PENN YAN, NY — Blog By Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Photos By Jeff Schneeberger/Turn 6 Photos — Well folks, it all comes down to this.
Friday night’s action at the Yates County Speedway is going to be filled with drama and will be a can’t miss night of racing to start the Labor Day Weekend.
There are several intriguing points races that will no doubt come down to the wire as the night progresses. However, Yates County Speedway officials unveiled their ‘Championship Points’ system that will be used on Friday night to award points throughout the field in each division. It’s not quite double points but falls just shy of double points. Let’s take a look at the points structure for Championship Night and my picks for each division.
Here is the points system, as laid out by Speedway officials on their Facebook page on Wednesday.
It is also important to note that points for heat races will follow the normal heat race points format of:
We saw last Friday night just how important those heat race points can be during the street stock heat races. Pure racing contact between Chuck Winslow and Jeremy Potrzebowski, who are battling for the Greg’s Auto Body SS championship, sent Winslow to the pits with a heat race DNF and Potrzebowski went on to claim valuable points.
Combine that with a 2nd for Potrzebowski and 4th for Winslow in the feature, and that allowed Potrzebowski to extend his points lead.
But all of that could change on Friday evening at the Dundee, NY 4/10-mile clay oval. In the end, I think it’s going to take a lot for the Winslow team to overtake T1 Nation and the Potrzebowski ride. With an 18 point lead, Jeremy knows that he doesn’t have to win his heat race or the feature to wrap the championship up. Solid runs in each will help him secure his 2nd straight title and I think that’s exactly what is going to happen.
Another division to really keep your eye on Friday night is that of the GM Crate Sportsman division. Last week, Casey Pavlick and Brady Fultz waged war on each other for the last handful or so of laps trying to edge the other for the 2nd position. With Pavlick only having a 4 point advantage, a battle just like that this week won’t just be for position. It will be for the season points title. I fully expect this race to be the one to watch on the night. Pavlick is searching for his first Yates County Speedway title, while Fultz is searching for another.
This is a tough one to call- a ‘Pick ‘Em’ for all of you Vegas betting buffs out there. Pavlick really showed me something last weekend. He told me pre-race, “We’re not good in the wet/rough.” Yet, they went out and gained 3 points before the night was done on a very heavy, tacky track. However, I do struggle with picking against the veteran Fultz. Brady has been there and done that and I think when it comes time for the 25-lap feature, he will have that Troyer Race Cars #70 locked in. My pick — I think you have to lose one before you can win one, and I don’t think this is going to be Casey Pavlick’s year to win it. That being said, prove me wrong Casey — you certainly did last week.
Another class that really turned my head this season has been the IMCA Modified division. I will be the first to admit that I’ve never really fallen in love with this class. The strict rules on chassis components and tire compounds always made me feel like this class was a dirt track version of the old IROC series. I can say this, on the last weekend of the season, the IMCA division has made me do a 360 on how I viewed their class. Dan Harpell has given them a flawless racing surface to run on each and every week and they have put on great show after great show. The racing has been 2, 3 and 4-wide throughout each feature event in 2014.
They have also given race fans a tremendous points battle between two drivers who don’t necessarily like each other either. Several on-track incidents and a few pit area scuffles have pitted the 55x of Rich Karlnoski and the 26 of Jared Spalding against one another. Karlnoski takes a 14 point lead into Championship Night, just 3 positions in the feature ahead of Spalding. I think last week showed us what we need to know for this class.
With the pressure on both drivers — Karlnoski recovered from having to pit out of the lead to come back to recover to 4th place. Spalding ran into several problems and ultimately did not finish the event. That, on top of several bad finishes over the last few weeks, is going to be tough for Jared to mentally overcome in my opinion. I think ‘Dick in the Dirt’ gets it done for the 2014 title.
The 305 Sprint division will see Darryl Ruggles wrap up their points title. Meanwhile, Brian Knowles would need a lot more cars to show up and him have an absolute disaster to lose the Late Model crown. Scott Bradley virtually has the 4-Cylinder title locked up as he should only need to start to win their title.
Allison Teed has also wrapped up the 4-Cylinder Bandit title with her perfect season so far in 2014. Allison will look to pull off an impressive feat Friday night as she will compete in the Bandits and then graduate up to the Adult 4-Cylinder division to compete in their feature. She’s shooting for a Top-5, but in her first race I think it’s going to be a tall task for the young shoe that plans to move into the street stock division in 2015.
We’ll see how it all plays out tonight, but in the meantime race fans, keep it up on the cushion and off the wall until next time.