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Whiteaker, Penny and Snow take S. Tx. Shootout prelim checkers

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6th Annual South Texas Nationals @ South Texas Speedway, 3/3-5/16


By JM Hallas


Corpus Christi, TX.,(March 4th, 2016) After a long rain delay(December) South Texas Speedway finally got to run its 6th Annual South Texas Shootout with big money on the line for Limited Modifieds. Of course it hasn't really rained since December, but scheduling moved the show to early March on the newly widened ¼ mile, high-banked, dirt oval in the Sparkling City.


Some of the best Limited Modified drivers in the mid-south area usually make the trek in search of the qualifying spots for their chance at a huge pay out. Past winners include local hot shoe, Steve Whiteaker jr. and Louisiana's Shane Hebert.


Included in this years version are the Econo-Mods, running topless, and Pure Stocks. This is the first year for the E-Mods to run in the annual event with $1,000 on the line for the winner.


The Pure Stocks always bring a tough field on drivers from east and south Texas vying for $2,000 to win. The past two years the money has gone back to the Houston area with Thomas Downey jr. and Chase Bresee.


Won More for Whiteaker


Local hot shoe Steve Whiteaker jr. overcame issues through the heat, won his B-main and then motored his way from the fourth row to lead in the 25-lap Limited Modified qualifier. Whiteaker got by leader Shane Hoefling at halfway then built a good lead until a late caution regrouped the field. Whiteaker then eased away from Cody Smith the final few circuits to the win.


As the 24-car Limited Modified field took the green Smith and Hoefling stayed wheel to wheel until Hoefling got the advantage. Smith, Dustin Butcher, Whiteaker and Craig Oakes fell in line until Whiteaker got along side Butcher for third on lap 3, taking the position on lap 4.


Johnny Torres got a little help from Bubba Gates going around in turn 4 collecting Hunter Flanagan for a caution. As green waved Whiteaker and Smith traded a little paint for second, but Bobby Maupin rolled to stop on the front stretch. On the next restart Butcher and Oakes were side by side with four wide racing in the pack.


Brian Rye got fifth from Oakes, but began to shed some body parts giving the spot back to Oakes and Tracy Denby following. Hoefling and Whiteaker began to put some distance on Smith and Butcher as the race neared the midway point.


Whiteaker got inside Hoefling on lap 11 with the duo wheel to wheel on the back stretch. Whiteaker beat him back to line to lead lap 12, with Smith, Butcher and Denby rounding out the top five. Smith then moved in on Hoefling while Oakes, Rye and Lawrence Mikulencak battled for sixth. Smith got a good look on Hoefling but couldn't complete the pass.


With five to go Whiteaker had run up on slower traffic, but Rye had more problems and stopped in turn 4 for a lap 21 caution. As Whiteaker got away, Smith got second from Hoefling with Denby and Butcher now side by side and Oakes, Mikulencak and Eddie Martin now in the hunt for the final transfer spot.


Whiteaker had a comfortable margin on Smith as the flagman showed two to go. Butcher was on the high side trying to pick up a couple spots on the final lap running beside Hoefling. At the checkers it was Whiteaker in the Cottrell Racing, D&SS Construction, Braka Operating, Leita Farms, Pro-Tech, Real Racing Wheels, Nasty Cookers, WW Bodies, Swenson Racing Products, Durham powered, Hughes by 89 Motorsports Chassis earning the victory, then finding a flat tire in the tech lane.


“I don't treat this car well, I should it's been a good car and won me some money,” replied Whiteaker a past S. Tx. Shootout winner. “It just wasn't seeming to run down the straightway. I borrowed a carburetor from Shane(Hoefling) and it's like I've got a whole new car. I knew the car would work, I know it's fast and I had to have something wrong. Once we found it, changed the carb and put a set of plugs in it, it came alive.”


“In the heat Cody(Smith) spun out and we made contact. I had a flat left front, a bad ball joint and the right front control arm was bent. I knew we were going to the 'B' and I just tried to stay out for spots. In the 'B' Broc(Bowen) was just walking away and I knew I should run better. That's when found the carburetor. I don't know how I missed Broc when he had trouble. I thought we were going to have two totaled out racecars. I don't know how everyone missed that.”


“I use a lot of brake here for some reason. The car was feeling a little funny and that was making me use more brakes. I guess when I chopped off Cody it put a hole in the tire. By the time I got across the scales and parked it, the left rear was completely flat. That's probably why I was using more brake. It's not a good thing.”


“I'm just going to go over the car real good for tomorrow and make sure there's nothing bent. Then make sure we've got everything, keep an eye on the track and make sure we have a car capable of winning the feature.


Limited Modifieds A-Qualifier(top 6 locked in to A-main)


89c Steve Whiteaker jr., 31 Cody Smith, 63 Shane Hoefling, 15j Tracy Denby, 90 Dustin Butcher, 99 Craig Oakes, 0 Eddie Martin, 87 Lawrence Mikulencak, 38 David Schurry, 232 Joel Garcia, 9L David Lege jr., 115 Chuck Perry, 88 Jeremy Fiscus, 11 Tyler Box, 16g Bubba Gates, 184 Brian Rye, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 12r Roly Rodriguez, 86x Justin Collins, bd3 Bobby Maupin, bd2 Johnny Torres, 2r Ray Schaalman, 161 Hector Aguirre, 10 Dustin Robinson


Limited Modified B-mains(top 9 to A-qualifier)


B-main #1; 89c Steve Whiteaker jr., 184 Brian Rye, 10 Dustin Robinson, 15j Tracy Denby jr., 87 Lawrence Mikulencak, 88 Jeremy Fiscus, 161 Hector Aguirre, 232 Joel Garcia, 11 Tyler Box, 56 Broc Bowen, 12 Cody Leonard, 174 Bo Beckner, 11t Tom Grothues---dns


B-main #2; 86x Justin Collins, 58c Hunter Flanagan, 0 Eddie Martin, 2r Ray Schaalman, 38 David Schurry, 115 Chuck Perry, 12r Roly Rodriguez, 9L David Lege jr., bd3 Bobby Maupin, 86j Travis Johnson, 23 Michael Gay, 42 Chase Gillie---dns


Limited Modified heats(top 2 to A-Qualifier)


Heat 1; 31s Cody Smith, 90k Dustin Butcher, 56 Broc Bowen, 12 Cody Leonard, 184 Brian Rye, 88 Jeremy Fiscus, 161 Hector Aguirre, 11 Tyler Box, 174 Bo Beckner, 11t Tom Grothues


Heat 2; 63 Shane Hoefling, 16g Bubba Gates, 86x Justin Collins, 2r Ray Schaalman, 58c Hunter Flanagan, 38 David Schurry', 12r Roly Rodriguez, 115 Chuck Perry, bd3 Bobby Maupin, 42 Chase Gillie


Heat 3; 99 Craig Oakes, bd2 Johnny Torres, 10 Dustin Robinson, 0 Eddie Martin, 15j Tracy Denby jr., 9L David Lege jr., 87 Lawrence Mikulencak, 23 Michael Gay, 232 Joel Garcia


Penny Perfect in E-Mods


Track champ, Travis Penney (Corpus Christi) went wire to wire in the 15-lap Econo-Mod A-qualifier. Penny got the lead of the 12-car event coming off turn 2 trailed by James Lee, David Grobe and Ryan Carlucci with Nathan Rachui and Jordan Sandoval side by side for fifth.


As Penny began to inch away, Rachui and Sandoval continued their battle until Rachui finally secured the spot. Grobe then turned up the heat on Lee for second while Thomas Rye got by Sandoval for fifth. With the top 3 now checking out, Carlucci, Rachui and Rye were nose to tail for fourth. Rye spun from that scrap bringing out the first caution on lap 11.


On the ensuing restart, Carlucci got turned around on the front stretch. The next try wasn't much better with a multi-car melee in turns 1-2. The third try, well Lee looped it from second, but did a 360 and kept going. This gave Penny, in the Penny Fabrication, Saddler Motorsports, RPM, SBG Racing car a huge advantage that he carried to the checkers.


Econo-Mods A-Qualifier(top 2 to A-main)

54 Travis Penney, 12 David Grobe, 25r Nathan Rachui, 9w Roy Walker, 8r Ryan Carlucci, 21 James Lee, 38 Eddie Lopez, 59 Cheyloh Brodnax, 0 Thomas Rye, 40 Miguel Mendoza sr., 14 Sam Chapa, 69 Jordan Sandoval, 88 Jason Langford---dns, 39 Miguel Mendoza jr---dns


E-Mod heats

Heat 1; 54 Travis Penny, 12 David Grobe, 0 Thomas Rye, 25r Nathan Rachui, 58 Cheyloh Brodnax, 40 Miguel Mendoza sr.


