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DayMotorSports.com Race Recap: Helms, Pontin, Villarreal win at Texana Raceway

EDNA, Texas (July 30, 2022) — Short track veteran Mickey Helms, open-wheel master Joe Pontin Jr. and asphalt/dirt oval sensation Memphis Villarreal all won features in their respective divisions, as officials presented a full card of racing with high-dollar purses on Saturday at Texana Raceway Park.

Helms earned $1,200 with his victory in the Pure Stock A Main; Pontin bagged $1,000 in a talent-filled Limited Sport Mod feature, while Villarreal took home $1,200 for his efforts in Factory Stock.

Ryan Slott (IMCA Modified) and Cooper Koliba (EMods) were also feature winners on a special night of big-paying features for three of the five divisions in action.

Along with the special bonus purse money, the night featured a guest racer in the form of well known radio show host Rodney Rodriguez, who quietly earned a top-10 finish in Pure Stock in his first time back in a stock car since 2017.

Helms, of Victoria, prevailed in a hotly-contested battle that could have easily produced a different outcome. South Texas strongman GW Hessong crossed the stripe in second, while Jamie Dear filled out the podium. Kenny Jessup (Trinity) and Jerry Walters (Corpus Christi) completed the top five.

“That was fun,” Helms told announcer Bobby Chaffee. “I need to thank Tony (Blankenship) and GW (Hessong) for setting this old car up for me. I'll also thank Owen (Pittman) and Cord (Beard) for making this place so nice. These old Novas are a little different, but they sure are fun to drive.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Pure Stock A Main were Mike Copeland, Grant Whitney Jr., Steven Whiteaker III, Rodriguez and Wesley Mauer. Copeland (started 20th) and  Whitney (started 19th) were the biggest movers, passing cars like they were standing still all race long.

The Pure Stock division continues to offer more fun and bang for the buck than many other classes. At Texana Raceway, it's loaded with racers eager to learn, have fun and be competitive at the same time.

Pontin Jr., of Hockley, drove to the inside of early leader Jamie Campbell to take command of his feature at lap seven and hung on for top honors. Marcus Mikulencak was rock-solid all night to claim second, while Bryce Reed crossed the stripe in third.

Jared Maupin put in another solid effort to finish fourth, while Jason Downey rounded out the top five.

“It was no normal drive, the track had a lot of character,” Pontin said. “It was technical and a little tricky; I can imagine the guys out back found it tough to pass. We tried a little something different here tonight, and it worked out for us. I'm glad I could get it done.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Limited Sport Mod A Main were GW Hessong, Bubba Gates, cagey veteran Howard Willis, Jarrett Barber and Benjamin Mikulencak. Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 4, 7, 10), all for minor incidents. Pontin's margin of victory was a scant .495 seconds over Mikulencak.

Villarreal, of Corpus Christi, took the lead for the second and final time from Johnny Westfall at lap eight and pulled away to earn top honors. Maupin, always doing double-duty (at least, sometimes he drives three cars on the same night), drove up from 14th to finish second, while Westfall was third.

Mason Castoneda and Jacob Burnett finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It was a fun race, we were just biding our time there in the beginning,” a calm, appreciative and well-spoken Villarreal said. “That was a tough one; these guys that run dirt every week are probably pissed right now. It was awesome to be back in a dirt car, we've been busy with the asphalt program.

“I treat every car the same, I race to win, not matter the surface. I appreciate everybody who helps out.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the SAMES Ford Factory Stock A Main were Cord Beard, Terry Hopson, Jayden Pina, Makayla Trimble and Jett Johnson. Six cautions slowed the pace, the first when Monty Chamberlain spun on lap one and the sixth for Will Spears' trouble with five laps remaining.

Villarreal's margin of victory over Maupin was a sizable 1.010 seconds, as he was about to check out.

Owen Pittman and his fine staff at Texana pulled off another strong weekly show, knocking out 11 heats and five features in a little over three and a half hours. With 77 entries spread across five classes, on-track action kept the fans entertained in fine style.

You can replay all of the action from Saturday night's exciting weekly show at Texana Raceway with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 350 events on the Live streaming schedule this year, it's home to some of the best short track content found anywhere online.

When you sign up today, select one of three options (OnDemand, ASCS National Sprints Only, or All Access), choose your favorite/hometown track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can't attend in person. 

By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Rachel Plant 

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