Gatlin, Stroebel Continue ASA Title Fight
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Adam Nelson and Harold Crook find themselves in a unique position.
Each promoter has a driver that is undefeated so far this season in their premiere division, which is very rare in short track racing. Both are also looking to have their first ASA Member Track National Champion.
Shelby Stroebel, from Idaho’s Meridian Speedway, still sits at the top of the ASA Member Track National Championship standings with an average of 3.6429. Lance Gatlin, from Virginia’s Lonesome Pine Raceway, is not far behind with an average of 3.5027.
Over the next few weeks, the battle could get more interesting as Gatlin will have the opportunity to have an equal number of events on record to Stroebel.
Gatlin competes again on Aug. 4 while Stroebel will be back in action on Aug. 11. This could be the start of a classic East vs. West battle for the National Title. A battle that could see more than just two involved as other ASA Member Track drivers could be also in the hunt.
Nelson is the promoter of Meridian Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Meridian, Idaho. His driver Shelby Stroebel won his eleventh straight ASA Modified feature this past Saturday night. His win streak going back to last season is now up to 13 events.
As a promoter, Nelson hopes to see many of his competitors visit victory lane at his 1/4-mile asphalt oval. But, when a driver is undefeated this far into the season, Nelson has a different thought.
“It is rare to have undefeated drivers at two tracks with decent car counts, especially in your top division,” Nelson said. “Our guys are doing everything they can to get involved in our ASA Modified division. When you have that interest, you would like to see many different winners. At the same time, when you have Shelby on the streak he is on, everyone is curious to see how far he will take it, including myself.”
Over on the East Coast at Lonesome Pine Raceway, an ASA Member Track in Coeburn, Va., Crook is tickled to death that he has a driver in the hunt for the 2012 National title.
He also would like to see different winners as well. In fact, over the last few events, Crook has put up a bounty for any competitor who beats Gatlin. After two attempts, no one has claimed the bounty, which is up to $450 on Aug. 4.
“It feels real good to have a driver like Lance Gatlin challenging for the ASA Member Track National Championship. He is a really nice guy,” Crook said. “But, I am very lucky to have some great teams racing with us this season. They all work hard and deserve to win, which is why I put up the bounty on Lance. His success is great for our track because it is drawing fan interest and helping our car count. In fact, our fans are cheering for him to win each week. Last Saturday night, we did a thorough inspection on his car to show everyone that he is legal. Fans were calling the track office during the middle of the night to make sure he was the official winner.”
“Right now, you have two drivers on a great streak and several others chasing them. One hiccup from either could allow the others to catch up,” Dennis Huth, ASA President said. “This is very far from over. The battle may not come down to these two drivers in the final two months. Several others, who started later in the season could have a strong finish and be in contention for the title.”
Mike Slone is third overall with an average of 3.1972. He has been leading the ASA Late Model standings all season long at Lebanon I-44 Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Lebanon, Mo. He and Matt Wallace could be in for a great points battle after Wallace won his third feature last Saturday night.
Zack Franks and Dennis Queen at Newport Motor Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Newport, Tenn., are chasing down Wayne Webb in their Late Model Sportsman division. Webb is fourth overall in the standings with an average of 2.8291.
Defending ASA Member Track National champion Barry Beggarly is hoping to get back on track this Friday night and gain some points on the leader at Ace Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Altamahaw, N.C.
The last event for him was rained out two weeks ago He is fifth in the standings with an average of 2.6302. He is also in a tight points battle with Dustin Rumley in their Late Model division.
Michael Hale is in a good position defending his Maverik Modified championship at Rocky Mountain Raceways, an ASA Member Track in West Valley City, Utah. He is sixth overall with an average of 2.3745.
Mark Mackesy took back the points lead last Thursday night at State Park Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Wausau, Wis. He has an average of 2.0910.
Kyle Borden will be looking to extend his points lead this Saturday night at Shasta Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Anderson, Calif. He has an average of 1.3704.
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