FORT WORTH, Texas – The 13th running of the Texas World Dirt Track Championships began Friday night at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, with modifieds and limited modifieds battling for starting spots in Saturday’s feature events.
Sean Jones took a big step towards becoming a two-time Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track winner with his run in the modified A-qualifier. Jones went wire to wire in the 15-lapper, pulling away from multi-time USMTS Modified National Champion Kelly Shryock.
At the start Jones beat the 24-car field into turn one with a four-wide battle for second coming out of turn two. As that sorted out behind Jones it was Shryock, Troy Taylor, Rodney Sanders and Steve Whiteaker Jr. in pursuit. Jones quickly pulled away from Shryock and Taylor.
The fight for the transfer spot saw Clyde Dunn Jr., Chris Brown and John O. Whittington battling it out. Whittington dispatched Brown and began pressuring Dunn for the final spot. Up front, Jones was into traffic, but still able to hold his gap. On the final circuit Dunn and Whittington were door to door after some contact. Jones easily took the checkers trailed by Shryock, Taylor, Sanders, Whiteaker, Cade Dillard and Jason Hughes with Whittington sneaking into the last transfer spot.
In the limited modified A-qualifier, Dennie Gieber took the checkers as he looks for his third victory at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Gieber led flag to flag over the 23-car starting on his way to the checkers.
As green flew on the field Gieber came off turn two with the top spot over Travis Johnson, J.C. Howell, Sanders and Shane Hoefling. The top two put distance on Howell and Sanders, who had a gap back to Hoefling, Whittington, Tristan Dycus and Shane Hebert.
Curtis Allen stopped on the front stretch for the first caution of the event. The restart was a little ragged, bringing the yellow right back out. The front of the field stayed in line as green waved again with Gieber beginning to inch away from Johnson, who had a good margin to Howell and Sanders. Meanwhile, the final spots were being hotly contested among Hoefling, Whittington, Dycus, Hebert, Bo Day, Whiteaker and Jason Armstrong.
On the final lap, Hebert tried to push Dycus out of the final transfer spot while Whiteaker tried a power run high around the top. Hebert lost spots to Day and Armstrong getting his momentum broken and Whiteaker slapped the turns three/four wall and fell back as well. Back up front it was Gieber snagging the victory, with Johnson, Howell, Sanders, Hoefling, Whittington and Dycus getting the transfer spots to Saturday’s feature.