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Whiteaker, Downey, Mikulencak take home S. Tx Shootout wins 12/6

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5th Annual South Texas Shootout @ South Texas Speedway, 12/5-6/14

By JM Hallas


Corpus Christi, TX.,(Dec. 6th, 2014) After a big night of qualifying in the Limited Modified and Pure/Factory Stock classes, 12 drivers had their places locked in for tonight's big pay day. The others still had another chance to qualify for spots in the 5th Annual South Texas Shootout in the Limited Modifieds and Pure/Factory Stocks with the Street Stocks running their own show.


Johnny Scott(Limited Modifieds) and Chuck Perry(Pure Stock/Factory Stocks) took home wins on Friday night. The top six finishers redrew for position putting David Lege jr. on the Limited Modified pole and Dylan Elasko up front in the Pure/Factory Stocks. On the outside looking in were several of the favorites including, last years winner, Shane Hebert, Lawrence Mikulencak, John Whittington and Howard Willis.


These guys had their work cut out for them as they had to try to make it through heats and qualifiers on the 1/4 mile, semi-banked, dirt oval. Two provisional spots will be available, one for highest track points driver and the other through auction.(Johnny Torres-Limited Modified track points, Eric Thorne-auction spot, Alaina Smith-Pure Stock track points, Cheryl Gray-auction spot)


Quick update on drivers in last nights crash; Kris Rye released from hospital, but very sore, especially his back. Chuck Perry, sore and will only run one class tonight(Pure/Factory Stock), Dustin Butcher was alright in the pits after the race and Johnny Torres was alright and running both the Limited Modified after repairs, and the Street Stock tonight.


Whiteaker Wins Wild One

Hometown favorite, Steve Whiteaker jr. took home the big money after scoring the victory in the 40-lap Limited Modified A-main. Whiteaker got the lead on lap 6 after early leader, David Lege jr., pulled off under a caution. Whiteaker was able to put some distance on the field in the early stages, but had past winner, Shane Hebert and Cody Smith on his tail in the choppy closing laps.


The win didn't come easy as Whiteaker got involved on a restart when the field got over-anxious and stacked up in turn 4. The contact, that eliminated John Whittington and Lawrence Mikulencak, knocked a spring into a bind causing his car to be tight later in the run. Hebert and Smith took their shots at Whiteaker on the slew on late restarts, but Whiteaker held them to take home the $5,050 for the win.


Whiteaker, running a retro graphics scheme in salute to his dad in his early days of racing, also snagged an extra pot organized by Bubba Seals. Drivers anted up $100 each for the best finishing car that bought in. Twenty-two cars signed up making a cool $2,200 bonus for Whiteaker.


As the 26-car, 40-lap Limited Modified main fired off Lege and Tracy Denby jr, stayed side by side through turns 1-2 before Lege edged ahead on the back stretch. Denby dropped in line second trailed by Whiteaker, Johnny Scott and GW Egbert. Smith got by GW Egbert for fifth quickly while Lege began pulling away.


After a short caution, Whiteaker took second from Denby until a lap later when a big melee in turn 4 slowed the action again. Under yellow, the leader Lege, pulled off handing the top spot to Whiteaker for the restart. On that restart Scott and Smith tangled setting up a big chain reaction behind them.


Finally back under green, Whiteaker got clear with Dean Abbey getting third from GW Egbert and Hebert along side JJ Jennings for fifth. As the top three sorted out, GW Egbert, Hebert and Mikulencak were fighting for fourth. Hebert, using the middle groove, went around GW Egbert followed by Mikulencak a lap later.


Coming to halfway the leaders were coming up on slower traffic, but a caution on lap 19 gave them clear track on the restart. Whiteaker broke away with Denby, Hebert, Mikulencak getting past Abbey in the top five. A yellow for debris set up a restart that changed the complexion of the race.


Whiteaker changed his restart point while the pack got jumpy and stacked up in turn 4 before the green even waved. The top cars on the inside row ended up in a pile, including Whiteaker. This ended the night for Mikulencak and Whittington, with others, including Denby, pitting for repairs. For the restart the new top five would be Whiteaker, Hebert, Abbey, GW Egbert and Seals.


Back under green Abbey took second from Hebert, with Trevor Egbert up to fourth and Smith fifth. Smith then got inside T. Egbert for fourth as Whiteaker motored away to a half straightaway lead. Hebert used the middle again to get third from Abbey with Smith trying to follow as a yellow waved.


The final ten laps were spotted with caution after caution as drivers fought for every inch of race track to pick up or hold a position. Smith was able to get past Abbey, who got hooked and pulled to the infield shortly after, for third. This set up restart battles between Hebert and Smith for second and gave Whiteaker some breathing room each time.


On a short run, Smith was able to take a look on Whiteaker just as another yellow flew. Hebert got the best of Smith on the next start with positions changing in the pack nearly every restart. The final yellow waved with three to go setting up a shootout to the checkers.


Whiteaker got some distance as Hebert and Smith stayed wheel to wheel for second. This was all the advantage Whiteaker needed as he ran unchallenged to the win in his Cottrell Motorsports, D&SS Construction, WW Bodies, Nasty Cookers, Churchs Chicken, Swenson Race Products, Real Wheels, Swenson Racing Shocks, 5one7 Designs, Mullins powered Hughes by 89 Motorsports Chassis.


Photo by Ron Skinner


"This is a big win for us at our home track," replied Whiteaker. "This one was especially big for us. We worked real hard this year on this car, making it better. Last year was only the third race on it here. We've changed, cut, welded and finally got this car good for the last half of the year. We haven't had much to complain about."


"If it wasn't for my dad I wouldn't be where I am today. I just wanted to show my appreciation on how much he means to me so I went with a retro graphics scheme on the car for this race. This was the color he and my mom painted his first car back when they were racing with short sleeved shirts and leather helmets. I got the idea and sent the pictures to Jeff Moore. It's very special, for me, to win with those colors."


"The track wasn't easy to pass on. I saw (Shane) Hebert pull up beside me under caution and I knew Cody(Smith) started pretty far back so he was obviously quick. You kind of start second guessing yourself and trying different lines. When you're leading that long you're kind of a sitting duck. They're able to try stuff that you can't."


"Shane's won his far share of races. So anytime he's there you have someone to worry about. He's good here, and he's won here. I enjoy racing with that competition, it makes you better."


"When I tried something different, I could hear someone on my bumper. I went back to what I had been doing, but was only able to pull away a little. We threw a lot of stuff at the car and it wasn't as good at the end. But it was good enough to win and be in victory lane."


"I thought we were single file on that one restart. I don't ever start in the same place twice or they learn your habits. I had it in my head that I wasn't starting until the white line this time. I had been starting earlier and they anticipated me going and I didn't. I'm the race leader and start where I want."


"The left rear spring got cocked in their and made the car really tight. I couldn't get back on the gas like I had been and actually clipped the wall. With that spring cocked it put a bunch of cross(weight) in it, so it wasn't as good after that. It felt different and I didn't know what happened until after I got out and saw the rear(of the car) was raised up."


"I had one shot there at him," added runner up Smith. On one of those restart he kind of slipped up coming out of turn 2 and that was about all I had for him. I got through the pack pretty easy but once I caught he and Shane we evened out."


"Those double file restart kept Shane and I busy with each other battling it out. I don't know if we had a long green flag if that would have helped. I fear everybody's tires would have burned off. So I think all the cautions helped us make it all the way."


"I've had a little experience in a Limited Modified before so the transition from an outlaw Modified wasn't that much. It's mostly having less power and trying to keep your momentum up."


"We didn't get here for practice, but I can watch the lines other guys run. I can mirror their lines. I've been watching Steve lines and that's helped me out a lot. It's a difficult track with the banking, but once you get used to it, it comes around to you."


"I think a longer green flag run would have helped us." commented Hebert. "It was hard to get into a rhythm and keep your momentum up with all those short runs. This is a new car and we worked to get it sorted out this weekend. I don't feel any added pressure to win here again. We know theirs going to be a lot of fast cars and competition when we come down here."


