EDNA, Texas (May 29, 2022) — Veteran short track pilots Donald Cain Jr., Jared Maupin and Ray Allen Kulhanek all earned wins in their respective divisions, as Owen Pittman and his staff hosted the third annual Salute to the Troops on Sunday evening at Texana Raceway Park.
Cain drove Chuck Barber's machine to victory in a wild Texas Dirt Truck Series (TDTS) A Main; Maupin earned top honors in the IMCA Modified feature; while Kulhanek dominated a caution-free affair for the Limited Sport Mods.
Cameron Starry (Factory Stock); Kenny Berry (Pure Stock); and Cooper Koliba (EMods) were also feature winners on a special Memorial Day Weekend program at the southeast Texas oval.
Cain, of Willis, Texas, got the jump on a restart at lap seven to take command and held off a hard-charging Maupin (doing triple duty) for top honors. Jarrett Barber, Chuck's son, ran among the leaders throughout and crossed the stripe in third.
Inaugural TDTS champion (2019) Larry Baggett (Mason) finished fourth, while Buster Deen (Huffman) completed the top five.
“I always said if I got into one of Chuck Barber's cars, I would win,” Cain told veteran P.A. announcer Bobby Chaffee in Victory Lane. “And here we are tonight. I'd like to thank that man; he just came over to me in the pits and asked if I'd like to drive his truck.
“My immediate answer was, 'hell, yeah'.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Texas Dirt Truck Series A Main were Lance Chacon, Pete Arce, Elgin Tracy, series mainstay Russ Parker (Seguin) and Adam Tracy. Three cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins. Cain's margin of victory over Maupin was just under one second.
Former series champion Tony Bernal (La Vernia); versatile short-track ace Johnny Torres (San Antonio); and Maupin all won their respective qualifying heats earlier in the evening.
Maupin, of College Station, drove inside of early leader Brian Machicek on lap three to take control of his Modified feature. Ryan Slott was fast all night and secured the runner-up position, while Jacob Hortch filled out the podium with a rock-solid performance.
Starry (your Factory Stock winner) added to a solid Sunday night outing in fourth, while Robert Liese Jr. rounded out the top five.
“I was just trying to get out front, and maybe block a little bit,” Maupin said. “The track was pretty good and the car was pretty good, as well. I think we just lucked out. Both cars are pretty decent, the Sport Mod was a little loose so I think I'll tighten it up for the feature. We're going for another win.”
Completing the finishing order in the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature were Machicek, Adrian Awalt, Chris Gallien and Adam James. Three cautions slowed the pace (at the initial start, laps 10, 12), none for serious incidents. Maupin's margin of victory over Slott was a whopping 1.722 seconds.
Kulhanek, of Conroe, led all 20 laps of his SportMod feature in convincing fashion. The versatile, skilled wheel-man started second, then tossed the keys on the counter and immediately checked out on the field. Bryce Reed finished a distant second, while the ever-present Maupin filled out the podium.
Justin Collins (Cleveland, Texas) and Billy Gould Jr. (Kingwood) rounded out the top five.
“We came here for the last race they held and were good enough to get out into the lead,” the well-spoken Kulhanek told Chaffee in Victory Lane. “But I made a bad judgment on a restart and ended up giving it back.
“The car felt a little bit snug when we here that last time. Tonight, the track seemed to be a little bit more free so to be honest, I just went back to what we had and it seemed to work. When you start on the front row, you just run as hard as you can. You don't really know exactly where to go all the time.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Limited Sport Mod A Main were Derrick Gonzalez, Mark Greiner, Jason Downey, Roly Rodriguez and Adam Bartels. With no cautions at all to slow his blistering pace, Kulhanek's margin of victory over Reed was a whopping four seconds. He truly had them all covered.
Pittman and his fine staff at Texana drew a healthy 73 entries spread across six classes for this holiday weekend special. All 11 qualifying heats were knocked out in one hour flat, and the entire program concluded in a tidy, highly-entertaining three hours and 15 minutes. Hats off to them for a quick show.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer