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Tidwell, Hernandez, Votion, Jones, Payton, Gaither get I-37 wins

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I-37 Raceway @ Newsome Motor Park, 7/21/12

By J M Hallas


Pleasanton, TX.,(July 21st, 2012) After a week off while the track was taken over by Eagle Ford Bash concert goers, the racing action returned Saturday night. It was one hot, muggy day at the track, with the water truck getting an extra work-out trying to give drivers decent conditions for the nights features on the ¼ mile, semi-banked, dirt oval just outside Pleasanton.


Despite the sweltering temperatures, over 100 drivers signed in for the night in the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sportmods, Limited Late Models, Street and Pure Stocks and Front Runners.


Once again the IMCA Modified class saw a first time ever winner with Round Rocks, Jimmy Tidwell picking up the honors. The other classes saw the usual suspects running at the head of the field and finding their way to the Winners Circle.


Tidwell Tames Modified Main

Jimmy Tidwell made the long haul down from north of Austin pay off taking the win, his inaugural trip to Victory Lane. J. Tidwell took over the point early in the caution-filled event, from Kevin Schelling. Tracy Fink gave chase until spinning leaving Joe Spillman on J. Tidwell’s tail in the latter stages of the 20-lapper.


It was three wide as green flew on the 16-car IMCA Modified main. Schelling broke out of that fight with the top spot pursued by Matt Banker, Marlin Samford, Carson Bednarz and Jamie Campbell. Tracy Fink grabbed a top five spot on lap 1, but it was J. Tidwell with a huge run up to second on lap, with Fink following to third.


A six-car pile-up on lap 3 slowed the action and shook up the standings for the restart that saw J. Tidwell duck inside Schelling and grab the lead. Fink made his way past for second, while Spillman was working his way up to third and Jason Borlace to fifth. At the crossed flags it was J. Tidwell, Fink, Spillman, Borlace and Samford in the top five.


Fink spun himself from second with Spillman going around after contact from Borlace, who was sent to the back. Spillman was able to close the gap as J. Tidwell hit traffic and drivers were beating and banging for position in the final laps. At the checkers it was J. Tidwell in the Tidwell Precision Products, Five1seven Designs, WS Chassis holding on for his first IMCA Modified victory.


“It feels great(to get my first Modified win),” replied Tidwell. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve won some Modified heat races, and Street Stock features, but this is my first ever in a Modified. I’ve been running Modifieds since 2005 and it’s nice to finally get one.”


“The track was dry on the bottom, but had a cushion up top, but you had to hit it right. I got tight late in the race and started giving it away. Then the brakes faded a little, but we got through all the cautions and got the win.”


“I didn’t change much from my Killeen/Waco set up other than tighten it up a bit. I saw Joe(Spillman) pull up beside me under yellow. I don’t know if he was trying to play mind games with me, or say, I’m here, let’s go have some fun.”


“I definitely watch for where Cody(Tidwell) is. He’s out there trying to get some experience. It’s just fun being out there with him and see who gets the bragging rights for the night.”


IMCA Modifieds

117 Jimmy Tidwell, 444 Joe Spillman, 87 Dennis Taylor, 21 Jason Borlace, 24 Tracy Fink, 16 Carson Bednarz, 9(137) Bill Pittaway, 37b Matt Banker, 14x Kevin Schelling, 31 Marlin Samford, 49 Chuck Chesler, 14 Joe O’Bryan, 29 Jamie Campbell, 10r Robert Walton, 17 Cody Tidwell, 77 Cory Lovell, 137(9) Jason Campbell---DNS(gave up car to Bill Pittaway)


IMCA Modified heats

Heat 1; 87 Dennis Taylor, 24 Tracy Fink, 17 Cody Tidwell, 14x Kevin Schelling, 137 Bill Pittaway


Heat 2; 31 Marlin Samford, 29 Jamie Campbell, 14 Joe O’Bryan, 444 Joe Spillman, 9 Jason Campbell, 21 Jason Borlace


Heat 3; 49 Chuck Chesler, 16 Carson Bednarz, 117 Jimmy Tidwell, 37b Matt Banker, 77 Cory Lovell


Hernandez Hooked Up in Sportmods

Over the past couple months young Michael Hernandez has been on a tear picking up three feature wins in the IMCA Southern Sportmods. A graduate out of the Mini-Sprint ranks, Hernandez capitalized on a mistake by early leader Talon Minten in the waning laps, then outran veterans Johnny Torres and JJ Jennings to secure the trophy.


