Saturday show a prelude to upcoming Turkey Classic

Saturday show a prelude to upcoming Turkey Classic

Cocopah Speedway might look like Yuma Proving Ground to the uneducated eye  this weekend.
That’s because Saturday night’s racing program is the last  before the third annual Turkey Classic on Thanksgiving weekend, which translates  to this is the final opportunity Pro-Stock drivers and their crews have to make  chassis adjustments and tune-ups before that $3,000-to-win event.
“I  expect there might be a lot of tension in the air, if you’re hanging around one  of the Pro-Stock pits on Saturday night,” said Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway’s  director of operations.
“And that doesn’t even take into account we also  have drivers in the midst of trying to win a championship in that  division.
“So that poses the question for some drivers, whether they run  for points or do they go out and focus instead on looking for the best  setup?
“I just know I’m glad I’m not in their shoes.”
The part  Burgess likes most, however, is the fact that with $3,000 on the line in a few  weeks, the number of cars in the Pro-Stock Division field has been growing in  recent weeks as more drivers make the trek to the Somerton oval to test and  tune.
“The Turkey Classic has nice side effects,” said Burgess. “It’s no  secret we don’t have a lot of cars on a regular basis in the Pro-Stock Division,  but when this race comes around, you can count on the car count going  up.”
Saturday’s program begins with the first heat race at 7  p.m.
Also on the card are the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series Street Stock  and Factory Stock Divisions.
The Modified Division, however, which was  scheduled to run Saturday, will have the night off. Burgess said he took the  Modifieds off the schedule out of respect for the Desert Classic event for  Modifieds the same night at Canyon Speedway Park.
“I wanted to play nice  and help them, and at the same time give our (Modified) drivers a chance to go  up there and give it a try,” said Burgess.
On the local scene, El  Centro’s Travis Dove is the Pro-Stock Division point leader in the Cocopah  Speedway Racing Series. But Dove is no doubt beginning to sweat as he watches a  pair of Yuma drivers, Brett Simala and Frankie Rascon, keep chipping away at his  lead.
At the close of racing on June 16, Dove enjoyed a 27-point  advantage over Simala and Rascon, who were tied for second, going into the  summer break. Entering Saturday night’s show, Simala has crept to within 20  points and Rascon is 24 points behind.
“In reality, 20 points is a lot of  points to make up,” said Burgess, “especially with only two point races  remaining on the schedule (the Turkey Classic is not a series point race). But  there is also the possibility that Travis Dove could have a catastrophic night,  and by that I mean not be able to start a feature event. That would sure change  the complexion of that title race when you consider Brett Simala and Frankie  Rascon are both capable of winning the feature on any night.”
Entering  Saturday night’s show Simala has notched five feature event wins and Rascon has  won twice. Dove, in comparison, is yet to win a feature event.
“Travis  Dove is not over powering,” said Burgess. “He’s consistent. He consistently  finishes races, and it is very likely he will win the championship without ever  winning a race this season.”
In Saturday night’s undercard, Yuma’s Jimmy  Davy might also be expected to be on edge. The current Factory Stock Division  point leader continues to have mechanical problems, which have resulted in  Brawley’s Amy Teague moving to within 27 points.
“This race is going to  get real interesting before it’s over,” said Burgess. “There is definitely some  bad mojo going on with Jimmy Davy’s race car.
“What’s so strange is we  all saw how he can dominate a race early in the season. He’s got five wins to  prove it. And now, he’s doing all he can just to keep from getting  lapped.”
On the Street Stock level, Yuma’s Adolfo Noriega won his 11th  feature event of the season on Oct. 20 and pulled to within two wins of the  track record for feature event wins in a season (13).
The chase for the  record aside, “this division is evolving into the fan favorite,” said Burgess, “with a number of drivers who are stepping up their programs. I don’t have any  scientific data, but I’d be willing to bet the noise level in the grandstand  tops out whenever Adolfo, Bobby (Horton), Timmy Reese, any of the Dafferns and  Joey Teague are on the track together, running at the front and it’s anybody’s  guess who is going to get the win.”

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