By: I-35 Speedway Track Announcer Mark Merrell
The 4th Annual Smokin’ Trackside BBQ Bash Saturday events began early, as thirty BBQ teams from across the country competed against each other, with the aroma of BBQ in air surrounding I-35 Speedway. When the sauce and smoke had settled, Lubbock, Texas natives, Boomerang BBQ were voted by a panel of judges as the best overall, earning the team a bid into next year’s American Royal BBQ.
Not long after the awards were presented to the BBQ teams, race cars and fans streamed into I-35 Speedway for the second of the two night double header. One driver would race to a pair of feature wins, while another earned his third trip to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s circle in a row in just two nights of racing action.
The Midwest Outlaw Vintage Racers were first up on the bill, concluding a make up feature from July 20. Matthew Lance raced to the win, as Dennis Fair 2nd, Andy Wiles 3rd, and Lonnie Farley 4th.
The USRA A-Mods also ran their make up feature from a wash out on July 20. Lee Hibner And Dennis Elliott were the occupants of the front row. Last year at I-35 Speedway, Elliott earned a championship running primarily on the low side apron of the track. Elliott’s A-Mod this year, with a new car, has been a winner regardless of where he runs, be-it the high side cushion, or down low. Elliott raced to the high side as the race began, with tough competitor, Lee Hibner running low. Elliott stayed in front of Hibner, taking the win, with Hibner 2nd, Austin Johnson 3rd, Ed Noll 4th, and Houston Johnson 5th.
Casey Burnett won the E-Mod feature the first night of the Smokin’ Trackside BBQ Bash. Burnett started on the pole, with current points leader in the division Shaunie Lanning next to him on row one. As the race started, Lanning charged from the high side out of turn two to the lead, with Burnett 2nd, and Leroy Morrison 3rd. Brad Sheetz raced outside Morrison a lap latter, going side-by-side, with Jason Thurman, and John Ross in the mix as well. With Lanning running up front on the high side, and Burnett on the apron, Casey looked for the advantage lap after lap, as Lanning answered back, keeping the top spot. In the late stages of the race, Thurman passed Burnett, but Lanning had raced to a four car length lead, and roared past the checkered flag, earning her fourth feature victory of the year. Thurman finished 2nd, Burnett 3rd, and Morrison 4th. However, during post race inspection, Thurman, and Burnett were unfortunately disqualified. Morrison was credited with 2nd, John Ross 3rd, Bobby Lopez 4th, And Ricky Bobby 5th.
In the Pure Stock feature, CJ Charles Turner, who won Friday night’s feature, lined up on the pole next to Cody King. Jeff Dixon, the current points leader in the American Racer USRA Stock Cars at I-35 Speedway, stepped into the number 10 car normally driven by Albert Curtis. Dixon lined up last on the field for the start. Blaine Yonts And Chester Kaufman were in row two, with Conrad Kaufman and Ron Hill in the third row. Current points leader Rylee Fuller began the feature outside row four, next to Kristchon Hisel. King held the second spot, with Blaine Yonts 3rd. The top three cars broke away from the pack. King and Yonts were side-by-side lap after lap. At the back of the field, Dixon was slicing and dicing his way toward the front. Yonts spun in turn three, but kept his foot in the gas, as he fell back to 5th. King duplicated the same outcome as Yonts in turn three, spinning, as cars raced by him, as King kept moving forward, unfortunately loosing several positions. The caution flag flew for Hisel, who spun in turn four at the same time as King. The field reset for the restart. Amazing, Dixon had raced into the top three along with Conrad Kaufman. Hisel quickly raced his way back into the top five as the race progressed. At the checkered flag, Turner captured two feature wins in two Nights getting the victory. Dixon finished 2nd, Yonts 3rd, Kaufman 4th, And Hisel 5th.
John Willard won the make up feature, and the special feature event as well on Friday night. Willard lined up inside row two next to Christian Pease for the night’s feature, with Jason Teel and Joseph Mick on row one. Wasting no time, Willard slid in front Mick racing out of turn four, leading, as first lap went up on the scoreboard, with Mick 2nd, Pease 3rd, and Teel 4th. Current points leader David Miller III started at the back of the field, as was threading his way through the traffic. On the final lap, Willard blew his right front tire. In a post race interview, Willard stated that he thought he might drive right off the track if he lost control going into turn one. Willard slowed slightly, keeping the car on it’s path through turns one and two. Willard again faced the same problem heading for turns three and four, and the checkered flag. Trying not to loose too much speed, and the race, Willard again slowed through the final two corners, but kept everyone behind him, and won again, resulting in his third feature victory in just two days. Mick finished 2nd, Pease 3rd, Miller 4th, and Devin Schmidt 5th.
