One Cocopah title to be decided Saturday

One Cocopah title to be decided Saturday

Break out the bubbly!

Although the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series is  still two months away from being over, a champion will be crowned Saturday  night.

And it will likely be Duane Rogers, from Imperial, Calif., who  will be popping the cork.

The national IMCA Modified season ends Saturday  night, and entering the racing program at Cocopah Speedway, Rogers leads the  field with 235 points. And unless Rogers suffers a major meltdown, the track  IMCA crown will go home with him.

Also on the card Saturday night are  the three other racing series divisions – Pro-Stock, Street Stock and Factory  Stock.

The first green flag flies at 7 p.m.

In the IMCA  standings, Rogers has a seven-point lead over his nearest challenger, Chris  Toth, from Holtville, Calif. While that might not seem like a lot, and Toth is  certainly within striking distance, racers know seven points is a lot to make up  in one night.

Right on Toth’s bumper is Brian Schultz, from Phoenix, four  points behind, with Imperial, Calif., driver Lance Mari one point behind Schultz  and another Imperial driver, Steven McCollough, rounding out the Top 5, seven  points behind Mari.

In the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series for Modifieds,  which began back in September 2011, Rogers leads that title chase too, with 507  points, 23 points ahead of Yuma’s Cody Grabbe.

Counting Saturday night’s  card, there are still four Modified races left to run in the track’s  championship series, culminating with Championship Night on Dec. 8.

As  much as he deserves it, chances are a lot of the attention Saturday night will  not be focused on Rogers, but instead be focused on the Street Stock Division  following the finish of the Sept. 19 feature event.

In that race, Yuma’s  Adolfo Noriega got past Yuma’s Bobby Horton on a green-white-checkered finish,  after Noriega had stalked Horton for most of the race.

What made the  outcome exciting was the fact that the track had just adopted the  green-white-checkered finish format, and fans, unaware of the new procedure,  cried foul after Horton appeared to have won the race two laps earlier.

A  rematch might not be in the works, however, as Horton has indicated he will  instead be focusing his attention on his IMCA Modified Saturday night, and might  leave the Street Stock home.

But there is still a sub plot. Noriega’s win  the last time out gives him eight on the season. The record for feature event  wins in a season is 13, set in 1998, and he is within reach of rewriting the  record book.

That is if he were interested. He says he’s not.

“If  this season ends and I don’t win that record I’m not going to sweat it one  second,” said Noriega. “That’s a tough record to beat. If we happen to win it,  it’s because we did a great job.

“But that’s a high mark. It was done at  a different time. I don’t know if it’s comparable any more. It’s very difficult  to win these days with the competition that’s out there, with what people are  doing to their cars and stuff. So, we are just going to continue doing what we  come to do. If we win ‘em, we win ‘em.”

One thing is for sure; Noriega  already has the Street Stock championship wrapped up. He enters Saturday night’s  show with a 70-point advantage over Yuma’s Joey Essary.

In Pro-Stock  action, Travis Dove, from El Centro, comes to the track with a 27-point lead  over Yuma’s Frankie Rascon and Brett Simala. And there are enough races  remaining for Rascon or Simala to make this title chase close before it’s  over.

On the Factory Stock level, Yuma’s Jimmy Davy, like Noriega, could  pretty much put his car in cruise control and take home the season championship,  enjoying a 67-point lead over Brawley’s Amy Teague.

Saturday night’s race  marks the first race back for the Modifieds, Pro-Stocks and Factory Stocks since  the summer break.
The program will also be the second in which all cars  will be equipped with electronic transponders, which enable electronic  scoring.
Fans can access all of the information, including lap times and  scoring, by going to mylaps.com.

SPARE PARTS: Cocopah Speedway is located  at U.S. 95 and County 15th Street; general admission gates open at 5 p.m.;  tickets are: adults – $8; adult military with ID – $6; seniors (55 and older) – $6; children 12 years old and under – free; family pass – $25. Fans can get live  racing lineups during the races and results afterward by going to  www.cocopahlive.com. For more information call 344-1563 or go to  www.cocopahspeedway.com.

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