KENNEDALE, Texas (April 23, 2022) — Touring Sprint car pilot Jason Howell, open-wheel stalwart Jacob Pirkle and North Texas mainstay Jeff Hauser earned feature wins in their respect divisions, as officials hosted the ASCS Elite Non-Wing Sprints on Saturday evening at Kennedale Speedway Park.
Howell blasted to victory in the $3,000-to-win ASCS Sprint car A Main; Pirkle was triumphant in a talent-filled feature for IMCA Modifieds; while Hauser came out on top in a hotly-contested A Main for IMCA Southern SportMods.
Sean Hill (Factory Stock); Blake Clark (IMCA Stock Cars); and Chase Martin (Sport Compacts) were also feature winners on a breezy but warm night for short track racing in the greater DFW area.
Howell, of Fort Worth, got by early leader Steven Shebester and led the final seven laps. Shebester was a scant .150 seconds back in the runner-up position, while point leader and defending champion Justin Zimmerman filled out the podium. Mason Smith and Paul White completed the top five.
“I found that rubber out on the track pretty early on,” Howell told veteran announcer Dink McCullough in Victory Lane as he looked at a well-worn right rear. “On those restarts, I kind of dove into the corners to get to the bottom, and heck, I was about to pass a guy before the flag-stand and had to lift.
“Kenny put a heck of a setup under this car, it was like driving a Cadillac down the highway at 70 miles per hour. This was about the best race car I could ever have.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the ASCS Elite Non-Winged Sprint Car Series A Main were Michelle Parson, John Ricketts, Justin Melton, Neal Matuska and Bryan Debrick. Four cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins or cars stopped on the track. The Non-Wing Sprints are always a thrill at Kennedale.
Pirkle, of Midlothian, started sixth and took the lead from 2021 IMCA SportMod National champion and red-hot Mod rookie Matthew Day (he's won twice at HOT already) at lap 13 and hung on for top honors. Day was right on his back bumper in second, while Jake Upchurch filled out the podium.
Calera, Oklahoma-based strongman William Gould drove up from 11th on the 22-car grid to finish fourth, while Tommy Davis Jr. rounded out the top five. Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Modified feature were Matt Guillaume, Beau Collins, Jon White, Danny Rodgers and Mark Adams.
Four cautions slowed the pace, none for serious incidents. Pirkle's margin of victory was a scant .373 seconds over Day. White, Gould and Pirkle all won their respective qualifying heats.
Hauser, of Alvarado, held off a hard-charging Michael Dabney to score his feature win. Dabney, fresh off a victory at Heart O' Texas Speedway in Waco, capped a stellar weekend in second, while young Trevor Cogburn backed up his impressive runner-up finish at HOT on Friday with a third-place run.
Klayton Reeves crossed the stripe in fourth, while Jerrett Bransom was the biggest mover as he drove up from 12th on the 19-car grid to finish fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th in the C&P Pump Service IMCA Southern SportMod feature were Michael Newhart, Matt Rust, Calen Mohler, Ryan Brown and Austin Neubauer.
All six divisions in action on Saturday night at KSP drew strong numbers, with a whopping 140 entries on hand to do battle. The ASCS Sprints led the way with 34, with a solid 15 Sport Compacts being the lowest. At Kennedale, they have both quantity and quality covered.
Despite those big numbers, officials were able to execute 18 Heats and a pair of B Mains for the Sprints in two hours flat. After a quick intermission to stretch the legs, all six features ran off without a hitch. With a well-prepared racing surface, the Non-Winged Sprints really flew around the DFW area oval.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Mike Frieri