By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
ELM MOTT, Texas (July 16, 2021) — Touring Late Model veteran Chase Allen, open-wheel stalwart Michael Dabney and stock car pilot Brett Arden all earned feature wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted another full program of weekly points racing on Friday at Heart O' Texas Speedway.
Allen showed his skills and versatility with a victory in the IMCA Modified A Main; Dabney powered his way past James Hanusch to win the Southern Sport Mod feature, while Arden nipped red-hot Ryan Hopkins at the line to claim the 20-lap Factory Stock battle.
Benji Kirkpatrick (IMCA Stock Car); Brandon Hood (Outlaw Street Stock), and Chance Hull (Lone Star Dwarf Cars) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for racing just north of Waco.
Allen, of Midlothian, led the first 17 laps of his 20-lap Modified feature until Eric Tomlinson drove by on the inside to take command. Allen would not be denied, and skillfully powered past his rival on the final lap to claim top honors. Tomlinson settled for second, while Josh McGaha filled out the podium.
Modified standout Chris Morris and SLM regular Colton Horner finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Man, it felt good to be back in a Modified,” Allen told announcer Joe Spillman in Victory Lane. “To win here at Heart O' Texas is special, this is my favorite track. I should come here more often. It's an awesome place, with a great owner and some loyal, die-hard fans. It feels amazing to earn this win.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Modified A Main were Raymond McSpadden, Dwayne Grantham, Steve Askew, Jon White and David Cook. Only one caution slowed the pace at lap 15 when McSpadden put his No. 48R machine into the spin cycle in Turn 2. Allen, it seems, can win in anything.
Dabney, of Kaufman, drove inside of Hanusch on lap 14 and hung on for top honors. Hanusch faded in the closing laps yet hung on for second, while noted chassis builder and gifted Sport Mod driver Damon Hammond crossed the stripe in third. Kyle Wilkins and Garett Rawls completed the top five.
“That was a tough one tonight,” Dabney said as he tried to catch his breath. “Every time I would get a good run on him (Hanusch), I would make a mistake and lose that ground. I've been out of the seat for a while. We finally got it back on-track, and it feels good to get another win under our belts.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Southern Sport Mod feature were GW Egbert, Taylor Florio, Sid Kiphen, Brandon Geurin and Jason Hubert Sr. Only one caution slowed the pace, that waving at the initial green flag when Jeff Shepperd and Daniel Preston got together for a little agricultural racing.
Once he got by to take command, Dabney pulled away to a 2.683 second margin of victory. The Sport Mods didn't take the green for their A Main until 11:55 p.m CST, a bit late by HOT standards.
Arden, of Athens, Texas, scored the biggest upset of the night when he managed to fend off Hopkins in that Factory Stock tilt. Hopkins was a scant .262 seconds off his back bumper in second, while Nate Dixon put in a solid effort to finish third. Shannon Dulock and Eric Tomlinson rounded out the top five.
“This feels as good as I always dreamed it would,” Arden said after his first career Factory Stock victory at Heart O' Texas. “I have to thank my Mom and Dad, my brothers, Anthony Boatman and just everybody who has helped me get here. I appreciate all the support more than they know.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the thrilling Factory Stock A Main were Michael Guenat, Michael Bowles, Trevor Hudson, James Schoenrock and Zach Arden. Three cautions slowed the pace, none for serious incidents. Few people have managed to pass Hopkins this year, yet Arden got it done Friday.
Heart O' Texas officials honored the late Caleb Couch on Friday evening, a young racer who lost his life after injuries sustained in a crash last Saturday night at Superbowl Speedway. During intermission, a hat was passed to help the family cover medical and funeral expenses, with $2,000 raised in total.
In a moving tribute, the Factory Stock teams paid tribute to Couch with a “missing man” formation just before they took the green flag for 26 laps in honor of a fine young racer taken from the sport too soon.
Heart O' Texas Speedway swings back into action of Friday, July 23, when the Late Models headline a full card of racing on the historic high-banked 1/4-mile oval now in its 55th season. You can replay all the action from Friday night with a subscription to SpeedPass at RaceOnTexas.com.
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