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USMTS Tripleheader in Houston, Hooks Lowdown

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This is Bill "Hooks Dirt Track Review" Kitchen's preview of the upcoming USMTS Southern Series tripleheader this weekend in Houston. Bill's racing publication is one of the few left covering area dirt track racing. He has been using my reports for years and his paper, complete with color photos is one of the best around these days




By Bill Kitchen, Hook's Dirt Track Review (www.hooksrpm.com)


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Rinehart Trucking Texas Shootout featuring the USMTS Southern Series will take place this weekend, beginning at Motorama Speedway in Beaumont this Friday, April 27. From there, it's on to the Gator Motorplex in Willis on Saturday, April 28, before winding up at the 105 Speedway in Cleveland on Sunday, April 29. All three events will pay $2,000 to win and a minimum $200 to start.


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Kelly Shryock vs. Howard Willis is worth price of admission right there, especially when one of the shows is at Willis and Russell Moore's school track at Gator Motorplex. Shryock has a lot to overcome. He's never raced at any of these tracks, but if he goes down there and wins two or three of the main events, could anyone argue against him being the best Modified driver in the country right now? I don't think so.


Willis will get all that DirtWorks has, guaranteed!


Shryock says he plans to run the whole USMTS Southern Series. He's won three of the first four races this year, with Jeremy Payne and Terry Phillips -- two of the best around -- finishing behind him at Enid.


Howard and John-O Whittington have had some great duels over the past five years! I've been impressed watching John-O since the days he was getting big wins at Thunder Valley and Leesville, La. He runs Batesville extremely well too. John-O is a new daddy too! Welcome to the world Jaxon Whittington (tell me that's not a future racer's name right there!) -- a baby boy born just a couple weeks ago. Now that Jaxon has arrived, John-O plans on racing all the remaining USMTS Southern Series shows. Guess where the next ones are after this weekend ... Batesville, May 11-12!


John-O who won the Big Star Classic in Many, La., back in February, and wants another big win for his Hot Chassis Modified.


Speaking of good at Batesville and big tracks like the old HRP track, Chris Brown elevated his game last year. At HRP, Chris was just a big a threat to win as Howard or John-O was, sometimes more. Brown being the only Skyrocket of the three, wouldn't mind running the same shows as his chassis builder. Who knows, there may be a short track set-up note or two available to him. You never know...


Same can be said for David Horner, who also runs a Shryock-made Skyrocket Chassis.


Brent Nicholas went to the West Siloam shows but missed Enid.


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There will be a special hotel rate for the racers and fans coming to Motorama Speedway in Beaumont, Texas. You can call the Holiday Inn at (409) 842-5995 for a special rate of $79 (normally $149). Just ask for the "Speedway Rate." There is plenty of parking for the big rigs also.


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George White will race the Friday and Sunday shows. his sponsors want him at Cowtown on Saturday. Last I heard, Troy Taylor is planning on being down there. Don't know what the plans are for the rest of the Ft. Worth/Dallas racers. Chase Allen will be there.


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The TRE Brigade Marches Toward Houston!


TRE Chassis, led by 4th place points man and the chassis builder himself, Steve Holzkamper of Gentry, Arkansas will be on hand in force at the Houston USMTS Southern Series events. Holzkamper's off to a good points start in the Southern Series with three top ten finishes. He had to use one provisional to make a show in Enid but he advanced from 23rd to 14th in that one.


Holzkamper will be joined by Keatchie, La.'s Jamie Burford in his black #19 TRE-by-Baby-Bone. The M.O.D.S. champ from 2006 has done very well in qualifying but has had terrible luck in the A mains and currently sits 15th in points. He's done so well in qualifying as a matter of fact, the he's only run one B-main and that was night 2 at West Siloam. In that B, he finished 2nd while Shryock finished 3rd. Of course Kelly rallied from that 21st starting position to finish 2nd to Jay Noteboom while Burford went from 18th to finish 11th and was running better than earlier in the race. He also had a strong run going in the Friday race at West Siloam but hit the wall after going from 13th to 6th. At Enid, Burford made the top eight redraw on Saturday by coming from 10th to 3rd in his heat and then he held off Jason Hughes to win his heat on Sunday and started ninth. His A main luck was horrible though. He broke an axle coming out of the 4-wide salute on Saturday and broke a motor at the start on Sunday and never made an A-main lap at speed the whole weekend.


