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I-37 Raceway results 3/14/08

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I-37 Raceway, Season Opener, 3/14/08

By J M Hallas


Pleasanton, Tx., (March 14th, 2008) I-37 Raceway, formerly I-37 Speedway reopened under new ownership and management, as well as a new name. Joe and Jackie Gonzalez purschased the 1/4 mile semi-banked clay track just south of Pleasanton earlier this year and named Jim Knudtson as track director. The new team called in the services of South Texas Speedway's Owen Pittman to act as race director.



A good crowd of approximately 1,000 spectators and 77 cars filed into the pits for the season opener on Friday night. Only a few opening night glitches arose and were quickly eliminated or resolved, makng for one of the best night's that the track has seen in years. Despite a slightly later start time than was planned, Pittman and crew had the show run crisply and done in just over three hours, including a short intermission to redraw and reset the feature line-ups. All in all a great opening night for everyone involved.




Whiteaker in Winners Circle Again

Corpus Christi's Steve Whiteaker jr once again proved he would be one to deal with in the IMCA Modified class this year. Whiteaker, who started mid-pack wasted little time working his way to the front and getting by early leader Rick Green. Even a late race caution that rebunched the field and saw veteran Chris Swenson on his bumper, wouldn't deter Whiteaker from starting the 2008 season with his first I-37 Raceway checkers.



Bill Pittaway and Green led the 12-car field to green for the 25 lap IMCA Modified main event. Green jumped out into the lead on green, with Darin Leonard getting along side Pittaway for second. Leonard secured the spot on lap 2, bringing Swenson along to third, while Whiteaker was getting past Randy Yount for fifth. A lap later Swenson got by Leonard for second as Whiteaker took fourth from Pittaway. Steadily moving forward, Whiteaker got third from Leonard on lap 4.



By lap 6 Swenson was closing in on Green, with Whiteaker in hot pursuit of both. Swenson took a look inside Green on lap 7 but fell back in line as the top three ran nose to tail for the lead. Whiteaker snagged second from Swenson on lap 9 and caught Green for the lead. Green got stuck in the high groove and 'picked' behind a slower car giving both Whiteaker and Swenson the opportunity to get by with Whiteaker leading coming to halfway. At the crossed flags it was Whiteaker, Swenson, Green, Greg Dinsmore, who was on the charge after a slow start, and Leonard.



With ten to go, Whiteaker and Swenson were easing away from Green, who had Dinsmore reeling him in rapidly. The races only caution waved on lap 17 when Shawn O'Banon spun off into the weeds coming out of turn 2. Whiteaker got the jump on green while Swenson lost second to Green. Dinsmore got the best of Swenson on lap 19 taking the third spot. As Whiteaker marched ahead, Dinsmore challenged Green for second and got the position on lap 21, but was to far behind Whiteaker to mount a challenge. Up front it Whiteaker with comfortable margin getting the win in his WW Bodies, Texas Service Industries, Access Chevrolet, Holdzclaw & Hermann, Swenson Race Products, Youngs Auto Repair powered, Hughes Chassis


"Even though we have a chance to run for IMCA points at two tracks now, and have two wins already, I'm not going to run for a points championship," said the young Whiteaker. "We plan on running the Southern Series(USMTS) as well, that's where you run with the best of the best. I like the more open, outlaw-type rules."


"IMCA racing is different with the the rules, the claim and the car feels slower, probably because of the tires and spoiler. I also think IMCA will improve the racing at South Texas Speedway(Corpus Christi) and already has. When Lawrence(Mikulencak) and I won, we both started in the middle of the field and had to work our way up. That makes it more fun and exciting for the fans, and that's what it's all about."




IMCA Modifieds

1. 89 Steve Whiteaker jr

2. 8g Greg Dinsmore

3. 82 Rick Green

4. 26 Darin Leonard

5. 35 Curt Clegg

6. 66 Randy Yount

7.137 Bill Pittaway

8. 25r Brian Rye

9. 420 Shawn O'Banon

10. 15 Chuck Perry

11. 44 Joey Hienaman

48 Chris Swenson--DQ, forgot to cross scale, originally 4th

24 George Fink---Dns



Modified heat winners, 48 Chris Swenson, 89 Steve Whiteaker jr.




