By DUSTY WIEGERT
Special to The Hays Daily News
SALINA, Kan. -- As the season winds down two drivers will be crowned Champions at the Salina Speedway tonight as their respective divisions close out the 2012 season.
One out of the two classes still has a title up for grabs. Austin Carter leads the Coors Light IMCA Stock Car division but only by eleven points over Justin Murdock. The magic number for the evening is twelve: Murdock must finish twelve positions in front of Carter to over take him for the Championship. Last year's Champion Scot Granzella holds down the third position with Bob Arnold in fourth and Josh McCarrell in fifth. Granzella and Arnold could also swap positions as Granzella is nine points ahead of Arnold for third.
The "Iceman" Delbert Smith has already clinched the Championship in the Friesen Chevrolet Late Models presented by M&H Motors and Cave Diver's Liquor. He holds a forty-six point lead in the division. Ryan Grit holds down second with Kelly Dunn in third. Grit holds a comfortable sixteen point lead over Dunn, both of which have ran crate motors during the season. Darrick Klima holds down fourth with Tyler Bradshaw in fifth. While first and possibly second may be un-reachable, third through seventh position in the standings are separated by only fifteen points, and some shuffling is expected as Bradshaw won't be in attendance.
Also on the card for tonight's action is the Barry Brittendall Memorial Race. This special Front Wheel Drive only event will pay $275 to the winner with extra money and contingencies being paid out down the finishing order based on a minimum car count of thirteen. It is a non-points event with IMCA rules applying. The format will be draw/redraw and no entry or registration fees will be charged.
Three other divisions will see action on this night with their final points event next Friday.
In the Belleville Motorsports IMCA Modified division Joe Cleveland holds a twenty-six point margin over 2011 Champion Danny Morrison Jr. Corey Lagroon sits third with Jesse Richter in fourth and Mike Petersilie in fifth.
After a feature finish tonight last year's Rookie of the Year in the Xtreme Motorsports IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Jesse Levin, will clinch his first Championship. His closest challengers are back forty-four points but are tied for second. Those two are 2011 Champ Josh Rice and Eric Ingram. A little further back in fourth is Kurtis Pihl, who's also in a tie with Fred Traskowsky. A lot of uncertainty still remains for the third and fifth positions through the final two races.
Rolling into the lead late and still on that roll is Salinan Brandon Gray who has dominated the second half of the season in the Auto House Mod Lite division. Gray went from a disappointing start to the points lead over the course of the season. He now holds a nine point lead over Chris Unruh in second and an eleven point lead over Corbin Pickerill in third. Nick Watts sits seventeen points out of first in fourth, while Brian Davidson is in fifth. Davidson is a distance away from the lead but holds onto fifth by only four in front of Micah Wenger.
The pit area will open at 5:00PM with grandstands at 5:30PM, hot laps at 7:15PM, and racing at 8:00PM.
Admission for this evenings event is $12 for adults, students with school IDs ages 13-18 are $7 while kids 12 & under are FREE. A $2 discount is available for military personnel with ID and senior citizens over the age of 55 with ID. Pit passes are $25.
For more information on the Salina Speedway visit www.racesalinaspeedway.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/salinaspeedway, or Twitter at @salinaspeedway1