Limited Modifieds A-Main

89c Steve Whiteaker jr., 31 Cody Smith, 9 Shane Hebert, 83k Trevor Egbert, 19 Bubba Seals, 70 GW Egbert, 15 Tracy Denby jr., 301 Joel Couvillion, 88 Dustin Shoemaker, 95 Gabe Tucker, 184 Brian Rye, 23 Howard Willis, 260 Erik Thorne, 56 Broc Bowen, 175 Bo Beckner, bd1 Johnny Torres, 5r Robby Minten, 63 Shane Hoefling, 26 Dean Abbey, 187 Billy Melton, 57 Dale Flanagan, 87m Lawrence Mikulencak, 5w John Whittington, 9L David Lege jr.(-2 jumping start), bd2 JJ Jennings, 1st Johnny Scott


Limited Modified B-Qualifiers(top 6 to A-main)

B-main 1; bd2 JJ Jennings, 19 Bubba Seals, 5w John Whittington, 95 Gabe Tucker, 56 Broc Bowen, 5r Robby Minten, 74 John Sliney, 518 Stephen Davis, 11t Tom Grothues, 14x Bryan Hay, 24 Chris Burnett, 10 Dustin Robinson, 12 Cody Leonard, 53 Edward Oakes, 174 Mickey Helms, 14 Kelly Lockey---DNS, 79 David Meredith---DNS, 12* Josh Ferguson---DNS, 420 Eric Cegielski---DNS


B-main 2; 31 Cody Smith, 9 Shane Hebert, 87m Lawrence Mikulencak, 63 Shane Hoefling, 83k Trevor Egbert, 88 Dustin Shoemaker, 260 Eric Thorne(-2 jumping start), 37 Bill Pittaway, 91 Craig Oakes(-2 jumping start), 563 James Lee, 118 Robby Crabtree, 29 Billy Becka, 76 Jeff Rowland, 44 Topper Dugas, b52 Brandon Hightower, 47 Justin McCullough, 26b John Bonneau---DNS, bd1 Johnny Torres---DNS


B-main 3; 187 Billy Melton, 23 Howard Willis, 57 Dale Flanagan, 301 Joel Couvillion, 175 Bo Beckner, 184 Brian Rye, 38 David Schurry, 86j Travis Johnson, 38m Max Calles, 78 Jason Tiner, 2r Ray Schaalman, 61 Brandon Behler, 99 Randy Lovell, 41 Darrin Blake, 6 GW Hessong, 87 John Webb, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 12r Roly Rodriguez


Limited Modified heats(by finish to B-Qualifier)

Heat 1; bd2 JJ Jennings, 19 Bubba Seals, 12 Cody Leonard, 56 Brock Bowen, 5r Robby Minten, 74 John Sliney, 14 Bryan Hay, 24 Chris Burnett, 79 David Meredith, 12* Josh Ferguson


Heat 2; 9 Shane Hebert, 63 Shane Hoefling, 76 Jeff Rowland, b52 Brandon Hightower, 91 Craig Oakes, 88 Dustin Shoemaker, 29 Billy Becka, 260 Eric Thorne(-2 for jumping start), 118 Robby Crabtree, bd1 Johnny Torres


Heat 3; 23 Howard Willis, 57 Dale Flanagan, 2r Ray Schaalman, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 184 Brian Rye, 6 GW Hessong, 86j Travis Johnson, 61 Brandon Behler, 41 Darrin Blaker


Heat 4; 10 Dustin Robinson, 95 Gabe Tucker, 53 Edward Oakes, 5w John Whittington, 174 Mickey Helms, 518 Stephen Davis, 11t Tom Grotheus, 14 Kelly Lockey, 420 Eric Cegielski---DNS


Heat 5; 31 Cody Smith, 44 Topper Dugas, 47 Justin McCullough, 563 James Lee, 87m Lawrence Mikulencak, 29m Michael Brown, 26b John Bonneau, 83k Trevor Egbert, 37 Bill Pittaway


Heat 6; 187 Billy Melton, 78 Jason Tiner, 99 Randy Lovell, 301 Joel Couvillion, 175 Bo Beckner, 12r Roly Rodriguez, 38 David Schurry, 48m Max Calles, 87 John Webb


Mikulencak Motors to Street Stock Main

Young Marcus Mikulencak(Corpus Christi), following his dads footsteps, took home the win in the 17-car Street Stock feature. Mikulencak, who started fourth, quickly worked his way forward and caught early leader Johnny Torres. Mikulencak got along side Torres on lap 3 and got out front on lap 4. From there Mikulencak built nearly a full straightaway lead around halfway.