I'll check with TRE driver Dustin Hyde of Texarkana this weekend and see if he will make the trip.


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I talked to Clyde Dunn today and yes, both 88s will be there with Tim Clonch and Clyde Dunn, Jr. in a pair of Skyrockets.


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Randy Timms Heads List of Shaw Chassis Racers Headed for Houston!


Wheatland, Okla.'s Randy Timms is off to a fine start with his Taylor-Shaw in the inaugural season of the USMTS Southern Series. He's second in points with finishes of 4th, 5th, 12th & 18th. That 4th came at the night race at Enid when he charged from 18th starting position. The Sunday race could have had a much better finish but that turned out to be his only DNF so far. Timms may have an ace-in-the-hole at his disposal too and the would be his USMTS Spec Motor which allows him to run an 8-inch spoiler vs. 5. That could be very important at tracks like Gator & 105. We'll see...


The other Larry Shaw Chassis in the top ten in USMTS Southern Series points is former Shaw employee Chase Allen of Midlothian, Texas in the Henderson #76N. Chase has made all 4 features so far with a best finish of 8th at West Siloam and is 10th in points.


Another guy who had some really good qualifying efforts in Enid is an ArkLaTex region racer -- David Mitchell of Ashdown, Arkansas -- in a former Bloomquist Taylor-Shaw. Mitchell is a former Boothill Speedway & Champion Park Speedway Modified track champion and also has many wins around southwest Arkansas dirt tracks. He is currently 13th in USMTS SS points. David started the year off with an 8th at West Siloam but missed the show by 3 spots on the second day at WSS. Qualifying was not a problem at Enid though as he made top ten in passing points both nights with a best finish of 14th in the A mains.


I'm sure there will be more Shaws down there so if you know of anyone running a Shaw at these events, chime in! I'll probably hear about a couple more by next week.


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Hous-ton May Become Hughes-town Next Weekend!


17-year old Rodney "The Rocket" Sanders will make the long tow and lead the Hughes Chassis parade into Houston next weekend. Sanders continues to impress racing fans around West Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico and looks to be one of the region's future stars. He hails from the panhandle town of Happy, Texas. He's run all four features and sits third in SS points. The first night at West Siloam, he came from 17th starting spot to 4th. Good thing because he needed to use those points earned for a provisional on night 2 at WSS when he came from 23rd to 9th. The first night in Enid, Rodney qualified 9th and finished 8th for his 3rd top ten in-a-row after running in the top five. The next night, he had to use a provisional again and DNFed for a 19th place. Sanders was third in last fall's Southern Classic behind Shane Priddy & Jason Hughes.


Speaky of his Chassis builder, Jason Hughes of Colcord, Oklahoma will also be in town for the three shows along with his 2007 teammate Tommy Weder, Jr of Woodward, Oklahoma. Weder -- an $8000 winner earlier this year in Arizona -- is 6th in points while Hughes is 7th. Amazingly, neither driver made the West Siloam opener A main but both have made all 3 As since and both drivers had a top five and a top ten in Enid. Last time Hughes was in Texas for a A-main, he won the $4000 check at South Texas Speedway over in Corpus Christi Thanksgiving weekend.


Speaking of Corpus Cristi, another Hughes Chassis driver happens to hail from that town. Steve Whiteaker, Jr. has numerous wins himself at STS and scored a top ten at WSS before suffering motor trouble at Enid. Whiteaker is currently 16th in points.


