HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 21, 2023) — Texas oval veteran Jake Kruger, open-wheel hotshoe Enrique Ferrer and longtime asphalt master Robert Barker all won features in their respective divisions, as RaceOnTexas.com Championship Night was contested on Saturday at Houston Motorsports Park.
Kruger powered to victory in the 50-lap feature for Pro Trucks; Ferrer was triumphant in a 50-lap thriller for Pro Modifieds; while Barker dominated a 30-lap tilt for the Davidson Electric Outlaws.
Chris Farr (Factory Stock); Dane Schwarz (Legends); Kahlen Koch (Eco Stock); JD Legg (Legacy) and Carsen Green (NASKARTS) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for racing in South Texas.
Kruger, of Bastrop, held off a hard-charging Ryder Wells for top honors in the season's final Pro Truck tilt. Wells who led several laps finished second, while Anthony Monroe filled out the podium.
Kenneth Canales and 11-year-old sensation Case James rounded out the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Pro Truck feature were Drew Simental, former division champion Jake Wright, Mike Reininger, and Jaron Hasley. Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 44, 47, 48) all three for quick spins. Kruger's margin of victory was a scant .678 of a second.
Kruger took home a cool $1,300 payday for his efforts on Saturday. He was also fastest in Time Trials with a blistering lap of 15.450 seconds around the famed 3/8-mile oval. All very impressive for a young man who hadn't raced in over four years.
Ferrer, of The Woodlands, held off South Texas oval veteran Joe Aramendia for top honors in Pro Mod with an impressive performance. Former ARCA regular Grant Thompson finished third, while Ricky Moxley and Nathan Caldwell completed the top five.
Filling out the finishing order in Saturday's Pro Modified feature were Ian Webster, Jason Ferrer, Michael Villarreal and Johnny Walker. One caution slowed the pace at lap nine for a spin by Nathan Caldwell. Ferrer's margin of victory over Aramendia was 3.588 seconds, enough time to celebrate.
Barker, of Boerne, led all 30 laps of his Outlaw feature in dominant fashion. His powerplant was built by Texas engine-building guru Tom Hamilton, of Mission Auto fame. Brandon Moller crossed the stripe a distant second, while savvy veteran Corey Winne filled out the podium.
Mike Pollaro (San Antonio) and Korbyn Riojas (Midland) rounded out the top five.
Completing the finishing order in the Outlaw feature were Deed Dupont, young oval sensation Brandon Spreen and Rick Pollaro. Only one caution flew at lap 11 when Mike Pollaro spun out in Turn 2. Barker's margin of victory was a whopping 7.526 seconds, long enough for a Taco and a sip of Tea.
Saturday's season finale drew an impressive 72 entries spread across eight divisions. Seasoned veterans (like Pollaro, Wright, etc.) and young rising stars (like Case James) were on hand to savor their last chance to compete at HMP in 2023, while also celebrate the full schedule just announced for 2024.
Promoter Owen Pittman has worked tirelessly with property owner Dean Baker to secure more dates, so racers can make the commitment to prepare cars knowing it's no longer for just a handful of races. The 2024 season kicks off on March 9 and concludes on Nov. 9 with 11 points races scheduled overall.
Officials cranked out all of their qualifying Heats and Time Trials in short order, took a break for some Fan Appreciation interaction on the front-stretch, then proceeded to host some very exciting features. Pittman has rejuvenated the rank and file within paved racing, and its future looks brighter than ever.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer