CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (May 20, 2023) — Regional open-wheel stalwart J.J. Jennings and multi-division master Jared Maupin earned feature wins in their respective divisions, as Owen Pittman and his staff presented Double J Jerky Night at the Races on Saturday at South Texas Race Ranch.
Jennings pocketed $1,000 by winning the headline Limited Modified feature; while Maupin doubled up with victories in Texas Dirt Truck Series and Factory Stock action.
Daniel Preston also earned a pair of wins (EMods and Pure Stock), while Michael Lindsey (Micro Mods) and Dustin Rude (Dwarfs) capped the evening's list of feature winners. Preston had planned to run just the EMod, yet made the most of an opportunity to drive TJ Sullivan's Pure Stock machine.
Jennings, of Corpus Christi, prevented Maupin from bagging the Trifecta with his victory. The cagey hometown veteran started second on the 16-car grid and led all 20 laps. Maupin settled for second, while rising star Nathan Titzman drove from 15th at the start to claim third.
Derrick Gonzalez (Corpus Christi) and Roly Rodriguez (Edinburg) completed the top five.
“The plan was from the beginning to hold my line and keep them behind me,” Jennings told Pittman in Sames Ford Victory Lane. “I know in the Heat race it was hammer down on the top. I figured if I could get by Brian (Rye) and just roll the top, I'd be good. I can't thank my family and sponsors enough.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Double J Jerky Limited Modified feature were Cody Beddoe, Ziggy Reusser, Jaden Edmond, Tom Grothues and Kris Rye. Five cautions slowed the pace (laps 0, 1, 1, 14, 17), three of which flew before two laps were completed.
Jennings' margin of victory over the hard-charging Maupin was a scant .880 of a second.
Maupin, of College Station, bagged his first win on the night in a caution-plagued affair for TDTS teams. He started 10th on the 15-truck grid, steadily worked his way up into contention and nipped A.J. Wernette (Hondo) at the line to claim the win. Donald Mick filled out the podium with a solid effort.
Buster Deen (Huffman) and Aaron Leddy (Von Ormy) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“That truck (Wernette) came out of the same shop as ours, so it has a lot of Jamie Fuller in it,” Maupin said in Victory Lane. “I need him to stop giving out so many of our speed secrets. He had a good truck tonight. I had such a hard time getting mine into the corner.
“I thought I was going to hit A.J. a couple times, I had to check up. Honestly, I'm lucky just to finish that race. I don't know what the 95 was thinking; he and I have some history. He roughed me up the first two laps, and went to wreck me during the caution. I don't know what all of that was about.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 13-lap Texas Dirt Truck Series feature (cut short in the interest of time) were Daniel Gaudette, former series champion Tony Bernal, Adam Tracy, Leo Sasso and Allen Leddy. Six cautions slowed the pace (laps 1, 2, 2, 7, 7, 11), all for minor incidents.
Maupin's margin of victory over Wernette was a tiny .073 seconds, but still enough to earn the win.
Maupin's Factory Stock win came in the only caution-free affair of the evening. He started on the pole of a 12-car field and led all 20 laps in convincing fashion. Allen Torres (San Antonio) stayed close all race long yet settled for a runner-up finish, while Ray Allen Kulhanek drove up from sixth to third.
Brian Rye (Corpus Christi) and Nathan Rachui (also of Corpus Christi) rounded out the top five.
“The car felt pretty good at first, but at about halfway, it started getting worse,” Maupin said. “I knew he (Torres) was there the whole time, but I didn't think I could hold the tires any better than I was doing. I tried to move up and keep my momentum, but I think he had a little better car than me.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Sames Ford Factory Stock A Main were Chuck Perry, Hector Aguirre, Trey Jones, Dennis Folkerts and Michael Villarreal. Maupin's margin of victory was a scant .120 of a second, as Torres was never far out of contention.
This week's championship points race at South Texas Race Ranch drew a respectable 98 entries spread across seven divisions. Led by the Limited Modifieds and EMods with 16 each, there was ample talent visible in every corner of the pit area. Officials knocked out the entire show in a little over four hours.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer