HOUSTON, Texas (Nov. 12, 2022) — Veteran short track master John Heil and versatile oval star Bayley Currey each won feature races in their respective divisions, as John Alverson and staff hosted the season finale for their Southern Premier Racing Series on Saturday at Houston Motorsports Park.
Heil doubled up on the night, claiming the Oodles of Doodles 50 for Pro Trucks and the 30-lap feature for Outlaws, while Currey came out on top of a 30-lap tussle for Pro Mods. Kahlen Koch (Eco Stocks); James Remore (Legacy Cars) and Corey O'Donnell (NasKarts) were also feature winners on Saturday.
Heil, of Floresville, grabbed the lead at lap 37 when Colt James had a right rear tire go down. Currey (doing double duty on this night) settled for second, while Brandon Leonard filled out the podium.
Drew Simental (Huntsville) and Jim Teague (Houston) completed the top five.
“When we first went green, I fired off pretty good,” Heil told Owen Pittman in Walker Sport Fishing Victory Lane. “It was turning the corner really good, while he (James) was a little snug. I got by him, and then my truck got a little free.
“I started using the front brakes more to try and remedy that issue. He got back by me and was driving away. Racing with Colt was fun, that's great racing right there. I don't know that we even touched, maybe just one time when I got under him. That's just good clean racing, the way it should be.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Oodles of Noodles 50 for Pro Trucks were David Webster, Mike Peters, Colt Mize, Mike Reininger and Jaron Hasley. Five cautions slowed the pace (laps 28, 30, 32, 36, 37), all for minor incidents.
James was assessed a two-lap penalty for intentionally bringing out the final caution at lap 37. Heil's margin of victory over Currey was a mere .583 seconds.
In the Outlaw feature, Heil used his signature bump-and-run move to wrestle the lead from Robert Barker at lap 11 and narrowly hung on for top honors. Barker, who set fast time during Time Trials earlier in the evening, settled for second, while Corey Winne filled out the podium.
Brandon Moeller (San Antonio) and Deed Dupont (Houston) rounded out the top five.
“We had a little issue in qualifying, but we got that fixed,” Heil said after winning his second feature of the night. “The last race here I was also racing against Bob, I had a car that was a little tight in the center. He kind of gave me a good shot and told me I was parking in the middle of the corner.
“For a couple of laps tonight, he was parking in the middle so I gave him a shot and kind of got even. He came back and got me, too, but that's just good hard racing. That's a racing son of a gun right there.”
Rounding out the finishing order in the Kailee Mills Foundation 30 were Bill Miller, Beau Bukowski, Steve Riojas and Mike Pollaro. Eight of the nine starters completed all 30 laps.
Six cautions slowed the pace (laps 1, 5, 10, 12, 19, 23), with no real green-flag runs to showcase who had speed and who did not. Heil's margin of victory in this one was a scant .034 seconds, as Barker was glued to his back bumper in the closing laps.
Currey, a native of Driftwood but now living in Charlotte, NC, found redemption in the Outlaw feature with a brilliant effort. He led all 30 laps (shortened from the planned 50) in convincing fashion during the night's cleanest race. Robert Walton settled for second, while Jason Ferre filled out the podium.
Chris Ehrhardt (Rye) and Nathan Caldwell (Rosenberg) completed the top five.
“The car was perfect tonight,” Currey told Pittman in Victory Lane. “I can't thank my car owner enough for letting me run this thing. I wish we could have gotten two wins tonight, but we'll take this one and be happy. It's really fun to come back home and get a win. I love these Modifieds.”
Finishing sixth through eighth in the 30-lap feature for the Pro Modifieds were Patrick Villarreal, Shelby Huff and Ian Webster. Only one caution slowed the pace at lap 15 when Huff slapped the outside retaining wall. Currey was checking out, with a 9.676 second margin of victory.
The Southern Premier Racing Series drew just over 50 entries to its season finale at HMP, spread across six divisions. Only the Pro Trucks (14) drew over 10 entries, as most racers have either converted over to dirt racing or simply left the sport in Texas.
John Alverson is working hard to reverse that trend.
You can replay all of the action from Saturday night's SPRS season finale at Houston Motorsports Park with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 300 events already streamed Live this year, it's been home to some of the best short track content found online.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer