This Saturday we race in remembrance of those fallen 10 years ago on that fateful day in New York. The RaceCar Engineering Late Models return to action, as do the Hobby Stocks, Amsoil V-8 Thunderstocks, Mini Stocks, and Gladiators for Double Points and a $300 payday. With tight points battles and many winners the unexpected is all that can be expected.
Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. hasn't won a Bubba Raceway Park championship since 1993, but he currently holds a 33 point lead over Dillon Wood. Wood, a rookie this season, has impressed with his consistency. Wood will need some luck in both directions for a chance at the lead. Augie Burttram's 58 is in 3rd but has a long chase ahead of him. Mark Whitener is still not allowed on the property, but Augie, also unallowed, had Donnie Chappell in the 58 last time out. Christian Augspurger is 4th and hopes to take another win by the end of 2011. Bo Allen is in the same boat as Burttram and Whitener so he had friend Richard Ferry drive the 71 last time. Ferry gave it a good run until some trouble came and should be back out again. Johnny Collins has had some tough luck at Bubba Raceway Park and will hope to take his 5 to the front and throw the monkey off of his back. Austin Kirkpatrick and Tyler Ivey are 7th and 8th and will need wins to keep them in the chase. Both, however, know how to win as they've done it in 2011. The 2009 champion JO Nobles and Shan Smith round out the top 10.
Tim Powers has run all 5 features with a worst finish of: 2nd! Powers has absolutely dominated and will hope to continue his dominance. Buck Woodhouse is currently 2nd, but he's 70 points back. Woodhouse has run up front every week and that usually means a win isn't far away. Kevin Durden and Joe Belkey are 3rd and 4th, both with wins. Durden will try to shake the bad luck after his accident last time out. Howard Osteen, Joe Boyd, Billy Carlbert, Jr., and Tommy Ausburn are 5th-8th, but all still search for a win. They've all been close, but haven't celebrated in the victory lane. Mark Maresca and Donnie Reed have a long way to climb, but both have experience and will do all in their power to get to the front.
The closest battle of them all has 5 drivers within 9 points. Brian Shea, a winless driver in his career, holds a 2 point lead over top-winner-of-2011 Chad Scranton. Scranton almost had his 5th last week, but a rear-end failure took him back to 6th. Jason Gamble and the Certified Automotive Repair team are tied with the Bullseye driver Gordon Cade for 3rd just 6 points out. Gamble has 3 wins and wouldn't mind returning to victory lane soon. Vaughn Woodall rounds out the top 5. Jonathan Gillette has fallen back, it seems, but he's actually gained a few points the last few weeks. John Thorpe and Chris Watson continue to impress in 7th and 8th, both mathematically eligible for the points lead this week. Tim Mathieu and Jonathan Appleby are both threats to win and wins will take them up the charts in a heartbeat.
Mini Stock action has had 6 different points winners including points leader Ray Folwell. Folwell has a slim lead over team-mate Brittany Yates who hopes to win a championship for her father's team. Ryan Babcock, Ray Ethrdige, and Buddy Pope are all in the top 5 and will hope to take a win and some valuable points in a chase for a title. Shirlene Hammond is 6th on the strength of 3 wins in 2011. "Hammerdown" needs the wins to catch Folwell and Yates, but it isn't impossible. Roberto Morfin, Jr., Kody Kinsey, Stephen Hahlbaugh, and Chris Zimmermann round out the top 10. Morfin has a win but some bad luck has knocked him out of contention in a few. Kinsey, Hahlbaugh, and Zimmermann all seek win #1 and could take it with a drive like their best.
There's a new dominator around as "The Dominator" Steve Cox has let 2 slip away to Reid Christensen. Reid is more than 50 points back, but he has a chance if he continues to run up front. Brandon Haseleu, Jerry Taylor, and Richard Todd are all in the top 5 but are winless in their careers. All 3 have come close and it can't be far now. The Steves are 6th and 7th, Johnson in 6th and Frankland in 7th, and have the opportunity to win any time. Kody Fisher, Robert Graham, and Matt Kramer are 8th-10th and they're all running strong. Fisher and Graham are coming off top 10s and Kramer looked strong in his heat race. Any one can win on any given night in the Gladiators division and it could make the points battle really interesting.
Gates open at 4:30 with racing slated for 7. Best seats get taken early. For more information you can check out www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway hotline at 352-622-9400.