BOISE, Idaho — For defending CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series champion Steve Jones of Boise, ID, it was a night of three's. He was third quick in practice. He qualified in the third position for the 75-lap feature, and he finished in third in his heat race. During the main event he was running in the third position with ten laps to go so he figured it was going to be a good night. It turned out to be a great night when the leaders tangled late in the race and he inherited the lead cruising to his third career RMCS victory Saturday night at Rocky Mountain Raceways located outside Salt Lake City, Utah.
"Jones Scores First Win of the Season in RMR Return"
Zan Sharp of Wellsville, UT led all qualifiers and collected his ninth career Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award with a quick lap of 15.221 seconds/88.693 mph around the fast 3/8-mile paved oval. John Wong in the Thompson Motorsports built and prepared Champion Farms Chevrolet clocked in second quick followed by Jones, Jim Wulfenstein, and Jeff Hillock.
Thane Alderman led the first seven laps before local hero Lynn Hardy took the point and dominated the race. While Hardy looked to run away with the race, Sharp had other ideas. Mainly, score a second victory in as many races. Sharp, who started at the tail of the field, closed on Hardy on lap 50 and the duo waged a spirited battle for a dozen laps.
On lap 64, both Hardy and Sharp tried to occupy the same piece of real estate and both wound up spinning handing the lead over to Jones who had a birds eye view of the action. With Hardy and Sharp restarting at the tail of the field with ten laps to go, all Jones had to do was hold off Jeff Hillock for the win.
The win marked Jones' return to victory lane at RMR where he won on two occasions last season. ""It feels great to win," Jones said. "Our car is still not the way I want it but we are getting a whole lot closer. I was ready to settle for third but to win you have to be in position and fortunately we were right there when it counted."
The win moves Jones up to fifth in the championship standings and while defending his title is on his mind, he knows there is a lot of racing left to do. "Zan (Sharp) is going to be tough," Jones offered. "He (Sharp) has got it together and they are bad fast. It is going to be a lot of fun all season but it sure feels great to get the win here at RMR."
For Sharp, it was a tough ending to a great day. Earlier in the evening his son Bo dominated the Intermountain Truck Series race to score the win in the 40-lap event putting Sharp in victory lane as an owner. Sharp and his wife Vivian also celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, easing the sting of his disappointment in the race.
Jeff Hillock crossed the finish line in second followed Eric Rhead, John Wong, and Jim Wulfenstein. Hardy rebounded to finish sixth followed by Sharp, John Nesmith, Justin Westmorland, and Lonnie Lowder rounding out the top ten finishers.
Sharp maintains his point lead after two races followed by John Wong 45 points back. Eric Rhead moves up to thrid with Hillock and Jones rounding out the top five. Eight points separate second through fifth in the standings.
The next race for the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge series is Monday, May 30 for the annual 100-lap Memorial Day event back Rocky Mountain Raceways.
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 14th 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 at each race.
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 . Century Boatland is a major sponsor to the series.