T. Minten was first into turn 1 at the start of the IMCA Sportmod main with Hernandez, Torres, Larry Jernigan and Jennings on his tail. With T. Minten still holding point, Ray Doyon III made his way into the top five during a restart. At halfway it was still T. Minten out front, Hernandez, Torres, Jennings and Doyon, with Jennings trying the bottom while everyone else ran the top.


Hernandez, Torres and Jennings were nearly three abreast with Jennings getting by Torres briefly as they swapped the spot. T. Minten made one mistake in turn 4 and Hernandez pounced on the chance to get past for the lead on lap 15. Torres, Jennings and T. Minten went three wide for second with Torres getting the position. Torres tried to run down Hernandez but came up short as Hernandez in the racelogic.com, Emerson Race Chassis eased ahead to the win.


“I just had to conserve my car early,” said Hernandez. “The track was kind of sketchy. I was trying to keep everything cool under the cautions. I had to figure out the line that my car was happy with. About halfway through I found what my car liked or didn’t like. I was lucky to be there when (Talon) Minten made a mistake. I saw (JJ) Jennings down on the bottom and knew I had to do something or I’d have been put back a bit.”


“We’re getting better. This season’s been completely different than last year. We’ve figured out exactly what the car is doing and changes we need to make. I’m getting my confidence built up and that’s helping us on the track and at the shop, as well.”


IMCA Southern Sportmods

2r Michael Hernandez, 66 Johnny Torres, 26g JJ Jennings, 9 Ray Doyon III, 14t Talon Minten, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 57f Dale Flanagan, 4r Robby Minten, 5r Newton Barta jr., 57 Jason Kelly, 18 Larry Jernigan, 90 Dustin Butcher, 60 Pat Lyon, 10r Eric Robins jr., 101 Tanner Whitmire, 11 Tom Grothues, 08 Alton Fambro, 21 Barry Codling---DNS, 12a Mike Allen---DNS, 118 Anthony Gordon---DNS


IMCA SSM heats

Heat 1; 101 Tanner Whitmire, 18 Larry Jernigan, 26g JJ Jennings, 4r Robby Minten, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 12a Mike Allen, 08 Alton Fambro


Heat 2; 66 Johnny Torres, 21 Barry Codling, 10r Eric Robbins jr., 14t Talon Minten, 118 Anthony Gordon, 11 Tom Grothues, 57f Dale Flanagan


Heat 3; 9 Ray Doyon III, 2r Michael Hernandez, 90 Dustin Butcher, 5r Newton Barta jr., 60 Pat Lyon, 57 Jason Kelly


Votion in Motion Again for Limited Late Loot

After months of repairs and trying to get the car back in its groove following an early season crash, Trey Votion finally got it all together. Votion worked his way up to battle with multi-time track champ, Gary Hunter near midway and got the top spot. From there Votion motored away while Landon Farquar recovered from a lap 1 spin to pick up second.


As green waved on the Limited Late Model feature, Howie Marcx grabbed the early lead trailed by Ron Sprayue and Gary Hunter. As the top 3 put some distance on the field, Votion got by John Owens and Aaron Leddy for fourth. Votion quickly gained ground on Sprayue and Hunter who were side by side for second.


Hunter got under Marcx on a lap 9 restart to briefly get the top spot while Votion got by Sprayue for third. Votion stalked the lead duo and found an opening to get the spot on lap 12. As Votion eased away, Farquar picked his way towards the front but couldn’t catch Votion in the Champion Signs, Northside Ford, ZDT Amusement Park, Northside Collision, Mission Racing powered, Kelly Chassis.


