Houston, TX – official track release – Photo by Steve Steinle –
NASCAR Modified driver Jake Kruger and NASCAR Coke Truck driver Ed Nastasi were the big winners Saturday night at Houston Motorsports Park’s “Patriot Motor Company Night.”
In the top-of-the-line NASCAR Modified division, Jake Kruger locked horns with young Ryan Luza in an entertaining, 60-lap battle of wills and held off Luza’s determined charge over the last five laps to claim his second NASCAR Modified win of the season by a car length or two.
Kruger, who edged out Luza in a similar fashion in the season-opener a month earlier, was able to keep Luza behind him all night except for the few instances when the pair went wheel-to-wheel for a lap or two on the 3/8-mile, concrete/asphalt oval.
“It all boils down to handling,” Kruger said when asked what it takes to win at HMP. “Whoever, gets through the turns best on these eight-inch tires is going to win. I basically ran at half-throttle all night. There’s no way to get all that Mission Racing power down to the track. If we were running a crate engine, it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.”
“Ryan (Luza) was right there, though,” Kruger continued. “And after that caution with five to go, he gave me a really good run on the outside. The track had become a bit slick by that time and everyone’s lap times had dropped off. So once again it all came down to who was handling the best at the end.”
Kruger credits BMF Shocks and Chassis’ John Heil for the handling on his Rick Pollaro-owned, Rack-N-Motion, STS Coating, Mission Racing NASCAR Modified.
Rounding out the top five were Michael Kourkoubes, Ian Webster and Clayton Green.
Ian Webster and Luza won the 10-lap heat races.
Results of the 60-lap NASCAR Modified feature
1. 96 Jake Kruger, 60 laps
2. 5 Ryan Luza, 60
3. 4 Michael Kourkoubes, 60
4. 13 Ian Webster, 60
5. 54 Clayton Green, 60
6. 72 Bailey Currey, 60
7. 2 Paul White, 60
8. 7 Brian Otts, 59
9. 16 Jake Thomasson, 59
10. 88 Larry Hughes, 58
11. 8 DL Wilson, 51
12. 9 Brad Riethmeyer, 50
13. 95 Chris Comalander, 47
NASCAR Coke Trucks
The 40-lap NASCAR Coke Truck feature had a dramatic finish when race-leader Rick Pollaro and season-opener winner David Webster tangled in the last turn of the last lap and spun each other out.
This gave Ed Nastasi, who had a solid third-place run in progress, all the room he needed to duck under the spinning pair and take the checkered flag.
Naturally enough, the two drivers involved in the incident had a different take on matters.
“It was definitely just a last-lap racing deal,” Pollaro said. “I was very loose at the end and I checked up a bit in turn three which gave David (Webster) a chance to work under me. I feel as bad for David as anyone. He didn’t get the finish he deserved. I’m not sure if he’s running for points, but I was there to have fun and not cause problems for people running for points.”
“I smiled and laughed at myself afterwards for giving up the win,” Pollaro continued. “But I can say I was completely exhausted and gave it all I had for 39.75 laps!”
Webster, on the other hand, was not quite as philosophical about the incident.
“I had moved up the track to let him (Pollaro) by a few laps earlier when I started burning up the rear gear,” Webster said. ”But when he got in front, he kept getting out of shape, so I stayed on his bumper waiting for a mistake. And on the white-flag lap I got up to his door down the back straight. But I guess his spotter must have left to go back to the trailer because he drove me down to the apron and we touched and we both spun.”
“It’s too bad because, win or not, it would have been a great finish for the fans to watch,” Webster continued. “Some drivers just can’t keep their talent-well full for the entire race.”
The beneficiary of all this was, of course, Ed Nastasi.
“I was testing a new set of 41 Shocks on the Jim Nides NASCAR Coke Truck and I was pleasantly surprised that the truck was extremely fast and knew I would have no problem contending for the win,” Nastasi said. “But late in the race the front brakes started to fail, so I felt my chances fading fast as I struggled to maintain position in front of Christopher Hogan. But on the last lap just as I was about to enter turn three, my spotter said to stay low and, ‘You just won this thing!’”
