Racers dash for cash in Billy the Kid Shootout

CNJ staff photo: Loretta Kos/Modified Stock cars come out of the fourth turn during a qualifying heat of the Billy the Kid Shootout on Sunday at Ned Houk Motor Sports Complex.

Gary Mitchell

Ted Hamm and Mark Harris got a little too close in a qualifying race Sunday that took them out of the main event for the money.
Hamm and Harris where among the nearly 100 cars were registered in all classes for this weekend’s Billy the Kid Shootout racing venue at Ned Houk Motor Sports Complex north of Clovis with $40,000 in purse money available.
Despite the damage to his street stock racer, the 41-year-old Hamm took his situation in good spirits.
“Me and No. 90 were racing pretty hard in the corner, and we just ran out of corner,” the Lubbock driver said. “It gets tight in that corner. But we’re fine. It took us out of the race, but I love the event. We’ve had a lot of fun.”
“Nothing really happened, but it put me out,” said Harris, who lives in Littlefield. “It made me lose $150, but this track is good. I’d like to see them run it at night to get a good, fast track.”
Meanwhile, Todd Pullen of Amarillo maneuvered his No. 111 modified stock car across the finish line first in the Last Chance Qualifier just before the main events Sunday.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I won here last year. It’s a lot of fun. People are great down here — friendly and willing to help. This track is only 90 miles from my front door in Amarillo. With friendly people and being close to home makes it a racing paradise.”
Clovis driver Terry Batchelor, who earned second in points at the Clovis track this season, qualified for the main event in his No. 05 car.
“I’m in my 19th childhood,” the 42-year-old local racer said. “I just love racing. I wish the track would stay open all year.”
Of the registered racers, there were 35 modified stock cars, 25 street stock cars, 25 pure stock and 13 legends competing in the three-day shootout, said Kay Fuller, secretary of the Ned Houk Motor Sports board.
“We had 61 cars running Saturday night and 61 cars on Friday night — but not the same cars,” she said. “We had 13 legends as well on Saturday night.”
The rain dampened the activities Saturday, but not the enthusiasm of local fans.
“We had to make up Saturday’s main events because of the rain,” Fuller said. “But everyone’s back, and it’s going good.”
Joe Lavender of Melrose called the shootout “a great event.”
“It’s picked up a lot since the last time I was here,” he said. “They’ve put some money into it and made it pretty nice.”
Tanya Waddell of Lubbock wore a cast on her leg, but she was determined to sit on the front row of the action.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s turned out really great. It’s one of the best events I’ve been to, actually. I like the way the sound of those engines rumble in your chest as they come around the curve. It makes your heart pound.”
Curt Jones, owner of the Curt Jones Racing Team of Clovis, had all three of his cars positioned “for the big show.”
“I drive the INEX Legend No. 60,” the 67-year-old driver said. “I’ve been driving for two years, but I formed the complete team four years ago. We run here, Lubbock and Amarillo.”
Jones’ wife, Jinda, said she enjoys coming to the races.
“I like it,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun. And it makes me excited when I see him race.”