By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com. Photo By Rachel Plant
PLEASANTON, Texas — Veteran racer and longtime racing supporter Chase Allen, multi-class winner and track promoter Steven Whiteaker Jr. and stock car pilot Johnny Johnson all earned wins in their respective divisions, as officials at I-37 Speedway presented a full card of racing on Saturday evening.
Allen, of Midlothian, was awarded the Late Model feature victory after Whiteaker (who frequently does double duty) was disqualified for a Rev Limiter chip infraction. Whiteaker spun out on lap 2 of the IMCA Modified feature then powered his way up through the field to win, while Johnson prevailed in a hotly-contested Factory Stock A Main.
Brian Schneider (B Factory Stock); Brannon Lucas (Restricted Winged Micro Sprints); Blake Muller (Non-Winged Micro Sprints) and Ryan MacDonald (Tuners) were also feature winners on a beautiful, summer-like night for racing in south Texas.
A solid field of 18 Late Models headlined the action Saturday as the class makes headway in 2021. Allen started fourth on the grid, powered his way around the outside of Bo Day to take second early on and set his sights on Whiteaker. Day was bumped up to second after Whiteaker's DQ, while “Little” Robbie Starnes filled out the podium in third.
Brandon Brzozowski (La Vernia) and Kody Hardage (Seguin) completed the top five. The race took a while to get rolling, but once things settled down it was an entertaining display of speed and skill. Finishing sixth through 10th in the Late Model A Main were Landon Sowder, Frank Okruhlik, Jamie Campbell, Beau Begnaud and Bobby Jack. Four cautions slowed the pace, three before halfway.
Whiteaker always brings top-notch equipment to the race track, regardless of the division he runs. The finely-tuned IMCA Modified entry he brought up from Robstown was a rocket all night. The skilled driver powered around the outside of Trevor Egbert on lap 16 and hung on for top honors.
Egbert wheeled his potent No. 78 ride to second, while “Mr. Excitement” Jared Maupin filled out the podium in third. Ryan Doyon (La Coste) and Cody Tidwell (Round Rock) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. For Whiteaker to spin early and charge to victory, along with Maupin's spin, demonstrates just how determined both racers are to succeed. It was a three-horse race in this one on Saturday night.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Modified feature were Raymond McSpadden, Dillon Tindall, Talon Minten, Donald Banker and Logan Dinsmore. Along with Whiteaker and Maupin's spins, the yellow also waved for a spin by Chris Swenson. A healthy field of 17 Modifieds took the green flag.
Johnson's triumph in the Factory Stock A Main was not without its challenges. The feature got off to a rocky start when the No. 99 entry of Allen Alexander rolled over and landed back on its wheels. Not one to get rattled, Alexander rejoined the field after his crew made repairs. He would soldier on to a 20th-place finish after smacking the front stretch wall just five laps into the event.
GW Hessong's car got torn open like a can of sardines early on, yet that didn't stop the talented racer from being a contender. Hessong pressured Johnson in the closing laps yet settled for second, while George Egbert finished third. Eric Ramos and Cameron Dinsmore rounded out the top five.
Johnny Torres and staff at I-37 Speedway will return to action on Saturday, May 8 for another full card of racing. You can replay every lap of I-37 from the entire 2021 season as well as watch all future races live with a SpeedPass membership here at RaceOnTexas.com