Packed House and Packed Track

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June 6, 2015  |  by Walker Akers

It wasn’t a quick night as 86 racecars showed up for the showdown at the Southern New Mexico Speedway on this great Saturday in June. There were 13 Mini Sprints, 16 Legends, 19 USRA Street Stocks, 14 Super Trucks, and 24 USRA Modifieds all ready to battle for the glory this evening. Not one of the over 80 drivers pulled onto the track believing they couldn’t win and it showed in every feature start.

In the Super Trucks it was the 82 of Sherman Barnett and the 2A of Kenny Alons who jumped from mid pack to second early with Walton Kyle SR holding out early in first in his 06 machine. Things would rest that way for only 6 laps when the 501 of Jaime Bejarano would spin through turn 3 and into 4 while he was battling with Kenny Alons. The 06 would still lead the field as the green dropped for the restart with “The Shermanator”, Sherman Barnett, running second and Kenny Alons third.

Alons jumps outside on the restart and goes door to door with Walton for the lead. We are only going to complete 2 more laps before the caution comes out for the 98 of Rusty Bowen spinning in turn 3 and 4. This isn’t what is gonna cause us to go red however. We go red because rolling around under yellow the 68.5 absolutely grenades his motor and the entire underside of that truck becomes engulfed in flame! Driving the 68.5 is Jason Pearson who must feel that heat and yanks it to the infield. As the track crew’s rush to him the truck is smoking like a freight train!! Pearson will bail out and crews get the fire out as a giant puff of smoke rises from the engine bay. That truck is toast!

There is only 12 laps left after the mess of 68.5 is cleared from the track and we go back to green with the 06 still pulling them all around. It’ll be 7 to go when there is a little change of pace on track as The Shermanator spins in turn 3. Kenny Alons was really working the high line for the lead over Walton SR when the caution came out. 06 has lead every lap this far and is going to take them to green one more time as the 2A sits second and a hard driving Brian Klein in UNO is third.

With 5 to go the next 3 of Walton JR, Barnett and Bejerano are going to rub doors fighting for fourth but at the line, ending lap 16, it’ll be the 2A squeezing inside of 06 to finally make it stick and lead a lap! Alons will lead lap 17 as well but only by a nose or less and Walton Sr in the 06 has room to slide the inside into turn 3 as the 2A takes it just a little too high and won’t have the traction coming off turn 4 to make a move. It’s Walton Kyle SR in the 06 who wins it by a nose over the 2A of Kenny Alons. As all eyes looked to the battle for the lead, the 21 of Walton Kyle JR slide jobbing the Uno of Brian Klein for third. Klein finished fourth and Jaime Bejarano rounded out the top 5.

With 18 USRA Street Stocks making the call for the main, it wasn’t going to take long for things to get hot on the track. Lap 1 turn 1 four drivers would go 4 wide for second place and the 3D of Rudy Munoz would take a spin. Before everyone can clear him Jason Josselyn in the 74J, who started inside row 8 will come into turn 1 hard and give him a good smack! It will be the 74J who gets the short end of the stick, receiving the most damage. The 3D will go to the tail and just before we go green Josselyn will come roaring back onto the track missing the front left half of his car. Looks like Josselyn changed a tire behind the berm over there so he will be allowed to keep racing but starts from the rear with Munoz. Haven’t even completed on lap so we do a full restart here we go!

It’ll be the 10 of Bryan Bennet leading lap 1 with George LaRose right on his tail in 44x. Entering turn 1 on lap 2 the 44JT and MR13 are going to get together and spin around but we stay green as they get it going again while the leaders enter turn 3. As the leaders entered turn three Todd Froats in L750 drives in hard and losses the front end. He does a couple 360’s and before the leaders can cross the stripe the yellow will have to fly for Froats who is backward turn 4. With that caution before the completed lap the 44JT of Jaime Torres and the MR13 of Rudy Tarin will both receive back their last crossing position. It’s a rule and it saved these two drivers nights here at Southern New Mexico Speedway.

