DayMotorSports.com Race Recap: Geurin, Spalding, Bowles win at Heart O’ Texas

ELM MOTT, Texas (March 1, 2024) — Veteran open-wheel pilot Brandon Geurin, rising star Cutter Spalding and regional star Michael Bowles all won feature races in their respective divisions, as Selby Holder and his staff hosted the Jack Bagby Memorial on Friday evening at Heart O’ Texas Speedway. 

Geurin powered to victory in a 20-lap tilt for IMCA Southern SportMods; Spalding prevailed in a talent-filled affair for IMCA Stock Cars; while Bowles dominated the Factory Stock feature. 

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Benji Kirkpatrick (Outlaw Street Stock) and Mason Warren (Jr. Limited) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for short track racing in Central Texas. 

Geurin, of Robinson, started eighth on a 21-car grid, drove to the outside of Jeff Shepperd to take command at lap 11 and pulled away to earn top honors. Jerrett Bransom crossed the stripe in second, while ageless veteran Paul White drove up from 12th at the start to fill out the podium. 

Cameron Cook (Grand Prairie) and Chris Florio (Copperas Cove) rounded out the top five. 

“It was a long off-season,” Geurin told P.A. announcer and former promoter Joe Spillman in Victory Lane. “We did a lot of work on the car with Robert Crabtree and Dark Horse Racing Shocks. We took the car up to them; they made a lot of changes and performed a lot of updates. 

“It’s working really good for me, but I couldn’t do this without everybody that helps us out. All of our great sponsors, my wife, our boys and my family, I have a lot of great people who support this team.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Southern SportMod A Main were Jeff Bauser Jr., Zack Manthie, Corbin Willett, Thomas Harris and Paul Bolin (who drove up from dead-last). Five cautions slowed the pace (laps 8, 9, 9, 12, 14), all for minor spins. The SportMods are always amazing in Waco.

Spalding, of Abilene, inherited the lead when early leader James Hoffman’s engine let go in a fireball after 10 laps of competition. Spalding drove like a seasoned Pro to claim the win, while G.W. Egbert settled for second. Doug Lorenz filled out the podium with a solid performance. 

Benji Kirkpatrick (doing double duty) and Cody Baker (Alvarado) completed the top five. 

“Man, I think we were up against the chip (Rev Limiter on the engine) tonight,” Spalding said. “That’s all she would do; I got the most out of it I could. This was a blast, we’ll be back here when we can.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Stock Car feature were Paul White, Thomas Hall Jr., Jimmie Helona-Heatherington, Anthony Otken and Thomas Hall. Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 0, 0, 10), all for minor incidents. Spalding’s margin of victory over Egbert was a healthy 1.387 seconds. 

Bowles, of Italy, Texas, started second on a 25-car grid and held off a late-race charge from Michael Dabney to earn top honors in a caution-plagued season opener for Factory Stock teams. Dabney drove up from 19th at the start to contend for the win, passing Wes Dulock in the closing laps. 

Nate Dixon (Ennis) and local favorite Ryan Hopkins (Waco) rounded out the top five. 

“I have a lot of people to thank for getting me here,” Bowles said. “Quality people like Kevin and Brandon Hightower at APE Engines, Wicked Fast Transmissions, Jeffrey Abbey at CRS Suspension, Enslin Chassis, just everybody who helps out. It’s a tough field here, and always feels good to win.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock A Main were Mike Land, Melvin Kemp Jr., Dillon Kidwell, Jeff Blackwood and local favorite Michael Geunat. Six cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 5, 9, 11, 11, 11), none for serious incident. Bowles’ margin of victory was a scant .478 of a second. 

The Jack Babgy Memorial has opened the season at Heart O’ Texas Speedway for 27 years. Right after the IMCA Stock car feature concluded, Holder grabbed the Mic and spoke to his fans. 

“With us here tonight are members of Jack’s family,” Holder said. “Jack was a car owner, and worked on a whole lot of cars in various divisions here at the speedway. He worked on carburetors and a lot of different things, and was a highly-respected fixture here. I thank his family for being here.” 

This year’s opener drew an impressive 104 entries spread across five divisions. Led by Factory Stocks with 25 strong teams, there was no shortage of talent assembled in the pit area on Friday. 

Officials knocked out 16 qualifying Heats in short order, took a short break, then played host to five solid feature races. As a new season gets under way in Waco, all indications point to another solid year.

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s season-opening Jack Bagby Memorial at Heart O’ Texas Speedway with a subscription at RaceON.com. Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap in 2024 from several states. 

When you sign up today, choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.  

By Phil Whipple, RaceON.com Staff Writer. Photo By Southern Sass Photography