Jack Simmons jumped in his #J2 car, placing it on the pole for the start of the feature for the Midwest Outlaw Vintage Racers. Simmons quickly ran to the front of the pack, and ran to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle, earning his 2nd feature win of the year At I-35 Speedway.
The in Midwest Limited Late Models Series, Tommy Cordray has amassed a remarkable 11 feature win thus far this season. Gregg Truelove and Bobby Penney have also traveled to victory lane. Another driver, however, lined up on the pole looking for his first feature win of the season, Eddie Schwope, Jr. As the race began, Schwope raced to the lead, with Cordray right behind him in 2nd, Houston Johnson 3rd, with Truelove to Johnson’s outside. Truelove moved to third as the first lap went into the book. Matthew Lance spun in turn four, bringing out the caution flag. For the restart, Cordray chose the inside line, with Truelove to his outside just behind the leader, Schwope, the lone occupant of row one. Truelove raced to the high side cushion out of turn four, and was side-by-side for the lead with Schwope to his inside. Truelove raced by Schwope coming out of turn four, and into the lead. Truelove held on for the win, earning the, ‘Bandit’ his third feature victory of the year thus far. Schwope finished 2nd, Cordray 3rd, Penney 4th, and Houston Johnson 5th.
The Out Pace Products USRA B-Mods raced onto the high banks of I-35 Speedway, with Daniel Harris on the pole. Blake Pierce was outside of Harris for the start. Harris jumped to front, with a three wide battle for second between Tyler Cadwallader, Pierce, and Lonnie Hibner taking place just behind Harris. By lap three, Ethan Isaacs, who started inside row four, had raced his way inside the top five, and was soon into third just two laps latter. Harris raced away from everyone and into seemingly a different zip code with a sizable margin up front, with Cadwallader in 2nd, and Isaacs 3rd. Ben Stockton, who started outside row seven, was carving his way to the front group. Isaacs went to the high side of Cadwallader, and the pair went after each other for second.
Todd Luke spun in turn two, bringing out the caution.
Harris lined up by himself at the front, with Isaacs to the inside of row two, along with Cadwallader as eight laps remained. By the next lap, Isaacs went to the high side cushion to challenge Harris for the lead heading through turns one and two, racing by Harris as the cars roared down the backstretch into turn three. Isaacs raced to his second victory of the year at I-35 Speedway, with Cadwallader 2nd. Ben Stockton drove a remarkable race, finishing in 3rd after starting outside row seven. Harris finished 4th, and Lonnie Hibner 5th.
Travis Neeley and Jeff Dixon began the American Racer Tires USRA Stock Car feature from the front row. As the race stated, Neeley raced to the lead, with Dixon in 2nd. Dixon loves to run the high side cushion, and Neeley the low side, drifting to the high side as his race car exited turns two and four. Dixon was frustrated at first, as Neeley slid just in front of Dixon. Waiting patiently, Dixon timed his move perfectly to the exit of turn two, racing by Neeley for the lead on the low side as Neeley drifted to the high side again on lap two. Gene Stigall got by Neeley as well as the race moved quickly forward. Dixon held on for the win, earning his 5th trip this year to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle.
Dennis Elliott, who won the July 20 make up feature earlier in the evening, set his sights on a double, as he lined up outside row one next to Tyler Hibner. Elliott knew, though, he would have his work cut out for him to accomplish the task. As the green lights winked on around I-35 Speedway for the start, everyone wanted the lead on lap one. As the field raced out of turn two, a three wide battle for the lead developed, between Elliott, Hibner, and Zack Sanders. Just behind the front three, another trio was three wide, resembling the traditional start of the Indianapolis 500, putting the fans on their feet. Elliott led lap one, with Sanders in 2nd, and Hibner 3rd. Austin Johnson, who started outside row two, ran side by side with Paden Phillips. Hibner and Sanders went side-by-side lap after lap. Elliott, running by himself up front, stayed on the high side, and checked out on the field. The, ‘High Plains Drifter,’ Elliott, was hoping that he would not see a caution flag. Elliott’s wish came true, as the race went green to checkered, earning Elliott his 2nd feature win in the same night, and his sixth of the year At I-35 Speedway.
The USMTS Series will be in action At I-35 Speedway, along with the USRA A-Moss, Out Pace Products USRA B-Moss, and E-Mods for a Wednesday, August 14th Special event. On Saturday, August 17, the track will host, Metcalf Carstar Night At The Races.