Event Recap: Mikulencak, Calhoun, Spreen win at STRR

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (April 27, 2024) — Veteran open-wheel pilot Marcus Mikulencak, local favorite Zach Calhoun and the ever-talented Brandon Spreen all earned feature wins in their respective divisions, as officials hosted a full card of racing on Saturday evening at South Texas Race Ranch. 

Mikulencak powered to victory in a 20-lap tilt for Limited Modifieds; Calhoun was triumphant in a talent-filled affair for EMods; while Spreen added another Dwarf car victory to his impressive resume.

Justin McClelland (Factory Stock); EJ Gilpin (Pure Stock); and Gilbert Perez III (Micro Mods) were also feature winners on a warm yet windy night for racing in the ‘Sparkling City by the Sea.’ 

Mikulencak, of Corpus Christi, started second on an 11-car grid and led all 20 laps in convincing fashion. Red-hot Nathan Titzman blasted up from 10th at the start to claim second, while Brian Rye filled out the podium. 

J.J. Jennings (Corpus Christi) and James Cole (San Antonio) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

“About halfway through that deal, I figured I better keep an eye on that big screen,” Mikulencak told veteran announcer and radio host Rodney Rodriguez in Sames Ford Victory Lane. “I saw Nathan was making some ground coming through the field. I kept checking that gap, but we kept it out front.”  

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Double J Jerky Limited Modified A Main were Cody Beddoe, Roly Rodriguez, Jett Garza, Ziggy Reusser and Cody Leonard. Only one caution slowed the pace before an official lap was scored. Once they went back at it, drivers settled in to focus on the task at hand, 

Calhoun, of Corpus Christi, started third on a 17-car EMod grid, drove to the inside of Parker Titzman coming off Turn 2 to take command at lap nine and held on to earn top honors. Zach Freeman made a late-race charge up to claim second, while Titzman finished third after leading eight laps. 

Kyle Jackson (Corpus Christi) and Kyler Ross (Corpus Christi) completed the top five. 

“So, for whatever reason coming out of Turn 2, everyone was getting real loose,” Calhoun said. “I could tell Titzman was, so I just started dive-bombing, going real high up into Turn 2 and was just waiting for him to slip up. Eventually he did, and I was able to get by and take the win. It feels good.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the EMod feature were Daniel Preston, Tim Thompson, Benjamin Fanning, Brianna Witzsche and Eddie Lopez. Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 1, 4, 5), all for minor incidents. The EMods are always entertaining in Corpus, and the division is bursting with talent.

Spreen, of Boerne, started fifth in a stout 22-car field of Dwarfs, drove around the outside of early leader Thomas Mach to take control at lap four and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Spreen held off the red-hot Dylan Budnik, while Dillon Spreen filled out the podium. 

Chris Ochoa (Salado) and Colby Urbanovsky (Kingsville) rounded out the top five. 

“We put a lot of work into this thing this year,” a modest Spreen told Rodriguez in Victory Lane. “It drove flawlessly the whole night. I have to thank Bodies by DSM, Swenson Performance, Spreen Racing Engines, my Mom and Dad and everybody else that helps. I really appreciate the support.”  

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Dwarf Car Racing Series of Texas A Main were Mach, Brayden Becker, Brady Ricks, Dillon Coyne and Duane Burford. With no cautions to slow his pace, Spreen stayed hard in the gas until he saw the checkered flag waving. The man is a true master of his craft. 

Saturday night’s program at the Race Ranch drew a respectable 78 entries spread across six classes. Led by the small but mighty Dwarfs with 22, there was ample talent in every corner of the pit area. Officials cranked out 13 Heats and six features in three hours flat, even with a half-hour intermission. 

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By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer