Five Flags Speedway will host the first of two Night of Champions this Saturday night, September 12. Here are "10 Things to Know" heading into the important night of racing in Pensacola.
1) Four championships will be decided at Five Flags Speedway on Saturday night. The Pro Trucks, the Pure Stocks, the Outlaws, and the Sportsman division champions will all be crowned.
2) Bubba Winslow enters as the track's Outlaw point leader. Despite going winless, his five top-five finishes are enough to give him a 23-point advantage over Conner Sutton for the title. Bill Touchtone II is still within reach of the battle, just two points behind Conner. This could be Winslow’s first track title since his 2011 Super Stock crown.
3) In the Pro Truck division, young gun Grant Thompson holds a 37-point lead over Hunter Johnson. Thompson has recorded three victories in the Pro Truck divisions this season. Whether Thompson holds onto the lead or Johnson takes it away, an eighth different champion in eight years will be crowned.
4) The Pure Stocks are also set to see a new champion as Daryl McDonald III has won five of his 10 starts and leads by 28 points over Jerry Goff Jr. McDonald has been tough this year and finished third or better in every race.
5) A few years back, Speed51.com came across story on championship weekend as Okie Mason won two championships on the same night, but in all it ended up being six with the Gulf Coast points between Five Flags and Mobile International Speedway (AL). Here is a look back at that interesting story. https://speed51.com/not-one-
6) The Sportsman championship battle could go ether way as Chad Robinson leads Jim Pokrant by only four markers heading into the final frame. This battle will end Mark Barnhill's run as the two-time defending champion. Shanna Ard is third in points some 43 points back. The 2014 and 2015 track champion in this division would need some help to make it happen again.
7) In all, there will be 135 laps of feature action live on 51 TV. Saturday's races will be the final races for these divisions prior to the 53rd Annual Snowball Derby weekend in December. All of these drivers and classes will be racing that weekend.
8) For fans coming to the track, tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students and 11 and under is free. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
9) Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida opened in 1953 and and in June of that year Herb Thomas won a NASCAR Grand National race there that was shortened to 140 laps due to rain. You would think that in the 50’s the track was dirt, but according to NASCAR sources it was paved and only 20 years later in 1973 the track was paved for what has been the most recent time.
10) When the racing ends Saturday night, there will be four champions and four winners crowned. But that won't be the end of the fun at Five Flags Speedway. On September 19, the Pro Late Model and Super Late Model (Blizzard Series) champions will be crowned with Snowball Derby provisionals on the line.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51