GREENWOOD, Louisiana (May 12, 2023) — Teenage sensation Talan Willis stole the headlines with ease, while he and hard-charging support division driver Bryan Guice earned feature wins as officials hosted Night No. 1 of their ninth annual Battle of Boothill on Friday at Boothill Speedway.
Willis powered to victory in the 20-lap Limited Modified feature, while Guice prevailed in a photo finish for USRA Tuners. Qualifying Heats were also run on Friday for tonight's $5,000-to-win Factory Stock A Main, headlining this prestigious event.
Chris White (Sportsters) was also a feature winner Friday on a beautiful night for racing.
Willis, 14, of Elizabeth, started third on the 17-car grid, powered around the outside of J.D. Ammons coming off Turn 4 to take control at lap five and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Ammons settled for second, while Coty Tupper (Blanchard) filled out the podium.
Ricky Ingalls (Longview, TX) and Jason Langford Jr. (Canton, TX) completed the top five.
“The only reason why I think I'm running up front is the help I get from Mr. Chad Comer, Robert Metz, Corey Neil Jr. and Miss Brandy,” Willis told announcer Collin Bell in Victory Lane. “They all work on this car, I just come to the track and drive it. I'm very blessed, and really couldn't do it without them.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified A Main were Jason Gamez, Derick Grigsby, Conner Williams, Taylor Boaze and Colby Williams. Only two cautions slowed the pace, one for a five-car melee in Turn 2 before a lap was completed, and the other for a solo spin by Grigsby.
Willis' margin of victory over Ammons was a full straightaway, as his car was hooked up and dialed in.
Guice, of Sibley, nipped divisional strongman Sean Leasure at the line to earn his impressive victory. While Guice started on the pole and led the first 10 laps, Leasure applied pressure throughout and even led lap 11. Yet Guice would not be denied, and pushed his car as hard as it would go in the final circuit.
Luke Dupont filled out the podium, while Justin Converse and Hunter Hollis rounded out the top five.
“I had a good feeling that I had him at the line, but I really wasn't sure,” an elated Guice said in Victory Lane. “I just know it was close. Man, that was exciting. That's a good finish right there. That's what we all come out here to see. It was good, clean racing, and I enjoyed it. The track was awesome tonight.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Tuner feature were Stephanie Sharp, Robert Sumrell, Kris Kersten, Ben McDuff and Kayla Strom. Only one caution slowed the pace at lap eight when Kersten and Cory Giles' cars both came to a stop.
In Factory Stock qualifying, two rounds of five Heats were contested among a talent-filled field of 54. In the first round, Dustin Henigan, Joshua Martin, CJ Howell, Toby Davis and Dalton Dubois all won their respective 10-lap tilts.
In Round 2, Corey Neil Jr., Kyle Cummings, Daniel Jones, Ricky Ingalls and Chase Hatton won their Heats. Passing points were awarded to determine starting positions for tonight's A Main, while three 12-lap B Mains will be run this evening to fill out the remaining positions.
Friday's preliminary activities for the ninth annual Battle of Boothill drew a respectable 100 entries across four divisions, led by those 54 Factory Stock teams looking for a big payday. Grandstands are expected to be full for tonight's program, culminating with broad smiles and high fives for one team.
You can replay all of the action from Friday night's event at Boothill Speedway and catch tonight's exciting A Main with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 450 events on the Live steaming schedule this year, it's home to some of the finest short track content online.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer