Opening night at Dodge City Raceway Park ended with a bang.
The 2017 season opener at Dodge City Raceway Park wrapped up in dramatic fashion with Ty Williams storming into the lead on the final round to win Saturday night’s 20-lap Precise Racing Products DCRP Sprint Car feature.
While the Arcadia, OK, racer topped the Sprint Car ranks, other opening night winners included Cole Traugott over a field of 32 IMCA Modifieds, Jeff Kaup in IMCA Sport Modifieds, Angel Munoz in IMCA Stock Cars and Matt O’Hair in IMCA Hobby Stocks as a total of 98 cars filled the pit area.
O’Hair was the only reigning champion to kick off the season with a victory as defending Sprint Car champion Taylor Velasquez let the win get away on the final lap.
Williams, who also won the 2015 season opener atop the 3/8-mile DCRP clay oval, started Saturdaynight’s feature from the pole position. But, after leading the opening circuit, Williams faded back to fourth in the opening seven rounds behind Mike Peters, Ray Seemann and Velasquez.
With Peters setting a lightning-quick pace out front in search of his first DCRP win since the 2012 season finale, Velasquez battled past Seemann for second on the seventh round and set sail for the leader as Williams worked his way back to third just past the midway point.
Two laps after a lap 13 caution for a turn two spin, Peters popped a powerplant down the backstretch and handed the lead over to Velasquez with just six rounds remaining.
Williams began closing in as the laps clicked off and raced around Velasquez in the final pair of corners to snare the win.
“We fell back there early in the race,” Williams said. “We weren’t gonna go anywhere running the same line, so I started moving around and finally found something that worked.”
Velasquez settled for runner-up honors behind Williams with Jake Martens working his way up to third from the ninth starting position. Koby Walters raced from 11th fourth with Jordan Knight rounding out the top five.
In IMCA Modified action, Woodward, Oklahoma’s Cole Traugott picked up where he left off in 2016 by racing to victory lane in the 20-lapper. It was Traugott’s seventh victory in his last seven trips to DCRP including the final three events of last year.
Traugott had his work cut out for him this time though, fending off some serious challenges from Steve Bowers, Jr., to secure the win from the front row outside.
Traugott gunned into the early lead from the front row outside and stretched out an early lead as third-starter Bowers, Jr., battled past Troy Gemmill for second on the fifth round and then began to reel in the leader.
Bowers, Jr., put the pressure on Traugott for the point before the first caution flew after 13 laps and then was poised to make a move when a final caution flew with three laps to go.
Traugott got a strong restart and put the win away with Bowers, Jr., settling for second. After starting eighth, David Murray picked off third in the closing rounds with T. Gemmill and ninth-starter Brendon Gemmill rounding out the top five.
The IMCA Sport Modified main event came down to the final circuits in the 20-lapper as well with three-time track champion Jeff Kaup battling past Brian Davidson in the late going to capture his first DCRP opening night win after winning last year’s season finale.
While Davidson raced into the lead from the pole starting position, Kaup needed just four laps to rally from eighth to second. Kaup went to work on the leader, working low in the early portion and then working up top the rest of the way.
Kaup’s persistence finally paid off as he surged into the lead with just three laps remaining to post his 13th DCRP win since 2012. Davidson settled for second with Eric Munoz, Adam Stenzel and 14th-starter Kyle Wiens rounding out the top five.
In the 15-lap IMCA Stock Car feature, Lamar, Colorado’s Angel Munoz outdueled Cody Zimmerman for the early lead and set the pace throughout to pick up the win in his first DCRP outing since a June 4triumph last year.
Munoz kept Zimmerman and reigning track champion Michael Pepper at bay much of the way before Jack Pepper rallied into the runner-up position from the tail in the closing laps. Landon Maddox snared the show position with M. Pepper and Travis Baird rounding out the top five.
Laverne, Oklahoma’s Matt O’Hair kicked off his IMCA Hobby Stock title defense by racing to victory lane in the 20-lapper from the ninth starting position after posting three wins last year.
While Tyler Walker led from the pole position, O’Hair needed just one lap to charge from ninth to second. O’Hair went to work on Walker before taking command on the fifth circuit. O’Hair spent the balance of the race keeping Duane Wahrman and Reagan Sellard at bay.
Sellard slipped by Wahrman for second in the final rounds and fell just short of O’Hair at the line. Wahrman settled for third behind O’Hair and Sellard with Walker and Cameron Austin rounding out the top five.
Action continues at Dodge City Raceway Park with Lewis Automotive night on Saturday, April 29, featuring the second round of championship chase action for the Precise Racing Products DCRP Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars and IMCA Hobby Stocks.