IRVINGTON, Ala. (August 6, 2014) – When the drivers of Mobile International Speedway’s Pro Late Model (PLM) division take to the track this coming Saturday, it will have been over two months since the last time they did battle at the half-mile track. Needless to say, these talented men having been chomping at the bit to get back to action.
With just two events remaining for the division before the season comes to a close, the stakes couldn’t be any higher – especially with the biggest race of the season looming just three weeks away.
Having had the opportunity to make improvements to their cars during their time away, Saturday night’s double feature is, in a way, a three edged sword.
With 21 points separating the top three drivers in the championship points standings, the two features to be held Saturday night offer the drivers an opportunity to make up crucial points in their title pursuits — or put them to rest in a big way. On top of that, they will also serve as miniature test session in preparation for the Lee Fields Memorial on August 30.
Needless to say, there is much on the line.
Holding a 19-point lead over Wayne Niedecken Jr., defending PLM champion Josh Bragg of Helena, Mississippi took major strides in securing the division championship yet again the last time the division was on track on June 6. Sweeping both races that night, Bragg took all of the momentum with him leading in to the break, and got in the head of his championship foe, Niedecken in the process.
Set to debut a new paint scheme on Saturday night, however; Niedecken looks to right the ship and force a championship showdown. With he and Bragg having fought tooth and nail on the track to this point, it appears to be a likely scenario for the Milton, Florida driver.
Continuing the intrigue, the winner of the first 20-lap feature on Saturday night will start at the tail end of the field for the second 30-lap event – setting up an absolute dogfight to accrue as many crucial championship points as possible.
Keeping all of the aforementioned in mind, Saturday night’s PLM double feature at MIS alone could be worth the price of admission.
Two weeks ago, Pro Truck points leader Okie Mason fired the shot heard throughout Mobile County. Winning the night’s 25-lap feature in dominant fashion, the Kushla, Alabama driver extended his points lead to 13 over third-place finishing Jay Jay Day.
Despite being able to keep up with Mason throughout the season, time is running out for Day as only three races remain for him to make up ground in the championship points.
Sure, there is still time for the Theodore, Alabama native, but considering how close the two have been all season, he will have to dig deep to find his championship-winning mojo to carry through the end of the season.
Two months ago, fans and competitors at MIS were all but ready to crown Dave Mader III the Super Stock division champion for 2014. The events that transpired since, however; prove that it is not over until its over.
Being a stripped of a win after failing technical inspection two months ago and being awarded no points for his efforts, Mader was relegated all the way to third in the series points standings and over 80 points behind.
Despite a commanding win two weeks ago, Mader was only able to make up three points on championship leader, Bobby Baria. With three races remaining for the season, Baria holds a 33-point lead over Jason Johnson – as the “lady” appears to be clearing her throat and warming up to sing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t scores to be settled in the coming weeks.
In what has been arguably the most competitive division at MIS in 2014, July 26th’s race for the Sportsmen division could very well have been the championship winning moment.
Throughout the season, fans at the track have witnessed a spirited three-way championship battle between Brannon Fowler, Lee “Red Dog” Reynolds and Mark Barnhill – but that very well may have come to a close two weeks ago.
Despite finishing third behind Fowler and Barnhill respectively, Reynolds’ was awarded no points on the evening following the race – pushing him all the way back to fifth in the standings and 104 points out.
With only 100 points available for the race winner each week, Reynolds will have to rely on Fowler and his foes to not show up the next three weeks to even have a shot at getting back into contention. As the season comes to a close, Reynolds can do nothing more than gun for wins as his championship aspirations will have to wait another year.
For the competitors of the Bomber class at MIS, the 2014 season has been a bit of a broken record.
No matter what challenge has been thrown his way, or poor luck fallen upon, Mobile, Alabama’s BJ Leytham has been undefeated on the season — and continued that streak two weeks ago with another dominant performance.
Now leading the championship standings by a whopping 157 points, Derek “Kane” Long, Matthew Jackson and the rest of Leytham’s Bomber foes look to put an end to the streak as the championship appears to be a forgone conclusion.
With four races remaining before the season comes to a close, winning races is now the order of business for all drivers, and during the past two months, three names appear close to doing so, including Leytham’s teammate Gene Denmark, Jackson and Long.
Another jam-packed night of racing gets underway Saturday night, August 9th at 7pm with two features from the Pro Late Model division as well as features for the Pro Truck, Super Stock, Sportsmen and Bombers. With Saturday’s festivities serving as Back to School Night, kids 12 and under will be admitted to the grandstands free of charge as well as adults for just $10. As always, discounts are available for seniors, students and members of the military.
About Mobile International Speedway: Mobile International Speedway is the longest continuously operating sports facility in Mobile County. It was built in 1964 and has presented weekly motorsports events every year since then. As an indication of increasing community acceptance and enthusiasm, both the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Mobile Sports Authority became MIS partners beginning in 2013.
Family attendance and participation have been the keys to the track’s continued success. Kids five and under are always admitted free to the grandstands. Family nights and family-oriented shows have always been staples of the annual MIS schedules. Over 30,000 people will attend the 14 scheduled MIS events in 2014.