Youngest Torres Takes First Ever SportMod Checkers

The youngest of the racing Torres brother holds this weeks dinner table bragging rights as he got by early leader Gene Hyde, inched away, lost some ground in traffic, but held on the final laps to get his first IMCA Southern SportMod win.



Hyde and Andy Van Blarcum lead the 19-car starting field to green for the 20 lap feature. Hyde was first into to turn 1 to snare the early lead. while A. Torres moved past Jason Stanley for third. On lap 2 the yellow waved after Charlie Mares, Dustin Beutcher and Johnny Torres made contact on the front stretch, sending J. Torres around on the front stretch. On the restart, A. Torres got inside Van Blarcum to snag second.



On lap 4 the red brought the field to halt after a grinding crash on the front straight. Stanley's car broke and slowed coming out of turn 4 and as he tried to stay to the high side Beutcher, trying to avoid Stanley, spun and collected Chris McClendon and Steve Grantz. Chris Cockrell had nowhere to go and plowed into the side of Grantz. All drivers were alright, but Grantz, Beutcher and Cockrell were done for the night.



Once back to green flag racing, the young Torres took advantage of a mistake by Hyde, who slid high in turn 4. A. Torres ducked underneath and found himself on the point on lap 6. Chuck Perry and Jimbo Myers had a spirited battle for fourth as they swapped the position coming to halfway. At the mid point it was A. Torres, Hyde, Van Blarcum, Myers and Perry in the top five.



With A. Torres inching away from Hyde, Danny Norvell was closing on the three car fight for third. A. Torres saw his lead cut in half with five laps to go as he got hung behind slower traffic. Once clear, the teenager showed his maturity and rebuilt the margin in the final laps to go unchallenged to the win in the 24/7 Towing, Pro Image Graphics, Centex Motorsports powered, Smiley's Chassis by Clonch.


"I'm on top o the world right now," stated the excited A. Torres."This is only my second year in SportMods and really the first year to be competitive. It's ever better beating Johnny. He and my dad help me a lot and we share a lot of information"


"I just saw my spot to make a move when he(Hyde) drifted too high. So I went for it. I wasn't really nervous once I got the lead, I just kept doing what I was doing. Looking for my line and staying with it."


"We're not going to try to run for points, just whenever and wherever we can make it or afford to. Of course I have to keep my grades up too. No pass, no racing!"


"I'm definately a proud papa right now," replied father and former I-37 Speedway track manager, Frank Torres. "Those boys work their butts off to get the cars ready. I'll hear about this all week at home. Whether it's battling up front or for last one has to always give the other a hard time."


IMCA Southern SportMods

1. 94 Alan Torres

2. 44 Gene Hyde

3. 15 Andy Van Blarcum

4. 47 Jimbo Myers

5. 115 Chuck Perry

6. 56 James Lee

7. 20 Danny Norvell

8. 4 Charlie Mares

9. 22 Rene Mares

10. 137 Bill Pittaway

11. 66 Johnny Torres

12. 11 Chris McClendon

13. 60 Pat Lyon

14. 5 Jordan Lueck

15. 11F Mike Finkel

16. 92 Jason Stanley

17. 90 Dustin Buetcher

18. 21g Steve Grantz

19. 1c Chris Cockrell

174 Mickey Helms---DNS

2X Dennis Hilla---DNS



SSM heat winners, 66 Johnny Torres, 15 Andy Van Blarcum, 94 Alan Torres



Gary "Taz" Hunter showed why he has been the multi-time Super Stock track champion as he added yet another win to his I-37 Raceway/Speedway total. Hunter got by early leader Howie Marcx at halfway and eased away to take the victory.


Super Stock

1. 14 Gary Hunter

2. 13 Howie Marcx

3. 60 Harlin Covert

4. 7 Richard Bartosh


Super Stock heat winner, 13 Howie Marcx



The 20 lap Street Stock feature saw Wade Jones, subbing for injured Donny Horelka, get out front on lap 1. Sonny Mares quickly got by Jones for the lead on lap 3. In the pack, Jones, Donald Lewis, Shawn Moore and Tommy Casey battled it out for second, until Lewis secured the spot.



