ERIE, Colorado -- The outlook of the Prestige Capital Funding Late Model championship battle at Colorado National Speedway changed considerably following Saturday's "3M Night at the Races". A superb performance by point leader Roger Avants, coupled with a disastrous outing by nearest rival Jerry Robertson, allowed 50-year-old Avants to break open a significant advantage in the division standings. Avants, of Littleton, CO, passed Robertson for the lead just beyond the halfway mark of the 40 lapper, and went on to notch his seventh NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge victory of the year. Meanwhile, Robertson later dropped out of the race and posted a 17th place finish. Avants' title-quest margin at the 3/8 mile paved oval more than doubled, jumping from 24 points to a near-monumental 56.
Robertson started on the pole and grabbed the lead at the onset, with Steve Yackey in pursuit. From fifth on the grid, Avants overhauled Yackey for the runner-up slot on the ninth circuit and began to move in on the leader. On lap 21, Avants used the low groove to get around Robertson; it marked the first time in over two years that Robertson had surrendered the lead in a feature race due to an on-track maneuver. The night ended for Robertson on lap 29, when his mount impacted the front-stretch wall after dropping fluid on the track. Steve Yackey briefly moved back up to second place, until relinquishing the position to cousin Bruce Yackey during the closing stages. At the stripe, Avants' McDonald's / Pro Vans USA Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned a six car-length margin over Bruce Yackey, while Steve Yackey captured third for his career-best showing. Ken Walter and Scotty Backman followed.
Avants, who is seeking his fifth Late Model championship at the speedway, now has 692 points to his credit, while Robertson's tally is 636. Bruce Yackey continues in third, but trails Robertson by just 12 marks. Six races remain on the 2002 schedule for the division.
In Artcraft Signs Grand American Modified results, Joel Hansen returned to top form as he reeled in his fourth win in his last five starts. Although Hansen was sixth when the green flag waved, he needed just two laps to get to the front of the field. Ronnie Hults chased Hansen throughout the second half of the 30 lap event, but finished ten lengths back. Third went to Chris Muhler, with Forest Smith and Ronnie Stringfellow completing the top five. Hansen now owns an 84 point advantage on Hults, the largest margin of any division at the track.
Dunlap's Trailers Super Stock driver Mike Bowen became the third point leader of the evening to score a victory, as he stayed up front from wire to wire. Rookie contender Lee Kemmit could not offer Bowen a serious challenge, and settled for the runner-up award, with J.R. Davis third. Rick Russolello nipped Jim Bob Rogers at the line to secure fourth.
The Figure-Eight division finally had its first repeat winner of the year, as Dave Roe took the trophy. Roe out-muscled Dave Smith for the top spot on the third circuit, then powered away from the pack. As the 20 lap contest neared halfway, Al Duran moved into second and stayed there to the finish. J.D. Hafemeister took third, while Smith fell to fourth and Craig Moore posted fifth in the rundown. Lance Proctor maintained his point lead with a sixth place effort.
NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge action continues at Colorado National Speedway next Saturday night, July 27th, with the "Arctic Cat ProTruck Rumble". The ProTrucks will be featured in a special 50 lap event, along with regular programs for the Super Stocks and the Legends Cars, plus a unique "ladies-only" Powder Puff race for the Trains.
(July 20) - Results from the "3M Night at the Races" NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge event, held Saturday at Colorado National Speedway. PRESTIGE CAPITAL FUNDING LATE MODELS QUICK TIME: Scotty Backman Parker TROPHY DASH: Steve Yackey Greeley FEATURE: 1. Roger Avants Littleton 2. Bruce Yackey Greeley 3. Steve Yackey Greeley 4. Ken Walter Littleton 5. Scotty Backman Parker 6. Travis Clark Morrison 7. P.J. Mattorano Commerce City 8. Rick Smith Gering, NE 9. Beau Kellogg Evergreen 10. Doug Greer Loveland ARTCRAFT SIGNS GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS QUICK TIME: Joel Hansen Eaton TROPHY DASH: Chris Muhler Erie FEATURE: 1. Joel Hansen Eaton 2. Ronnie Hults Denver 3. Chris Muhler Erie 4. Forest Smith Bellvue 5. Ronnie Stringfellow Littleton 6. Wayne Muhler Erie 7. Mike Moore Bailey 8. D.L. Clementson Littleton 9. Bobby Pittington Loveland 10. Ryan Moore Bailey DUNLAP'S TRAILERS SUPER STOCKS QUICK TIME: Rick Runkle Lakewood TROPHY DASH: Trent Phillips Hemingford, NE FEATURE: 1. Mike Bowen Aurora 2. Lee Kemmit Thornton 3. J.R. Davis Loveland 4. Rick Russolello Thornton 5. Jim Bob Rogers Erie 6. Daren Gailey Aurora 7. Stan Griffin Brighton 8. Eric Blackard Lakewood 9. Rick Hunt Arvada 10. Steve Green Alma FIGURE-EIGHTS TROPHY DASH: Al Duran Lakewood FEATURE: 1. Dave Roe Littleton 2. Al Duran Lakewood 3. J.D. Hafemeister Denver 4. Dave Smith Englewood 5. Craig Moore Littleton 6. Lance Proctor Arvada 7. Bill Quintrall Thornton 8. Jared Wall Commerce City 9. Michael Steward Thornton 10. Lorin Cantrell Denver