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TGIO - Points Championships Wrap up at Raceway5
Thank God It's Over - It's been a fun 2014 in the same way that dropping a 20lb sledgehammer on your little toe is fun. OK so I jest a little. We hope that the fans, drivers and crews had fun this season and look to do it again in 2015.
I'd like to get right to some racing news and starting with Dave "3-peat" Dubois. The Johnny's Bar 360 Late Model Points Champion started on the pole (lined up by points) and led another race green to checkers. The feature with the fewest cautions saw Dave in the 012 and Jimmy Johnson in the 93j battling for position. Dave's car was able to stay in front and negotiate the lap traffic without incident for his fifth feature win of the 2014 season. Special thanks to Dave also for supporting Raceway5 tonight. Dave was also in second place in points for the BRP tour series, and instead of attending the last BRP race, he came to Raceway5. During his on track interview, Dave thanked many people that helped make this year so successful from family, team, fans and Track officials. Confirms for me at least that Dave is not just a great driver, but also great person with a lot of character. For Dave's Sponsors, Fastenal, L&L Transmission, Batavia Legal Printing, Scribner Tube Welding, BW's Restaurant and Sport Bar. Batavia Legal Printing, East Cost Tire, and Batavia Starter. Listen to Dave's pit interview below.
Dave Dubois Track Champion 9-20-14
Following the 012 across the finish line was Jim Johnson, Rich Hale who has been really coming on strong the second half of the year. Beamer Guzzardi was fourth and coming up from the back of the pack on lap four was Jim Johnson jr. I stopped and Talked to Jimmy and let this kid know he was being noticed by other drivers and fans this year. Jon Rivers, Dave Dubois, Tommy Kemp and more took note early on that Jimmy in the 39j was going to beat if they wanted to win. Including tonight, Jimmy has 12 top five finishes on the season. Jimmy give most of the credit to his Dad. Having his Dad in the pits watching what the car and Jimmy were doing helped make him so successful this season. Listen to Jim jr's interview below
Jim Johnson jr Pit Interview
Here comes the D. C. Enterprise Bandit Class with nine cars scheduled to start. Dante Mancuso being the Point leader was on he pole. Dante wrapped up the Championship two weeks ago, but you couldn't tell that by his driving. David Bohn jr jumped up to second by lap two and gave Dante a challenge for the lead. After few more lap, Dante would put a little space between him and David and roll to his eighth feature win in 2014 at Raceway5.
I interviewed Dante two weeks ago, and deleted all those files accidentally. Very sorry about that to all. Dante thanked his family and his grandparents. Also thanks to his sponsors Mancuso Limousine and Ceasers Auto. David Bohn jr was second ahead of Andrew Doran, Caleb Wollcott, and Cole Susice. Minor change in Championship results as Cole Hicks passed Tommy Cooper for second place by only six points. Tommy's 11x had mechanical issues in the heat and couldn't not get it repaired for the feature. Everyone of these kids did an outstanding job at improving week after week. Their crews, fans and parents I know are proud of the jobs they all did this year. I can speak for everyone at Raceway5 to say we are all just as proud to take a small part in their racing skills.
Time for the full field of Mazur Auto Repair Sportsman to take to the track. Several cautions on during the race shortened the event from 25 to 20 laps. The track (turn on mainly) was dustier than normal. This was thanks to a late day equipment Water truck break down. We wanted to make sure drivers and fans were aware we did the best we could under the circumstances. Shannon Whaley was on the pole and was doing what he could to keep the Kyle Inman's 20k, and Phil Vignerie jr in the 44v behind him. Shannon was able to hold on after several restarts, until the last caution. Before taking the green, track officials informed Shannon that his right rear tire was losing air.
Shannon decided to stay out and managed a eighth place finish. The 44v was able to hold off the 7 of Shane O'Grady for his second feature win at Raceway5. Phil said that "I think we stole one tonight", but coming from the back of the pack on lap four wasn't just luck. Completing the top five finishers were Shane O'Grady, Jon Ellsworth, Jim Joshnston, and Sarah Johnson. Sarah is another of the Johnson kids that showed a very noticeable improvement from last year. We all knew that Sarah could drive, and with Dad Jim in her pit, she has a car to help showcase her talent. Please take a moment to listen to Phil's pit interview below.
Phil Vigneri jr Pit Interview 9-20-14
As for Shannon this marked the end to a great season for him and the #44 team. Shannon had three feature wins on the season and an amazing 7 second place finishes. Although Shannon finished two places behind seond in points, unsponsored John Venuto, it was not enough to change the Championship outcome. Congratulation to Shannon and his team on such a successful season in such a competitive class. Below is Shannon's pit interview.