A caution would rebunch the field, but Mikulencak again eased away while Torres and Greg Carlucci jr. slugged it out for second. He easily cruised to his first victory in his Ace Transmissions, Young's Auto Repair, Sames Ford, Texas Battery, All In Designs, Street Stock.


On the second try, Torres got a good jump into turn 1 to lead the 20-lap Street Stock feature. Nathan Sturtz, Mikulencak, Curtis King fell in line with Steven Doty and Carlucci side by side for fifth. Mikulencak got inside Sturtz for second with Carlucci taking fourth from King. Mikulencak repeated the inside move to get the lead from Torres on lap 4.


King and Carlucci continued to battle as both got by Sturtz for third and fourth. Mikulencak caught lapped traffic just before halfway with King and Carlucci closing on Torres. At the midway point it was Mikulencak, with a huge lead, Torres, King, Carlucci and Doty in the top five.


King and Carlucci tangled on lap 13 for a caution that saw King sent to the tail. Mikulencak got away clean on the restart with Carlucci now pressuring Torres for second. Carlucci gave Torres a look on lap 17, then finally snuck past on the final lap. This left Mikulencak unchallenged as he took his first ever checkers in a Street Stock.


"It took a lot of patience with as slick as the track got," said Mikulencak. "We had a lot to do after blowing the transmission and getting here at the last minute. Then we ended up starting dead last in the heat."


"We were able to get up to get up to second passing Steven Doty at the line for a good starting spot in the feature. The car handled really good in the feature. Mainly it was good just to finish after all the trouble we had."


"I want to thank my dad for getting the car ready at the last minute and Stephan Danielson for all his help in the pits. Also to everyone that supports me at the track."


Street Stocks A-Main

9m Marcus Mikulencak, 34 Greg Carlucci jr., 17 Johnny Torres, t9 Steven Doty, 8 TJ Sullivan, 184 Brian Rye, 11 Shawn Kline, 88 DJ Schroat, 7c Justin Romine, 127 Jerry Walters, 1x Tim Dickman, 84 Nathan Sturtz, w68 Michale Pesch, 42 Curtis King, 12 James Wofford, 4 Robert Wyman, 33 Mereda Major, k94 Clayton Carter---DNS



Street Stock heats

Heat 1; 17 Johnny Torres, 9m Marcus Mikulencak, T9 Steven Doty , 184 Brian Rye, 11k Shawn Kline, 7c Justin Romine---DNS


Heat 2; 84 Nathan Sturtz, 88 DJ Schroat, 4 Robert Wyman, 12 James Wofford, 1x Tim Dickman, w68 Michale Pesch---DNS


Heat 3; 42 Curtis King, 34 Greg Carlucci jr, 8 TJ Sullivan, 33 Mereda Major, k94 Clayton Carter, 127 Jerry Walters---DNS


Downey Dashes to Pure Stock Payday

Baytown's Thomas Downey scored the big win the 40-lap Pure/Factory Stock main event. Downey took over the top spot when his team mate, Dylan Elasko, had troubles and slowed on a restart. Downey was chased by last nights winner, Chuck Perry, who got the nose inside at one point during middle stages.


Curtis King took up the charge later in the race giving Downey a run for the money. With three laps to go Downey, King and Perry were nose to tail fighting for the win. As the checkers flew it was Downey, in the Jason McCool owned, Parts Unlimited, Best Auto Parts, Hell Fire Race Engines, Chevy Nova, holding on to score the two grand pay day.


It took two tries to get the 25-car Pure/Factory stock main started with Elasko leading into turn 1. Chase Bresee, Jacob Wilburn, Colt Beaver, Perry and Downey gave chase. Perry and Downey made quick work of Beaver, while Wilburn had trouble and pulled to the infield from third.


Bresee got a bumper on Elasko as the leaders ran up on traffic early, with Hunter Flanagan taking fifth from Beaver. As the lead duo battled, Downey was running them down. Bresee would spin himself from second and stop for a lap 12 caution. On the restart, Elasko was slow to go giving Downey the opening to grab the point on lap 13. Elasko's problems were compounded when he spun from fourth.


Once back to green, Downey, Perry and Flanagan began pulling away from Jamie Dear, Jarrett Payton and King as they came to halfway. Flanagan began showing some death smoke and retired on lap 22. Downey almost gave up the top spot on lap 23 when he slipped and Perry got along side. Downey righted himself and held Perry off.


The red flag waved on lap 24 when Alaina Smith made contact with Travis Schmidt and then made hard contact with the turn 3 wall. She was alright, but complained about a hurt wrist. Back to green again and Perry taking a peek under Downey while Nick Vandiver got fourth from Dear, who gave up another spot to Payton a lap later.


King was able get by Perry for second and was putting some heat on Downey. King hung on to Downey's bumper waiting for a mistake and gave him a little rap on the bumper. As they battled, Perry drew back in them with five to go. It was anyone's race as the final laps clicked off, but it was Downey hanging on to snag the victory.


Photo by Ron Skinner


"I don't know who was in the 6P car(Chuck Perry), but I owe him a big thanks," said Downey. "I lost a cylinder when I passed Dylan(Elasko) for the lead. We ran on seven the last 20 laps or so. He really raced me clean. He got a bumper on me a couple times which anybody would have done for that money, but it was clean. I had a lot fun."


"The car handled real good and I was able to hold them off. We had a fast car all weekend just had some bad luck on Friday. After starting tenth we drove to the lead. The car was a rocket until we broke a rocker arm. The restarts were rough.


"I want to thank Jason McCool for letting me drive his car. Hell Fire Racing Engines came on-board to sponsor us and we have a Limited Modified coming from HOT Chassis. My wife, who I often seem to forget, that puts up with all the time I spend working on the car and the twenty guys that come out and help us. This is definitely a family sport."


Pure Stock/Factory Stock A-Main

44 Thomas Downey, 4 Curtis King, 6 Chuck Perry, 19v Nick Vandiver, 9s Jarrett Payton, 15d Jamie Dear, 32 Mickey Helms, 41 Dylan Elasko, 62v Roy Vestal, 10c Jamie Campbell, 11x Jon Howerton, 99 Tommy Temple, 66 Adam Torres, 73 John Ramirez, 33 Barry Major, bd4 Cheryl Gray, 20 Michael Courtney, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 74 Travis Schmidt, 84 Alaina Smith, 20x Colt Beaver, 171 Chase Bresee, 25 Jacob Wilburn, 00L Lucas Cowan, 72 James Jennings, 1k Kevin Meyer---DNS


Pure Stock/Factory Stock B-Qualifiers(top 9 to A-main)

B-Qualifier 1; 11x Jon Howerton, 4 Curtis King, 9s Jarrett Payton, 00L Lucas Cowan, 62v Roy Vestal, 72 James Jennings, 99 Tommy Temple, 66 Adam Torres, 1k Kevin Miller, 4m Gary McDonnell, 01 Joseph Snow, 54 Tommy Miller, 11 KC Jimerson, 9 Rick Snyder, 19 Daniel Duncan---DNS, 5* Josh Spurlock---DNS


B-Qualifier 2; 58 Hunter Flanagan, 44 Thomas Downey, 15d Jamie Dear, 19v Nick Vandiver, 33 Barry Major, 10c Jamie Campbell, 74 Travis Schmidt, 73 John Ramirez, 20 Michael Courtney, 22 Cody Bradshaw, 7 Jesse Sandoval, bd4 Cheryl Gray, 84 Alaina Smith, 49 Ryan Slott---DNS, 71 Shayne Sturtz---DNS


Pure Stock/Factory Stock heats(by finish to B-Qualifier)

Heat 1; 11 KC Jimerson, 9s Jarrett Payton, 01 Joseph Snow, 00L Lucas Cowan, 72 James Jennings, 4m Gary McDonnell, 9 Rick Snyder, 5* Josh Spurlock---DNS


Heat 2; 58 Hunter Flanagan, 15d Jamie Dear, 7 Jesse Sandoval, 19v Nick Vandiver, 33 Barry Major, 10c Jamie Campbell, 74 Travis Schmidt, 20 Michael Courtney,


Heat 3; 11x Jon Howerton, 4 Curtis King, 54 Tommy Miller, 62v Roy Vestal, 99 Tommy Temple, 66 Adam Torres, 1k Kevin Meyer, 19 Daniel Duncan---DNS


Heat 4; 44 Thomas Downey, bd4 Cheryl Gray,84 Alaina Smith, 22 Cody Bradshaw, 71 Shayne Sturtz, 73 John Ramirez, 49 Ryan Slott---DNS

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