EAST MANATEE -- On a night when the Safety-Kleen TBARA Sprint Car series was honoring one of their pioneering drivers, Joey Aguilar made sure he honored his mentor in a proper way with a pass coming to the white flag that allowed him to take his second consecutive win to open the season on Saturday night at Desoto Speedway.
Aguilar, whose last visit to the speedway ended with a helicopter ride to a local hospital after he received burns from an oil line fire, started ninth in the inaugural Larry Brazil Memorial 30-lap event.
As pole-sitter Tommy Nichols paced the field for the first 15 laps of the race, Aguilar, Shane Butler and Ben Fritz were making quick work of the rest of the field on their way to the front of the field. Fritz, who started sixth, was already up to second by the end of Lap 1.
Butler made his way past Fritz for second at the end of Lap 10 and quickly ran Nichols down to battle for the lead. Butler used a diamond maneuver where he went high in the middle of turns three and four and shot to the bottom of the race track coming off the corner. Butler won a drag race with Nichols into the first turn. It looked as if Butler was firmly in control of the closing stages of the race, but Aguilar got by Fritz on Lap 18 and started running down the leader. Aguilar closed to Butler's tail with five to go, but couldn't complete the pass.
With a lap and a half to go, Aguilar got a run coming off Turn 2 and dove under Butler coming into Turn 3. With the white flag in the air, Aguilar completed the pass just before the start-finish line. As he crossed under the checkered flag, Aguilar said he was thinking of Brazil, a man he described as both a friend and mentor.
"This win is for Larry and his family ... and that's all," an excited Aguilar said in victory Lane. Butler finished second while Fritz finished third. Earlier in the evening, Aguilar took the win in the K&N Heat Race 1, and Fritz won the Auto Meter Heat Race 2.
In other action Saturday night, Randy Johnson passed Ronnie Robinson in the final turn to win the 20-lap Pro 4 feature; Josh Widner won the Rookie 4 feature race; Kris Bridges was awarded the win in the Cowboy Cadillac feature event after race winner Richard Nelson and runner-up James Wright were disqualified after failing post-race inspection; Jeff Firestine was the winner of the Modified Mini main event; Dennis Wilson Jr. won a crash-filled Street Stock feature, his second consecutive win in that class; and Ren Wright Jr. won the Mini Stock feature.
Next week, Desoto Speedway plays host to a Crash And Bash night that will feature School Bus Figure 8s in addition to regular racing.
RESULTSDesoto SpeedwaySprints Cars
1. 11 Joey Aguilar, 2. 18 Shane Butler, 3. 16 Ben Fritz, 4. 88 Sport Allen, 5. 55 Tommy Nichols, 6. 67 Scotty Adema, 7. 0 Dude Teale, 8. 9 Matt Alfonso, 9. 85 Rex Hollinger, 10. 92 David Rotzlaff, 11. 23 Chris Gimmler, 12. 4 Jason Bradford, 13. J1 Mike Tharp, 14. 58 Stan Butler, 15. 68 Garrett Green, 16. 15 Geoff Styner.Street Stock1. 42 Dennis Wilson, 2. 80 Richard Nelson, 3. 50 David Blanchard, 4. 7 Blaine Baer, 5. 91 Ander Jackson, 6. 8w Tim Wilson, 7. 10 Tim Miller, 8. 97 Chris Scott, 9. 26 Brian Hillyer, 10. 18 Shane Leonard, 11. 64 Dave Bowman DNS, 12. 5 Jay Praysner St. Marie DQ in tech, 13. 57 Jim Brenner DQ in tech, 14. 8b Mike Bialacki DQ in tech.Modified Mini1. 32 Jeff Firestiene, 2. 6 Dave Davis, 3. 17 Jimmy Wood, 4. 45 Mike Kerrivan, 5. 88 Anthony La PointPro 41. 73 Randy Johnson, 2. 05 Ronald Robinson, 3. 91 Jessica Ostrovskis, 4. 99 Johnny Marra, 5. 3 Sherry Best, 6. 008 Ren Wright Jr., 7. 98 Chris Larson, 8. 18 Fred WilsonMini Stock1. 008 Ren Wright Jr., 2. 98 Chris Larson, 3. 3 Duane Best, 4. 48 Jason Weiss, 5. 18 Fred WilsonCowboy Cadillac1. 6 Kris Bridges, 2. 5 Ed Snyder, 3. 80 Richard Nelson DQ in tech 4. 63 James Wright DQ in techRookie 41. 8 Joshua Widner, 2. 67 Jimmy Best, 3. 13 Bryan Ferguson.