“It was definitely a good night,” commented Votion. “I’m not going to say we’ve got our ‘Mojo’ back. It’s been a while since the car has handled that well. Tonight we could actually run the bottom. There wasn’t much there, but it’s close to back where it was before the wreck. I was able to run those guys up front down. It’s hard to do when they’re running good.”


“It’s taken a long time adjusting. The car was so loose after the wreck. It’s nice to be able to run where they’re not and make it do something. I really have to give a shout out to my sponsors. Without them I wouldn’t have made it back after the wreck.”


“We’ve made a lot of suspension changes, and we didn’t reclip it(the car). We set it back to where it was, but it was really loose and I could never do anything getting off the turns.”


“Being able to drop two races in our class has helped me a lot. I’m still in the points lead and the past two nights have helped. Jensen(Pray) was fast last week. I don’t know if I had anything for him, but it would have been fun to find out. He's definitely got a fast car.”


Limited Late Models

99 Trey Votion, 77 Landon Farquar, 14 Gary Hunter, 113 Howie Marcx, 42 Ron Sprayue, 4d3 Aaron Leddy, 15 John Owens, 07 Cary Kuenzl, 7 Richard Bartosh, 6 Craig Crawley, 23 Robert Schelling---DNS


Limited Late Model heat winners; 77 Landon Farquar, 42 Ron Sprayue


“Back to the Front” for Jones

The slogan took on a double meaning for Jourdanton’s Wade Jones in the 20-lap Street Stock feature. Jones, who had car trouble in his heat, was forced to start at the rear of the 19-car field. Wasting little time, Jones quickly found himself among the top five and took over the lead after a three wide fight with Dennis Hilla and leader, Nathan Robbins. Jones then put a full straightaway on AJ Wernette running in the runner-up spot.


On the initial start, Richard Wells got front with three wide behind him for second, but yellow waved for a multi-car tangle. Nathan Robbins got the edge on the second start with Wells, Hilla, Wernette and Shawn Moore in pursuit. As the battle raged for second, Jones and Anthony Gordon were cutting their way through traffic, and headed to the front.


Jones was three wide for second with Wernette and Hilla by lap 5 and was challenging for the lead as the top five ran under the proverbial blanket. Jones snagged the spot on lap 7 with Gordon, Wernette and Hilla shaking out behind him. Wernette got around Gordon for second while Brian Becka, Mike Lyon and Frank Okruhlik, coming back from a spin, battled for fifth.


With five to go, Jones had built a full straightaway margin over Wernette and Gordon, while Okruhlik, Becka and Hilla slugged it out for fourth. Jones, in the Opiela Mechanical, SABFI Transportation, Mission Race Engines, Mobil 1, Swenson Racing, 74 Ranch Resort, Cowgirl Creations, Camaro easily cruised unchallenged to the checkers.


“We broke the distributor in the heat and had to start at the back of the feature,” stated Jones. “I had no idea that I could make it up(to the front) so quickly. I’ve never started way in the back and didn’t know what to expect. I found a line the car liked that no one was really running. I found some moisture and ruts that my car liked and I could stay on the gas longer.”


“I got some good motivation from my grandpa. He told me I was either going to win it, or wreck it trying.”


“ This class has grown and has a lot of tough competition. I’m having fun out there.”


“I was a little disappointed about the Street Stock Shootout race raining out. I was really looking forward to going back to Edna. I think they’re back on the schedule for a Shootout race again. We have a lot of fun in Edna and I’m looking forward to it.”



