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I-37 Speedway, 3-20-21


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I-37 Speedway, 3-20-21

By JM Hallas

 

Pleasanton, TX.,(March 20th, 2021) Spring Swing begins.

 

I-37 Speedway kicks off the start of spring 2021 with a full slate of regular classes scheduled on the ¼ mile, semi-banked, dirt track south of San Antonio. All six classes were in action(IMCA Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Modifieds, Factory Stocks and Sport Compacts) on the speedway while the Go-Karts took to the infield track for racing.

 

Maupin the Man in Modified Main

New San Antonio resident, Jared Maupin, once again put on a show in the IMCA Modified main event. As green flew it was Robby Minten grabbing the early lead with Maupin(from inside third row) quickly up to second ahead of Brandon Welker, Talon Minten and Ryan Doyon. Behind them it was three wide for seventh between Cody Tidwell, Rick Green and Raymond McSpadden.

 

Tidwell came out with the advantage then took fifth from Lawrence Mikulencak and Doyon getting third from T. Minten after Welker retired his ride from the top five. Maupin, using the high side, put the pressure on R. Minten getting by on lap 5, while T. Minten retook a spot from Doyon. At the crossed flags it was Maupin, by a full straightaway, R. Minten, T. Minten, Doyon and Tidwell.

 

Matt Banker looped it on lap 10 for a quick caution rebunching the field. Maupin quickly got out leaving T. Minten, R. Minten Tidwell and Doyon scrambling for second. Tidwell had just taken second and Doyon getting fourth when M. Banker spun again erasing the passes.

 

Again Maupin cleared the pack with R. Minten and Tidwell wheel to wheel for second. R. Minten held the spot with Doyon going by Tidwell for third. Doyon then moved in on R. Minten for second and as they ran side by side, Maupin in his Rick Pollaro owned, RNM Install, BMF Shocks & Chassis, All in Designs, Mission Auto Parts, 604 crate, Longhorn Chassis pulled away for the victory.

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This is a hot rod,” exclaimed Maupin. “It drives pretty easy. It makes it easy going to the front. It's a Cadillac!” I know if I do everything right I can pull back away. There's always that voice in the back of your head, 'don't mess up.' When we have to bunch back up you just want to hit your marks and put the gap back on them.”

 

Starting in fifth, I was going to do the opposite of what they did in front of me. They went to the bottom, and after watching some of the Factory Stock race, I saw the top was coming in. You kind of have to search and the top was coming in perfect.”

 

The Limited Modified race being first absolutely helped me and gave me a huge advantage. You know what works, what doesn't work. That's part of the reason I went straight to the top.”

 

The cars all go home with my dad, to the valley. He's the maintenance guy, he's the reason they run so good. I just tweak on them at the track. I've seen some big names using the load sticks so it's no big secret. I don't know that we've learned that much, but it gives us an idea where we sit and helps us get back if we get out of whack on set up.”

 

Price Chevrolet IMCA Modifieds

96 Jared Maupin, 24r Robby Minten, 5r Ryan Doyon, 17 Cody Tidwell, 14t Talon Minten, 48r Raymond McSpadden, 82 Rick Green, 377 Don Banker, 1377 Matt Banker, bd1 Lawrence Mikulencak, 44k Brandon Welker, 7 Stephen Boubel---dns

 

IMCA Modified heats

Heat 1; 14t Talon Minten, 96 Jared Maupin, bd1 Lawrence Mikulencak, 48r Raymond McSpadden, 24r Robby Minten, 377 Don Banker

 

Heat 2; 5r Ryan Doyon, 44x Brandon Welker, 82 Rick Green, 17 Cody Tidwell, 1377 Matt Banker, 7 Stephen Boubel

 

Mikulencak on the Money Again

At the start of the 15-lap Limited Modified feature it was Edward Oakes getting off turn 2 with the lead ahead of Mikulencak, Craig Oakes, Jared Maupin and Nathan Oakes making it three generations of Oakes in the top five. N. Oakes would spin on lap 2 collecting Tom Grothues for a caution.

 

On the restart C. Oakes got around Mikulencak for second but got loose in turn 3 giving the spot back to Mikulencak. E. Oakes began to slow on lap 4 with Mikulencak going by for the lead on lap 5 while Grotheus worked his way past Maupin for fourth.

