By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
PAIGE, Texas (Oct. 8, 2021) — Veteran short track racer Don Painter and current Factory Stock Power Rankings leader Ryan Hopkins headed a list of 12 drivers now locked into tonight's A Main, as officials hosted Night No. 1 of their annual OctoberFAST program on Friday at Cotton Bowl Speedway.
Painter, of Austin, won the first of six heats in convincing style with Hopkins settling for second. Only the top two finishers from Friday's heats are locked in, with the rest of an impressive 53 entries headed for tonight's B Mains. With the potential of a $4,500 check to the winner, it'll be competitive tonight.
Other Factory Stock heat winners Friday include Brady Ricks, Collin Hodges, Johnny Johnson, Cameron Starry and newly-crowned points champion Tim Homemyer. Also locked into tonight's A Main as a result of their runner-up finishes last night were Memphis Villarreal, Caitlin Leonard, Johnny Torres, Dillon Gaither and Chad Roebuck. The talent level already in the show is truly off the charts.
Other action on Friday evening included Time Trials for Factory Stock, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Southern SportMods and IMCA Stock Cars. Painter set Fast Time for Factory Stock cars with a lap of 20.637 seconds around the high-banked 3/8-mile oval. Cars went out in groups of three for each class.
Villarreal was second quick on the stopwatch with a lap of 20.694 seconds, followed by Hodges (20.750); Torres (20.769); Gaither (20.782); Homeyer (20.865); Hopkins (20.867); Leonard (21.028); and Johnson (21.043). Group A established the Top 10, while Group B could not match those times.
Chris Morris, of Taylor, led IMCA Modified qualifying, with Anthony Gordon, Trevor Egbert, JP Dowell, Cody Leonard, 2021 CBS points champion Derek Scott Jr., Brenda Kirby, Garrett Gregory, Raymond McSpadden and James Bohannon filling out the top 10. The Mods are fast at Cotton Bowl.
Torres was also on his game in SportMods, as he led all qualifiers with a lap of 19.080 seconds in Time Trials. Newly-crowned IMCA Southern SportMod National Champion and Texas Short Track Weekly Driver-of-the-Year Matthew Day was second quick at 19.175, while Dustin Mooney was third at 19.217 seconds. Brandon Geurin (19.327) and Michael Dabney (19.359) filled out the top five.
Other Heat winners on Friday at Cotton Bowl Speedway include Chris Morris and Anthony Gordon (Modifieds); Jared Maupin, Matthew Day, Dan Day (Sport Mods); Darrell Rhodes, Greg Andrews and Tommy Gural (Street Stock); and GW Egbert, Dustin Mooney and PJ Egbert (IMCA Stock Cars).
Car counts across the board for Cotton Bowl's annual OctoberFAST program were strong, led by Factory Stock with those 53 eager entries. In Southern SportMods, 27 were on hand Friday evening, while 19 Street Stocks, 18 Modifieds and 21 IMCA Stock cars also jammed the pits.
With 143 entries, it promised wall-to-wall excitement both nights since most of these teams bring big skills to the table.
Cooper Koliba, of Victoria, Texas, capped Friday night's program with his victory in the Junior Limited A Main. Colton Abshere crossed the stripe in second, while Gaige Childress of Elgin filled out the podium. Colton Birmingham (Cedar Park) and Daphne Batt (Harker Heights) completed the top five.
You can replay all of Friday night's action with a subscription to SpeedPass at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 100 events streamed Live in 2021, it's the best value in online short track entertainment.
Sign up, chose your favorite track and support them even when you can't get there in person. Opening Ceremonies for tonight's show at Cotton Bowl Speedway are set to get under way at 6 p.m. CST.