By halfway Mares was putting some distance on Lewis who had a gap back to Jones, Casey and Moore. A spin by Craig Crawley brought out the yellow on lap 16 and rebunched the field, but Lewis would pull off from second under caution. On the restart, Mares got a good jump, while Jones slid high giving Casey the opening to grab second spot in the final laps. At the checkers it was Mares easily taking the win.



Street Stock

1. 3 Sonny Mares

2. 42 Tommy Casey

3. 41 Wade Jones

4. 18 Shawn Moore

5. 57 Jason Kelly

6. 6 Craig Crawley

7. 51 Donald Lewis

8. 37 Austin Wernette

9. 08 Alton Fambru



Street Stock heat winners, 51 Donald Lewis, 3 Sonny Mares



Sean Terry grabbed the point at the start of the 20 lapper for the Pure Stocks and was puling away from Russel Nentwich. On lap 2, Nentwich went to high coming out of turn 4 and clipped the tire barrier. As the car careened off the tires it begn to roll and was tagged by Randy Borlace in the rear. As Nentwich's car came to rest on it's side, fuel began to pour out, but Nentwich was quickly out of the car before anything could ignite. Once the car was flipped back on all fours a small fire broke out, that was quickly extinguished.



Once back under green Justin Henley, Adam Torres and Robert Danielson began moving towards the front going three wide through the pack. Henley snared third from Mikey Faulkner on lap 5, then second from Pat Kelly on lap 6, while Torres took third from Faulkner on lap 7. S. Terry got slowed behind lapped traffic and was forced three wide, as Henley quickly reeled him in.



Henley put the bumper on S. Terry going down the back stretch and used the high side to get by S. Terry coming the crossed flags. Following Henley and S. Terry were Torres, Faulkner and Danielson. Faulkner then slapped the wall and coasted to a stop to bring out the yellow on lap 14. On the restart, Henley motored ahead while Torres challenged S. Terry for second. Torres grabbed the spot on lap 15 with S. Tery falling into the clutches of Danielson who got third on lap 16. Up front the young Henley was on cruise control as he crossed the line with a comfortable margin on Torres



Pure Stock

1. 96 Justin Henley

2 66 Adam Torres

3. 186 Robert Danielson

4. 23 Sean Terry

5. 7X Janel Hilla

6. 55 Sonny Jones

7. 22 Brian Terry

8. 3X Trevor Hilla

9. 889 N/A

10. 2 Mikey Faulkner

11. 87 Brantley Gillespie

12. 7 Danny Schroat jr

13. 07 Nathan Lorenz

14. 64 Pat Kelly

15. 79 N/A

16. 13 Steven Hawkins

17. 43 N/A

18. 9 Russell Nentwich

19. 93 Randy Borlace




Pure Stock heat winners, 9 Russell Nentwich, 23 Sean Terry, 96 Justin Henley



Ronnie Fikes easily scored the Texas Dwarf Car sweep taking the heat and feature wins running away from the fields in each.


Texas Dwarf Cars

1. 30 Ronnie Fikes

2. 40 Ryan Watkins

3. 12 Robert Smith

4. 07 Michael ??

5. 35 Eddie Tedford

6. 12th Josh Hunt

7. 8 Dennis Hunt

8. 01 Joseph Snow



Dwarf Car heat winners, 30 Ronnie Fikes, 40 Ryan Watkins

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There were two cars underweight per the track scales that I know of. Also Modified #48 not going to scales. Winner ( #96 ) of pure stock feature and a street stock driver as well however both of them were not DQ'ed. Tech man was nice enough hard working guy. Information was gather and he passed it along to other decision makers.

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Winner in the Super Stock Class (my father) #14 Gary Hunter out of Elmendorf, TX.

Sponsored by: San Antonio Light & Power, Max Alan Renovation, J & R Racing Engines, SRC Performance, David's Auto Graphics, Ross Electric, Texas Concrete, Palermo Homes, Climate Control Heating & AC, Quality Ambulance Service


Way to go TAZ Racing. We are proud of you.

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