O’Neil wins big on dramatic night at Southern New Mexico Speedway
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August 13, 2011  |  by Bryan Hulbert

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- After early afternoon rains soaked the Southern New Mexico Speedway, the track was very heavy to start things off for the 2nd Annual Special Olympics Benefit Night with the USRA RHS Modifieds taking center stage.

With drivers from all over the southwest set to take the green, the field of 24 USRA RHS Modifieds took the green for 30 laps with Rick Ortega shooting to the lead from outside the front row. Into second, Dana Fite got the run on Kevin Clark, bringing Holly Jones with him into third.

On the high side and pulling away, Ortega soon had the field on his back bumper as the caution waved for Fito Gallardo, who had just fought his way into fifth. Back to green and Jones raced into second as Fite, trying to reclaim the spot, went around to force another caution.

Back to green and the car on the move was Royal Jones, but the caution was looming again as Clark lost the handle on his car, shooting across the track and collecting Jacob Gallardo. Able to restart, Gallardo was given his spot back in sixth on the track as Clark was charged with the caution and sent to the back.

Twenty-four laps from the checkered flag and the car on the move was Phillip Houston, who had to race his way in via the B-Main. Cracking the top 5 after starting 14th, the Odessa, Texas, racer went to work on Royal Jones for fourth as Story Scott went to work on Houston before the caution waved for Holly Jones who spun while running second.

On the restart, Jake O誰eil was the next car making moves as the B-Main winner was locked and loaded on the inside line, going three wide for fourth as Bumper Jones threw his name into the mix to make it a four-car battle to be in the top 5. Taking away fourth on the inside line, O誰eil went to work on Royal Jones for third as Terry Tipton worked all over the track trying to get the pass for the lead on Ortega until another caution waved for the spun Jacob Gallardo.

To the restart and O誰eil with a dynamite restart pulled off a monster slide job on Ortega for the race lead as the field raced to 15 laps to go. Back to caution for the spun car of Sherman Barnett, the field got set into the double-file restart with O誰eil, Tipton and Houston making up the top 3 drivers with 13 laps to run. From restart to red, Jimmy Ray flipped off the top of turn 1. Ray was uninjured as the race resumed with O誰eil leading Houston and Royal Jones.

Fighting for second, Jones stole it away from Houston with a slide job before the caution waved again for the spun Clark. Back to green and the battle for second was on again between Jones and Houston with Jones holding the spot and going after O誰eil for the race lead. Forced to run the highline, Jones ran down O誰eil but the roughness of the high line alowed O誰eil to hold on for his first win at the Southern New Mexico Speedway.

Jones, Houston, Scott and Bumper Jones rounded out the top 5.

Heat wins went to Dickie Gorham, Holly Jones, Ortega and Jacob Gallardo.

The next show at the Speedway will be next Saturday, Aug. 20, as the USRA Western Flyer HotMods return. Gates to the grandstands will open at 5:30 p.m. with racing getting underway at 7:45.

Admission will be $10 for adults. Kids ages 11-15, members of the military, seniors, law enforcement personnel and university students getting in for $7 while children 10 and under get in for free.

The Southern New Mexico Speedway is located 11 miles west of Las Cruces at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Take exit 132 off I-10, turn left to Robert Larson Blvd., and then head west to the Speedway.

For more information on the Speedway, log onto www.snmspeedway.com, link up with us on Facebook, and sign up the e-newsletter by texting the word "Speedway" to 22828 from your cell phone.

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American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series
Southern New Mexico Speedway, Las Cruces, N.M.
Saturday, August 13, 2011


Heat #1: 1. Dickie Gorham, 2. Royal Jones, 3. Terry Tipton, 4. Jake O誰eil, 5. Billy Johnson, 6. Donavon Flores, 7. Donavon Ooley, 8. Alex Gonzalez.

Heat #2: 1. Holly Jones, 2. Dana Fite, 3. Brian Clark, 4. Philip Houston, 5. James Fleming, 6. Christy Georges, 7. Mercedes Harris.

Heat #3: 1. Rick Ortega, 2. Fito Gallardo, 3. Stormy Scott, 4. Roger Owens, 5. Bumper Jones, 6. Richard Johnson, 7. Dusty Riggs.

Heat #4: 1. Jacob Gallardo, 2. Chris Sims, 3. Kevin Clark, 4. Sherman Barnett, 5. Jimmy Ray, 6. Gregory Jenkins, 7. Mike Money.

"B" Feature: 1. Jake O誰eil, 2. Philip Houston, 3. Roger Owens, 4. Donavon Flores, 5. Sherman Barnett, 6. Jimmy Ray, 7. Gregory Jenkins, 8. Bumper Jones, 9. Richard Johnson, 10. Mercedes Harris, 11. Mike Money, 12. Dusty Riggs, 13. Alex Gonzalez, 14. James Fleming, 15. Christy Georges, 16. Billy Johnson, 17. Donavon Ooley.

"A" Feature: 1. Jake O誰eil, 2. Royal Jones, 3. Philip Houston, 4. Stormy Scott, 5. Bumper Jones, 6. Terry Tipton, 7. Rick Ortega, 8. Brian Clark, 9. Chris Sims, 10. Roger Owens, 11. Dusty Riggs, 12. Sherman Barnett, 13. Mercedes Harris, 14. Donavon Flores, 15. Gregory Jenkins, 16. Kevin Clark, 17. Jimmy Ray, 18. Holly Jones, 19. Dana Fite, 20. Jacob Gallardo, 21. Richard Johnson, 22. Fito Gallardo, 23. Dickie Gorham, 24. Mike Money.

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