CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — South Texas Speedway hosted the last race of the 2013 season with it’s 4th Annual South Texas Shootout. Driver from across the mid-south and mid-west areas converged on the quarter-mile semi-banked, dirt oval trying to get their share of the purse, featuring a $6,050 to win payday for the limited modifieds and $2,000 for street stocks.
Sixty-five limited modifieds and drivers signed in from five states in their quest to make the starting line up for Saturday night’s big buck A-main. Certainly Johno Whittington gets the hard charger award for night after arriving late and missing his heat. Whittington then tagged the tail of a 17-car B-main and made his way to the transfer spot. Again, starting at the back of the 26-car A-qualifier, Whittington worked his way into the top eight to lock himself in for Saturday night.
Friday the 13th racing can always be interesting, especially with big money on the line. Fortunately there was no full moon to add in to the nights excitement although there were a few on-track altercations throughout the night. Nothing you wouldn’t expect with this kind of money on the line.
Louisiana’s Shane Hebert showed the 26-car limited modified starting field nothing but his tail panel during the 20-lap A-qualifier. Local driver Steve Whiteaker jr. chased Hebert early, but after mechanical problems was forced to pull off. This left a chance for Rio Grande Valley driver Adam Schach to give Hebert a run for the win. Schach put the pressure on a couple of times, but fell back after a late restart giving Hebert a clean run to the checkers.
At the start of the limited modified A-qualifier it was Hebert, from the pole, first into turn 1. Whiteaker, Schach, James Meyers and J.J. Jennings fell in line behind Hebert. The yellow flew early when Hunter Flanagan and Chuck Perry tangled, sending Flanagan to the pits with damage. Once back to green, Schach got around a slowing Whiteaker for second, while Jennings passed Meyers for fourth.
By lap five Hebert and Schach had built a big margin over Jennings, Tracy Denby jr. and Billy Melton. Stacey Tyler brought out a yellow on lap six when he stalled on the back stretch. This set up pair of multi-car tangles on restarts eliminating several cars running in transfer spots.
Once back to racing Hebert and Schach again eased ahead with Schach giving Hebert a look coming to halfway and Denby, Bubba Seals and Jennings rounding out the top five. With five to go Hebert got slowed by a lapped car giving Schach a chance to look outside. Hebert cleared the slower car on the bottom with Schach loosing a little ground.
Schach caught back up under yellow after Eddy Ross and Ray Doyon III got together in turn 4 setting up a green, white, checkered finish. Hebert was able to break away from Schach on green, while Johno Whittington and Jennings battled for fifth. At the checkers it was Hebert with a couple car lengths on Schach. Denby, Seals, Whittington, Jennings, Perry and Craig Oakes scored the final transfer spots.
“We pretty much just tried to keep the right rear tire on it,” said Hebert. “The track was pretty abrasive, but we knew that going in. So we made some changes to it to keep from burning the right rear tire off. I knew I had someone behind so I just tried to keep the car straight and not slide it too much.”
“I saw Stevie (Whiteaker) there once and then I saw Adam (Schach). I figured the position change wasn’t going to be a big deal. The front row is the front row. I knew that was probably the mindset for both of us. If he had gotten a good run on me I wouldn’t have done anything crazy. We’ll see tomorrow who’s the best man.”
“Tomorrow will be a big challenge. Hopefully they work the track so it starts to rubber up late in our feature. If it’s rubbered up from the beginning I don’t know if we can make 40 laps. We can try a few things with the tires. This wasn’t a new tire tonight so maybe with a new one we can make it last another 20 laps.”
“Sitting on the pole I like to lead every lap, so I don’t know if I’ll fall back early. If it is rubbered we definitely have to slow down and drive straight. Hopefully everyone else has the same mindset and just race easy the first 20-25 laps and save it until the end. We may have to search around and drive a different line for a couple laps to try to conserve the tires.”
The limited modified top eight locked in for Saturday are 191 Shane Hebert, 07 Adam Schach, 15 Tracy Denby jr, 19 Bubba Seals, 5w Johno Whittington, 115 Chuck Perry, 91 Craig Oakes and bd1 J.J. Jennings.
Local driver William Stephens used his track experience and patience to score the 20-lap Street Stock A-qualifier. Stephens trailed multi-time Street Stock Shootout and I-37 Raceway champion, Wade Jones for the first half of the feature. Stephens then made his move and quickly began easing away from Jones, who now had Stephan Danielson on his tail. Danielson got by Jones late, but had nothing for Stephens.
As green waved on the street stock field Jones was quickly out front with Stephens, Chuck Perry, Joe Boop and Danielson in tow. A big melee on lap 1 slowed the action that saw Perry fall out on the restart. After multiple spins, tangles and restarts the racing finally resumed coming to halfway when Stephens snuck past Jones for the lead.
Jones then fell prey to Danielson with the two dicing side by side for second with only a few laps remaining. Danielson was finally able to complete the pass with two to go, but Stephens was well on his way to taking the checkers unchallenged.
The street stocks top eight locked in for Saturday are 13s William Stephens, 149 Stephan Danielson, 411 Wade Jones, 2 Chad Rockefeller, 11 Shawn Kline, 37 AJ Wernette, 355 Joe Boop and 34 Greg Carlucci.
Tony Marinelli took the early lead in the 20-lap pure stock A-qualifier after lap 1 leader, Mickey Helms drifted too high in turn two. Marinelli was pursued early by Chase Bresee until he fell out. Lucas Cowan took up the charge through the mid stages with Hunter Flanagan making it a three way battle up front. Flanagan looked under Marinelli a couple time while Cowan tried a big run on the high side. Neither were successful as Marinelli held on for the victory.
Helms led at the completion of lap 1 trailed by Bresee, Marinelli and Crystal Smith. Helms went up the track and fell back to fifth with Marinelli getting the top spot with Bresee and Cowan on his bumper. Marinelli and Bresee began to pull ahead while Helms, C. Smith and Jamie Dear went three wide for fourth.
Bresee, Rick Snyder and Eric Ramos all stopped in various corners bringing out a mid race caution. On the restart Marinelli, Cowan, Flanagan and Dear got away from the pack. Flanagan got by Cowan for second and looked under Marinelli with a couple to go. Cowan gave it the ol’ college try on the high side, but Marinelli was able to hang on for the win.
Pure stocks top eight locked in for Saturday are 22t Tony Marinelli, 58 Hunter Flanagan, 15d Jamie Dear, 00L Lucas Cowan, 32 Mickey Helms, 17 Crystal Smith, 19 Jarrett Barber and 81 Joshua McCain.
The wiley old veteran GB Carter put in on the sport compact field going green to checkers in the 20-lap feature. Carter took the lead on green trailed by Dillon Gaither, Jeremy Witt, Caleb Hudgeons and Abel Solis. Hudgeons fell out with problems early while Solis made his way forward. It was the hounds chasing the (VW) Rabbit as Carter scored the win. The sport compacts top three finishers were 77 GB Carter, 5a Abel Solis and 4 Jeremy Witt.