August 23, 2006

One More 'Til Championship Night

It was a big shakeup in the points for the Super Late Model drivers this past weekend. Two of the top-5 contenders had good runs finishing first and second in the "Chargin' Charlie Ryan" Memorial Race, while one had a mediocre run and the remaining two failed to finish. The man on the move this week was Doug Finley, moving from third place in points to take over the top spot. The DNF by Jon McNett moved last week's point leader to third, 50 points behind Finley. Likewise, Stan Perry's DNF dropped him from third to fifth. Jimmy Gallagher was previously tied for first and would still be in first if he had finished just one spot higher in last week's race. His 9th place finish last week puts him just one small point away from Doug Finley. Jeff Hackworth's win last week moved himself up one spot into fourth and gets him back into contention for the championship.

Doug Finley and crew are going after the 2006 Super Late Model title - Bob Cantine Photo
Doug Finley and Jimmy Gallagher will be battling each other and will both have to maintain top-5 finishes in the next two features while still keeping equal to or better than Jon McNett in qualifying and the heat races. You can bet that McNett will be pouring it on this Friday and next.
It's looking like Larry Wallace might be adding a second championship to his 2006 Modified season. The 2006 Springport Motor Speedway Modified Champion is racing hard and finishing well and is making it very hard for Bud Perry and Chris Ozanich to take the title. But don't count these two guys out yet. All it takes is bad luck on Wallace's part and then the battle will be between Perry and Ozanich. Chris Ozanich has no choice but to pick up the pace in these last two championship races, something which Bud Perry has been doing in the previous two races as he won them both to move into second place, moving Ozanich from second to third. All Larry Wallace has to do is keep these two guys in sight and finish decent as he has a 139 point lead over Perry and 166 points over Ozanich.

Damon Place has been wanting to outrun Dane Long in a feature and did so last week with his second place finish, one spot ahead of Dane Long's third place. However, the 5 points he gained over Long in the feature wasn't enough to close in for the championship. Dane Long was fast qualifier and also earned points in the heat race over Damon Place. Dane leads Damon by 34 points with two championship nights remaining. You can bet Damon will be working as hard as ever to go after the 2006 Championship. Scott Sigman faded a little bit too much this past week but is still in the hunt provided Long and Place each have some problems. He is 114 points out of the top spot. This next race will be a crucial one for all three of these drivers.

John Ward is on top due to being consistent, reliable, AND fast
In the Pony Stocks, Jimmy Scavarda closed in a little bit more this week, but not enough to worry the point leader, John Ward. The difference is now 17 points which doesn't sound like much, but what most people aren't aware of is that points are awarded differently with the Pony Stocks this year as compared to the other classes.
Here's how it works: The driver gets 40 points for showing up even if he/she breaks in practice and fails to race the rest of the evening. This awards those who show up every week to support the track. There are no points awarded in qualifying. This helps to prevent the faster, dominating cars from gaining a lot of points over the others. In the heat races, the winner gets 10 points, then it's 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and everyone else gets 5 points. Because last place still gets 5 points, this is an incentive to not skip the heat race. In the feature, points are awarded just like the heat race with the winner getting 10 points and last place getting 5 points, but there is also 1 point per lap. So, in a 20 lap feature, the winner will receive 30 points. A driver finishing in 6th on the lead lap will receive 25 points. But the real kicker in the Pony Stocks is when a caution comes out. If a driver causes a caution, for whatever reason, he/she will get 5 points deducted. This rule seems to have reduced the number of cautions in this class as the Ponies have had several 20 lap features go green all the way.

So, with this point system, Jimmy Scavarda might have a tough time making up 9 points on John Ward each night in these next two nights of racing. Jimmy has proved he can win, but so has John. They will both run well and finish up front. John Ward has rarely had a problem this year which is why he is in the number one spot. Keith Holden and Tina Anderson are not out of the running either. Either one can still win the championship if both Ward and Scavarda have problems.

Watch all of the Spartan Speedway drivers battle this Friday, and not just for their feature win!

Here's the current points rundown of the top championship contenders:

Andrews Chevrolet Super Late Models
1778 Doug Finley
1777 Jimmy Gallagher
1728 Jon McNett
1709 Jeff Hackworth
1680 Stan Perry

WMMQ 94.9 Modifieds
2386 Larry Wallace
2247 Bud Perry
2220 Chris Ozanich

Performance Automotive Northwest Street Stocks
2973 Dane Long
2939 Damon Place
2859 Scott Sigman

Holiday Powersports Pony Stocks
1230 John Ward
1213 Jimmy Scavarda
1203 Keith Holden
1197 Tina Anderson

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