By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
EDNA, Texas (Nov. 20, 2021) — Stock car builder and master driver Dalton Faulkner, open-wheel veteran Edward Oakes and versatile racer/promoter Steven Whiteaker Jr. all won features in their respective divisions, as officials hosted the final night of The Clash on Saturday at Texana Raceway.
Faulkner kept his autumn hot streak intact with a convincing win in Factory Stock; Oakes prevailed in a hotly-contested 30-lap affair for Limited Modifieds, while Whiteaker powered to victory in a 25-lap battle for Super Late Models.
Rob Slott also notched a win on Saturday with a late-race charge in the Modified A Main. Whiteaker had dominated most of that one, felt that Slott jumped a late restart and settled for second, while Garrett Gregory filled out the podium. Full fields in all four classes made for one wall-to-wall night of racing.
Faulkner, of Cut and Shoot, Texas, led all 40 laps of the prestigious Factory Stock tilt, earning $5,000 for his efforts. Bryan Rye put in an impressive effort to finish second, while Donald Cain Jr. was third. Nathan Rachui and Craig Pursley Jr. completed the top five.
“The track was phenomenal tonight,” Faulkner told veteran P.A. announcer and Revved Up Sports Show host Rodney Rodriguez in Victory Lane. “I want to thank Memphis (Villarreal), he drove his nose down under me quite a few times, and I appreciate the clean racing.
“I also need to thank Mr. Knowles, I couldn't do this without him. I work my butt off and try not to let anybody get a heads-up on me. I enjoy competing in a full field of cars like this. I appreciate all the fans for coming out, and everybody watching at home on RaceOnTexas. This was a great weekend.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock A Main were G.W. Hessong, Rusty Head, Jason Fitch, Stephen Danielson and Josh Sewell. Four cautions slowed the pace, with the Red Flag coming out after one lap when Cameron Dinsmore rolled his machine over at the exit of Turn 2. Fortunately, he was not injured. Faulkner's margin of victory over Rye was a full two seconds.
Attrition took its toll, with high-profile drivers Jeff Hammit, who started on the front row, Memphis Villarreal, Allen Torres and Steve Grantz all out early. For Faulkner, it truly was a romp in the park.
Oakes, of Cuero, Texas, led all 30 laps of the Limited feature but had to survive a rash of cautions. On a late restart with just six laps remaining, Oakes set sail once again as the ageless veteran Howard Willis mounted a charge. Willis fell just .465 of a second short, while Garrett Higgins filled out the podium.
Versatile open-wheel star Jared Maupin (Weslaco) and south Texas racing icon Lawrence Mikulencak (Petronilla) completed the top five. Oakes took home a cool $2,000 for his efforts.
“I proved them all wrong tonight,” Oakes said with pride in his voice. “Everybody said I could only run on the top; I ran the whole night on the bottom and the top. If they want me to run the middle, I can do that, as well. My two sons, Craig and Nathan, have this car so good you can drive it with one hand.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Limited Modified A Main were Tanner Whitmire, David Lege Jr., Bryce Reed, Joseph Pontin Jr. and Troy Alford. Five cautions slowed the pace, one before a single lap was completed and two at lap 14 alone. It was not exactly the cleanest race of 2021 for this division.
Easily earning the 'Heartbreak of the Race' award in this one was San Antonio veteran Johnny Torres, who's car broke suddenly mid-race while he was running second. Prior to Saturday night, Torres had not lost in that No. 66 car (he actually sold it last week) at Texana Raceway Park in 2021.
Whiteaker, of Robstown, Texas, led all 25 laps of a caution-plagued Super Late Model feature that may have had TRP promoter Owen Pittman questioning whether the decision to invite them was prudent. Cody Leonard, of Sinton, can win in anything he drives and charged up to second in the closing laps, while Kevin Sitton crossed the stripe in third.
Robbie Starnes (Baytown) and Brandon Brzozowski (La Vernia) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I feel like I had that Modified race stolen from me,” Whiteaker said. “But I'm trying to forget about that now. We lost the brakes in this Late Model, I felt terribly slow. I don't know how I was able to hold everybody off; I was trying to stay on the bottom.
“The cautions were getting a little frustrating. I have an open motor in this car, so we have to run a harder tire compound. With all of those constant cautions, you can't get any heat in the tire. It feels like riding on ice until you get a little heat in them. I've always struggled here, so this one feels pretty nice.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Super Late Model A Main were Neil Manchester, Tracy Denby Jr., Kody Hardage, Rory Jordan and Erik Thorne. A whopping seven cautions made this one feel like a marathon, while Whiteaker's margin of victory was a comfortable 1.169 seconds.
Pittman, Brad Hockaday and his staff at Professional Motorsports Solutions (they were brought in to run the show; Race Director, timing and scoring, etc.) should be complimented for getting 10 B Mains (six for Factory Stock, three for Limited Mods, one for Mods), six Heat races (three each for SLM and Mods) and the four A Mains completed in four hours flat. It truly was non-stop racing all evening long.
You can replay every lap of Saturday night's exciting conclusion to the 2021 Clash at Texana Raceway Park with a subscription to SpeedPass at RaceOnTexas.com. With just three nights of Live racing left in 2021, it's been a full season of well over 100 events streamed Live from four different states.
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