 

At halfway it was Mikulencak, C. Oakes, Grothues, Maupin and Johnny Brown in the top five. Brown and N. Oakes had separate spins in turns 3 and 4 for mid-point caution. Mikulencak got away on green leaving Grothues looking inside C. Oakes for second, but not finding an opening.

 

As the laps wound down, C. Oakes changed his line in turns 3-4 closing the gap on Mikulencak with Maupin retaking a spot from Grothues. C. Oakes gave it the ol' college try in the final laps but couldn't get close enough leaving Mikulencak(Corpus Christi) to snag his second victory in the Aramendia Motorsports, Ace Transmission, Premier Minerals, GT Sirozotti Excavating, Winco Plumbing, L87 Speedway, RPM Equipment, Screen Pro Graphics, All in Designs, ARP Race Engines, IRP Chassis.

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It's a great feeling,” commented Mikulencak. “This year has started out strong. I can't thank Joe(Aramendia) enough, the crew, Derrick, my family, my wife, it's been a great deal so far. Joe has given me a good piece to work with and I've got no excuses to be behind. We're doing everything we can.”

 

It's kind of hard to say if I had had anything for Edward(Oakes). He got the flat so early I hadn't had the chance to feel the track out. We were just maintaining and I was starting to search around and we got that caution. We got by him so fast after the restart I figured something had to have happened. Sorry for his bad luck, but luckily we were able to knock another one out.”

 

I felt the bottom would be good early. It was rough though and if you didn't hit it right I felt like I was giving up more time than I was making. I went to the top just try to click off some consistent laps. I backed off a little towards the end trying not to use the tires up in case there was a late caution. The top felt like it was slowing down at the end, but not knowing how far behind me a car was it's hard to change.”

 

Swenson Racing Products Limited Modifieds

79 Marcus Mikulencak, 53 Craig Oakes, 96 Jared Maupin, 11t Tom Grothues, 76 Michael Carlock, 21 Nathan Oakes, 24r Johnny Brown, 91 Edward Oakes, 95 Sterling Tausch---dns

 

Limited Modified heats

Heat 1; 79 Marcus Mikulencak, 21 Nathan Oakes, 76 Michael Carlock, 24r Johnny Brown, 95 Sterling Tausch

 

Heat 2; 91 Edward Oakes, 53 Craig Oakes, 96 Jared Maupin, 11t Tom Grothues

 

Brzozowski Breaks Away for Late Model Loot.

As green waved on the 20-lap Late Model feature it was track champ, Frank Okruhlik, getting the edge over Brandon Brzozowski, Landon Sowder, Kody Hardage and Ryan Doyon. Brzozowski and Okruhlik were door to door for lead on lap 2 with Brzozowski getting the nod on lap 3 by a nose.

 

Okruhlik continued to try to fight back on the outside, while Hardage got past Sowder for third. Jason Kelly had a spin on lap 4 to bring out a yellow that saw Barry Quade get into Alton Fambro on the restart, in turn 2, sending them both around. Finally back to green Brzozowski and Okruhlik got away from the pack.

 

At the crossed flags it was Brzozowski, starting to gap Okruhlik, Hardage, Sowder and Fambro in the top five. As the field spread out, Brzozowski(La Vernia) in the his Billy Bobs Repair, Lone Star Pressure Equipment, Mo Bags Suspension & Technology, Texas Industrial Radiator, All in Designs, Magnum, Pressure Pro, Schaeffers Oil, 604 crate, Rocket XR1 Chassis, continued to build his lead to almost a half track at the finish. Okruhlik had his motor lay down the final lap giving up second to Hardage.

 

Once I knew I was clear of him I could run the line I wanted,” said Brzozowski. “I wanted to leave him(Frank Okruhlik) a lane and race him clean. He always races me clean.”

 

I tried a couple different spots on the track to see if I was giving something up on restarts. You don't know how much lead you have. I don't know if I've got a big lead or if they're right on my bumper. You have to assume that they're right there. I just keep driving, hit my marks and being smooth.”

 

It's the same car we had last year. It's a 2016 Rocket XR1. Mo Bags Suspension & Technology has helped us out a lot. We picked up five wins in it last year. It looks like it's going to be a good year, this year, too.”

 

Nogalitos Gear Late Models

104 Brandon Brzozowski, 12 Kody Hardage, 99 Frank Okruhlik, 10 Landon Sowder, 08 Alton Fambro, 19 Barry Quade, 57 Jason Kelly, 5r Ryan Doyon, 53x Matt Fox

 

Late Model heats

Heat 1; 99 Frank Okruhlik, 12 Kody Hardage, 10 Landon Sowder, 19 Barry Quade, 53x Matt Fox

 

Heat 2; 104 Brandon Brzozowski, 08 Alton Fambro, 5r Ryan Doyon, 57 Jason Kelly

 

Gaither Grabs First Dirt Win

It didn't take long for the action to get started in the 20-lap Factory Stock feature with Dillon Gaither, Allen Alexander and Brandon Gaither going three wide for the lead. Alexander got the edge on lap 1 trailed by B. Gaither, D. Gaither, Travis Slavik and Johnny Westfall, Michael Keylich, Roy Long three wide for fifth.

 

B. Gaither was able to sneak by Alexander for the lead on lap 2 with Alexander going around collecting D. Gaither sending Alexander to the tail. On the restart. B. Gaither got a good lead with more three abreast action in mid-pack. Westfall was able to take third from Slavik bringing Aaron Leddy along to fourth.

 

Coming to halfway it was B. Gaither, Westfall, D. Gaither, Leddy and Kasey Krauss in the top five. George Quintanilla went around on lap 12 to bring out a yellow erasing B. Gaither's lead. As B. Gaither got away, Westfall and Leddy ran side by side for second while Krauss got past D. Gaither for fourth.

 

Westfall and Leddy continued to slug it out for second giving B. Gaither the chance to regain some distance on them. As the white flag was shown B. Gaither(San Antonio) had pulled out to a half straightaway advantage taking his Kruger Motorsports, Swenson Racing Shocks, Best Race Engines, Geromiller Chassis to the win.

 

I wasn't going to let my brother one-up me,” said B. Gaither jokingly. “He's the king of the dirt races. I figured I'd get my hand in it too. It didn't take too long to get there. It all just worked out. I was rolling the bottom when Dillon and Allen washed up. There was a hole there, so I took it. Then they got together and Dillon got into me and didn't hurt anything. That's just part of dirt racing.”

 

I used a lot of laps on iracing to get used to the difference in pavement and dirt racing. That may sound foolish, but just learning to be patient when tracks go slick. It's a lot more finesse on dirt, especially with these cars now days. On pavement you just stab the throttle and drive off straight, it's pretty easy to be honest. With these dirt cars you're up on the wheel most of the time. There's no relaxing for 20 laps, when they go dry like this.

 

Jake Kruger and Dillon Spreen have really helped me out a bunch. We talk a lot in the shop. I think we've got this one pretty dialed in now. We'll probably find more during the season, but right now I think it's working pretty good.”

 

All in Design Factory Stocks

92 Brandon Gaither, 93 Aaron Leddy, 9 Johnny Westfall, 23k Kasey Krauss, 99d Dillon Gaither, 99 Allen Alexander, 44k Katherine Keylich, 3 Travis Slavik, 20r Ricky Long, 36 George Quintanilla, 49k Michael Keylich, 22 Jacob Crow, 40 Dakota Hurley, 14j Jacoby McElveen, 34h Hunter Peterson---dns, 18s Jarrett Payton---dns, 741 Cameron Starry---dns

 

Factory Stock heats

Heat 1; 99d Dillon Gaither, 20r Ricky Long, 9 Johnny Westfall, 49k Michael Keylich, 14j Jacoby McElveen, 18s Jarrett Payton---dns

 

Heat 2; 99 Allen Alexander, 3 Travis Slavik, 741 Cameron Starry, 34h Hunter Peterson, 40 Dakota Hurley, 22 Jacob Crow---dns

 

Heat 3; 92 Brandon Gaither, 36 George Quintanilla, 23k Kasey Krauss, 93 Aaron Leddy, 44k Katherine Keylich

 

Butler Best in “B” Factory stocks Again

After grabbing his first I-37 Speedway win last week, Gary Butler(Brunnel, Fla.) backed that up with another convincing victory. As the “B” Factory Stock took the green it was Ronnie Sparks getting the lead over Butler, Levi Hernandez, William Cavender and Johnny Ervin.

