Elliott up to Challenge at Abilene’s Bard Memorial

Chris Elliott banked $2,000 and put his name on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot by win­ning Saturday’s Ryan Bard Memorial Southern Challenge main event for IMCA Modifieds at Abi­lene Speedway. (Photo by Michael Diers, Pole Position Photo)

ABILENE, Texas (Oct. 17) – After more than a year outside the winner’s circle, Chris Elliott proved more than good enough on night two of Abilene Speedway’s Ryan Bard Memorial South­ern Challenge.

Elliott led all 30 laps of the Saturday evening IMCA Modified main event, earning $2,000 and a spot on the 2021 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. 

“It’s been a tough year,” Elliott said after taking the hometown checkers. “We’ve had some good nights but it seems like we had some rotten ones where we either broke or were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Runner-up in three of the four Red River Tour events, Elliott saw his season really do a 180 when he qualified for the main event at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s and ran from 18th starting to eighth in the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational. 

“We were decent at Boone but not as good as I wanted to be ” said Elliott, most recently a feature win­ner at Cardinal Speedway’s Sam Hodges Memorial in September of 2019. “We really worked on the balance of the car and our timing. The car was extremely good this weekend.”

The Southern Challenge winner at Abilene in 2010, Elliott was the runner-up in 2019. Fred Wojtek, Chris Bragg, Chad Melton and Cory Davis rounded out the top five behind him this year.

Other $2,000 feature winners at the 26th annual event were Tommy Fain in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Kale Westover in the Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMods.

Fain also led start to finish of a 30-lapper, setting sail after he cleared traffic. Matt Guillaume, Shelby Williams, Colby Deming and Jason Batt were next to the checkers.

“Usually the only way I can redraw good numbers are when they’re the only ones left,” said Fain, who’d chosen between the one and two pills after winning the Friday heat race at his home track. “We had tried some different gears in practice on Thursday, went back to what we knew on Fri­day and then went with a spring chance for Saturday.”

Fourth at Abilene’s season-opening Ice Breaker in February, Westover led the final 24 laps of the Southern SportMod feature, “focusing on running really smooth laps” after passing Bradley Poor for the front spot.

“We’ve been really good here at the end of the season. Everything has been really good for us,” he said. “I’m really blessed to have everybody who’s been helping standing beside me.”

Poor, Dan Day, Matt Mueller and Justin Shaw were next across the stripe. 

Steve Riojas topped the Mach-1 Sport Compact feature, chased by Jack Bransom and Kaleb Wat­son. 

Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Chris Elliott, Abilene; 2. Fred Wojtek, Blackwell; 3. Chris Bragg, Springtown; 4. Chad Melton, Mineral Wells; 5. Cory Davis, Eunice, N.M;. 6. Danny Hogue, Abilene; 7. John Webb, Pauls Valley, Okla.; 8. Mikel Powers, Abilene; 9. Craig Oakes, Marshall; 10. Josh McGaha, Abi­lene; 11. Jeff Emerson, Millsap; 12. Matt Guillaume, Haslet; 13. Danny Patterson, Merkel; 14. William Gould, Calera, Okla.; 15. Bob Sikes, Eunice, N.M.; 16. Michael Maraschick, Midland; 17. Harvey Wojtek, Robert Lee; 18. Jamie Newton, Carlsbad, N.M; 19. Danton Odell, Canyon; 20. Kyle Wisdom, Abilene.

Stock Cars – 1. Tommy Fain, Abilene; 2. Matt Guillaume, Haslet; 3. Shelby Williams, Bonham; 4. Colby Deming, Hobbs, N.M.; 5. Jason Batt, Harker Heights; 6. Blake Clark, Joshua; 7. Chad Her­tel, Tuscola; 8. Kirk Martin, Weatherford; 9. Billy Wade, San Angelo; 10. Dennis Bissonnette, Stephen­ville; 11. Ryan Wilkerson, Midland; 12. Cory Davis, Eunice, N.M.; 13. Erik Miles, Fort Worth; 14. Bryan Schutte, Wayne, Okla.; 15. Kelly Allen, Sweetwater; 16. Chance Brown, Merkel; 17. Gerald Spalding Jr., Andrews; 18. Westin Abbey, Comanche; 19. Levi Hodges, Azle; 20. Jack Miles, Midland.

Southern SportMods – 1. Kale Westover, Blair, Okla.; 2. Bradley Poor, Abilene; 3. Dan Day, Farmerville; 4. Matt Mueller, Stamford; 5. Justin Shaw, Sweetwater; 6. Cory Williams, Tahoka; 7. Greg Atwood, Georgetown; 8. Jeffrey Koup, Woodward, Okla.; 9. Matthew Day, Farmerville; 10. Damon Hammond, Burleson; 11. Leland Cruz, Amarillo; 12. Trevor Lutz, Snyder; 13. David San­ford, Potosi; 14. Tommy Fain, Abilene; 15. Devin Burgess, Stephenville; 16. Kirk Martin, Weather­ford; 17. Jerrett Bransom, Burleson; 18. Robert Crabtree III, Clyde; 19. Gary Underwood, Abilene; 20. James Skinner, Burleson; 21. Robby Edwards, Eastland.

Sport Compacts – 1. Steve Riojas, Waxahachie; 2. Jack Bransom, Burleson; 3. Kaleb Watson, Mineral Wells; 4. Brandon Underwood, Burleson; 5. Joey Giles, Abilene; 6. Korbyn Martin, Spring­town; 7. Lena Andrus, Sweetwater; 8. Howard Watson, Weatherford; 9. Jesse Abels, Abi­lene; 10. Sean Leasure, Mansfield; 11. Brandon McFall, Abilene; 12. Keagan Harelson, Abilene; 13. Steven Bevels, Granbury; 14. Anthony Vandenberg, Dublin; 15. Frank Lackey, Joshua; 16. Tina McBride, Merkel.