BOISE, Idaho — Rocky Mountain Raceways located outside Salt Lake City, Utah is one of the West’s great racing facilities and has hosted the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series sixteen times since 2004. Last season Bobby Latham III of Twin Falls, Idaho and Thane Alderman from Las Vegas, Nevada grabbed their first victories at RMR while Mother Nature took the other two events. This Saturday night the stars of the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series return to RMR for their first of four visits in 2009.
The 2009 racing season marks the sixth season for the popular touring series where old friends and new faces will dominate the landscape. Returning to defend his 2008 series title is Dave Minegar of Boise. Minegar claimed his second series crown last season and has his sights set on a third.
Minegar owns a number of series records including most career starts (48), most career top ten finishes (37), most career fast times (20), and tied for most career wins (6), and has completed better than 90% of all laps contested in the series. He has also collected two wins at RMR.
Narrowly missing out on the title last season is John Dillon from Eagle, Idaho. Dillon, a former NASCAR NW tour champion, returns for his second full-time season in 2009 looking to back up a stellar 2008 campaign. Dillon has 23 career starts, one victory, and three Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Awards.
Returning for his sixth season is Craig Bell out of Kuna, Idaho. Bell finished third in the final 2008 standings and is looking to return to the winner’s circle at RMR after posting a victory back in 2005. Bell has started 41 series races with 33 top ten and 26 top five finishes along with three career victories.
Finishing fourth in the point standings last season was Thane Alderman, who scored two victories in 2008 including taking the checkers in the annual NAPA 125 at RMR. Fifteen of Alderman’s 19 career series starts have resulted in top ten finishes.
Rounding out the top five finishers from last season is John Newhouse of Twin Falls, Idaho. Newhouse is looking for his first victory at RMR, but has scored 31 top ten finishes in 40 career series starts. Better than 50% of his starts have resulted in top five performances, including two victories.
Joining the series this season is former three-time NASCAR NW Tour champion Jeff Jefferson of Naches, WA. Jefferson takes over Tom Hill’s Chevrolet. Hill has started 47 career series races with three victories and 31 career top ten performances. The one award missing from his mantle is a championship trophy. He hopes to change that this season.
Local standout Lynn Hardy of Salt Lake holds the track record set back in May of 2006 with a quick lap of 14.944 seconds/90.334 mph. Hardy returns to full-time competition in the series this year after making only selected starts the last three seasons. Hardy’s record could fall Saturday night as cool temperatures will allow teams to create horsepower to get around the ultra-fast 3/8-mile paved oval.
Other drivers returning in 2009 include two-time series champion Zan Sharp of Wellsville, Utah, 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year Dan Koyle, Steve Jones, TJ Woodall, Dylan Caldwell, Travis Monett, and Mitch Dickinson.
Also joining the series this season is Jonathon Gomez from Twin Falls, Idaho. Gomez plans an ambitious 2009 season where he will compete full-time in the RMCS, and make selected starts in the NASCAR Camping World Series and other Late Model shows around the country.
“This season could be the biggest and the best to date,” stated Mike Minegar, president of the RMCS. “We have some of the best drivers competing at great racing venues. Support for the series has never been better and we cannot wait to get on track at RMR this weekend. Doug (Binstock) and his team do an awesome job at the track and have been strong supporters of our series since day one.”
The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The top 20 qualifiers are inverted for every race putting fast time in the 20th starting position. This format ensures race fans see what they paid for and that is passing. Each driver is awarded three points per position gained in the event. Points are also awarded for qualifying and heat race finishes. Through the history of the series, the winning driver has averaged a 15th place starting position. To ensure competition, the RMCS pays it purse based on total point accumulation for the event and provides several special performance awards for the event.
The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is a regional touring series that allows all competitors to race and gain experience on different types of racetracks. It is a high-quality professional racing series that offers maximum opportunity at an affordable price serving the intermountain West. The motto of the series is to “Race Hard and Have Fun!” For all the latest news and information regarding the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series log on to our website at www.rmcsracing.com