On the restart the 3H of Noah Hollingshead will rocket from 9th to first and not even take a second look. 44JT Torres and Patrick Beach in 1C are bumper to bumper with Hollingshead as caution waves again. Three cautions in three laps is making for some tight packed racing all over the board and the announcing booth is absolutely loving it up there tonight. IT was the lone 74 of Preece who went around in turn 2 and caused that third caution. Back to green we go with 22 laps remaining and the 3H dragging around Torres and Beach.

It’s going to be a fight for the next few laps and would you look at that, the 3D of Rudy Munoz has made his way all the way back to fourth after being involved in that very first wreck. He is a man on a mission and it shows here tonight! 7 laps in and Beach finally gets the nose of his 1C just inside of Hollingshead to lead a lap. It won’t last long though as the 1C and 3H go door to door, nose to nose all the way around turn 1&2 then sliding side by side down the backstretch. Becah is choosing to run the middle while Hollingshead is forcing that very low line to work in his favor. It will be the 3H back in front by a nose at the stripe for 12 laps to go. The leaders have caught lapped traffic now and the 1C will have to drop in tow right behind 3H or risk smacking a lapper. Jaime Torres runs solo third but as the leaders battle hard he is slowly pulling them in.

Patrick Beach is using every inch of racing surface to try and get around Noah Hollingshead but Noah is strong tonight down low and Beach is running out of time as we are 15 laps in with only 5 to go. They will run nose to tail and side by side back and forth for the next 2 laps until the 1C finally gets drive out of turn 4 and will lead at the line by just a hair. It won’ hold again through 1&2 but he is still there just like all night with 2 to go this time by the stand. 3H might have gained a car length on that lap and at the white he leads by about 1 length but Patrick Beach ain't no quitter and he will drive into 1 with a full head of steam for one more try! He is right there to the inside but Hollingheads is going to have an amazing drive off of turn 2 that all but leaves the 1C in the dust. Out of turn 4 it will be the 3H of Noah Hollingshead taking the victory by half a car length over Patrick Beach in the 1C. Jaime Torres in 44JT was pushing hard for the leaders but he won’t quite have the speed so he rounds out the top three in the USRA Street Stock Feature Event. The 1C gave it everything he had for the entire race tonight but Noah Hollingshead was on absolute fire and there was no beating him tonight.

Legends never disappoint and tonight was no exception to that. The 85 of JR Esquivel would take them to the green from the pole but it would be the 902 of Mike Zuloaga jamming around the outside from sixth to lead the first lap. It’ll be a mix and battle of 5 drivers up front until onto lap 3 when the 77 of LaBree will spin in turn 3&4. LaBree was last night’s winner at The Park in El Paso so don’t count him out just yet. 18 laps remain as we go back to green where Zuloaga leads the 58L of David Lackey. Lackey was charging hard those two laps.

Steven Arellano in 237 and Alex Esquivel in 37A will shoot around Lackey on the restart and eventually take it three wide for the lead. Arellano is going to win the battle for the lead with Zuloaga in second and Alex Esquivel right in his door. As the leaders are gapping the rest of the field and catching lapped traffic the 85 of JR Esquivel spins out exiting turn 2 and we go yellow.

Arellano will take the green flag with 11 laps to go in this 20 lap main event but look who is back up to fourth! That’s right it’s the 77 of LaBree who has been charging the outside groove and looks to be making it work. The top 4 are pushing each other all the way around when caution comes out for the 85 again on lap 11. Arellano is still the leader as we go back under green with 9 laps remaining. LaBree is going to dart to the high side once again and he speeds into second!

As the top three run for the lead the tower is absolutely impressed by 11 year old Gunner Harris in the 54, who is battling hard with 3 other drivers for 6th after starting on the last row. He just turned 11 last week and is definitely showing the skills of a great racer tonight. HE must have seen LaBree charging that outside line because he has fallen right in up there and is charging around hard.

