RaceCar Engineering Late Models, Amsoil V-8 Thunderstocks, Mini Stocks, and Gladiators are all on tap for this coming week-end and drivers are looking to cut and build points leads. All 4 of these divisions are unpredictable and could see 4 first-time winners.
The RaceCar Engineering Late Models have a familiar face up front in Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. Lloyd, however, hasn't won a championship at Bubba Raceway Park since 1993, the last year of the old clay. Lloyd will also be gunning for his 3rd win in 2011. In contrast, winless driver Dillon Wood has used consistency to be the driver runner-up to Lloyd. Wood could break into victory lane at any time and cut that 19 point lead down. In 3rd place is a driver that has missed 1 event, but won the last 3. Defending champion Mark Whitener is just 29 points behind Lloyd and the 2 champions have had some great battles in the past. Johnny Collins hasn't been the one applying pressure at the front, but when you look at the order at the end of the night it seems the 5 is right there in the top 5. Collins may be 61 points down, but if there's 1 thing Collins will do that is fight to the end and that could make it interesting. In 5th is Bo Allen, 94 points out of the lead. Allen has hooked his 71 up and could put it in the victory circle by the end of the season. Early in the season Christian Augspurger, Tyler Ivey, and Darrell Padgett took wins, however, Augspurger's didn't count for points but he's still 6th while Ivey is 8th and Padgett 13th.
With a $500 payday to the winner, the Amsoil V-8 Thunderstocks should be just as exciting as always. After the rainy race last week the drivers will hope for a dry track including points leader Jason Gamble. Gamble gained some much needed points, but still holds a slim 15 point lead over Vaughn Woodall. Both get help from team-mates as they drive for 3-car teams, Gamble for Eddie Tillander and Vaughn for his father, Woody. In 3rd, 25 back, is "Mr. Consistency" Jonathan Gillette. Gillette is still searching for career win #1 and it could come soon as he is always improving his 64. Asphalt-turned-dirt driver Gordon Cade was a threat on the old asphalt as he finished 3rd in the Hobby Stock championship in 2004. Cade is a spot lower but a few points closer to the leader 7 years later. Cade still searches for dirt-career win #1, but has come close. In a tie for 5th is Cade's team-mate Brian Shea and Chad Scranton of Cheater Racing. They are 50 back. Scranton has 3 wins in 2011 while Shea has not won, but Shea has 3 top 3 finishes in his career including last week-end. Shea is close to that win while Scranton is close to 4 out of 6 (missing 1 event) in their chase for a championship.
Mini Stock drivers have had 2 weeks to rebuild, replace, and reward themselves after a great season so far. John Yates has his cars 1-2 with Ray Folwell the only points leader this season. Brittany Yates is 2nd, 21 points behind her team-mate. Both are race winners in 2011, but the young gun in 3rd is not. Ryan Babcock, the 16-year-old rookie, has masterfully driver the 9 to 3rd from the start. Babcock just received a power steering unit for his car and is the only driver in the top 5 without a DNF of DNS in 2011. Babcock will hope to hold Ray Ethridge off for 3rd. Ethridge has used consistent finishes to take 4th in the standings. In 5th is the ever-improving Chris Zimmermann. Zimmermann has 2 runner-up finishes and will do his best to get that first win and jump to the front of the standings. So far the Mini Stocks have 7 different winners in 2011. Tim Zackery and Buddy Pope won early in the season but those wins didn't count for points. Charlie Staats, Roberto "TacoSon" Morfin, Jr., and Shirlene Hammond have added their names to the winners list. The Mini Stocks are truly a diverse division and the championship isn't a lock for anyone.
The Gladiators have gone through some controversy over the past few days but they will race this Saturday night. Bubba said he wants more cars in the division, however. Steve Cox has put his P38 at the front of the field 6 times in his 7 starts and even that was a runner-up finish from the back. Cox, under the week-end rules for the division, will start dead-last. Starting in front of Cox will be 2nd place Reid Christensen. Christensen has been close to a win for the last month but has had Earnhardt luck. Christensen was relieved with a runner-up finish last week-end but won't be staisfied until he takes a win. Brandon Haseleu will be right there with those 2 at the start as he has brought his 3H to the track every week-end and run well with it too. Haseleu is the defending David Reutimann Most Likely To Succeed Award champion and would like to get that first win. Also winless, but consistently improving, is Richard Todd. Todd has put his 43 in 4th and has a few runner-up finishes already. In 5th is Jerry Taylor. Taylor has driven the 10, 31, and 57 this season, but has always put it at the front. Taylor is close to a break-through win and has a lot of fans behind him. Scott Sullivan and Jonathan Green have each put the 28 in victory lane once and Casey "Black Lightning" Feaster took 3 non-points wins at the beginning of 2011.
Gates open at 4:30 with racing scheduled at 7. These divisions draw many fans and the early bird does indeed get the worm. For more information you can check out www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway hotline!