PLEASANTON, Texas -- Veteran racer Larry Baggett had a few clear goals going in to the inaugural season for the new Texas Dirt Truck Series. He wanted to attack each track with controlled aggression, setting the tone for what he feels can be a championship run this summer.
Baggett, of Marble Falls, TX, made a bold statement on Saturday evening, driving to victory in the inaugural feature race at I-37 Speedway. Baggett started outside the front row alongside Tony Bernal (MFM No. 51 Ford) and quickly took command. Despite a stiff late-race charge by Bernal, Baggett had enough speed and handling to hold on for top honors.
Bernal, of La Vernia, gave it his best yet settled for second, while former Dwarf Car standout Russell Rust (Boerne, No. M5 Chevrolet) filled out the podium in third. Former drag racing standout Russ Parker (Seguin, Parker-Jones Racing Chevrolet) finished fourth, while Anthony Gordon (San Antonio, No. 22M/All In Designs) completed the top five.
“When we first came out here for hot laps, we were very loose, Baggett said. “We made some changes with the tire pressures and the chassis setup. Those changes took us in the right direction, and it was hooked up pretty good for the feature.”
In the world of short track dirt racing, weather and ever-changing track conditions are what provides the big challenges racers face every week. Baggett says the fast, semi-banked oval called I-37 improved as Saturday night's program progressed.
“The track was pretty slick when we went out to qualify earlier,” Baggett added. “But by the time we ran the feature, it had gotten a little tacky and our truck loved it. I had the grip I needed and we just kept it out front. It feels so very rewarding and satisfying to have won the first-ever TDTS race.”
For Baggett, the last couple of weeks have meant hard work and effort in a full scramble mode.
“We had a few issues as we finished this thing off, and were working on it until late last night,” he explained. “We even had a few things to finish off today before we came here, and worked on it right up until we loaded up for the track at noon. All that just makes this win so very, very special.”
The new pride of Marble Falls wasn't the only one happy with the outcome on Saturday night. Texas Dirt Truck Series founder George Jones was visibly relieved and even thrilled to have completed the series' inaugural event. While truck count was a little low, the quality of those on hand was high.
“I am so pleased we had five guys willing to bust their butts and get trucks ready for this opener,” Jones said. “What we lacked in quantity, we made up for in quality. All five trucks gave it their best shot, and I'm confident more will be here for our second race on April 13. I'm a happy man.”
Officials would like to extend a sincere thank you to Ray Doyon III and Michael Keylich, the driving forces behind the incredibly successful turnaround at I-37 Speedway. Being part of your big 'Dirt Kings' event brought us tremendous exposure in front of that capacity crowd. We greatly value our relationship with what many feel is the hottest little dirt track in the entire state of Texas.
Next up for the TDTS teams is a return to I-37 Speedway on Saturday, April 13, for Race No. 2 on the 2019 schedule. For more information, please go to www.texasdirttrucks.com.
-Texas Dirt Truck Series Press Release & Photo