Back up front the 77 is right onto the 237 for first but only 5 laps left for him to make his move. For the next 2 laps it looks like LaBree is feeling out Arellano but will he have time to make it stick!? 2 Laps remain when LaBree gets his opening and dives it to the inside of Arellano. He won’t lead the lap but they go door to door for the entire last lap. White flag and into turn one it will be LaBree who goes lower than he has all night and makes like glue to the inside of Arellano. Down the backstretch it looks like Arellano is going to have the drive into turn 3 but LaBree doesn’t even bother with the brakes and he will come out of turn 4 like a fireball.

Too close to call and we wait for transponders! It’s the 77 by an inch over Arellano at the line! Brady LaBree in the 77 drove it all the way from the rear on lap 2 to take the win by less than a nose over Steven Arellano in 237. Mike Zuloaga brings home the third spot to round out the podium.

Gunner Harris had his 54 machine all the way up to fourth coming out of turn four when he gets a little help from the 24 Mike Money and around he goes. He won’t make the finish line without a little help but what a great drive from that youngster tonight! Drove it all the way from 15 to fourth in just 18 circuits. I am calling it now; we should all be Expect big things from this kid within the next few years. He takes the hard charger award on the evening so congratulations Gunner.

The Mini sprints where no exception the action tonight as they raced hard for a full 15 laps. The 1 of Will Gonzalez starts inside row two with Jett Carney in the 4 just to his outside. Those two always battle hard and are definitely the drivers to watch.

Early on it will be the 167 of Cory Taylor who has the outside line and jumps immediately to the front with Gonzalez. The 1 and the 167 are going to be door to door for first for 2 laps with Taylor actually carrying a slight lead at the stripe every time by. It looks like these two could be pulling form Carney in third when entering turn 2 on lap 3 Will Gonzalez is going to take a couple spins and caution comes out. Just as caution comes out the 23 of Fabian Gomez comes barreling out of turn 4 and smacks the wall hard! He will ride the wall and go tumbling into turn 1 bringing out the red as that was a hard hit for Fabian. Fabian will climb from the car and just take short ride in the ambulance to get his shoulder checked after hitting the front stretch wall hard on the right side. As they clear the track of the 23 car we go back under yellow and the 1 of Will Gonzalez is asked to take it to the rear for causing the initial caution.

The 167 will lead us around for the green with 12 laps to go, as Jett Carney is looking strong in second. Taylor will go straight for the outside line and immediately the 1 of Will Gonzalez jumps from last to 8thalready. That man is on a mission after spinning while battling Taylor for first.

It’ll be Carney making things interesting with only 5 to go as he dives low inside of Taylor into turn 3. They go side by side at the stripe but Carney has the advantage and will take it with 4 laps to go. Cory Taylor isn’t giving up yet and these two are going at it. Will Ganzalez has moved his way back inside the top 5 but laps are running out and it’ll take something special for him to win this one.

Will Gonzalez is going to get his miracle as with 3 laps to go caution is going to fly! It’s the 27 of Shane McNutt going around for a ride in turn 3. Gonzalez will restart 4th as Jett Carney drags them around to the green for a green, green, white, checkered finish. Taylor sits second, and Theron Flack has moved it up to third in his 11T machine.

On the restart the 1 wastes absolutely no time and moves it right to second behind Carney. The 11 will go back around the 1 from the inside and this one isn’t over yet. As those two battle Carney is able to grab 3 lengths on them. Carney is going to drive it smooth the last two laps for the win but back in second the 1, 11T and 167 all go 3 wide for position! After starting in the back with 12 to go Will Gonzalez wins the battle out of turn 4 and brings home second. It’s a hard fought battle and Theron flack earns third while the 167 of Cory Taylor raced hard all night and comes home with third. The 11T beat the 167 by less than a nose at the end. That was a race for the books from Carney and Gonzalez.

USRA Modifieds would end the night for us at Southern New Mexico Speedway but there is a reason you save the best for last and that’s what we did tonight. The Street Stocks Race would be hard race to beat but these guys never disappoint. It would be a father son showdown in the first three rows as the 187 of Joshua Gallardo would start inside pole with his dad Rick Gallardo to his outside in the M16. Row two was Fito and Jacob Gallardo with row three starting Bumper Jones inside and his father Royal Jones just outside! With this lineup it’s hard to believe some people still think this isn’t a family sport! I’ve got money that says they all still run each other hard and that’s exactly what’s gonna happen as we go green.

