As Month 6 of the 9 month season at Bubba Raceway Park comes to a close we watch some points battles tighten up as others become a 1-or-2-man battle. The RaceCar Engineering Late Models, Scorpion Racing Products Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, 1-800-ASK GARY Thunder Stocks, and Rent-N-Roll Gladiators will end the Second Third while the dogs will take to the track! All proceeds of the Bubba Army Wiener Nationals will go to Angels have Whiskers!
Florida State Late Model Champion "The Magic Man" Mark Whitener leads the RaceCar Engineering Late Models standings by 91 points over Christian Augspurger who comes off of that big win last Friday night. Bo Allen holds onto 3rd and still sits within that beautiful 100-mark. Richard Ferry, along with Whitener and Augspurger, has a win this season but some rough luck has taken him quite a few points off of championship contention. Bryan Bernhardt has been fast all season and has shown constant improvement and a win may be just around the corner. In fact, Jeff Mathews, Jason Fitzgerald, and Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. (6th-8th in the standings) have each visited Coors Light Winner's Circle and 10th and 11th place Tyler Ivey and Keith Nosbisch, respectively, have as well! The division is more wide-open then it has been in a long time and we could realistically see a 10-winner season.
That is not so in the Scorpion Racing Products Modifieds as "The Killer" Kyle Bronson may only lead Rich Pratt by 58 points and Dalton Lanich by 61 but he's won half of the season's races- Pratt and Lanich have been so consistent and Bronson usually DNFs when not in Coors Light Winner's Circle! Over 100 back but all alone in 4th is the 4-Time defending series champion Jeff Mathews. Mathews is winless in 2012 as are 5th and 6th place Jim Passino and Tyler Clem. In fact, every one from 2nd until 8th place Buzzie Reutimann is winless so far. It's a ways down to 15th place Mark Whitener and 18th place Wayne Hammond but David Reutimann is farther down in 34th! There may not be many winners but the names are Hall-of-Fame worthy in Florida.
"Ragin" Rodney Wright and "The Gambler" Trevor Gamble go back-and-forth in 5 or 6 race incriments- right now it's "Ragin" Rodney's turn up front with a 29 point cushion. Those 2 have been very close over 2012 as the separation between them at this point is nearly nothing- a feature in Wright's favor and 2 heats in Gamble's. Sometimes forgotten in the mix is "The Master" Mike Stalnaker. Stalnaker missed a few events in March and has never rebounded and the 116 point deficit explains it. In 4th is Mark Maresca who, for most of 2012, has been flying in from Minneapolis to race the 77M against some of the best in Florida! Maresca has missed just 1 event while Brian Shea, 5th place, has missed half of 2012 it seems. Shea must work if he's to hold off the young Hunter Gustafson who truly is "Huntin' the front." Throw in top-30 points racers Tim Gay, Tim Powers, and Josh Byrd and 33rd-place Josh Bedenbaugh and you can see that the cream has risen to the top in the Hobby Stock division.
How about 12 different winners including 3 first-time winners including points leaders Brian Mullins and Jonathan Appleby? That's the 1-800-ASK GARY Thunder Stocks of 2012! Mullins leads Appleby by 101 now while Jason Gamble, already a winner in 2012 and the 2009 series champion, is 3rd. Gamble is 166 back (2 races) but the car is fast- engine isn't reliable yet but the T&T Automotive team is getting it there. Fresh off of his Friday night win that helped him take the Florida State Thunder Stock Championship, Bubba Durbin sits 4th but he's 225 points back. Brandon Elwood, first of the non-winners, is 5th but nearly 300 back- a testament to Mullins' quiet dominance. Mark Trexler is in the top 10 and took his first career win earlier this season. Throw in top-12 competitors Chad Scranton and Shane Nichols with drivers further down the order- Mike Tovet, Grady Christian, Eddie Kilbury, Jr., Robert Ray, and 53rd-place Ray Wheeler- and the most highly competitive division in 2012 is right here.
Rent-N-Roll Gladiator driver Steve Johnson leads the standings by 1 race over Jordan McMillon and 88 points over Tony LaPorta. Johnson and LaPorta have won while "Little Big Show" McMillon is winless so far. He will try to join 4th place Brandon Haseleu on the fresh-winners list as Haseleu comes off of a big first-win at Bubba Raceway Park. Those 4 are within 100 while Bobby Graham is 5th but 278 points out. Billy Holmes, Randy Harless, and Steve Cox are in the top-11 and have all won so far in 2012 including a first-ever win for Harless. Of course, Reid Christensen is ineligible for Gladiator points (as he is running a Mini Stock full-time) but can always put the Art Souther-owned 17D in Coors Light Winner's Circle. Count no one out because it's any one's game!
Bubba's Pit Stop opens at 1, pits at 4, grandstands at 5, and racing starts at 7. For more information visit www.bubbaracewaypark.com or call the Speedway at 352-622-9400!