The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series opened up its seventh campaign Saturday night at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho and it was local multi-time MVS track champion Bruce Quale (Dish Network/Quale's Electronics Chevrolet) who stole the show and dominated the 75-lap main event to score his first career RMCS victory on a cold and windy Spring evening. Quale edged Las Vegas, Nevada's Thane Alderman by just .092 seconds at the finish line with Brett Thompson making his first ever RMCS start crossing the finish line third. Steve Jones and Dylan Caldwell rounded out the five finishers.
2007 RMCS champion John Newhouse heated up the action earlier in the evening topping the qualifying charts scoring his first Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award of the season and fourth of his career with a quick lap of 14.600 seconds around the tricky 1/3-mile paved oval. Steve Jones, Jonathon Gomez, Brett Thompson, and Dave Minegar rounded out the top five qualifiers in the 18-car field. Quale qualified eighth and would start eighth in the race.
The RMCS inverts the qualifying order for each event (heat races, main events) and awards qualifying points, heat race finish points, and passing points in the feature races to ensure the greatest level of competition providing passing and action for the fans. Heat race victories were claimed by Bruce Quale, Dylan Caldwell, and Jonathon Gomez who put a deal together Friday afternoon to drive a second entry out of the Minegar racing stable owned by Pat Mineger.
With the invert set, Eric Rhead started from the pole position and lead the first eleven circuits before Joe Miller took the point on lap 12. Miller led the next 19 laps before Quale took over the lead and never looked back.
Quale had moved up to the fourth position by lap 10 and then into third on lap 18. He continued his march forward moving into the second position on lap 20 and finally into the lead on lap 32.
All the while, the fast qualifiers were working their way to the front from the tail end of the field. Fast qualifier Newhouse had moved up to the seventh position by the midway point only to have his progress halted after contact with Caldwell. Newhouse lost a couple of spots but only managed to climb back up to the sixth position where he finished.
The Minegar racing duo of Minegar and Gomez had fast cars and got as high as fifth in the running before falling out of the event. Minegar had a stuck throttle ending his night and Gomez pulled his ride into the pits when it started to overheat.
With the action sorting itself out over the middle portion of the race, the top six in the running order put on a great show for the fans running nose to tail over the closing 30 laps with Quale leading Alderman, Thompson, Jones, Caldwell, and Newhouse to the finish line. Kris McKean, Travis Monett, Eric Rhead, and Russell Butler rounded out the top ten finishes in round one of the ten race championship series.
"I am so excited to finally win one of these RMCS races," Quale stated from victory lane. "I have won a lot of races over the years but not one of these. These guys are the best drivers around and to finally get to victory lane is amazing. Thane (Alderman) was a lot faster than me off the corners and I thank him a lot for racing me clean. That is what is great about this series; the guys will race you really hard but race you clean. Man what a great night."
For his part, finishing second is a big win after a disappointing season in 2009. "I love this series," Alderman explained. "That is why I travel from Vegas to each of the events. This is absolutely the best racing around with some of the best racers anywhere. Mike Minegar runs the series and races the way it ought to be run. It is just a lot of fun to race here. I gave Bruce a run and hit him a few times but I wasn't going to rough him up to the point of spinning. Congratulations to Bruce on the win."
Making his first start in the RMCS and finishing third was Brett Thompson out of nearby Jerome, Idaho. "I am really happy with a third place finish at Magic Valley," Thompson said. "My goal was a top five and we accomplished that. My hats off to Will Harris and the entire crew for working so hard at the shop and here at the track. They put the car back together after the incident in the heat race and it was solid all race. I can't wait until we go to Salt Lake in two weeks."
Kris McKean claimed the A1 Heating & Air Conditioning $100 Bonus, with Newhouse grabbing the Sharp Powder Coating Fast Time Award. Rhead, Miller, and Quale all earned the ESI Express Lap Leader Bonus of $5 per lap led. Four of the top finishers started outside the top ten with all of the top five finishers starting outside the top five.
Steve Jones emerges as the early point leader heading into round two followed by Quale, Alderman, Thompson, and Newhouse. The next event for the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is Saturday, May 8 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley, Utah.
The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The top 20 qualifiers are inverted for every race putting fast time in the 20th starting position. This format ensures race fans see what they paid for and that is passing. Each driver is awarded three points per position gained in the event. Points are also awarded for qualifying and heat race finishes. Through the history of the series, the winning driver has averaged a 15th place starting position. To ensure competition, the RMCS pays it purse based on total point accumulation for the event and provides several special performance awards for each event.
The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is a regional touring series that allows all competitors to race and gain experience on different types of racetracks. It is a high-quality professional racing series that offers maximum opportunity at an affordable price serving the intermountain West. The motto of the series is to “Race Hard and Have Fun!” For all the latest news and information regarding the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series log onto www.rmcsracing.com. Follow all the racing action from throughout the West by logging onto www.racingwest.com.