Champions Crowned on Final Day of Winternationals by Amy Hayes
Cooler Heads Prevail in Saturday Races
“It’s pretty cool to win the Championship,” said Bassett. “I guess now we ended up winning the race too, so that makes this a really good ending to Winternationals. And I won $500 too; that ‘s one of the best parts.”
Stroupe dominated the whole race and took the checkered flag first, where he looked to claim his second win of the Winternationals. In tech however, the tech officials determined that something was off on his clutch and he was disqualified.
“I actually was able to get a good start today,” said Stroupe. “I led the whole race, came to tech and then got DQed. They said that the clutch was too thin. I think it was 2/1000th’s off. It was a clutch that we bought from the parts trailer and put it on before the races started. I guess we just didn’t get to keep the win.”
Stancill Seals the Deal with Semi-Pro Win
Christopher McKinney took the Outlaws win and championship after finally getting to race on Saturday.
The racing at Orlando SpeedWorld in Saturday’s final feature events were a relative calm compared to Friday’s events. The drivers’ tempers seemed to have cooled and level heads prevailed for the most parts. And many of those level-headed drivers found themselves not only walking off as feature winners, but also found themselves as Winternationals Champions.
Dillon Bassett Crosses Line Second, But Claims Double Victories
Dillon Bassett was able to wrap up his Bandolero Bandits Championship in Saturday’s final event. He stayed smooth the entire race and crossed the finish line in second-place, following Nick Stroupe. But in the tech area, things got a little bit interesting and Bassett ended up being credited with the first-place finish.
Dillon Bassett took the Bandit win and championship.
In Friday’s events, John Stancill had to struggle for a third-place finish. He had to start from the back and worked all the way up front.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday. He started up front and he was never out of reach for the victory. He slid back a couple of positions, but by the midpoint of the race he was able to get by the No. 66 of Travis Baer and string out a lead on his way to the checkered.
“This definitely makes up for yesterday,” said Stancill. “I was trying to get by the 66 for a couple of laps and he kind of cut me off a little bit and then the caution finally came out. On the restart I gave him a little bump and I was finally able to get by him.
Once he was out front, he didn’t look back. He led by several car lengths as he took the checkered.
“Well I don’t know what to say, I tried my best and my best was good enough. It’s great to finish off Winternationals with a win and the Championship.”
McKinney Finally Claims Outlaws Victory
All week long, Chris McKinney has been the lone Outlaw competing in the feature events. He was put onto the starting grid with the Young Guns, and for the past few days, he not only had to worry about hitting his marks, he also had to be watching out for the other competitors who were in a separate points chase as well.
But that all changed on Saturday when another competitor entered the Winternationals events at Orlando SpeedWorld. Derek Long came and attempted to give McKinney a run for his money during the final feature, but in the end it was McKinney who found himself in victory lane.
“It was nice to finally have an Outlaw race,” said McKinney. “It was hard trying to concentrate on myself and concentrate on others at the same time. I didn’t want to interfere with their races too much or their points.
“I am just glad to know that I finally won and it’s over with. We traveled 14 hours from Knoxville, Tennessee to come race this, and it’s pretty cool to be able to walk away with a championship.
Glenski Takes It to the Bank One Last Time
Ryan Glenski did what he does best in Saturday’s Young Guns feature.
With Glenski up front, the rest of the cars just fell into line behind him and followed each other around for a relatively easy feature.
“This is pretty cool,” grinned Glenski. “I am glad to be able to come out of here with three wins and the Young Guns Championship. It’s only my first time here and it was a really good.
“It was a really fun racing with Ronnie Bassett for the Championship all week long. We had some good races and I am sure that we will have some close battles throughout the year.”
Thomson Doubles Up at Winternationals
Any driver who has driven in a Legends car knows that one person that you that don’t want to see in your rearview mirror is Nick Pistone. But that didn’t bother Brandon Thomson. He and Pistone put on some of the best racing seen all day long in the Pros feature and Thomson was able to hold him off to take the checkered flag first.
“It’s kind of hard to beat Nick and these guys out here, so to do it twice is pretty cool,” said Thomson. “Nick even let me borrow his motor and cut me some new tires the other day, so it’s kind of cool that I am able to beat the guy that is helping me out. So I can’t complain.
“It is a lot of fun. It’s not everyday that you can race like that with someone who has been racing a real long time. He builds all my cars and he raced me clean so I have a lot to thank him for.”
Interestingly enough, without winning a race all weekend long Pistone was able to claim the Pro Championship, in what happened to be his backup car.
At the beginning of the Winternationals events, on Tuesday Nick Pistone was in a black car No. 99. He won his heat race and looked poised to bring home the first win of the week. But when the features started, he was instead in a Metallic colored No. 99 and at the back of the field.
“It was a good week for us. We sold our primary car that we had just built in the shop at the beginning of the week,” said Pistone. “We could have won a lot of races in that car. But we got a good price for it. So we just pulled out the backup car.
“I am happy to win the title. I could have won three races, but I didn’t want to have to take anyone out, especially one of the cars I help set up. Nick Pistone Racing won both the Championships in the Pro and SemipPro division. It’s good for our business. Business is good now, so hopefully it will get even better.”
New Face in Victory Lane in Chargers Divisions
All week long, two drivers have been the names and faces to beat in the Chargers Division, that being Matthew Stover and RS Senter. On Saturday however, it was Tony Samson’s day.
“I normally run Semi-Pro,” said Samson. “But I haven’t been having too much luck there, and I heard that it was going to be pretty crazy, so that is why I stepped down. It was fun running up front with Stover and Senter and it feels good to come home with the win.”
He had a good battle with Stover for the lead, but Stover had a late lap spin and wasn’t able to catch back up to Samson before the checkered flag fell.
“I just got into the turn a little too hard,” said Stover. “I guess he slowed up a little and I just bumped him and spun.
Despite not winning the race Stover did wrap up the ‘imaginary’ Chargers Championship.
“We thought that we had wrapped up the Chargers Division Championship,” added Stover. “But now the 600 Officials said that we don’t really have one for the Chargers, since it is a beginners class. But we still came out leading the points.”
Hair Makes It Look Easy In Masters Division
Clay Hair hasn’t had luck on his side at the Winternationals 2007. But hard work and ambition paid off for him in the end. In Saturday’s final event Hair was able to get by Tim Brockhouse at the midpoint of the race and take the lead. And with that victory, he also claimed the Winternationals Championship.
“I think yesterdays win was a lot more fun,” said Hair who had to recover from two spins to win his feature on Friday. “The car was just flawless today. I guess we aren’t going to do anything else to it, just take it somewhere else and see how it does there. It just ran spotless. We didn’t get much practice today though. We had some altercations with another one of my cars that we had to get ready for a different feature, so I just went out there and drove the wheels off of it. The guys did a fantastic job in the shop, I was just out there making sure that I got all of my marks down.
This wasn’t his first Winternationals Championship, but it was his first in a few years.
“This is great. I have been down here a lot, as a matter of fact I have wrecked here a lot,” joked Hair. “This is a car that I am going to have to contend with all year long. I won the Winternationals Championship back in 1998 as a Pro but this is my first as a Master. It has been quite a while, almost ten years. But I guess I am telling my age now, but I am in the Masters Division.”
Nick Pistone used this backup car to win the Legends Pro Championship.
Ryan Glenski was a happy guy in victory lane.