Shannon Whaley's Pit Interview 9-20-2014
Rivers Performance Mini Stock class had a twenty car field scheduled to take the green tonight. Brad Shepard in first and Austin Kotarski second in points only had to battle themselves since Carl Stephens in third was 156 points behind. However there was only a 49 point difference between Carl and sixth place Mike Taddonio. Austin pulled out to the early lead in the #10 with a another great battle between him and Brad's 1p. Finally on lap 7 Brad was able to cross the line in front of Austin and would hold on to the end.
Austin fell back to a low of eighth on lap ten and was able to fight back for another top five finish. To show how well the points reflect the drivers and cars, the top six feature finishers, are also the top six in points. I have to point out also that of the top six in points, three of those drivers came up from the Bandit series this year. Compare that to the three that didn't, Brad, Samantha Bursh and Ed Neal, that speaks volumes on how beneficial it is to have your kids start early in the Bandit division. Carl Stephens in the 57c didn't have a feature win on the season, but he did have seven top five finishes, with many of those top three. If not for a couple bad nights, he would have been right in the battle for the Championship. Behind Carl finishing in second place in tonight's feature were Samantha Burch, Mike Taddonio and Austin Kotarski. Take a listen to Brad's pit interview below.
Brad Shepard's Pit Interview
Last out on the track to close out the 2014 points races were the Yasses Trucking and Construction Street Stock Class. Josh Pangrazio started on the pole after a spectacular season including ten feature wins and twelve heat wins on the season. With all that there was still only 86 points separating Josh from third place Byron Dewitt. Good news for the #17 team was that there were only 12 cars starting which meant they really only needed to take the green. I say "good news" for them, like they haven't set a precedent for winning features.Second in points Butch Zimmerman was only 26 points ahead of Byron Dewitt so that seemed to be the battle at top of the points food chain. With Josh on the pole he was able to grab the lead from the start and hold on with only two cautions in the race. From there the top four cars stayed the same from lap eight to lap twenty. There were some really good races happening though at the front for those spots. When it was all over Josh grabbed his eleventh feature win at Raceway5, and the 2014 Points Championship, his first anywhere. Butch Zimmerman was second followed by Mike Jackson, another driver with a nice year under his firesuit, the always strong Byron Dewitt and Bob Babbitt in fifth. Check out Josh's pit interview below please.
I also caught up with Butch Zimmerman after the race to talk about his year. I noticed more than previous years, Butch was smiling this year. Not just smiling like he put a handful of delicious cherries in someone's exhaust, but happy smiling. If you listen to the interview, Butch mentions several times how much fun racing was this year. I won't call butch "old", but rather "youth challenged". And to have him mention how much fun racing is, says a lot about Butch, his team, and the rest of the racers at the track.
Butch Zimmerman's Interview 9-20-2014
Well that about wraps up the articles for this years points racing. This was a challenging season in more than just a couple ways, and a sincere thanks to all the drivers, crews, and fans that supported Raceway5 this year. From my perspective, a huge thank you goes to all the staff at Raceway5 that hung in there and gave all the racers and fans a place to go on Saturday and watch some great racing. Let's be honest, without me, this year would not have happened.... I mean without "US", yeah, us. Even Ferris for putting up with me picking on him most of the year.
As much, if not more than anyone, thank you to Rich Mogavero for stepping up and handling the track prep each and every week. It takes a lot of hours that most people don't see throughout the week to get the track in shape for roughly 4 hours of racing, and two hours of complaining by someone at the end of the night. Add to that he had to train a moron like me to be his side kick, and you approach cruel and unusual punishment for him. Practices, Fair Week, fixing equipment, and working around not having water are just a part of what took up a majority of his Summer. Well that and drinnking beer. I mean come on, the guy ain't up for sainthood here.
And of course Annette. She could have sat back and drank herself into a stuper and forgotten all about the track. Instead, she drank herself into a stuper and decided to keep the track going. Can't imagine how difficult it had to be for here this year, and thanks to my "give a damn" being broke, I don't have to.
In two weeks we finish with a $1000 to win Mini Stock and $1200 to win Street Stock race. On Friday October 3rd will be the qualifying races for both classes. PLUS Bandits and Sportsman racing. A schedule change for Friday is the racing with start at 6 PM instead of 3pm. The big $$ races will be on Saturday October 4th. There will also be Bandit's and 360 Late Models racing. Pits open at 1 and racing starts at 3pm.