 

Butler put the pressure on Sparks early taking looks low in turn 1-2 for a couple laps until Sparks slipped too high allowing Butler to take the lead on lap 4. Cavender then took third from Hernandez with Ervin taking fourth a lap later. At halfway it was Butler, increasing his lead, Sparks, Cavender, Ervin and Hernandez.

 

Hernandez was able to retake fourth from Ervin as the laps clicked off in the 15 lapper. At the white flag Butler held a huge advantage over Sparks easily taking the win in his GWB Painting,1Stop Auto, All Star Properties car.

 

B Factory Stocks

6 Gary Butler, 22 Ronnie Sparks, 15 William Cavender, 6p Levi Hernandez, 44 Johnny Ervin, 18r Chris Vincent, 11 Jonothon McElveen---dntg

 

B Factory Stock heat; 22 Ronnie Sparks, 6 Gary Butler, 6p Levi Hernandez, 15 William Cavender, 44 Johnny Ervin, 18r Chris Vincent, 11 Jonothon McElveen

 

McDonald Makes it Stick

Ryan McDonald(Floresville) had a win earlier that was taken away after odd circumstances at the finish of a red flag shortened race saw him forget to go to tech. Tonight he rebounded to pick up another victory, making sure this one would stick.

 

At the start Brandon McCall and Justin Sitterle stayed door to door with McCall having the edge on lap 1 with Sitterle on his hip, McDonald, Michael Burris and Ronnie Schoenfeldt in the top five. Sitterle was able get the bumper out front on lap 2, but it was McDonald getting the point on lap 3.

 

McCall was able to get back by Sitterle for second leaving him three wide with Schoenfeldt and Burris. As McDonald started putting some distance on the field, Jamie Garner worked his way into the top five after having to start near the back after getting high centered on an infield tire during his heat.

 

At the midway point it was McDonald. McCall, Schoenfeldt, Garner and Burris in the top five. Garner was able to get alongside Schoenfeldt and after a 2-lap battle took third. Up front it was McDonald stretching his legs, cruising to the victory in his PRG Realty, Texas Task Force, 181 Paving, Buggy Warehouse, 2004 Chevy Cavalier, by a three-quarter straightaway.

 

This doesn't make up for the one that got away,” replied McDonald. “Hopefully we'll get some more this year. Everything seems to be working on the car. With all the help from friends and family, we'll be back to do it again.”

 

Having seat time has helped me a lot this year. I don't worry too much about someone finding a better line until I hear them back there. I just went hard the whole race and kept on going. Lapped traffic is just part of it. It could hold up someone else just as easy as it could me.”

 

Sport Compacts

816 Ryan McDonald, 14 Brandon McCall, 33 Jamie Garner, 8 Ronnie Schoenfeldt, 88 Justin Sitterle, 55 Ryker Hernandez, 14t Shaun Tracy, 007 Aaron Driscoll, 9t John Thomas, 81 Michael Burris, 43 Jennifer Kidd, 32 Joshua Garcia, 15 Devon Surritt, 12 Roy Easler---dns

 

Sport Compact heats

Heat 1; 14 Brandon McCall, 8 Ronnie Schoenfeldt, 55 Ryker Hernandez, 32 Joshua Garcia, 14t Shaun Tracy, 007 Aaron Driscoll, 12 Roy Easler

 

Heat 2; 88 Justin Sitterle, 816 Ryan McDonald, 81 Michael Burris jr., 15 Devon Surritt, 33 Jamie Garner, 9t John Thomas, 43 Jennifer Kidd

 

Go-Karts

Senior Division; Peyton Jones, Cody Clegg, Makenze Pesek

 

Junior Division; Gabriel Solis, Blaine Markgraf, Beau Payton, Cecilii Johnson, Allison Borlace

 

Youth Division; Kaden Pacheco, Cheston Markgraf, Tucker Kempe, Cannon Groth, Ryder Welker

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