PETTY, Texas (March 18, 2023) — Regional Modified star Bo Day, open-wheel veteran Jimmy Day and Stock car master Justin Whitehead all won features in their respective divisions, as Kevin Sustaire and his staff kicked off a brand new season with Opening Night on Saturday at Rocket Raceway Park.
Bo Day powered to victory in the USRA Modified A Main; his father Jimmy dominated the Limited Modified feature; while Whitehead earned his third win of 2023 in a hotly-contested Factory Stock tilt.
Bryce Pritchett (USRA Stock Cars); Larry Osborne (Eco-Mods); and Maguire Poole (Jr. Limited) were also feature winners on a windy, chilly afternoon for racing in northeast Texas.
Bo Day, of Greenville, started second on the 16-car grid and led all 20 laps of his caution-free feature. Jake Huckaby finished second after starting on the pole, while Danny Veal filled out the podium. Mitchell Clement (Bonham) and Wyatt Gaggero (Wichita, KS) completed the top five.
“I need to thank my crew for this one,” Bo said. “It's thanks to Jimmy, Wade, Blake, my Dad, my wife, kids, and Cade Dillard for all the help getting us to where we are. I also want to congratulate my Dad on his win in B Mods, and my brother running a close second until five laps to go.
“I also need to thank my sponsors, including S&S Fishing & Rental; CDR Race Cars, Maple Motorsports, Wichita Tank Racing, Webb Turf, Hyperco Springs, Hello Snow, 903 Drywall, The Threaded Cactus, Supreme Vinyl Works, Quick Stop Tire & Brake, Powder Worx, Kirby Flooring, Pops Dirt Work, All In One, Bullet Proof Tees, Beasley Electric, Nobody Install, Stoen Race Engines, DJR Transmission, IM Racing Fuels and Billy's Detail. I appreciate their support of this race team.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Walker, Warren & Jordan Surveying USRA Modified A Main were Jimmie Williams, Casey Fowler, Jack Sartain, Louisiana's Barron Prince and Jason Sartain.
Jimmy Day, also of Greenville, started second on the talent-filled 22-car Limited Mod grid and quickly blasted by polesitter Wyatt Payne. Day would go wire-to-wire, while Mason Day (no relation) drove up from 13th to finish second. Jimmy's son Rowdy (who had an amazing 2022) crossed the stripe in third.
Josh Landers (Princeton) and Payne (Powderly) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Coston & Sons Ready Mix USRA Limited Modified feature were Andrew Rossum, Austin Dotson, Brian Hopkins, Barron Prince and Hunter Welch. Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 6, 10, 12 13,), all for minor spins.
Mason Day is the younger brother of Matthew Day, and now wheels the car his brother drove to an IMCA Southern SportMod National points title in 2021. Oval racing talent, it seems, runs in the family.
Whitehead, of Texarkana, started second on the 24-car Factory Stock grid and led all 20 laps. The race quickly went under the Red Flag after just five laps when Nakeia Norris, of Commerce, rolled violently at the exit of Turn 2, tearing the rear-end assembly completely out from under the car.
Norris was not injured, and Whitehead set sail and to survive two more restarts and a hard-charging Bryce Pritchett to earn top honors. Pritchett gave it all he had yet settled for second, while Michael Smith filled out the podium.
Louisiana's CJ Howell drove up from eighth to claim fourth, while Jeff Hammitt finished a solid fifth.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the By-Line Surveying USRA Factory Stock A Main were Daniel Lamphier, Kyle Blanton, Bobby Miller, Trey Stevens and Ross Malone II. Louisiana's Chris Burrows just missed the top-10 on Saturday, driving all the way up to 11th after starting in the 23rd position.
Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 7, 15), to for minor incidents and that scary rollover by Norris.
Opening Night at Rocket Raceway drew an impressive 106 entries spread across six divisions. Led by Factory Stock (24) and Limited Mods (23), there was talent in every corner of the pit area on Saturday. Officials knocked out 12 qualifying Heats in 50 minutes flat, took a quick break then ran their features.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer