BAKERSFIELD, California — Anthony Lopiccolo, 25, won his third NMRA-TQ Midget feature in his seven races this season Saturday during the NMRA tenth and season-ending event. The 25-lap finale took place at the third-mile clay Bakersfield Speedway as part of a multi-division racing program. Nine of the ten TQ races this season took place at the Bakersfield track, which became NMRA's home track for 2011. Two races were rained out this year, one each at Bakersfield in September and Santa Maria in June.
Lopiccolo, the 2007 NMRA rookie of the year from Brea, drove the No. 21 Rick Stewart chassis with 750cc Honda power as usual. His father, Paul Lopiccolo, owns the 2007 NMRA championship car when Kenny Wiley was his driver. Lopiccolo started fifth in a ten car field and was the third and final race leader from laps 22-25. Pole starter Dakota Schweitzer led the first two laps in the No. 59 Steve Parke Stewart/Honda, but he faded to fifth at the finish. Brian Baker came from third starting slot in his own Dennis Hart-built Clerc 750cc Honda to take the point on lap 3. He slipped to eighth and was the final driver on the lead lap at the checkered flag.
West Evans came from fourth starting to take second place in his own No. 36 Spike chassis with a 750cc Bob Wirth Suzuki. Former USAC Western Series Midget driver Chuck West, of Clovis, started seventh and placed third in Evans' No. 38 Stealth/750cc Suzuki. West entered the race with a 24-point lead over his first cousin/car owner Evans. West became the 2011 NMRA driving champion for the fourth time. Runner-up Evans, the 2010 TQ driving champion and car owner champion, trailed West by 20 points. Evans' No. 38 car won the 2011 car owner title again this year by 20 points over his No. 36 team car. It was the fourth car owner championship for Evans' No. 38 TQ.
Kenny Wiley started eighth and finished fifth Saturday in his own No. 96 TQ. Scott Dobson started and finished sixth. Ron Ahrendt placed seventh just in front of 2010 TQ rookie of the year B. Baker. Leading 2011 TQ rookies Adam Baker (Brian's twin) and Michael Black were non-finishers in P 9-10. A pair of five-car, 8-lap heat races went to outside front row starters Evans and B. Baker. West won four mains in 2011, Lopiccolo three, and one each went to B. Baker, West, and Dobson. West won the only Santa Maria feature.
In final 2011 NMRA driver point standings, B. Baker and Ahrendt finished third and fourth respectively. They were the only other drivers who competed in all ten races as did West and Evans. Schweitzer placed fifth in final points after racing nine times. Lopiccolo's feature victory enabled him to leap-frog Dobson for sixth place in final points. Both drivers raced seven times this season. B. Baker's No. 6 TQ earned third position in final owner points by 19 points over Ahrendt's No. 87. Parke's No. 59 finished fifth in owner points. The date for NMRA's 2011 season awards dinner will be finalized in coming weeks.
Heat 1 – West Evans, Kenny Wiley, Ron Ahrendt, Scott Dobson, Michael Black.
Heat 2 – Brian Baker, Chuck West, Anthony Lopiccolo, Dakota Schweitzer, Adam Baker.
Main – Lopiccolo, Evans, West, Schweitzer, Wiley, Dobson, Ahrendt, B. Baker, A. Baker, Black.
FINAL 2011 POINT STANDINGS:
Drivers Car Owners
1 Chuck West 594 1 No. 38 West Evans 627
2 West Evans 574 2 No. 36 West Evans 607
3 Brian Baker 536 3 No. 6 Brian Baker 566
4 Ron Ahrendt 514 4 No. 87 Ron Ahrendt 547
5 Dakota Schweitzer 455 5 No. 59 Steve Parke 485
6 Anthony Lopiccolo 410 6 No. 18 Scott Dobson 475
7 Scott Dobson 396 7 No. 17 Adam Baker 440
8 Adam Baker ® 359 8 No. 21 Paul Lopiccolo 431
9 Michael Black ® 318 9 No. 14 Michael Black 345
10 Dave Lambert 206 10 No. 55 Dave Lambert 224