Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
Go Johnny Go

Sometimes, drivers who “make” it in one of the top divisions of NASCAR go a little bit soft.  You can't say that about former NASCAR Truck Series champion Johnny Benson though.  Benson could have lost his life in a Supermodified wreck at Berlin Raceway (MI) in his free time.  So nobody would blame him if he never went back there or even looked at one of those cars again.  But Benson apparently has a pair of big brass ones and will return to the track to race a winged Supermodified on Saturday night.  You go Johnny!

Pole Winning Effort

Young New Hampshire driver Joey Pole has won before at storied tracks like Thunder Road, Oxford and Lee USA Speedway.  But he had never scored a victory on such a large stage as New Hampshire Motor Speedway until Saturday's ACT Invitational there.  When Pole came from deep in the field to score a homestate victory there, it was the thing that dreams are made of.

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

And now it's time to hear from another “Johnny”.  Last Friday night, Johnny Clark captured his fifth-career PASS North Super Late Model title which pushed his tally past Ben Rowe's mark of “only” four.  Now Clark has the most championships on that tour in history - a first-time experience for Clark.  He might not be done yet either - Clark could also wrap another title in the PASS National Series in October.

And The Champion Is….

The Viper Pro Late Model Series wrapped up their season last week at South Alabama Speedway as Bubba Pollard won the race and the championship went to both Sam Smith and Logan Boyett.  After the points race ended with a tie, track owner John Dykes decided to honor the two as co-champions instead of reverting to some type of tie-breaker. In the end, the top six will receive prize money and awards because of the tie.  Nice to see a track owner paying for things out of his pocket to support his racers. 

Family Tradition

It was no surprise to see Chase Elliott win the George Elliott Memorial 100 at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA). Winning the race in honor of his grandfather had to be one of the most historic and meaningful victories in the youngster's career.   For those who think that the fix was on, remember that Chase Elliott has won ten races this year alone.  So there aren't very many races where he isn't considered to be the favorite these days.

Keeping Your Rivals Close

We're not sure if Ted Christopher should love or hate Ryan Preece after this weekend.  TC and Preece tangled in Friday night's SK Modified race at Stafford Motor Speedway and while Preece went on to win the race, Christopher ended up spinning his way to an eighth place finish.  The next morning, it was a total coincidence that when Preece got upset in practice for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at NHMS, Christopher ended up scuffing the wall.  But, that wasn't the end of the story.  Christopher got knocked out of the WMT race early and it looked like his championship hopes might be over.  That was until Preece missed turn three later on and took out point leader Bobby Santos, III.  Now, the gap to catch Santos isn't insurmountable for Christopher - thanks to his rival for most of the weekend.

Thanks!  I think….

Fans at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) got their money's worth.  In addition to the TC vs. Preece fireworks, there was a thrilling finish in the Limited Late Model race as well.  George Nocera, Jr. won for the third time this year after being nosed into the outside wall at the finish line due to contact with Jesse Hinze.  In a priceless victory lane interview, Nocera “credited” his rival for the victory. “I want to thank Jessie for being a crappy driver,” said Nocera very matter-of-factly.

Jumping In

Nearly ever driver has brought his helmet bag and firesuit to a racetrack in hopes of hopping into a last-minute unexpected ride, but usually those hopes go unrealized.  Not so for Josh Hamner last week during the CRA Super Series event at O'Reilly Raceway Park though.  Hamner got invited to wheel Stanley Smith's #49 and made the most of the last-minute arrangement - finishing second to Ross Kenseth in the event.

Goodbye Nashville?

We hope it isn't so, but the upcoming All-American 400 could be the last hurrah for the track at Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway.  The track has been living on borrowed time since a “superspeedway” was built some ways out past the city limits.  While the NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series races have been held at the new and shiny facility, weekly racing and some big Super Late Model shows have still taken place at the short track.  But city politics, the hope of redeveloping the somewhat rough neighborhood where the track is at and declining attendance have made the track's fate clear.  We hope the facility dodges a bullet again and is back for the years to come, but sadly we think this show could be the last one at a very historic venue.

20 Points

The top thee competitors in the ARCA Racing Series points chase right now are separated by only 20 points.  The perch atop the series standings seems to change after each race.  Will it be Patrick Sheltra, Tom Hessert or Craig Goess who wins the championship?  We don't even want to make a prediction.  The race is that close.