Monday, April 15, 2019

Houston Sets Fast Time, Wins NSMS Opener At Madera

Randy Houston being interviewed by Madera Speedway announcer “Outback Andy” after his $2000 win at Madera Speedway. (Photo by Curt Agustinovich)

Via Nadine Strauss/NSMS Media

Madera, CA..... April 13, 2019.... After setting fast time of 15.072, Randy Houston of Medford, Oregon started 10th in the field and collected $2000 for his big win at Madera Speedway Saturday night in the season opener of the North State Modified Series, presented by Protect the Harvest.

Sacramento's Jason Philpot finished a strong season, and a race-long battle between Cameron Austin of Santa Rosa and Darrin Sullivan of Kelsyville saw Austin beat Sullivan to the Sunoco checkered flag for third with Sullivan settling for fourth. Brian Collins of Camino finished fifth.

Houston's fast time was close to the Hoosier Tire track record of 15.059 set by Eric Price II of Rio Linda on June 9, 2018. Sullivan clocked in second fast at 15.085. Robbie Knittel was third fastest with a 15.114 second lap, Philpot fourth (15.121) and Austin fifth (15.165.)

The 60 lap feature saw Dave Campbell and Oregon driver Rich Cobb in the front row with Collins and 3-time NSMS champ Darrin Knight in row two. 2018 champion Kris Price and Austin shared row three. Cobb powered to the lead at the drop of the green flag with both Knight and Collins passing Campbell for second and third. Collins got around Knight on lap seven just before the yellow flew when Campbell and Ian Elliott made contact causing Campbell to spin in turn one.

When racing resumed Cobb continued to show the way with Collins second, Austin third and Price fourth. Collins took over the lead on lap 12, and two rounds later Price made an inside pass on Collins and began to pull away from the field. Knittel got around Cobb for third on lap 18 and Philpot joined the front runners on 21.

Meanwhile Houston was picking off cars, and at the half-way mark it was Price, Knittel, Philpot, Houston, Austin, Collins, Sullivan, Cobb, Knight, Keith Bloom, Elliott, Campbell, Donovan Cox, Rick Avila and Sal Lopez.

After a long green-flag run, the race was slowed again when Lopez's car bobbled and he spun in turn two. The restart saw Price and Knittel side-by-side, but when they motored down the back stretch, the two cars touched with Knittel brushing the wall and Price's car hitting the wall hard, ending his run. Knittel pitted for a tire change and rejoined the field to finish the race.

This left Philpot and Houston side-by-side for the restart with Houston taking the next two laps to inch by Philpot and into the lead. The final yellow flew on lap 54 when Bloom and Cobb made contact with Cobb turning around in turn four.

Houston raced the remaining laps flawlessly to take the win over Philpot, Austin, Sullivan, Collins and Knight. Rounding out the top 10 were Elliott, Knittel, Cobb, Bloom and Campbell. The $1000 win was boosted to $2000 courtesy of Madera promoter Kenny Shepherd.

Kris Price collected $100 for his win in the Lucas Oil Dash for Cash with Philpot earning $50 for second. Arce Racing Engines donated $50 each to third place Houston and fourth place Knittle.

The Keyser Hard Charger award went to Houston for passing the most cars. Donovan Cox picked up the Naake Shocks certificate, Price and Philpot earned the Scribner jugs, and the Frank's Radios gift cards went to Houston, Philpot and Austin.

Racing resumes for the North State Modified Series on April 27 at the Stockton 99 Speedway.

The North State Modified Series is presented by: Protect the Harvest, Lucas Oil, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, Naake Suspension, Five Star Bodies, Racer Bling, Keyser Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, Gone Racin' Marine, Buckhorn Bar & Grill, and Franks Radios.

NSMS modified rules, procedures, schedule, entry forms and other information are available on the web site

HOOSIER TIME TRIALS: Randy Houston (15.072); Darrin Sullivan (15.085; Robbie Knittel (15.114); Jason Philpot (15.121); Cameron Austin (15.165); Kris Price (15.196); Darrin Knight (15.248); Brian Collins (15.314); Rich Cobb (15.382); Dave Campbell (15.486); Keith Bloom Jr (15.553); Ian Elliott (15.568); Sal Lopez (15.794); Donovan Cox (15.808); Rick Avila (N/T)

LUCAS OIL DASH FOR CASH: Kris Price, Jason Philpot, Randy Houston, Robbie Knittel, Darrin Knight, Cameron Austin

SUNOCO / SHEPHERD MAIN EVENT: Randy Houston, Jason Philpot, Cameron Austin, Darrin Sullivan, Brian Collins, Darrin Knight, Ian Elliott, Robbie Knittel, Rich Cobb, Keith Bloom, Dave Campbell, Rick Avila, Donovan Cox, Kris Price, Sal Lopez