Jacob will make the first move in the 30 lap main event but we stay pretty even for the first lap. The 82,23, and 20 are all going to collect in turn 3 but the leaders already cross the stripe before yellow flies. We will complete one lap but 29 laps to go. The restart sees the exact same lineup as the start but on the drop of the green Royal Jones in the 131 will go around into turn 1 and as the 65 spins to avoid him he will lose traction and give it a full barrel roll. HE will be ok but that kind of tumble rattles him and the car bringing his night to and end. The 131 takes it to the rear of the field for causing that caution.

The 111 of Bumper Jones and J17 of Jacob Gallardo are going to make this interesting early as they go nose and nose for first. 5 laps in and it’ll be Bumper leading at the stripe by a nose. Fito Gallardo slipped back early but has found his car and is back in third. Fito looks to have found the high line just like last night at El Paso Speedway Park where he took the win.

Look away for half a second and you miss something here. Caution will fly as the 49, 54,82, and 69 are all jammed together in the exit of turn 2. Only 7 laps completed so far but Bumper Jones will lead father son rows of Gallardos just behind him. Royal Jones, Bumpers dad, is fighting his way up from the rear after that last restart and is coming in hot. Won’t be long until we have all father son at the front again.

On the restart Bumper Jones will drag the Gallardo wolf pack from turn 4 but they all shoot high with Fito leading them and Bumper Jones is in for a fight! Out of turn 2, all the Gallardos will drop low except Fito who loves that outside line. Fito is charging hard and wants that weekend sweep. 10 laps in and 20 to go the caution comes out again for the 85 spinning through turn 2.

With 20 laps to go Bumper Jones still leads the Gallardo pack back to fourth. Jimmy Ray is there in the 9 just like last night and Royal Jones has brought his 131 machine all the way back to sixth.

Father, son Gallardo J17, G17 are running high outside as 111 starts to pull away but caution as the 54 spins with the 0 again. 54 is having the worst luck of the night being collected in almost every caution but not causing a single one. We will restart with 16 to go.

Fito switches line on the restart and is making the low line work for him. Bumper Jones must have taken notes from Fito running high because just as Fito goes low Bumper will go high and grab up all that extra traction.

We are 20 laps in with 10 to go and Fito Gallardo is pushing Bumper Jones all the way around. Royal Jones is also on the move to inside the top 5 after spinning early on. Christy Georges is also putting in a heater as she is up to 6th from starting the race dead last. The 111, J17 and G17 are all going to bunch it back together after the 20 of Michael Wall spins again. 9 laps remain.

They restart strong and Royal Jones takes third! HE is there but does he have enough for Fito Gallardo in G17 and his son Bumper in the 111 up front. They run that way for four laps but with 5 to go Fito and Royal have both caught Bumper and this one is going to go to the wire.

The top 4 are pushing each other hard the last three laps but Bumper Jones will hold on strong from the hard charging Fito to win by a length. Jacob and Fito Gallardo go door to door out of turn 4 for second but it will be Fito taking the spot over his son by mere inches! Royal Jones drove hard through the finish and takes home fourth from the very back on lap 2. Jimmy Ray rounds out the top 5 with a solid run and that brings an end to our racing weekend!!

IF you missed us this weekend join us next weekend June 12th out “The Park” in El Paso and here again at Southern New Mexico Speedway on the 13th. The 305 winged Sprint cars will be joining us after a weekend break as well as the late models, street stocks, X-Mods, and Hornets. Lorne Wofford swept the weekend last time we saw the 305 winged sprints after driving from the very rear early on. You won’t want to miss this.

Gates open at 5:30. Racing starts at 7:45 with the pits opening after the races to see all your favorite drivers. Come hungry for some good racing and you won’t leave empty handed! See you there!