First race of the season and winners
By Lynn Hensley
Aztec Speedway opened the 60th season of racing with five classes of cars taking on the high dirt banks on Saturday night. A large opening night crowd enjoyed the competitive racing that has become standard fare here. And on this 60th anniversary year, a driver that has raced for almost half those years, showed the IMCA modified drivers the fast way around the speedway. JJ Harpole put the familiar yellow (and now blue) #87 out in front and said “catch me if you can”……they couldn’t. Harpole took his modified to the winner’s circle ahead of a hard charging #111 Danny Bradford. In 3rd was #24 Regan Tafoya. Tafoya had been up to 2nd before a flat sent him to the pits under a caution flag. Tafoya then lined up last and worked the Rimco Special back up to a hard earned 3rd. Fourth went to Kevin Faddis after a very solid run in this 25 lapper. Michael Higgins was fifth in his #27 modified…Higgins also drove his #27 IMCA stock car in an earlier race. Nick Nelson started the night out in a sleek looking #02x black modified and ended the night in an amazing 6th spot. Amazing because he rode the backstretch wall in his heat race and repaired the car enough to start the main. When he made it back to the pits, the right side of the car body was about to fall off, the left side was bent, the rear was bent, the front was bent with the wheels were at an odd angle and the frame was bent. Oh, and one other problem, the motor was smoking and knocking. Yes, I think 6th was amazing! Behind Nelson was 20 year old Alex Kennedy competing in his first dirt track feature in a modified. Kennedy has been driving in the NASCAR Nationwide series and also in the ARCA series with his last race at Daytona and a respectable 10th place there. The dirt track experience was quite different than asphalt but Alex stated that he learned a bunch in this race and looks forward to next week. Kennedy moved his new #61 up to 3rd before a spin relegated him to the back. Also hindering his move back through the field was some damage sustained in the spin as the car moved across the short tire barrier in the infield. In eighth place was Allen Bradley. After many years in the stock cars, Allen moved to the modifieds for 2012. Rounding out the top ten were: Brody Spangler in his #91 and Andy Goodenough in his #12. Mark Rodgers did not start in his #07. Aaron Spangler was there as a spectator as he is waiting on his new car. Aaron was involved in a crash a couple of weeks back with his #16 being destroyed in a crash in which his car flipped three times.
Regan Tafoya turned in fast time with a 15.743 sec. lap with the average speed being 75.462 mph.
In the 25 lap Southern Sport Modified feature, Brandon Tenski passed the pole sitter on lap 11 and held the lead to the checkers. Tenski made the pass on the high side where he had the black #4 dialed in for top speed. Brandon had already shown that he might take the win as he had set fast time in his heat race with a 17.087, 69.527 mph. Taking 2nd was Zach Rouse in the 7x…Rouse had lead the first 10 laps of the race. In 3rd was Joey Klemmish in the #22 Mopar car. Julie Boettler put the #97 in 4th after some very tough racing. Fifth was Ryan Henley. Ryan looked as if he would move the #9 on up through the field early in the race but never gained any more momentum. Rounding out the top 10 were: Bill Dowdy in his #34, Brian Carey in the #55, Kristy Tenski in the #51, Travis Southerlin in his #59 and R.L. Henley in the #2.
The IMCA Sock Car feature was also 25 laps. And a very familiar car was in the winner’s circle. Track Champion, Rex Higgins took this race in his ever so smooth style. Higgins moved his way up to the front of the pack on lap 11 and sailed on to the checkers 14 laps later. Frankie Hendershot placed his #5 in front early in the race but went out on lap 11 while in the lead, with a broken shock tower. Frankie’s brother, Kenny Hendershot, picked up the baton and gave chase for Higgins but came up a bit short and settled for 2nd. in his #7 stock car. The Witten’s Warriors lead car, Steffan Carey, moved up in his #3 for that 3rd spot. One of our many lady drivers took 4th spot in her #77 blue and pink stock car. She ran up in 2nd for a few laps before dropping back for her 4 place finish. In fifth was the young stock car rookie, Jeramy Bradley. Jeramy took over his Dad’s #25 in this class…so now Larry Bradley runs the #52 on his car. Rounding out the top 10 were: Shane Devilbiss in his #43, Luke Rowe in the #55, Lee Moss in the #88, Larry Bradley in the #52 ( four spots behind in young son) and Frankie Hendershot was 10th. Kenny Hendershot had fast time in his heat with a 17.512 sec. 67.839 mph.
The hobby stock feature provided few cars but a very good race with Dennis Spencer picking up where he left off last year. Spencer won in his shiney new-purty racey car #07. It did look good pacing the field with Amador Milliano in his #45 giving chase along with Clint Profit in his #24 and rookie Kris Faddis in his #44. Darrel Cordary’s #03 was in there with an extremely good looking hobby stock.
The Mini stock/Hornet class had three minis show up for the opening night. Hopefully many more in the build stage. Breezy Hopper breezed on by for an easy feature win in her own #37. Willy Millard, Jr. was 2nd in his red and white #4 and his brother, Vance Millard was 3rd in his #2 machine.
Great night of racing for an opener of the 2012 season at Aztec Speedway…..The 60th year celebration will continue next week with the NMMRA sprint cars headlining a night that will include the IMCA sanctioned modifieds, sport modifieds and stock cars. Be sure and tune in this Saturday at 5pm for “Racing with Lynn” on 92.9 KRWN FM. Alex Kennedy will be my guest in studio and I’ll fill you in on what’s coming up on May 12th…The tractor and truck pull. Also catch an update on 1340 Fox Sports at 9:35am Friday.
Listen up for a special from the Road Runner convenience store located just a bit north of Aztec Speedway. You’re gonna’ like this!!
Winners, April 29, 2012
IMCA Sport Modifieds:
IMCA Stock Cars: