IRVINGTON, Ala. – It all comes down to this. After six months of hard work and tough competition, the 2014culminates in one night of racing to determine the champion in four different divisions. With tight points battles raging on in each of the series, the stakes are high – and there is no room for error.
Highlighting the championship night festivities at MIS is the Sunoco 125 for the Southern Super Series super late models. Besides serving as the final race for the Miller Lite Series at MIS, the 125-lap race also marks the end of the season for the second-year series and its tight championship race.
Leading the standings by eight points over defending champion, Daniel Hemric; Bubba Pollard started the season on a hot steak, but has suffered from a rash of mechanical issues lately. Winning a series-high five races this season – four of them coming in succession in April and May – the Senoia, Georgia driver is the obvious pick to win the title one year after losing it by just one point to Hemric.
Winning only once this season –July 25 at Pensacola – Hemric sits second in the championship standings despite a slow start to the year. Having finished no worse than fourth since his lone win, the Kannapolis, North Carolina driver sits in a good position to score his second consecutive Southern Super Series crown over Pollard.
Anderson Bowen, a two-time winner on the season at Gresham Motorsports Park in July and last weekend at Montgomery, sits third in the standings and trails Pollard by 53 points. Although his team has focused mostly on winning races rather than the championship, they have accomplished just that – and could very well pull the upset with a little help on Saturday night.
Rounding out the top five are two drivers who have experienced plenty of success over the years at Mobile. A two-time winner in super late model competition, Augie Grill enters this weekend’s Gulf Coast doubleheader fourth in the series standings and 57 points back. Sitting fifth is Donnie Wilson who is a three-time winner on the season – including the May SSS event at Mobile. Despite missing a race, the Oklahoma driver still has an outside chance at the series title.
125 laps around the high banked half-mile over will determine the series champion.
In local competition at MIS on Saturday night, championships will be decided in three local divisions following their final feature races of the year.
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsmen
The drivers of the Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsmen, the most competitive local series at MIS, open the night with their 25-lap championship feature.
By way of finishing second in the division’s double points-double purse feature during last Saturday’s Maeco 100 night, Irvington (Ala.) driver Mark Barnhill extended his points lead to 58 markers over James Patrick, who finished third. A two-time winner on the series, Barnhill has been a model of consistency throughout the season – helping him mightily during his championship run.
Although he is currently third in points, and trailing Barnhill by 62, Lee “Red Dog” Reynolds still has an outside chance of winning the title – but will have to rely on the bad luck of others to do so.
the Sportsmen put on a show each time they take to the track and Saturday night’s feature more than likely won’t be any different.
Island Motors II Bombers
Losing just once during the entire season, Saturday night’s 20-lap Bombers feature will serve as an extended victory lap for Mobile’s BJ Leytham. An 11-time winner in 2014, Leytham has a commanding points lead over his teammate, Geno Denmark – the only driver to beat him at MIS this season. Even if bad luck were to plague his final race of the season, Leytham will still be the champion – but there much more to be decided.
Two drivers in particular are anxious to steal the spotlight before the sun sets on the 2014 campaign.
Currently second in the standings, Denmark won on Lee Fields Memorial night late in August – the biggest race of the season for the Bombers. Beating Leytham in dominant fashion, the Dauphin Island (Ala.) driver looks to end the season in victory lane and garner momentum for 2015.
Fourth in the standings, Turnerville’s Matt Jackson has been on the cusp of a victory over the last two months. Showing the ability to keep up with Leytham and Denmark at various points throughout the season, Saturday night could very well be Jackson’s time to shine.
Rounding out the championship night festivities will be the Pro Trucks – and there couldn’t be a more fitting class to do so.
In what has been a hotly contested championship battle all season long, current points leader Okie Mason looks to add another championship trophy to his collection that already includes the 2014 Modified championship. Leading the standings by 49 over Ricky Vice, the Kushla, Alabama driver looks to add his legacy at the half-mile track where his father, J.C. Mason, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last month.
Although the championship appears to be Mason’s for the taking– or losing if bad luck strikes – a hungry group of drivers are looking to end the season on a high note and gain momentum towards a possible 2015 title campaign.
Leading the charge is Theodore’s Jay Jay Day -- who up until last month was within one point of Mason before failing post-race technical inspection following a win. Although the disqualification has removed him from the championship competition, a win is a strong possibly for the driver who hasbeen a consistent threat this season.
Racing action on championship night at the Mobile International Speedway is set to begin at 7pm on Saturday night, Sept. 20. Besides deciding a national championship and three local division titles, it serves as the final chance for Gulf Coast fans to get their racing fill before the offseason. For more information, visit mobilespeedway.net or call the ticket office at251-957-2063.
About Mobile International Speedway: Mobile International Speedway is the longest continuously operating sports facility in Mobile County. It was built in 1964 and has presented weekly motorsports events every year since then. As an indication of increasing community acceptance and enthusiasm, both the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Mobile Sports Authority became MIS partners beginning in 2013.
Family attendance and participation have been the keys to the track’s continued success. Kids five and under are always admitted free to the grandstands. Family nights and family-oriented shows have always been staples of the annual MIS schedules. Over 30,000 people will attend the 14 scheduled MIS events in 2014.