MANDEVILLE, Arkansas (April 29, 2022) — Ark-La-Tex region stalwart Aaron Roy, skilled stock car pilot/car builder Justin Whitehead and USRA Tuners racer Danny Bryant all notched wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted their season opener on Friday at 67 Speedway of Texarkana.
Roy powered his way to victory in the Limited Modified A Main; Whitehead earned a convincing win in the USRA Factory Stock feature, while Bryant took home $1,000 in a special showcase feature for Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD) warriors.
Short track veteran Brandon Ball (Crate Late Models) also earned a feature win on a beautiful summer-like night for racing in Northwest Arkansas.
Roy, of Texarkana, Texas, led all 20 laps of the Limited feature, holding off his younger brother Adam for top honors. Colby Mewborn filled out the podium with a solid run, while Chase Hatton and Brandon Brown completed the to five. Roy finished the race with a pair of broken shock absorbers.
“I just held it on the floor,” he told veteran Ark-La-Tex area announcer Zach Clark in Victory Lane. “It felt like I was riding a basketball. I really didn't think I could hold into it until the end. We had that caution there with nine to go I believe, and I really thought they'd blow by me like I was sitting still.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified A Main were Bailey Turner, Logan Griffin, Jake Huckaby, Jason Salter and Dustin Robnett. Five cautions slowed the pace, two before a single lap was completed. Aaron's margin of victory over Adam was a scant .374 seconds.
Whitehead, of Texarkana, drove around the outside of early leader Jeff Hammitt coming off Turn 4 at lap two to take command of his race. Cole Ogden (Maud, TX) also got by the veteran from Edgewood, Texas, to secure second at the finish, while Hammitt settled for third in his Patriot Racing No. 13 entry.
Justin Sells (Texarkana, AR) and Dennis Gardner (Lewisville, AR) rounded out the top five.
“Man, that was a handful,” Whitehead said. “I was really hoping a caution would come out during that long green-flag run, until that last lap when I was hoping we could finish it off. This track was very demanding, but they made a good effort.
“I knew with new dirt it was going to be a while before it got lined out. I was more worried about my engine running at 250 degrees than anything else; I tried to ease off there at the end but it really wasn't helping a lot. I need to thank BEST Engines, Don Wilde Racecraft and everybody else who helps out.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock feature were Todd Collier, Mike Wells, Dustin Durham, Gary Harvin and Shelby Franks. Only two cautions slowed the pace, one before a lap was run and the other at lap 18 for a multi-car melee on the front stretch. Whitehead was the class of the field.
Bryant, of Haughton, La., took home the fat paycheck after a rough and tumble affair for the FWD warriors. Justin Converse gave chase throughout yet settled for second, while Greyson Wooten filled out the podium. Chris Scott (Texarkana, AR) and Luke Wheat (Nash, Texas) completed out the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the FWD A Main were David Kirkpatrick, Dakota Cooper, Kayla Strom, Morgan Powell and Robert Sumrell. The feature didn't finish until the wee hours of Saturday morning, and the mood was subdued in Victory Lane.
The FWD feature had a scary moment in the opening laps when Mitch Durham's car slammed the front stretch retaining wall. Durham was bruised and sore and taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation, where tests showed he had no broken bones.
The Whisenant family has made some nice improvements to the facility at 67 Speedway. New lights, a new retaining wall, new progressive banking in the corners and much more have combined to bring an outdated, neglected facility into a shining new era. Hats off to them for all of their hard work.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer