By: Ashley McCubbin
Each week, I am going to try and put together five thoughts on something in relation to short track racing based on what happened on track. Some of these will be positive, and others will be….well, not as pretty. Hopefully there is lots to talk about this year.
With two weeks in the books, Delaware Speedway enters May 19 for their third weekend of competition. So far, the action has been hot at the London, Ontario-based oval with solid car counts, and lots of side-by-side racing. As you get ready to head out on this Friday night, here are your five thoughts to consider.
A pair of features this season for the Grand Masters Super Stocks equals a pair of victories for Jake Sheridan.
After moving up to third on the green flag opening night, he immediately moved forward in the 35-lap feature, taking the top spot from Kris Lawrence on Lap 3. Despite being pressured by Kenny McNicol Jr., he led the rest of the way en route to victory lane.
Double features the next night of competition didn’t phase him. After leading the field to the green flag in the first race, he would go unchallenged en route to the win. The second event him start at the back of the field, but he quickly moved his way up through to take the top spot at Lap 15. He then led the second half of the race, holding off a late attempt to pass by David McCullough.
This weekend is an off night for the super stocks, as they will return to action next weekend. It doesn’t mean Sheridan won’t be at the track, though, as it was announced he will be making his Pro Late Model debut with McColl Racing Enterprises as part of driver development initiative.
Speaking of Pro Lates…..
After taking a week off, the top division will be back in action this weekend.
The first weekend saw Jamie Cox win both events for the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models, getting the lead early in feature one, followed by taking the lead on Lap 13 in feature two. Cox will not make it three in a row, though, as he is down at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Short Track Nationals. Simply put, we will see a new face in victory lane – but who?
Brandon Verhoeven set the quick time in qualifying on opening night with a lap of 19.899 seconds, but failed to post a top-five in each event. Shae Gemmell turned a second-place qualifying effort into a runner-up in feature one, followed by a fourth in feature two. Brady Smith had a third and a second opening night, to go with Jay Doerr’s fourth and third. Needless to say, it’s up in the air as to which of these drivers, or possibly someone else, picks up the checkered flag.
Four in a Row??
The Demar Aggregates Truck Series season has started off perfectly for Rick Verberne, who has won the three features to date – but goes into night number two sitting second in points, a single marker behind Tom Zagorodny. The question remains – can he make it four in a row and take over the top spot?
Based on his performance the past two nights, it seems very likely as he’s been dominant, showcasing his ability to drive through the field at ease. However, Zagorodny shouldn’t be looked over – as he almost passed Verberne last Friday night, closing the gap with five laps to go and only losing out by half a truck length.
You also have to consider Kevin Lay will be wanting to put his name back into contention after failing to post a top-three finish last weekend, despite a runner-up on opening night. Mickey Brydges has also put his name into the contention, posting a pair of thirds and a fourth to start 2017.
Ready to Battle, Again
With a week off, the TransAxle V8 Stocks are certainly itching to return to the half-mile oval on Friday night to put on a show. While focus may be on the Late Models being the top dog on the card, this is a division that shouldn’t be overlooked by fans. Anybody remember how they started the season?
Following a late-race restart, Nathan Taback and Barry Watson ran side-by-side through the final couple of laps, with Watson just edging Taback by inches for the victory. With a variety of competitors, it’s easy to predict there will be another close finish on Friday night to keep you on the edge of your seats.
One driver to watch – Cody Payne. He was making ground in the last event till he was caught up in a wreck on Lap 25.
Clean for Wayne
The opening night for the late models didn’t go as Wayne Pilkey could’ve hoped.
In both features, he saw himself get turned around by a competitor – Lap 7 in feature one, and Lap 13 in race two. Oh, and both times that happened in turn four.
With an eighth and a ninth to start the year, he’ll hope to avoid trouble for a possible top-five finish.