Last month I attended the season opener at Central Texas Speedway. CTS is a 3/8 mile asphalt oval in central Texas. The purpose of this article is to showcase the exciting racing that Central Texas Speedway has to offer. The racing was exciting and close throughout the evening. The night hosted a perfect amount of rivalries, wrecks, and side-by-side racing.
I’ll be back tomorrow with an in-depth review of the track facilities. I want to help fans get the most out of their experience. [Spoiler Alert: $1 domestics during cautions]
[Full Disclosure: I’m not a journalist. I don’t write often. So my writing isn’t the greatest. This is an honest attempt to recap the evenings races in the most honest and exciting way possible.]
Schedule and Race Commentary:
5:15 – Bando Feature
I don’t have detailed commentary on the Bandos. Some kids had good cars. Some kids had slow cars. It was cool to see young kids out racing, but that’s about it. Watch the race to encourage the young drivers, but don’t expect much action.
5:35 – Naskart Feature
Naskart was the more exciting pre-ceremony feature. The karts started the race together but after a few laps were spread around the track. However, because the karts were so evenly spec’d there were multiple side-by-side battles for position throughout the race. The battle for 1st was an exciting one to watch. The second place driver scooted himself out of his seat to give his car a momentum boost. The race for 3rd was bumper-to-bumper until the checkered flag. 4th place took 3rd on the straights but was unable to hold his line through the turns. This happened for most of the evening. I thought he’d get the position, but he never did. The two side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper battles on track were foreshadowing for the rest of the evening.
6:05 Opening Ceremonies
Nothing unique here. I’m pretty sure the Star Spangled Banner that they played is the same one that I hear at other dirt tracks. No complaints, though, because I prefer that pre-recorded anthem over the butchered anthems we get at NASCAR events.
6:10 – Sport Compact Feature
There’s no greater start to a Saturday night of racing than watching people beat and bang on old Cavaliers, Focuses, Zx2’s, and Escorts. Words can’t describe the satisfaction I received watching this race.
6:35 Legends Feature
The Legends feature was a caution-filled race with lots of racing action. The battle for 2nd and 3rd was close all night long. Polesitter Colin Lynch was strong until he was taken out of the race on Lap 12 while running 2nd. The last lap of the race was one for the highlight reel. Dabney Jr. piloted his #50 car across the start/finish line, winning by over a second. Meanwhile the #16 of Coby Henslee, the #357 of Matthew Barnard, and the #1 of Baiden Heskett were wheel to wheel for an exciting side-by-side finish. The results showed that the #16 and the #357 tied for 2nd and that 3rd place was only one thousandth of a second behind them!
Cars to Watch:
- #50 – Dabney Jr.
- #16 – Coby Henslee
- #357 – Matthew Barnard
- #1 – Baiden Heskett
7:00 Fox’s Pizza Den Grand Stocks Feature
I didn’t take many notes on the Grand Stocks. This is probably because I was too caught up in the fact that there was a teal AMC racing around with caged Crown Vics.
Cars to Watch:
- #88 of Mike Farish - 1st, fastest by almost three-tenths per lap
- #7 of Jesse Sandoval - 2nd
- #50 of Jamie Garner - 3rd , very aggressive driver
- #21 of Clay Kennedy - 4th, Got as high as 3rd after starting 6th. Posted the 2nd fastest lap time of the race.
7:20 Truck Feature
The trucks were by far the most exciting race of the night, with 2014’s rivalries becoming 2015’s stories. Polesitter Cary Stapp held the lead in his #99 truck for the first 3 laps before Colt James in the #15 caught up and passed for the lead and the eventual win.
Two trucks to watch out for are the #96 of Rick Pollaro and the #28 of Shawn Paul Lehman. From the start of the green flag Pollaro and Lehman were beating and banging on each other all night. The contact escalated from “rubbin’s racing” to wrecking each other. In fact, after spinning, one of the trucks faced the wrong direction on the track and blocked the other truck. Amazingly there was no black flag or suspension for either driver. What I later learned from another spectator is that #$96/#28 rivalry spilled over from last year. I’m excited to see how it plays out for the rest of the year.
Trucks to Watch:
- #15 of Colt James – 1st o Dominated. James’ fastest lap was two-tenths faster than the rest of the field.
- #39 of Mark Chrudimsky - 2nd
- #18 of Jesse Salazar - 3rd o Salazar looked fast, but seemed like he had more than he was showing
- #28 and #96 for their rivalry
- #96 of Rick Pollaro -7th o Though Pollaro’s #96 finished 7th, he actually posted the 2nd fastest lap of the race, second only to the race winner
7:50 Dwarf Cars Racing Series of Texas Feature
I didn’t catch the start of this race because of the food shortage I’ll mention in tomorrow’s story. The Dwarfs were exciting to watch. There was side-by-side racing throughout the evening. In fact, of the Top-3 finishers, none started the race higher than 10th.
During the Dwarf feature I had the pleasure of speaking to the son of Matt Goulais in the #39 car. Matt’s son was up on the stand filming the race for the Dwarfs club. I learned a lot about the track and insider information about earlier races. Matt’s son usually drives the #40 car alongside his dad. I look forward to seeing this father-son duo race this weekend.