“I’ve had a few strong finishes stolen from me in the trucks in the past,” Nastasi explained. “So, even though it’s not really the way I want to win, I’ll take it.”
Youngster Christopher Hogan ran like a veteran all night and followed Nastasi to the checkered flag. Mike Coursey, Mark Lindley and Mark Villarreal, Jr, rounded out the top five.
David Webster won the 10-lap heat race over Hogan and Nastasi.
Results of the 40-lap NASCAR Coke Trucks feature
1. 8 Ed Nastasi 40 laps
2. 17 Christopher Hogan, 40
3. 53 Mike Coursey, 40
4. 15 Mark Lindley, 40
5. 81 Mark Villarreal Jr, 40
6. 51 Zack Nesloney, 40
7. 79 Michael Villarreal, 40
8. 13 David Webster, 40
9. 96 Rick Pollaro, 39
10. 20 Tom Wingo, 38
Veteran Rusty Young dominated the 25-lap Dwarf Car feature winning handily over Dwain Groff. Arden Vikre, Chase Havely and Matt Goulais rounded out the top five and finished in a tight group only a second or two behind Groff.
Kevin Hubbard and Young claimed heat race wins.
Results of the 25-lap Dwarf feature
1. 88 Rusty Young, 25 laps
2. 14 Dwain Groff, 25
3. 72 Arden Vikre, 25
4. 31 Chase Hadeley, 25
5. 39 Matt Goulais, 25
6. 54 Todd McLemore, 25
7. 20 Ryan Stoy, 25
8. 3 Kevin Hubbard, 25
9. 4 Rodney Rodriguez, 25
10. 18 Jerry Young, 25
11. 27 Butch Havelka, 25
12. 5 Jim Kritikos, 25
13. 8 Richard Smith, 25
14. 09 Grant Prejean, 22
15. 40 Michael Goulais, 9
Lone Star Legacy Series
The eight-car Lone Star Legacy Series field quickly divided itself into two four-car packs with the two packs joining up and mixing it up at the end of the caution-free 25-lap feature.
In the end, Allen Sampson won his second Legacy feature in a row, squeezing out a narrow win over 12 year-old Gabriel Fogg, 78 year-old James Huff and Cory Lovell who stepped out of his Late Model ride to compete up front with the Lone Star Legacys.
Sampson also won the 15-lap heat race.
Results of the Lone Star Legacy 25-lap feature
1. 01 Allen Sampson, 25 laps
2. 10 Gabriel Fogg, 25
3. 32 James Huff, 25
4. 61 Cory Lovell, 25
5. 08 Memphis Villarreal, 25
6. 1 Del Harris, 24
7. 23 Alexis Leone, 24
8. 88 Matthew Villarreal, 24
Ashwood Homes EcoStocks
Taylor Harris resumed her winning ways, taking the feature win over Dave Barton and Kit Leslie.
Barton won the 10-lap heat race.
Results of the 15-lap EcoStock feature
1. 717 Taylor Harris, 15 laps
2. 37 Dave Barton, 15
3. 8 Kit Leslie, 15
4. 27 Danny Bartholomew, 15
5. 7 Stephen Dalton, 15
6. 4 Robert Henson, 15
7. 13 Bedie Sonnier, 15
8. 1 Chris House, 11
Calico Coatings Stock Cars
Robert Walton made it look easy winning both the 19-lap feature and the 10-lap heat by wide margins.
Results of the Calico Coatings 19-lap feature
1. 10 Robert Walton, 19
2. 02 John Cornish, 17
3. 8 Ed Thompson, 5
4. 36 Jim Beasley, 0
Next up at the park-like facility will be a full NASCAR-sanctioned race weekend featuring a $5,000 –to-win Late Model event on May 23, 2015.
Houston Motorsports Park is located at 11620 North Lake Houston Parkway in Northeast Houston.
To contact Houston Motorsports Park, call Tracy Trotter at 832-324-5584 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Houston Motorsports Park visit www.racehmp.com or look us up on Facebook.
CREDIT: Houston Motorsports Park PR