BOISE, Idaho — The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series presented by Century Boatland has continued to persevere through challenging economic times and the racing has been nothing less than spectacular all season. This past weekend, Steve Jones of Boise, Idaho picked up his second win of the season closing the gap on championship leader Zan Sharp as title will be decided at the final event in two weeks.
"Sharp Poised for Third Title; Final Race in Two Weeks"
The NAPA Auto Parts "125" has been a fan favorite at the ASA sanctioned Rocky Mountain Raceways outside Salt Lake City, Utah and the site of some of the best series battles in recent years. Local hero Lynn "The Hammer" Hardy scorched the field for his ninth career Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award tying him for second all-time with two-time series champion Zan Sharp.
Prior to the 125-lap feature event around the 3/8-mile ultra fast oval, the drivers competed in two 12-lap heat races which were won by two-time series winner Eric Rhead and 2010 defending champion and current title contender Steve Jones. Heat races are critical in the series as drivers earn points based on finishing position.
Greg Hillock started on the pole for the NAPA "125" and led the first three circuits before giving way to Jim Wulfenstein. "Wulfy" led through lap eleven when Jones took control of the race from his seventh starting position.
Jones would lead the entire rest of the way but the battles heated up behind him. Jeff Hillock waged a spirited battle with Brandon Riehl ultimately resulting both cars tangling and realistically dropping Hillock out of title contention after leading the standings most of the season.
Sharp finished second for his fourth top five finish of the season almost certainly cementing his third title heading into the final event. Riehl finished third followed Devin Lahorgue who posted his best finish of the season and extended his A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning Rookie-of-the-Year point lead. Eric Rhead finished fifth for his second consecutive fifth place finish.
"This has certainly been an up and down season," Jones offered. "We are thrilled with the win but it may be too little too late as Zan is in the cat birds seat. I was in the same position last year heading into Magic Valley and I played pretty conservative. This year we are going to have to go for broke and see what happens."
The win moved Jones to within 64-points of Sharp with one race remaining. Hillock drops to third place six points behind Jones. Hardy and Bruce Quale round out the top five in the standings.
The series finale is set for Saturday, September 10 at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho. Jones is a multi-time track champion at the 1/3-mile facility and has won nearly 100 races there but in his RMCS career he has not posted a win. A stat not lost on the racing icon. "It is kind of funny that we have not won at Magic Valley," Jones said. "We have always been fast but either broke something or faded at the end."
This season Jones has set fast time on both occasions at MVS and in his RMCS career has posted seven top five performances. On the flip side of the championship battle, Sharp does not plan to change his game plan any. "We race to win and if we can't win then it is about the best finish we can get," Sharp said.
The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The RMCS inverts the full starting field putting the fast qualifiers at the back to start the race. 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 at each race. Century Boatland in Twin Falls is a major sponsor to the series providing significant support to the series all season.
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 .
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CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series Top 10
1. Zan Sharp 1312 (1)
2. Steve Jones 1248 (2)
3. Jeff Hillock 1242 (2)
4. Lynn Hardy 1195
5. Bruce Quale 1174
6. Eric Rhead 1093
7. Jim Wulfenstein 939
8. Thane Alderman 925
9. Devin LaHorgue 784
10. John Wong 698