The #88 of Rusty Young showcased his equipment early and would end up dominating the race. Young started 12th. Driving hard with determination he moved from 12th to 1st by lap 6! Young even posted a best lap two-tenths faster than the rest of the field. Young ended up taking home the trophy.
“Second” was the theme of the night for the #54 car driven by Todd McLemore. Todd won the 2nd heat race of the evening and finished 2nd in the main DCRST feature. The #39 of Matt Goulais started 13th and fought hard through traffic finishing 3rd.
Cars to Watch:
- #88 – 1st, Rusty Young who moved from 12th to 1st by lap 6
- #54 - 2nd, Todd McLemore who won a heat race and finished 2nd
- #39 - 3rd, Matt Goulais who moved from 13th to a 3rd place finish
8:20 TALMS Feature (Texas Asphalt Limited Modified Series)
I made a note that this was some of the best racing of the night. An early caution caused cars to scatter across the track resulting in a lot of carnage as drivers maneuvered to avoid other cars.
Cars to Watch:
- #96 of John Heil
- #11 of Gary Box
- #25 of Tyler Box
- #14 - Derek Legg drove through the field to finish 4th; impressive driving
- #29 - The #29 of Billy Becka was strong until oil on the track caused him to go off
- #79 - Cody Beddoe who posted the fastest lap of the race
9:00 Pro Modified Feature
The Pro Modified Feature was packed full of on-track action. The cars up front were the cars to watch in the opener and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them in the upcoming weeks. I want to highlight three drivers in particular: the #50 of Moczygemba, the #9 of Jason Boyd, and the #28 of Kevin Wiseman. The #9, #50, and #28 filled the Pro Mod Feature with action and storylines.
At the drop of the green flag the #9 car of Jason Boyd was dominant and he proved it. Boyd started the race in 3rd, but by the second lap he had already taken the lead and held a lead of over a second. He continued to show strength, posting the quickest lap of the race. Kevin Wiseman in the #28 car started mid-pack. Once the green flag dropped Wiseman used traffic to his advantage to move up positions. Towards the end of the race Moczygemba’s #50 car really started to hook up and by this time Boyd in 1st had used up all he had. Moczygemba finally took the lead on lap 31. An interesting statistic is that Moczygemba only posted the 5th fastest lap of the race…in a field of nine. Boyd and Wiseman had a great battle for second all the way until the checkered flag. Unfortunately Boyd’s #9 was just too good for Wiseman’s #28 and they ended 2nd and 3rd respectively. The #96 car of Mikulencak is another notable. The #96 was top-3 most of the evening. He was strong, posting the 2nd fastest lap of the race despite finishing 4th.
Cars to Watch: The #9, #28, #50, and #96 as mentioned above
9:20 Pro Late Models
The Pro Late Models followed the Pro Mods on the schedule and with the quality of racing. The racing up front was close: the best lap of the top seven cars was separated by only fifteen-hundredths of a second.
One of the biggest cautions of the night came on Lap 7. The #93 car of Kyle Sirizzotti was racing for 2nd when he got turned. Clayton Green in the #54 car moved down to steer away from Sirizzotti as he rolled down the track, but it was too little too late. That collision ended the race for both the #93 and the #54. I felt bad for the #54 team. I had the privilege of meeting Clayton’s dad before the race and he’s a very nice guy who was happy to talk to me about their father-son team. Despite only running 7 laps, the #54 still managed to post the 5th fastest lap time of the race.
Once the flag went back to green the excitement picked up on the track. There was a side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper battle for the lead between the #05 of Bayley Currey and the #51 of Mason Mitchell. Mitchell was all over Currey’s bumper and door all night. Unfortunately, the #51 didn’t have quite enough to get him to the lead.
The battle for 3rd was heating up between the #07 of Austin Self and the #47 of George Hagy with close racing each lap. Self and Hagy swapped positions four times over 20 laps. They raced each other hard but also showed respect for each other by racing clean.
The battles for 1st and 3rd saw positions exchanged frequently. Eventually Bayley Currey in the #05 took the checkered flag with the #51, #47, and #07 finishing in 2nd through 4th respectively. All four of these cars are cars to watch.
Another car to watch is going to be the #93 of Kyle Sirizzotti. Sirizzotti posted the 2nd fastest lap of the race, but because of his early wreck had nothing to show for it. Expect him to come back with a vengeance this weekend.
9:55 Super Street Stocks
The Super Street Stocks were the largest field of cars. The racing was good, although it’s hard to compare the SSS racing to the Pro Late Model racing that the crowd had just seen. Kenny Hurley, driver of the #40 car, posted the best lap of the race and would take home 1st place. But it wasn’t without a fight because Dillon Spreen in the #81 car was with him most of the race, making him fight for his 1st place position. The #80 of Casey Smith and the #69 of Mike Pollaro took their battle for 3rd through lap traffic until lap 18 when Smith wasn’t able to finish the race.
10:27 PM Leaving the Track
The Super Street Stocks races ended and by 10:30 I was in my car leaving the track. Overall it was a great night. I look forward to the races this Saturday, April 25th.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recap of the track facilities and my recommendation for seating, tickets, and food.