ROBSTOWN, Texas (Feb. 18, 2023) — South Texas Karting King Vince Louden, rising star Tripp Whitmire and hard-charging Trinity Tesch all won features in their respective divisions, as officials hosted another round of South Texas Arena Racing Series (STARS) action on Saturday afternoon.
Louden powered to victory in the L87 Predator division; Whitmire converted a last-minute decision to race into a win in L87 Senior action, while Tesch prevailed in a caution-plagued affair for L87 Junior warriors. The day was capped with the RaceOnTexas 100 Enduro, won by Bishop's Chayse Mrazek.
Noah Van Blarcum (Open Predator); Darren Dornak (Heavy Predator); Tony Rolando (Run What You Brung); Casey Scurlock (L87 Open); Charles Flanagan (L87 Spec Cage); Easton Jackson (Jr. 1 and 2 Clone); Owin Halpain (Jr. 3 Clone); Pistol Parks (Youth Rookie); and Vasili Hartofilax (Youth Pro) also won features on a busy day of racing in the arena.
Louden, of Shiner, started fifth on the 19-Kart grid in Predator and wasted little time moving up into contention. Short track veteran Greg Carlucci Jr. powered his way up from sixth at the start to finish second, while Kiehl VanBlarcum filled out the podium with an impressive drive forward from seventh.
Dornak (Conroe) and Brandon Welker (Stockdale) completed the top five in a hotly-contested battle.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 20-lap L87 Predator feature were Justin Hoffstadt, Chase Louden (Vince's son); Steven Whiteaker III, Zachary Courtney and Ramsey Villarreal. Two cautions slowed the pace (laps 3, 7), both for minor spins. When Vince Louden gets out front, it's tough to run him down.
Whitmire, of Portland, started third on an eight-Kart grid and quickly took control. Points leader Hunter Porter, one of the new faces to showcase his skills this year, drove up from sixth to finish second, while Sawyer Herring filled out the podium. Jace Whiteaker and Gabriel Solis rounded out the top five.
Filling out the finishing order in the 20-lap L87 Senior feature were Colt Stafford, Cameron Schmidt and Joshua Almeida. Only one caution slowed the pace for a racer who gently slid into the tire barriers off Turn 4. Whitmire is always a threat to win any time he suits up and straps into a Kart.
Tesch, of Yoakum, started second and took command when polesitter Woody Powell got caught up in one of several melees early on in that wild L87 Junior feature. In fact, six cautions flew before a single lap was put into the books. Preston Solis came from fifth to second, while Stafford finished third.
Kaden Pacheco (CalAllen) and Jace Whiteaker (Corpus Christi) completed the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 20-lap L87 Junior feature were Vasili Hartofilax, Gabriel Solis, Sawyer Herring, Cameron Schmidt and Tripp Salles. Nine cautions slowed the pace for minor spins. This race put promoter Owen Pittman's patience to the test, and he somehow survived the rough event.
Round 3 of this year's STARS program for Karts drew a whopping 183 entries, 37 of which registered to run the RaceOnTexas 100 Enduro. With 16 classes plus the extra-distance event, it will go down as the 24 Hours of Robstown. Yet if you love Kart racing, you enjoyed every minute of this great show.
You can replay all of the action from Saturday's third STARS event of 2023 at the Richard Borchard Regional Fairgrounds and enjoy tons of great racing with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 250 events on the Live schedule this year, it's home to some of the best short track content online.
When you sign up today, select one of two options (OnDemand or All Access), choose your favorite or 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