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An open letter to TTOPA


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An open letter to the Texas Track Owners & Promoters Association (TTOPA)




First and foremost, thank you. Thank you Brain Callaway (Thunder Hill Raceway), Owen Pittman (Corpus Christi Speedway) and Mike Sepich (San Antonio Speedway) as well as competition directors Nick Holt and Paul Lozano for the time and effort you put into this organization. Your efforts to standardize and "concessionize" rules packages across the various tracks are much appreciated and long overdue.


I think it is more than fair to call the first cooperative event under the TTOPA umbrella a success. It should also be recognized that without the support of Aramendia Pluming as the presenting sponsor it’s questionable if the event would have ever occured. Also, congratulations to Brandon Bendele Winner of the Inaugural Texas Challenge, actually, Dominator is probably a more appropriate classification.


There was much discussion leading up to the race regarding rules, specific concessions and the overall fairness and advantages of one package versus another. I believe there were good faith efforts to craft concessions to level the playing field, going so far as to perform tangible on track research and evaluation. Unfortunately, and not for lack of effort, I think it is clear now that the concessions fell short. One only needs to review the qualification result to make the determination. Even if you go so far as to eliminate the 5 fastest cars the result remains, one type of car clearly has an advantage. I don’t believe that the finishing order is a valid point of comparison since only 5 of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap and there is always the intangible driver/track/seat time/experience factor to be considered.


But still, I don't view this as negative since TTOPA has clearly stated that a long term goal of the organization is to "Work towards formulating similar rules for similar classes and establishing reciprocal rules agreements among member tracks.". I read this as it will be an evolutionary process and since this is only the first iteration I think future changes will bring closer competition and a more exciting show for the race fan. I think you will agree a tweak or two is in order. You all have a little work ahead of you in determining the best course of action for the next iteration, which will hopefully be the Stock Car Spectacular at THR in the fall.


Now with respect to the technical inspection process, I regret to say there is much work to do in this area based on what I observed on Saturday night. I do not want to give the impression of sour grapes or imply there was some kid of covert wrongdoing or come across as questioning the technical inspectors abilities or motives. But, tech was essentially non-existent. If I am not mistaken both post-qualifying and post-race tech consisted of applying the go/no-go gauge to the carburetor and that was it.


I can understand and appreciate the challenge that comes with trying to comprehensively tech cars with multiple rules packages but there are certain fundamental checks that can be performed quite easily. Items such as wheelbase, track width, transmission, clutch, carburetor, headers, trailing arms, hubs and brake systems can all be checked very quickly and quite easily. I was very disappointed to see such lax technical inspection procedures, especially given novelty of being the first ever TTOPA race and the size of the purse. In the future it may be worthwhile to include technical inspection staff from the various sanctioning bodies if possible. At a minimum I think it is more than reasonable to require technical inspection staff to designate (in confidence) 2 or 3 mandatory inspection items per type of car. You could even go so far as to use the luck of the draw to determine items to tech by type of car; pull you own fate so to speak.


In closing I can only express my gratitude for your efforts. You have proven it can be done. I’m confident as TOPPA progresses and the idea evolves it can only result in success as long as the cooperative mindset is maintained. Thank you again and best of luck in the future.



Brad Hudak

Participant – TTOPA Event #1 - Inaugural Texas Challenge 125

#04 – Texas Super Racing Series

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Brad, you make some good points. However, I can't help but feel like the fast qualifier/winner negates one of your points. If the concessions fell short, as you suggest, it would not have been possible for a TSRS car to do so well. I realize that the 5 car had the best of the best going for it as far as setup and driver goes and has great equipment as well, but if that car can be made to go that fast with the concessions, it seems to reason that the other good TSRS/THR cars could have as well.


Some others have made some good points as well in other posts about why the TSRS/THR cars may not have been as competitive. My point is just that, given the requisite $$, time, and knowledge, the TSRS/THR cars apparently could have done quite well as a group using the rules concessions as they were. Now if someone were to show that the 5 was running something completely different from the normal TSRS/THR stuff, I would change my opinion completely, but this does not appear to be the case.



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I'm not clear on your point, are you suggesting that 1 driver or 1 car should be the baseline?


I think you have missed my point with respect to the rules concessions. It's not about the individual car; it's about the group. Please take a moment to review the results again and I think you will see where I’m coming from.


Nothing against Brandon or Joe, they are great drivers and as some have suggested they could win on mopeds at SAS.



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One question. Would it be possible that the guys with experience on the 10" tires did better because they have just that. Experience? I might be wrong but that could be the case. If so then I think the fact a TSRS car won I doubt there is much of a disadvantage for that type of car.

