Jeff Mathews leads the UMP Open-Wheel Modifieds standings, just as he has in November the last 3 seasons. However, the margin is much closer this season as friend, team-mate, and RaceCar Engineering Late Models points leader Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. is just 2 points behind his team-owner/friend Mathews. Of course, Jim Smith is 30 points behind the leader and Dave Barber is only 2 behind Smith. Kyle Bronson, the only driver with multiple wins in 2011, is 5th and 35 points out of the lead. PJ Wiggins is 1-for-1 at Bubba Raceway Park and Steve Whitener is the previous race winner proving that the top 5 have a kryptonite, but it's tough to find. The points will have a spotlight just as the leader of the race will this week-end.
Tim Powers has a win and a runner-up finish that count towards the championship and he leads the standings by 20 over Howard Osteen and 23 over Billy Carlbert, Jr. Osteen and Carlbert will be looking for points to gain ground on Powers, but will look behind as Kevin Durden is 14 behind Osteen and Chad Scranton, the only driver with 2 wins in 2011, is 16 behind Osteen. Earlier in the year Mike Tovet took a win and Matt Shea also won, his first career Hobby Stocks victory. These drivers and more will look to gain points and money with Double Points and $750 to win.
The Amsoil V-8 Thunderstocks have the closest 3-way battle with Jason Gamble, the 2009 champion, leading "Mr. Consistency" Jonathan Gillette by 3 and Vaughn Woodall by 5. Gamble, also called "The Pondbird" in the pits, has 3 wins early in the season while Gillette has used consistency to put his 64 in 2nd. Woodall has a couple heat wins in 2011 and a feature win last season, but is still searching for that first feature win in 2011. "The Canuck" Tim Mathieu has put his 14 in 4th, 37 points behind Gamble and has the support of the Canadian fans behind him. Mathieu also won a feature in 2011, but like Woodall is still searching for win #1 of 2011. Asphalt-turned-dirt driver Gordon Cade is 5th, 39 points behind Gamble. Cade has a runner-up finish earlier this season but wants that celebration in victory lane. Chad Scranton, Don Stroshal, Jr., and Ray Wheeler are not running for the championship, but when they show up everyone knows they can get up front in a hurry. Scranton and Stroshal have 2 wins each and Wheeler has 3. Also, Chris Shea has a win early in 2011, but has missed 2 races so far.
When the Gladiators hit the clay you know a battle will break out. Of course, Steve Cox has won 5 of the 7 races in 2011 leaving the battle for 2nd most of the time. Cox has won by dominating, driving from the back, and 'being in a lucky spot' as he said last week. Brandon Haseleu has his 3H in 2nd, but is 58 points behind Cox and only 6 ahead of Reid Christensen. Haseleu and Christensen have both come close to victory, but have had something get between them and victory lane. Only 8 behind Christensen is the always-improving Richard Todd. Todd has consistently moved up the grid and now has a few top 5s. Victory lane is his next goal, but Jerry Taylor will try to make up the 22 points to Todd this week-end. Jonathan Green and Scott Sullivan have both put the 28 car in victory lane and Casey Feaster has won 3 times, but all before the scoring started.
In 2 races, 10 different drivers have finished in the top 5 which shows the diversity in the Florida Mini Sprints Association. David Pleaugh and Gavin Thomas have both won in 2011 while Justin Kolves and Eddie Moss have runner-up finishes. Anybody can win in the FMSA, and they will all aim for a trip to victory lane and some points in the FMSA, "The best kept secret in Florida."
Gates open at 4:30 with racing scheduled for 7 this Saturday night. There is a practice session this Friday, July 22, from 6:00-10:30. For more information you can check out www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway hotline