By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Rachel Plant
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Among that broad mix of youth and veterans active in the highly-popular Factory Stock division this year is a man with a thick resume. He's done everything in racing, from his days on asphalt, to what's turning out to be a successful career on dirt.
For 52-year-old Allen Alexander, competing across Texas in the Factory Stock class is both satisfying and rewarding. In 17 starts this season, he's earned one win, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. If you consider the fact this was only his second year in this class, those are some respectable numbers.
“We had a pretty decent season overall,” Alexander said. “It had its ups and downs, like any other year you'll have. With the Factory Stock, you just never know what you're going to get. You just try to go out there, be fast and stay consistent.
“This division is all about momentum, and survival. You need to stay on the gas, keep the car rolling and find the best lines to run as track conditions dictate that particular night. If you stay out of trouble and are there at the end, you should be able to score a solid finish. It took me a while to figure that out.”
Along with his efforts in Factory Stock, Alexander has another cool toy for Saturday nights on dirt.
“I also have a Sport Mod here in the shop,” he said. “The first night out with that, I finished third. It felt like a win to me, I'd never ever raced one of those cars before. But I'm trying to get a handle on the setups for the Factory Stock class. There's a lot to learn if you really want to be fast in this division.”
Alexander has been in racing for nearly 30 years, having started on dirt, moved to asphalt, then was forced to return to dirt when pavement racing dried up and all but disappeared in the state of Texas.
“Prior to last year, I hadn't raced on dirt in 20 years,” Alexander said. “So there was a steep learning curve for me here. People outside of the division don't understand how crazy difficult it is to control a big car like a Factory Stock on used slick tires designed for asphalt racing. They're all over the place.
“The first time I climbed into one of them, I questioned what I was doing. It felt like I was driving on ice. You have to get throttle control figured out right off the bat. That's probably the biggest factor in being successful in this class is throttle and car control, especially on a dry/slick track.”
In his many years on pavement, Alexander has enjoyed a great deal of success around his home state.
“I actually raced dirt for about three or four years at first, then switched over to asphalt. I ran Late Models and Super Stocks at the old 1/2-mile San Antonio Speedway (SAS). I also competed in the old TSRS series that Mary Ann Naumann used to run. I did pretty well there and had a lot of fun doing it.
“I won a Super Stock points championship at SAS, and almost won a title in Kyle, Texas, at Central Texas Speedway. I was fortunate enough to win the big OctoberFAST races at San Antonio Speedway in 2006, and again when the track reopened in 2012. Those were probably my biggest career wins.”
It's no secret the Factory Stock division is now home to some very stiff competition, all across the state.
“It's getting to where it is very difficult to run up front no matter where you unload,” Alexander said. “I went to 82 Speedway this year, we went to Kennedale and several other tracks. Every one of them have guys who are super fast; the level of competition everywhere is just unbelievable.
“You have to figure out the right lines and chassis setup pretty quick, then be ready to get up on the wheel and push yourself hard to make the show. Because if you don't, you'll be watching the A Main from the pit stands. If you can get yourself into the feature and stay out of trouble, you'll do just fine.”
When Alexander suits up, grabs his helmet and gets set to go racing, he straps into a very fine race car.
“I am proud to own and drive an Outlaw chassis, and I have a second one that Dillon Gaither drives,” Alexander said with great pride. “My excellent motor is from Greg Spreen at Spreen Racing Engines; it's got heads from Pat Foreman and is pretty much just like Tim Homeyer's engine. I'm super happy.”
Alexander's Sotex Motorsports team fields two cars, the second Factory Stock entry is driven by Dillon Gaither. The lad has nothing but good things to say about Alexander and the chance to drive for him.
“Racing with Allen is a blast,” Gaither said. “He has top-notch cars that are capable of winning in any given race. He’s always pretty laid back at the track and is there for a good time. I’ve been around Allen my whole life, and racing for him this year has been awesome. I hope to do it for years to come.”
Along with years of experience, a heads-up style of driving and excellent equipment, Alexander also has several fine marketing partners on board to keep his program moving forward and competitive.
“I want to thank Outlaw Race Cars, Spreen Racing Engines, Pat Foreman Heads and Hercules Foundation Repair. I also need to thank the most important part of our program, Jerry Geromiller and Brandon Gaither, for their hard work at the shop. I couldn't do this without them.”
As the 2021 season quickly draws to a close in south Texas, Alexander has a few more shows to run.
“We've still got a big show coming up at I-37 Speedway, and we're planning to run the Jerry Whiteaker Memorial in Corpus in early December, as well,” he said. “There may even be another one in between those, but it's down to two or three races left for us this year. We're also taking the Modified, Outlaw Late Model and Sportsman cars over to Pensacola, Florida, in December to compete at the Snowball Derby. Brandon (Gaither) picked up a win at Mobile in our Outlaw Late Model earlier this year, in fact.
“Kaden Honeycutt will pilot our Modified at Five Flags, and he's always a factor. We'll just give it our best shot there and at the remaining dirt races. It's been a fun year, and we'll do it all over again in 2022, with a little more streamlining of our schedule.”