By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
EDNA, Texas (March 6, 2021) — Veteran short track racer Johnny Torres, young gun Tryton Temple and open-wheel standout Jared Maupin all scored feature wins as Owen Pittman and staff completed their 2021 Return presented by RaceOnTexas.com program on Saturday evening at Texana Raceway Park.
Robert Danielson (Street Stock); Daniel Preston (Eco Mods) and Taylor Hunter (Mod Lites) were also feature winners on opening night at the rural, yet thriving little oval in southeast Texas.
Torres, of San Antonio, passed Craig Oakes with just two laps remaining and went on to claim the 20-lap Limited Modified A Main. A skilled, versatile driver and now promoter at I-37 Speedway, Torres started second on the 11-car grid and sat poised to pounce when the timing was right.
“I don't want to make excuses, but my clutch was slipping so I figured I'd go outside to keep it revved up,” Torres explained in Victory Lane. “The car was good out there, and I need to thank Ray Doyon for letting me drive it. He told me not to scratch it, and I don't think I did.”
Maupin, doing double-duty on opening night, filled out the podium in third. Edward Oakes and Kris Rye completed the top five. Only one caution slowed the pace at lap nine for a tractor tire in harm's way. Finishing sixth through 10th in the Limited Modified feature were Lawrence Mikulencak, Bryce Reed, Earl Sinibaldi, Gary Hall Jr. and Tom Grothues.
Temple, of Corpus Christi, Texas, drove inside Cameron Starry to take command of the Factory Stock feature at lap 17 and hung on for top honors. Starry settled for second, while Steve Grantz finished third. GW Hessong and Cord Beard finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I don't know how I caught Cameron,” Temple said after the 20-lap contest. “These cars are so equal, it can be tough to get around somebody. Cameron slipped up just a little coming off Turn 2, and I had enough bite to outrace him down into Turn 3. I need to thank everybody who helped me get here.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock feature were Tony Blankenship, Collin Hodges, Caitlin Leonard, John Leita and Johnny Westfall. Three cautions slowed the pace, the first on lap 2 when Daniel Waer ended up on the backstretch retaining wall. He walked away under his own power.
Maupin, of Weslaco, Texas, put on a show for the fans as he and Chris Morris battled for the top spot in the IMCA Modified feature. Steven Whiteaker Jr. somehow managed to avoid a big melee on the initial start, led part of the first lap, then fell off the pace and pulled into the infield with mechanical issues.
Maupin led the first seven laps before Morris powered his familiar No. 94 entry past to take over the point. Maupin drove back by on the outside at lap 11 and hung on until the finish. Sinton, Texas, native Cody Leonard snuck by late for second, while Morris settled for third. Adam James and Ryan Slott completed the top five.
“When Chris got by me, I didn't think I had enough to get back by him,” Maupin said in Victory Lane. “When I got up on the outside, I just had to go with it. I saw Johnny (Torres) do it in the Limited Mod, so I figured I'd give it a shot up there. It worked out, and I'm thrilled to start the new year with a win.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Modified feature were Robert Liese Jr., Foster Ellison, Adrian Awalt, Whiteaker and Raymond McSpadden. Two cautions slowed the pace, neither for serious incident. Rick Townley and Chandler Fox were scheduled to compete yet failed to take the green flag.
Texana Raceway Park returns to action on Saturday, March 27, with another full card of racing. A full replay of the 2021 Return at Texana presented by RaceOnTexas is available to SpeedPass members.