffs. We’ll give up a little in qualifying, but once you put them through a heat cycle, it makes them harder. They shouldn’t blister as easy now.”


“You definitely respect the points chasers,” added B. Bendele. “We’ve been in that position before. If they’re running faster, you just give them the lane. You know where they are around you. I’m sure Chris(Davidson), looking for that $5,000 bonus will be patient and try to be around at the end. That’s what we’ll be looking to do, too.”


For the second race in a row, defending NASCAR Late Model track champion, Robert Barker led the field in qualifying. Barker posted a lap of 19.27 driving the Mission Auto Parts, Carroll Racing, Oval Components, Mikes Plumbing, C&D Precision Paint & Body, Cambridge Auto Center, South Bay, Chevy Monte Carlo.


“The car has been working real good lately,” replied Barker. “We’ve just been making little changes to it. It seems to be real good. With Joe(Aramendia) not starting in the back this week it may not be as easy. We’ll give it our best and see how it comes out.”


“Now we’ll just go jack it up, check the tire size and see what we have for stagger and go for another race.”


“If my winning three in row gets a bounty put on me, well that’s just part of racing. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Either way we’re here to race if there’s a bounty or not.”

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