Saturday night was shaping up to be a thrilling night at the Citrus County Speedway. The highlight event of the night was the Robert Aaron Memorial 50 lap figure 8 race, with over 25 cars registering to compete. But after a few rounds of practice, the skies opened up. The rain cancelled the nights events, and left some people wondering if they should be grabbing 2 of each species of animals for the ark. So today we’ll examine some of the points championship battles that will be decided in the next few weeks of the 2011 season.
The Super Late Model division has a familiar name on top of the hill, Herb Neumann Jr. (98) has been practically unbeatable over the last half of the season. Those dominate performances have propelled him to a 30 point advantage over former champion Scott Grossenbacher (09) in 2nd. With only 1 points race left in the 2011 season coming this week, a champion will be crowned this Saturday night. With each position being worth 2 championship points, Neumann would only need to finish 15th or better to secure his 6th Super Late Model championship.
The Open Wheel Modified division has the closest points battle going at the speedway. Doug Miller (53) took the victory in the last race, and that victory moved him to the championship points lead for the 1st time this season. Miller holds a slim 3 point margin now over 2nd place Bobby Ervien (88), who has lead the points for most of the season. Lurking only 28 points behind though is Richie Smith (42). Smith started the season off slow with 2 DNF’s, but has steadily gained ground on the top2 contenders all season. The Open Wheel Modifieds also only have 1 points race left for the season, coming on November 12th, the final race night of the season. Miller will need to finish right behind Ervien or better to secure the points championship.
Brandon Morris (56) has made a furious charge to the top of the Sportsman Division through the middle part of the season. Morris has moved from 3rd to the top of the division over the last 5 races, and enjoys a 22pt lead over 2nd place Ernie Reed (55). Morris has been flawless over the last 8 races, recording 3 wins, and 5 top 5 finishes. Reed has had the mechanical bug bite his racer a few times in that span, which will force him to play catch up over the final 3 races of the season. Cody Stickler (99) sits 3rd in the point standings, 102pts behind, after being on top of the division just 2 weeks ago. Stickler had a disqualification is his last race, which has cost him a shot at this years championship.
Curtis Flanagan (3) has a large margin over his closest competitor in the Street Stock division. Flanagan’s division leading 7 feature wins, along with 7 heat race wins, has earned him a 142pt lead over 2nd place Bubba Martone (98). Martone has a division leading 9 heat race wins, but has not been able to find victory lane yet in a feature race. The Street Stock division has 4 races left this season, and without some bad luck, Flanagan looks to be headed to another Street Stock Championship.
David Walls (35) enjoys the tracks largest points lead in any division, with a 266pt lead over his closest Taylor Made Homes Pure Stock competitor. Glen Colyer (44) sits 2nd in the class, but sees little hope of catching Walls for the championship points lead. The Taylor Made Homes Pure Stocks have only 4 races left in the season, Walls will only need to start those races to secure his second straight championship in the division.
The Modified Mini Stock class has the most competitive points battle going this year, the top 3 drivers are only separated by 18 total points. Clint Foley (7) took over the top spot just 3 weeks ago, and has a 14 point lead over 2nd place Chris Allen (33).Foley and Allen have been the dominate cars in the division this year, with these two drivers taking the victories in all but 1 race this year. Jesse Henley (18), is the only other driver to take a feature win this season, and sits 3rd in the standings, just 18pts behind Foley. With only 2 races left this season, any mistake by these top 3 drives, will have a huge impact on the championship chase.
The Sheldon Palmes Insurance Mini Stocks have seen the points lead change hands more than any other division. Shannon Kennedy (46), Kevin Stone (98), Sonya Heater (71), and Jeremy Sharrone (32) have all spent time on top of the point mountain. After some early season mechanical gremlins, Sharrone has really come on towards the end of the season, and now enjoys a 51pt lead over 2nd place Stone. The Sheldon Palmes Insurance Mini Stocks have only 3 races left this season, and if Sharrone’s early season gremlins return, this point race will really heat up.
Wayne Calkins (14) and Joey Catarelli (6) have battled for the points lead most of the season in the Pro Figure 8 division. Right now, Calkins has an 18pt lead over Catarelli with only 2 races left this season. With the unpredictability of figure 8 racing, this is by no means a safe margin. These drivers can have their nights fortune changed instantly with each trip through the intersection. I have no doubt, this one will come down to the last lap of the last night.
Eric Sharrone (62) sits on top on the standings for the Street Stock/Pure Stock figure8 division. Sharrone holds a 22pt lead over 2nd place Ronnie Schrefiels (6). There are only 2 races left this season, with one being this weekend. This one should come down to the wire, the SS/PS figure 8’s have been drawing 12-15 cars this year, which makes for a busy intersection.
This Saturday night will see the final points race of the 2011 season for the Super Late Model division, a champion will be crowned. Joining them on the race card will be the Street Stocks, Taylor Made homes Pure Stocks, Modified Mini Stocks, Street Stock/Pure Stock figure 8’s, Mini Cups, and the TQ midgets. Please visit the track website at www.citruscountyspeedway.com for complete details, or call the speedway office at 352-726-9339. See you at the races!