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I don't think I missed your point. I just don't agree with it. What I'm saying is that if one TSRS car can make the most of the concessions, the concessions were adequate. If one can do it, the others could have also given the same preparatory work. Looking at the group of TSRS as a whole doesn't prove anything because it's already been shown that some prepared more than others. Some ran 8" tires by choice because that's all they had. Others bolted on 10s, but there's no way I can know if they did half as much as the 5 car did.


Shawn indicates that the 5 car was not much of a TSRS car for this race. If he was illegal, I would change my position. If it was legal by the event rules, then again I say he used them to his advantage and the concessions were adequate.


Look at it from another perspective just briefly. If the TSRS cars were given more concessions so that more of them would have been competitive, is it not possible that the 5 car would have been even faster as a result?


Chase Stapp (not Cary) :D (It's not the first time)

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jason & chase-don't be fooled the 5 car was not much of a tsrs car for that race-all brad is saying is work on the rules a little more...experience helps jason, but at that level ,in that race most of the guys(brad,reeder,ronnie,etc.)have got the experience to...it's not rocket science,just sas.....

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Guest texracer

If Brad or any of the others had time to adjust thier cars i e ( springs shocks swaybars arm angles track bar etc) and more time to tweak they would have picked up 7 tents with no problem. On 8 in. slicks. Just my opinion. Jamie

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Guest The_Greek

while alot of people here disagree with the rules between SAS cars vs all the rest, lets give TTOPA the benefit of the doubt, this was their first race, and im sure after all the feedback they will get, some changes will be made to even out the playing field, if we keep bitching and moaning there might not even be another Texas Challenge Race in the future. as i posted earlier it seemed to me the SAS cars had an advantage of sorts cause they were the fastest in the field, and im not just comparing them to Brandon's car. but then again the SAS cars have the advantage of running there every week also. lets let TTOPA sort it all out, and hopefully the next one will be alot more entertaining.

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These are growing pains my friends :D My brother Jason & I run our I-37 cars w/ the roadrunner class at SAS. It has taken a few races, and some tweaking of rules but the field is 12+ cars weekly & the cars are really competitive. In our 1st race under TTOPA (April 17th), the cars couldn't have been more equal. Check out the rundown below. Thanks to the TTOPA for their hard work in making racing better for everyone in S Texas.


Jr B)


I-37 Speedway Cars *

*** Combined SAS Road Runner & I-37 Speedway cars: (NON - POINTS NIGHT). ***


Feature - $800 to win


1. 20 Mark Mathais 20 Laps

2. 57 John Kelly, Jr. 20 *

3. 96 Charles Henley 20 *

4. 73 Charlie Earnhardt 20

5. 57X Jason Kelly 20 *

6. 55 Irish O,Leary 20

7. 00 Randy Fautschi 20

8. 15 Roy Bernal 20

9. 67 Frank Torres 19 *

10. 70 Johnny Torres 18 *

11. 13 Greg Rohmer 15

12. 1 J.R. Eichelberger 15

13. 18 Allen Goree 14 *

14. 79 Michael Odom 9

DNS 580 Benjamin Anderlitch *

DNS 74 Joe Horne *


Lap Leaders:

57 Kelly, Jr., 1 - 3

13 Rohmer 4 - 12

20 Mathais 13 - 20


Heat 1


1. 57 8 Laps *

2. 13 8

3. 96 8 *

4. 57X 8 *

5. 580 8 *

6. 74 8 * Frank Torres

7. 79 6

8. 18 0 *


Heat 2


1. 20 8 Laps

2. 73 8

3. 67 8 * Joe Horne

4. 55 8

5. 00 8

6. 15 8

7. 1 8

8. 70 7 *

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There is work being done on a South Texas Hobby Stock Championship 4 race series. 4 races, 4 different tracks, $1000 to win each race, points kept, & a huge trophy awarded at the end. I'm not sure if it'll take of this year or next, but it's comming. .. and yes it will be orchistrated by TTOPA.

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Guest texracer

They are only at a disadvantage on 8. in slicks. Jason is right TSRS fast qualifier and TSRS winner. Just imagine if Larry wasnt there ( the man with probably more laps than anyone on that track ) it would have been a 1-2 TSRS finish. TSRS actually has the advantage on 10 in. slicks

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the only thing that was changed on the 5 car was 10" tires, and Brandon set it up how he wanted early in the week then he praticed on Friday and got it perfect for race conditions. This was to another post also, he does have a muffler that adheres to THR's sound policy on the car as well. Its finished in the top 5 the last 2 houston races and lead 62 of 75 laps their last race in Corpus before he had his tire go down.

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