By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Chaz Brzeski (RFS Photography)
MANDEVILLE, Arkansas (July 9, 2021) — Touring Super Late Model star BJ Robinson, open-wheel standout Brandon Brown and stock car ace builder/driver Justin Whitehead all earned wins in their respective divisions, as event number three of 2021 was run on Friday at 67 Speedway of Texarkana.
Robinson drove Jarret Stuckey's Lucas Oil/Black Diamond No. 17 entry to victory in a caution-free Crate Late Model tilt; Brown survived a caution-plagued affair for the Limited Modifieds, while Whitehead added another win to his resume a with a convincing effort in the Factory Stock A Main.
Dustin Hyde (IMCA Modifieds); Jimmy Via (Hobby Stock) and Justin Converse (FWD/4-Cyl.) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for racing in southwest Arkansas.
Robinson, of Bossier City, Louisiana, wasted little time asserting himself, driving around the outside of early leader Garrett Gibson to take command at lap two of 20. Jon Mitchell started fourth and came home second, while Gibson settled for third. Tim Eaves Jr. and Jamie Burford completed the top five.
“Any time we get a chance to take a break from our normal deal, we go for it,” Robinson told veteran announcer Zach Clark in Victory Lane. “I have to thank Ronnie Stuckey for giving me the chance to drive Jarret's car while he was out of town.
“Jarret and Clayton decided they wanted to go racing about a year ago. They are doing good, it's nice to be a part of it all. This is a great car and was fun to drive tonight. I'm happy to get a win for the family.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Crate Late Model A Main were Clayton Stuckey, Garren Lindsay, Tim Eaves, Dane Caskey and Bubba Sampson. Robinson's margin of victory was a whopping four seconds, a huge gap in the ultra-competitive world of Late Model racing. Twelve cars took the green.
Brown, of Texarkana, Texas, led all 20 laps to prevail in his feature. BJ Moore gave chase throughout yet settled for runner-up honors, while Andrew Rossum filled out the podium. Aaron Roy and James Clayton finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I just hit my marks, and stayed on the bottom,” Brown said. “I really love the motor and tires in this class. These cars are a blast to drive, and it sure feels good to win one here tonight.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Limited Modified A Main were Barron Prince, Tim Strickland, Daymond Gardner, John Good Jr. and Trinity Kenward. After completing the first 15 laps without a caution, it took four tries/cautions to get past lap 16. Caution fever hit hard, as Brown's blood boiled.
Eight cars failed to finish the grueling 20-lap marathon, including Bailey Turner and 64-year-old Skeet Amason, who were both strong in the early going. Amason was fresh off a victory the previous Sat. night at the Boothill Speedway in Greenwood, Louisiana. The Limited Mods are always a show at 67.
Whitehead, of Texarkana, Texas, used lapped traffic to his advantage as he drove around the outside of early leader Cody Myers to take command of the Factory Stock tilt at lap six of 20. Myers hung on for second, while 'Steal' Neil Kemp finished third. Gary Harvin and Justin Sells rounded out the top five.
“Man, I smoked Cody coming out of Turn 4, but I didn't mean to do it,” Whitehead said. “My car got into that mud and I thought I had him cleared, but I got into him good. You don't want to pass cars that way, but honestly, I was just trying to get by him as fast as I could.
“We had a pretty good car tonight; we changed a few things at intermission and it helped us a bunch.”
The Factory Stock feature was also somewhat of a marathon, taking two attempts on the initial start just to complete the first lap. After six successful trips around the oval, there were four consecutive cautions on lap seven, forcing Whitehead to be patient as he went after his next victory.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock A Main were Logan Griffin, Clint Shurtleff, Kelly Knighton, Greg Hammitt and Dylan Parker. Six cautions slowed the pace, none for serious incidents. Whitehead's margin of victory over Myers was 3.5 seconds, proving his dominance in this division.
Officials at 67 Speedway of Texarkana have announced the Modified and Hobby Stock classes will run their last race next week. Money will be added to the purses of Factory Stock and Limited Mods, with the hope teams will convert their cars over to stay active. It's a move to keep the track alive and well.
Gates will swing open once again at 67 next Friday, July 16, for more short track action in Mandeville. You can replay all the action from Friday night's races with a subscription to SpeedPass at RaceOnTexas.com.