Heat 2; 21 James Lee, 39 Miguel Mendoza jr., 8r Ryan Carlucci, 69 Jordan Sandoval, 9w Roy Walker, 14 Sam Chapa, 38 Eddie Lopez


Snow Flies in Corpus….In March?


Joseph Snow that is. The Cuero driver was able to go flag to flag in the Pure Stock 20-lap A-qualifier, but it wasn't easy. Snow and Jerry Walters stayed door to door until turn 3 when Snow got the spot. Walters fell in line second followed by Travis Weatherford, Chase Bresee and Dakota Heinaman. Bresee quickly got by Weatherford and along side Walters for second.


As the top six sorted out single file it was still side by side racing in the pack. Bresee kept the pressure on Walters as Heinaman and EL Gilpin made contact for fifth breaking the front suspension on Gilpin who stopped in turn 2 for a yellow. As green waved again Bresee got by Walters leaving him side by side with Logan Schunka.


Coming to complete the lap Walters got tapped in turn 4 sending him around collecting Heinaman, Mickey Helms and Caleb Hudgeons, ending their night while Walters kept going. On the restart it was three wide for second behind Snow with Bresee getting the spot. Bresee had just taken a look high on Snow when Case Duncan went around for a caution.


Bresee tried a run high on the restart, then dove in low making contact with Walters. Walters fell back, giving up spots to Marcus Mikulencak, Hunter Flanagan and Schunka. At halfway it was Snow, with Bresee looking low, Mikulencak, Schunka and Flanagan in the top five.


Bresee continued to dog Snow while Flanagan, Craig Oakes, Walters, Mason Casteneda and Jamie Dear slugged it out for the transfer. With five to go Bresee was along side Snow with Flanagan and Walters door to door for sixth. Snow held off Bresee once again as the top three ran away in the final laps.


With two to go Mikulencak got by Bresee for second, while Flanagan and Oakes slowed. Bresee was the next to have car trouble slowing on the final lap. Mikulencak, however, was on a charge catching Snow in the final corners. The young Mikulencak gave it his best shot, but it was Snow in the US Army, Precision Welding, Chevy holding on for the win.


Pure Stock A-Qualifier(top 6 to A-main)

01 Joseph Snow, 987 Marcus Mikulencak, 07 Logan Schunka, 83 Chase Bresee, 28m Mason Casteneda, 127 Jerry Walters, 15d Jamie Dear, 21 Eric Ramos, 38 Joshua Sewell, 4 David McGuire, 42 Fred Vannoy, 73 John Ramirez, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 53 Craig Oakes, 33 Barry Major, 10 Case Duncan, j87 John Mikulencak, 4j Curtis King, 7a Travis Weatherford, 441 Dakota Heinaman, 32 Mickey Helms, 10h Caleb Hudgeons, 115 EJ Gilpin, 7 Jesse Sandoval---dns


Pure Stock B-mains(top 9 to A-qualifier)

B-main #1; 115 EJ Gilpin, 32 Mickey Helms, 4j Curtis King, 53 Edward Oakes, 10h Caleb Hudgeons, j87 John Mikulencak, 4 David McGuire, 42 Fred Vannoy, 73 John Ramirez, 44e Lee Eyler, bd4 Cheryl Gray---dns


B-main #2; 07 Logan Schunka, 987 Marcus Mikulencak, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 15d Jamie Dear, 10 Case Duncan, 21 Eric Ramos, 33 Barry Major, 38 Joshua Sewell,7 Jesse Sandoval---dns, 71 Shayne Sturtz---dns, 93 Craig Oakes---dns


Pure Stock heats(top 2 to A-qualifier)

Heat 1; 127 Jerry Walters, 7x Travis Weatherford, 115 EJ Gilpin, 987 Marcus Mikulencak, 4j Curtis King, 10 Case Duncan, 4 David McGuire, 7 Jesse Sandoval, 42 Fred Vannoy, 38 Joshua Sewell


Heat 2; 01 Joseph Snow, 28m Marcus Casteneda, 07 Logan Schunka, 10h Caleb Hudgeons, 21 Eric Ramos, j87 John Mikulencak, 33 Barry Major, 73 John Ramirez, 71 Shayne Sturtz


Heat 3; 83 Chase Bresee, 441 Dakota Heinaman, 32 Mickey Helms, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 53 Edward Oakes, 15 Jamie Dear, 44e Lee Eyler, 93 Craig Oakes, bd4 Cheryl Gray

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