YAKIMA, Washington — Every driver competes for a division's championship and race wins during the course of the season and at Yakima Speedway four drivers have had strong runs towards that goal in their respective divisions as the local racing schedule returns this Saturday night.
Chris Marang, Buck Noel Jr., Cody Denton and Jeff Ball will need to continue to make laps and earn points during the final four weekends of the year but each stands a strong chance of sitting at the head table when the Speedway hosts its 2012 champions banquet in the fall.
In the H&H Furniture Pure Stock division where the race the championship battle has Marang out in front of Rob Allen who sits just
34 points. The tighter race is for third-place as Rookie of the Year points leader, Tim Hitchcock has a slim nine-point gap over steadily improving Kyle Wade with Peppie Rojas and Joe Estep rounding out the
top-5 driver standings.
Noel has been the consistent driver over the course of the Burger Ranch Sportsman season en route to a commanding lead over second-place Kyler Conduff. Despite suffering mechanical issues in the group's last main event, third-place and defending Rookie of the Year Lucas Valdez still is in the hunt for a second-place points finish as he trails Conduff by 10 markers with four weekends left in the year.
Morgan Morrison and Terry Cook run fourth and fifth respectively in the Sportsman points standings with 15 points separating the pair heading into the weekend.
Jeff Ball has looked to avoid a potential mechanical gremlin or incident that would cause his strong points lead in the CWI Security/EZ Credit Auto Sales Hornet class to shrink. For Ball his only setback of the year came in the division's last main event on July 28 as he suffered damage to his 7-Eleven machine during the night's racing action. Having built a nearly 100 point lead on his next closest competitor, Ball returns this weekend to continue his quest for a championship while allowing second-place Rodger Eaton Robert Patton to battle for the final two positions in the top-3 as the duo face a 15-point difference as Saturday approaches.
Bailey Broers and Michael Beck are the final two drivers in the top-5 of the Hornet division standings.
For Cody Denton the chance to claim the first-ever championship in the Speedway Mini-Stock division is his to lose with four weekends of competition remaining. While the championship is not locked up, Denton is the most likely of Speedway competitors to claim a title when 2012 wraps up in mid-September.
Joshua Henne, George Jankowics, Josh Parmentier and Casey Chambers round out the top-5 of the Mini-Stock points standings.
Josh Aguirre started the Sea Galley Bump-to-Pass season off with nearly a half-dozen consecutive victories since April but Todd Nunn has stayed with Aguirre turn for turn in the 2012 championship battle with only 13 points separating the drivers heading into the weekend.
While the focus is on the pair for the championship fight, Chris Hamburger has stole their thunder since debuting his race car in July with a pair of victories to his credit and a points total that has him sitting in ninth place overall in his limited amount of racing in the class.
Also on Saturday's schedule will be the return of the Northwest Late Model 4's as they make their second appearance of the season at Yakima Speedway. In the group's first race on the famed half-mile it was Cody Walker thrilling the fans with his clean sweep of the night's action including netting his first fast time award of the teenager's career.
As a reminder, discount ticket night is this weekend with special pricing and booklets being offered at the Speedway main office or at various locations across the Yakima Valley. Fans are encouraged to contact the track for more details regarding this promotion.
For fast and furious racing action Yakima Speedway has all the action on beginning Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. as admission gates will be open with qualifying set for 5 followed by racing at 6. To learn more about this weekend's racing events at Yakima Speedway log onto www.yakimaspeedway.us find Yakima Speedway on Facebook or call (509) 248-0647.