By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
PLEASANTON, Texas (July 17, 2021) — Veteran racer and track promoter Steven Whiteaker Jr., versatile short track driver Jarrett Barber and open-wheel star Jared Maupin all recorded feature wins in their respective division, as officials at I-37 Speedway hosted another round of racing on Saturday.
Whiteaker led all 20 laps of the Late Model A Main; Barber was awarded the Texas Dirt Truck Series (TDTS) feature win after apparent winner Aaron Leddy was disqualified, while Maupin outgunned a hard-charging Mason Castaneda to prevail in a hotly-contested Limited Modified feature.
GW Hessong (Factory Stock); Kenny Wright (B Factory Stock); and Ryan McDonald (Tuners) were also feature winners on a sultry summer night for racing in south Texas.
Whiteaker, of Robstown, started on the pole of his feature after winning the first of two qualifying heats. The savvy veteran had to avoid a spinning Alton Fambro on two occasions while keeping a hard-charging Kody Hardage at bay. Brandon Brzozowski got by Hardage for second in the closing laps.
Three cautions slowed the pace, two for Jason Kelly as he spun his No. 57 entry coming off a slippery Turn 2. Finishing sixth through 10th in the Late Model Main were Fambro, Jamie Campbell, Dennis Hilla, Kelly and Carl Dyer. The Late Models are gaining ground at I-37 and are always entertaining.
Barber, of Robstown, had a strong truck all night, as did his father Chuck, who won a heat and started on the pole. With Leddy's DQ, Treyler Caulfield was credited with second place, while Seguin's Russ Parker filled out the podium in third. Colton Borlace and Williams Jones completed the top five.
“My truck was just a little tight in the feature, but overall I was pretty happy with it,” Barber said. “We started sixth, led a few laps and thought we finished second until Aaron (Leddy) got disqualified, along with third-place Tommy Grimes. I've run this truck a few times, and it's getting it better all the time.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Texas Dirt Truck Series feature were Tony Bernal, Kevin Vasbinder, Adolph Tracy, Chuck Barber and Matthew Hodge. Three cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins. Reigning champion Bernal led the first five laps yet faded from contention after spinning his machine.
Maupin, of College Station, was part of the night's best show as he and Castaneda battled side-by-side at the front of the pack. Castaneda led three laps before Maupin drove back by to retake the lead at lap nine. Dustin Butcher claimed third, while Allen Torres and Sterling Tausch rounded out the top five.
“Mason had been away for a while with a damaged engine, but he sure came back strong,” Maupin said. “We tried a few things in that race since the car count was low. Going out onto the track, I thought it looked pretty wet up top.
“I gave the bottom a shot as long as I could, but when Mason passed me, I knew I had to fall in line. The went reasonably smooth for us, and the car handled pretty well. We've been struggling a little with weight-related issues, but I think we've got it figured out now. It felt great to win another feature.”
Officials at I-37 Speedway joined racers and fans across the state on Saturday night, passing a helmet through the grandstands during intermission to raise funds for the family of Caleb Couch. The aspiring young driver lost his life last week as a result of injuries sustained in an accident last Saturday night.
The gates at I-37 Speedway swing open next on July 30-31. You can replay all the exciting action from Saturday's Late Model and TDTS show with a subscription to SpeedPass at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 100 races streamed Live in 2021, it's your first choice for quality short track entertainment.