And not to be outdone by all these guys, Hughes Chassis has one more representative in the top 20 of USMTS Southern Series points that also plans on being in Houston for the weekend and that would be lady racer Dena Wilson of Coweta, Oklahoma. With Dena we don't need to say "lady racer" -- she's a racer, period, and prefers it that way. Wilson has a couple of Modified wins at Creek County Speedway in Oklahoma and has won track championships in other classes in Oklahoma and comes from a racing family. I've watched her several times and she's the real deal. She has excellent car control and she's not afraid to race guys or drive it in deeper than the next driver. Husband & crew chief JC Wilson will have her tuned up and ready for Houston!


But that's not it for Hughes Chassis. They will also have perhaps the hottest Hughes Chassis driver on UMP tires these days in the form of Shane Hebert from Scott, Louisiana who will bolt on some ARKK704s (G60s can also be used just no USMTS points awarded if you run the IMCA tire). Shane just won his first SUPR Modified feature last Friday night in Baton Rouge and just wore the UMP Mississippi Mods out last year when he raced with them. Shane has numerous wins at tracks like Pike County Speedway and Thunder Valley Speedway and had two runner-ups back in February at Southern Raceway's Florida Winternationals weekend. Shane is also bringing his Express Race Cars Limited Modified along to take a crack at that $1000 at Motorama on Friday night. Shane's been tough all year in that car having won the Big Star Classic in Many and Spring Nationals at Boothill.


Now that's a pretty stout half-dozen right there! Anybody know of more Hughes Chassis cars running these shows???


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Those Krafty Kraft Kars!


There will be several KraftKar Chassis Mods in attendance at these shows too. The Willy Kraft designed cars are now being built in Oklahoma with Shawn Kraft working out of the Ramirez shop in Woodward.


Derick Ramirez is the top KraftKar in USMTS SS points at the moment as is in 17th place with a top ten so far.


Brandon Kenny -- another Oklahoma racer sits in 20th spots and plans on making the trip south this weekend too.


Another Okie, Mike Roach just won at Enid Speedway Park's weekly show Saturday night and will also make the trip to the Houston area shows this weekend. Mike is 27th in points but has been at 3 of the 4 events so far.


But perhaps KK's best hope in Houston may be Louisiana's Michael Robertson. Robertson has been red hot all year. He won in Milton, Florida in February and then took ArkLaTex Speedway's Qwik Race Cars Spring Nationals in March. This past Friday he drove his KraftKar chassis to a $750 win at a Sabine Motor Speedway weekly show in Many, LA. He's also been red hot in his JB Racing Smiley's Chassis Limited too having won at Fast Trax Speedway last Saturday, Sabine on Friday and Ark-La-Tex last night. All 3 Houston area USMTS Southern Series events for Modifieds will be accompanied by $1000 to win Limited Modifieds. In addition, I think Micheal's crew have a few tricks up their sleeves for this weekend so those Houston fields better be ready. I think he's going to be leaving with a lot of Texas money!


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Chris Brown (Skyrocket) just finished 2nd in the SUPR Late Model feature at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday night!


It also appears that Shaw Chassis drivers Billy Melton, Jr. of Longview and Jeff Huckaby of Texarkana will make the Sat & Sun shows -- can't get out of town on Friday though.


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Rinehart Trucking Kicks In $1000 point fund for the weekend!


I knew Mr. Ed couldn't stand it if he didn't do something like that. He's one of the best dirt track supporters I know of!


1st in Modified points for the weekend gets $500, $300 for 2nd and $200 for 3rd! Thanks Rinehart Trucking!


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Other notes...


If you don't already know, all 3 nights will pay the Limited Modifieds $1000 to win. Entry fees at Motorama (Beaumont) & 105 (Cleveland) will be $50 for the Limiteds. I'll check with Randy at Gator for them or if someone knows what the entry will be there, please post.


Also, on Sunday at Cleveland, they will run just 3 classes -- Mods. Limiteds & Bombers I think. I don't know how many of you have seen a Todd Staley-run show but believe me, he doesn't let any grass grow during his programs. I hate predictions because there are so many factors (weather, power, red flags, etc.) but with a six o'clock start time, we will be done before 10!

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