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Texas Mile to celebrate decennial anniversary
by Gary Kent
Oct 26, 2013 | 68 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Albert Garces poses with a wrench and his 2001 Pontiac Trans Am that he’ll be running this weekend at the Texas Mile at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex. Garces and fellow speed freaks Ruben Mata and Russell Barber will be tuning up the 408-cubic inch, stroker engine with its custom Ram Air Intake in a valiant attempt to finally break the 200-mph mark. Garces has been running his car in every Texas Mile event since the J&S Matus moved the speed contest to Chase Field three years ago.
Albert Garces poses with a wrench and his 2001 Pontiac Trans Am that he’ll be running this weekend at the Texas Mile at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex. Garces and fellow speed freaks Ruben Mata and Russell Barber will be tuning up the 408-cubic inch, stroker engine with its custom Ram Air Intake in a valiant attempt to finally break the 200-mph mark. Garces has been running his car in every Texas Mile event since the J&S Matus moved the speed contest to Chase Field three years ago.
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BEEVILLE – Albert Garces called his 2001 Pontiac Trans Am his dream car.

This weekend, the 25-year-old Beeville resident and his two-man crew will be trying to beat the 200-mph mark during the Texas Mile event at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex.

Garces and vehicle computer whiz Ruben Mata will be joined by another car enthusiast, Russell Barber of Corpus Christi, for the event. Barber helped Garces with all the design work on the classic vehicle.

The three-man team will be joining more than 220 speed enthusiasts who are expected to be at the complex, beginning Friday and ending Sunday.

Saturday is usually the big day for the competition as the owners of fast cars, trucks and motorcycles line up to see how fast they can go in one mile.

Jay and Shannon Matus of Texas’ J&S Motorsports said this will be the 10th anniversary of the event.

This is the third season for the Texas Mile to be held at Chase Field. Previously, the event was held at the former Navy landing field in Goliad for seven years.

The Texas Mile started as a grass roots motor-sports event decades ago, and it has now become one of the nation’s premier speed events for four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles.

Two thousand or more participants, crew members and spectators come to Beeville twice a year, in March and October, to watch the cars, trucks and motorcycles go as fast as they possibly can.

The goal, according to Shannon Matus, is to try to top the Mile’s record of 262.3 mph, or be the fastest car, truck or motorcycle in the vehicle’s class. In some cases, the drivers will be satisfied just breaking their speed from the previous event.

“One car entry topped the record with a speed of 267 mph in March, and he is back to ensure that this potential new record remains standing,” said organizer Jessica Reyna.

That driver has plenty of other competitors who are anxious to race the clock and record even better times.

Motorcycle fans can see some of the fastest riders on two wheels. The riders will include Valerie Thompson, the five-time motorcycle land speed record holder.

Called “a woman on a mission with a need for speed,” Thompson will return to Beeville on her BMW SS 100 R. Two-wheel fans also can expect Hussain Alsowaigh to try to hit speeds of around 250 mph on his Suzuki Hayabusa.

Other competitors at this weekend’s event will be driving Porsches, Corvettes, Cadillacs (18 are signed up for the weekend), Audis, BMWs, Dodge Vipers, Dodge Challengers, Ford Mustangs, Ford GTs, Lamborghinis, Harley-Davidsons, Kawasakis, Saabs and Mini Coopers. Even Volkswagen Beetles speed down the long track.

The drivers will have a running start at the beginning of the mile and state-of-the-art timing devices will be set up at the halfway mark and at the end of the mile.

Speeds are displayed on lighted boards positioned in just the right spots for the spectators to see.

Much of the fun of the event is to watch the vehicles take off and try to guess if they will be able to break 200 mph before they cross the final timing station.

Those who do break the 200 mph barrier are entitled to purchase one of the Mile’s 200 mph club T-shirts.

Spectators are welcome to mill around in the staging area to get up close and personal with the vehicles, drivers and their crew members.

Visitors from all over Texas and several other states and foreign countries will be in town. Hotels, motels and restaurants are expected to be full.

Students from Coastal Bend College’s automotive department will be shadowing the Texas Mile Tech and Staging inspection crews to learn more about motorsport safety.

Texas Mile co-founder Jay Matus became interested in motorsports because of the inspiration he found while taking auto tech classes at Texas City High School in the 1980s.

He is excited about being able to pass on that interest to local college students.

Regarding Garces and his team, the Beeville resident said he has been running the event since 2011 when the Mile first came to Chase Field.

“We got close,” he said of his goal to break the 200 mph mark.

He said breaking that barrier is something he will do “sooner or later.”

Garces will be just one of many local speed enthusiasts who will be running the mile this weekend, and they are hoping to see lots of local supporters there to cheer them on to the mile marker.

Garces said there will be drivers and mechanics twice his age at the event trying to outrun him.

Admission to the event is $20 for a three-day pass for adults. Children under 12 get in free, and they love watching the speeding vehicles.

On Friday and Saturday the event begins at 8 a.m. and continues until dusk. On Sunday, the action begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

Spectators may bring their own chairs, umbrellas and coolers, and there will be concession stands selling food, drinks, caps and T-shirts.

Glass bottles are not permitted.

A 10th Anniversary Party is scheduled for Saturday evening at The Grand on U.S. Highway 59 just east of town. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Reyna said participants, spectators and fans are welcome. There is no price for admission, and a disc jockey will be playing tunes. Drinks will be available at regular price at either of the two bars in the building.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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