Championship Night Provides Plenty of Excitement At HPT.Com Speedway
Topeka, KS - Championship night at HPT.Com Speedway was dubbed "The Race For Hope & Faith." Two fans, Sandy and Byron Glotzbach, wanted to find a way to help celebrate Sandy's battle with cancer and their upcoming 30th wedding anniversary and they decided the best way was to add $2,000 to the night's purse. In doing so it added a lot of excitement on championship night.
Each division saw an increase in purse money at the top spot. The Modified winner would get $1,500, $750 to the Factory Stock winner, the B Mod winner would take home $700 and the Pure Stock victor would pocket $225.
As it was the last points race of the season, fans were guaranteed a shot at watching drivers take chances that they might not normally take.
Darron Fuqua had to wait until Saturday night to be officially crowned the points champion in the Washburn Tech Modified division, even though it was a couple weeks back that mathematically everyone else had been eliminated.
At the start of the Modified feature it was Cody Agler and Kerry Davis jumping out to the front of the field.
Fuqua would join the party up front charging to the 3rd position. In the past month Fuqua had been off his winning pace. He had been in this position before, but by the end of the night he would fade a couple of spots instead of move forward. This would not be one of those performances.
After a yellow flag, Fuqua would move by Kerry Davis on the restart and within two laps would work his way by Agler on the way to the top spot. Once he grabbed the top spot, Fuqua extended his lead and would go on to win #11 on the season.
His 11th win would hold a special place in his championship celebration. The win was worth $1,500, but it also signified the most Modified feature wins in a single season. He and Clint Bowyer shared the mark at 10 and with the win last night he moved to the top of the list.
Tim Karrick, a former weekly competitor at HPT.Com Speedway, put on a good show for the fans. Karrick started 6th, moved his way back a little and then figured out the track and motored all the way up to the runner-up spot by the end of the night.
Finishing in the 3rd position was Agler, Davis finished in the 4th spot and Ryan Phillips continued his strong final month to the season finishing in 5th.
The Super 8 at Forbes Landing Factory Stock division championship was still up in the air by the time the feature rolled around. Dave Samuels, the current point leader, needed to stay either in front of 2nd place Steve Herrick or just finish the feature to win his 2nd consecutive points championship.
Samuels didn't want to hold the crowd in suspense for very long. He jumped to the front of the field from his front row starting spot and he would take his 12th win of the season leading every single lap.
In 2011 Samuels would be the only champion to repeat the feat from 2010. It was a heart felt win for Samuels as he has been a mainstay in the Factory Stock division. He announced before the race that this would be his last Factory Stock race and he led the crowd to believe that he would be back racing in 2012 in a different class.
In the runner-up spot it was Steve Herrick capping off a solid season. Herrick, who held the points lead for most of the year, started the feature in the 9th spot. Herrick worked his way through traffic and made a valiant effort to get by Samuels, but it wouldn't be his night as he would settle for 2nd.
Tyson Young finished in the 3rd spot, 4th saw Frank Jaynes have his best finish of the season and James King rounded out the top 5 in the 5th position.
In the Whiteline CDL Training B Mod class it was a bit of redemption for the feature winner.
2011 was hard on Brian Murphy. Coming off a 2010 track championship, Murphy was ready to go for the season. Multiple feature wins in 2010 marked him as the man to beat early in the season.
Heading into championship night, Murphy had only visited victory lane once all year long. It wasn't a bad year for Murphy as he has been in the top 5 in points all season long, but it just wasn't the outcome he was looking for. He an rest easy heading into the off season knowing that he made it look easy on winning the $700 B Mod feature on Saturday night.
Nic Bennett had the early lead, but he would give it up to Ethan Isaacs. The two would battle for awhile, but on a restart Murphy would shoot by Bennett for the 2nd spot and not to be content with that he also would drive right by Isaacs with a power move.
Murphy, who has been running a modified and b mod this season at HPT, drove a flawless race to the checkered flag and the win.
The runner-up spot would go to Bennett, as it was his best feature finish of the season.
The 2011 points champion, Dalton Kirk, finished in the 3rd spot. Kirk, in his first season competing at HPT.Com Speedway, nails down his 2nd track championship of the year.
Dustin Thulin would finish in the 4th position and Lucas Isaacs wound up in the 5th spot at the end of the race.
Tyler Garst has been running the final month of the season with a lot of pressure. His dad, Scott Garst, picked up a win 7 weeks prior in the maiden voyage for their Casey's General Store Pure Stock project. Once Tyler had a chance to get in the car, anything less than a win wouldn't be accepted. No, we are just kidding.
Garst at the beginning of the season was an employee of HPT.Com Speedway, but as he watched the racing week after week he knew that he wanted to be behind the wheel. For years he had a lot of success racing quarter midgets all throughout the U.S. That doesn't usually mean that you are going to be successful in full-size cars, but mentally he knew how to handle the race game.
On this night Garst would have one of his better nights as he would lead the most laps in the Pure Stock feature. He got the jump on AJ Christian to start the race and never looked back.
Christian would finish 2nd, Mitch Schroer had his best finish of 2011 in 3rd, Dylan McDonald rolled to a 4th place finish and 5th went to a hard driving Dan Canady.
Zach Henery the 2011 track champion had a rough night in the feature. Jim and Becky Gruber of Gruber Trucking offered Henery a 'back row challenge.'
If Henery would give up his starting spot and start the feature as the last car, Henery would collect an extra $225.00 in cash if he were to win. Henery graciously accepted the offer. At the start of the race he would tap the back of Ken Fluery and it allowed his hood to come up in the right corner.
As he went by car after car, it wasn't long before he was sitting in the top spot. After a yellow flag, on the restart Henery would go roaring down the front stretch only to see his entire hood fly off the car. It brought out a yellow and sent him to the back of the feature with 6 laps to go. On the next restart and a car would spin in front of him and damage his ride to where he couldn't finish.
The racing at HPT.Com Speedway doesn't end yet for 2011. The Lucas Oil MLRA will be coming back on Oct. 6th and 7th with the "Capital City Clash!" Two great nights of Late Models and Modifieds on one of the best tracks in the Midwest!