BOISE, Idaho — The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series presented by Century Boatland has a championship battle that will go down to the final lap Saturday night at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho. Two-time series champion Zan Sharp from Wellsville, UT leads 2010 series champion Steve Jones from Meridian, ID by 64-points heading into the final series event of the season at the one-third mile paved oval.
"Season Finale Pairs Former Series Champs Sharp and Jones."
There are many subplots to this race including the fact that Jones has never won a series event race at Magic Valley despite winning nearly 100 races in local competition and being crowned local racing champion multiple times. Add in that Sharp has scored victories at MVS including the season opening event this year, and you will have odds makers going crazy to figure this one out.
While Sharp has the upper hand in the victory column, Jones has been fast at the tricky third-mile layout scoring the Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award at both races earlier this season. Jones has five career fast time awards while Sharp has nine. Sharp has competed in the series since inception and has 60 career starts while Jones has been a regular the past four seasons starting 32 races.
Sharp has four top five finishes this season while Jones has five. Jones has won twice this year with Sharp scoring one win. Sharp has added two other top ten finishes and that may well mark the difference in their respective campaigns.
There are several other story lines heading into the finale. Jeff Hillock of Cedar Hills, UT led the point standings most of the year only to have trouble in the last two races dropping him to third in the standings, six points behind Jones. Hillock will make only his 26th career start Saturday night despite being one of the most season veterans in the series. Hillock is seeking his first win at Magic Valley and still has an outside chance at the title but it will take a little bad luck from the other two in order to vault him to the top of the standings.
Lynn Hardy from West Valley, UT sits fourth in the standings 47-points behind Hillock and is also searching for his first career win at MVS. Hardy has started 40 RMCS races and has a best finish of fifth at MVS on two occasions. Hardy has been fast as of late finishing second in the Idaho 200 and setting fast time in the last series event.
Rounding out the top five in the standings is local racing icon Bruce Quale from Twin Falls. Quale has started 44 series races featuring one win at MVS coming last year. Quale also has ten additional top ten performances at MVS making him a threat to challenge for the win Saturday night.
Jonathon Gomez also from Twin Falls will return to the series this weekend. Gomez is coming off an 8th place finish last weekend in Spokane in NASCAR K&N Pro Series action and hopes to duplicate his performance from last season. Last year in this event, Gomez set quick time, started at the tail of the field and scored his first career series victory.
Bobby Latham III of Twin Falls leads all series drivers with four victories at MVS with two-time series champion Dave Minegar and 2009 champion John Dillon scoring three wins each. Zan Sharp, Tom Hill, Bryan Warf, James Eaton, and John Newhouse each have two wins apiece at MVS with eight other drivers claiming one victory.
Dave Minegar is the track record holder with a quick lap of 14.216 seconds/84.328 mph and has 23 career Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Awards. There have been 28 previous series races held at Magic Valley since 2004 featuring 16 different winners.
Devin LaHorgue from Redding, CA will claim the A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning Rookie-of-the-Year title when he starts the race on Saturday. LaHorgue is ninth in the standings with one top five and four top ten performances this season.
With numerous subplots and story lines, there will be no shortage of intrigue and action Saturday night. The action gets underway at 5pm MT and will include a whole host of local racing divisions. It comes down to one race to decide whether Hillock can rise from the ashes and win his first series crown or will Jones score a second title over Sharp who is in the driver's seat to become the first three-time series champion.
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
Thank you for your interest and continued support of the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series. We hope you enjoy our regular news releases and can make it out to the track this season. See you at the races!
~Mike Minegar, President RMCS