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JM Hallas

Emerson Electrifies Crowd with Late Pass to Capture Southern Sportmod Title

Emerson Electrifies Crowd with Late Pass to Capture Southern Sportmod Title

Sherman’s Jeff Emerson used lapped traffic to his advantage in the final laps of the IMCA Southern Sportmod A-main Saturday night at Heart o Texas Speedway. Emerson who worked his way up from sixth starting spot, caught race long leader, Keith White as the two approached a slower car. White left the door open enough for Emerson to stick the nose in, and Emerson took the shot.

In what you’d expect in shootout with $2,200 up for grabs the two traded a little paint and exchanged body blows before White eventually got out in the loose stuff and half spun, tagging Emerson, and an infield tire before spinning to the infield. Emerson recovered and was able to motor on to the victory.

As the green flagged waved on the 24-lap, 25-lap starting field, White out raced Chris Cogburn into turn 1 to take the point. T J Green and Emerson both got past Benji Kirkpatrick on lap 1 for third and fourth. The top ten singled out by lap 2, as the rest of the pack still side by side battling for early positions. White immediately began to inch away looking like he could easily go flag to flag.

Emerson began to use the high side as he looked for way around T J Green for third. As Emerson and T J Green ran wheel to wheel they caught Cogburn. Emerson got second on lap 6 leaving Cogburn and T J Green side by side for third. Once clear Emerson methodically cut into the lead of White, catching him on lap 11. In the pack Jacob Pirkle was battling with Johnny Torres for fifth.

Emerson took a look outside White on lap 12 as the race reached halfway with White, Emerson, T J Green, Kirkpatrick and Pirkle in the top five. Chase Jupe brought out the races only caution when he rolled to a stop in turn 2 on lap 14. On the restart, Emerson again began to try high on White with Kevin Green getting sixth from J. Torres. Pirkle tried his luck on the top groove challenging and getting by Kirkpatrick for fourth on lap 17. With five laps to go, White had a slight three car length margin on Emerson, while Pirkle advanced to third getting past T J Green.

Emerson closed the gap on White as they came up on slower traffic. As the two dove into turn 1 behind a slower car, White left an opening on the bottom. Emerson stuck the nose inside White, with the two making contact. They rubbed again coming out of turn 2, but White tried to fight back on the top side. Again they traded paint in turn 3 sending White up into the loose stuff. White half spun off the top and clipped Emerson on the way by before tagging an infield tire and spinning to a stop off the track.

White tried to refire and return to the race, a broken steering box put him right back in the infield. Emerson was able regain control and take over the lead on lap 23. Behind all that, Pirkle had secured second from T J Green. Emerson was able to run unchallenged the final two laps in Smileys, Skidmore Racing, Red Dog Graphics, Jeff’s Performance Engines, Emerson Race Cars to take home the big payday.

“It’s pretty much dirt track racing,” commented Emerson. “That about explains it. When we got to the lapped car, he drifted up a little bit. I got underneath and we had a little battle there. I kept it together and held on for the win.”

“Coming to these big shows doesn’t bother me. I just drive it like I know how and never get nervous. As for the car we put some new sheet metal on it, jazzed it up a little to make it look good.”

“I had never been here before so the first night we watched Keith(White) hot lap to try to figure our best line. I figured if he could go that fast around here that I could do the same. I just always drive my own lines and see where we finish at.”

“I just ran a line that no one was else was running,” replied runner-up Pirkle. “I just got on the high side and picked them off one by one. You’ve just got to race your own race. You have just got go out there see what you’ve got, where the moisture is at and find the fastest way around if you can and keep the car straight.”

“I didn’t learn to race that way,” added a dejected White. “I try to respect the people I race with and expect that in return. This is twice Jeff Emerson’s done that to me. I led going into the first corner of the last lap a couple years ago at Grayson County. He knocked me out of the way and went on to win. Yes, it’s a part of racing, but not like I feel you should race. I don’t race anyone that way.”

1. 35 Jeff Emerson, Sherman
2. 41 Jacob Pirkle, Midlothian
3. 55 T J Green, Robinson
4. 971 Benji Kirpatrick, Elm Mott
5. 5D Kevin Green, Robinson
6. 66 Johnny Torres, Lake Hills
7. 5c Chris Cogburn, Robinson
8. 14 Ricky Heckel, China Springs
9. 3 Larry Killian, Greenville
10. 06 Randy Buttery, Duncanville
11. 07 Robert Black, Hallsburg
12. 99 Matt Winnett, Colbert
13. 9 Bennie Everhart, Red Oak
14. 23x Greg Atwood, Georgetown
15. 11 Mark McDanaiel, Elm Mott
16. 28 Gabe Tucker, Abilene
17. 355 Cary Stephens, Bells
18. 30 Chase Jupe, West
19. 58 Sid Kiphen, Gateville
20. 00 Brad Shirley, Springtown
21. 804 Chuck Copeland, Nacadoches
22. 1 Keith White, Academy
23. 021 Jason Gore, Forney
24. 31 Cody Smith, Forney

IMCA SSM B-mains(Top 4 transfer to A-main/redraw)
B-main #1. 41 Jacob Pirkle, 06 Randy Buttery, 31 Cody Smith, 30 Chase Jupe
B-main #2. 3 Larry Killian, 355 Cary Stephens, 9 Bennie Everhart, 58 Sid Kiphen
B-main #3.11 Mark McDaniel, 07 Robert Black, 23x Greg Atwood, 021 Jason Gore

IMCA SSM heat races(Winner transfers to A-main/redraw)
Heat 1. 99 Matt Winnett
Heat 2. 5D Kevin Green
Heat 3. 804 Chuck Copeland
Heat 4. 00 Brad Shirley
Heat 5. 28 Gabe Tucker
Heat 6. 14 Ricky Heckel







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Revised: February 23, 2013