Street Stocks

41 Wade Jones, 118 Anthony Gordon, 9 Brian Becka, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 2x Dennis Hilla, 40 Mike Lyon, 18 Shawn Moore, 15 Tommy Casey, 5 Justin Henley, 726 Robert Robbins, 31 Jeff Hendricks, 14 Curtis Opiela, 04 Nathan Robbins, 3 Abraham Mares, 7t Todd Cook, 49 Jay Dancer, 22 Patricia Lucas, 82 Richard Wells, 37 AJ Wernette---DQ(tech-brakes)



Street Stock heat winners; 37 AJ Wernette, 82 Richard Wells, 99 Frank Okruhlik


Payton Paces Pure Stocks

Jarrett Payton(San Antonio) led early and often in the 20-lap Pure Stock feature. Payton got the lead at the drop of the green and held on through the drop of the checkers. Payton had his sister, Brandy Ramzinski on the trail early, then Ryan Doyon, who closed in under caution, during the final stages of the feature.


After one failed attempt at the start, Payton was first off turn 2 with the lead followed by Ramzinski, Jerry Jones, Adam McKinley and a three wide battle for fifth. Jones went around off turn 2 with Janel Hilla and Adam Torres making contact in the melee. Ryan Doyon began his march forward taking third going past McKinley and Ben Franke.


Doyon picked off second from Ramzinski on a restart leaving her swapping the spot with Franke while Darrin Blevins made his way up to fifth. Blevins would spin, come across the track and collect Jones, ending both their nights. Payton got a good jump on Doyon as green flew again and eased away in the Roosevelt U-Pull-It, Roudee 8’s Services, Bettis Storage, 5A Graphics, Chevy Nova.


“I just had to keep it on the bottom,” said Payton. “There was actually some moisture down there, but you had to be an inch from the (infield)tires. I really never tried the top, just stayed down low. Ryan(Doyon) didn’t catch me using the top, so there wasn’t much up there.”


“After a mess up in the heat race I told myself I’ve got twenty laps, four corners a lap, I need to hit my marks every single time and that’s what I did. There was twice I missed and I figured that someone would be right on me. If I hit my marks I wasn’t worried about anyone getting by.”


“I really need to thank my father-in-law, Jerry Jones. I’ve been extremely busy at work and he busted his tail to make sure my car was ready to race this weekend, plus his own car. He deserves a lot of credit for this win.”


Pure Stocks

9s Jarrett Payton, 5r Ryan Doyon, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 66 Adam Torres, 10c Karaline Campbell, 57 Ben Franke, 6p Jeremy Hernandez, 117 Devin Adler, 9 Phillip Haywood, 15 William Cavender, 7x Janel Hilla, 95 Jerry Jones, 28 Darrin Blevins, 60 Adam McKinley, 14 Trey Heald, 1c2 Dustin Blessing---DNTG


Pure Stock heat winners; 7x Janel Hilla, 88 Brandy Ramzinski, 57 Ben Franke


Gaither Goes Green to Checkers, Again

Once again Dillon Gaither showed the Front Runner field nothing the rear bumper of his Tiburon leading every lap of the feature. D. Gaither was chased by points rival, Landon Sowder and brother Brandon, but no one had anything for him as he pulled away in the his First Choice House Leveling, Rohmer Racing, CNC Grafix, Rays Auto & Truck, Earnhardt & Sons Automotive, TJ Hopper, Tiburon.


“I just go out there and race my own race,” said D. Gaither. “It helps when get a good starting spot towards the front. I had a good run and just try to keep it smooth around the outside.”


“I like when they put us further back in the running order for our feature. When we race later, the track gets more dry slick and that car loves dry slick. I like the dry slick better to drive too.”


“Brandon and I talk a lot of smack when he gets to drive the other car. He’s always saying he’s going to win that night. If he’s going to be me, he’ll beat me.”


Front Runners

5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder, 05 Lauren Blessing, 67 Ryan Franklin, 8k Bill McCall, 8t Thomas Franklin, 66 Cindy Snyder, D3 Brandon Gaither, 17 Kirstin Blevins, 113 Hailee Marcx, 57 Trevor Bettis---DNS


Front Runner heat winners; 5 Dillon Gaither, 08 Landon Sowder

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