Cocopah Speedway winds down 2011-2012 season Saturday with Championship Night, Power Puff race

Cocopah Speedway winds down 2011-2012 season Saturday with Championship Night, Power Puff race

Champagne will be flowing Saturday night.
And not just to toast the  champions in the 2011-2012 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series.
No, many  others will also be toasting the end of the season that at times seemed to have  no end. It was 13 months ago that the series began, in September  2011.
Now, hundreds of laps later, it’s coming to a close Saturday with  Champions Night. The final racing program will feature a full schedule of  Modifieds, Pro-Stocks, Street Stocks and Factory Stocks. The first green flag  flies at 7 p.m.
When it’s all over, everyone will know who the champions  are in the four racing divisions.
“It’s shaping up to be a really fun  night,” said Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway’s director of operations. “Along  with what I believe will be a very exciting racing program, we’re going to  recognize all of our champions, and we’ve got a special Power Puff Race planned  too.
“It’s going to be a fitting end to what I also agree has been a very  long season.
“What I find most interesting is the fact that through all  of the races we’ve run and all the laps these guys have driven since September  2011, we still have three championships that are not decided. In my mind, that  speaks volumes about the quality of competition the fans have been able to  watch.”
Entering Saturday night’s show, the three division championships  which are not locked up are the track Modified title chase, the Pro-Stock chase  and the Factory Stock chase.
At the top of the Modified point standings  sits Imperial’s Duane Rogers. He will take the track Saturday night with a  17-point advantage over Yuma’s Cody Grabbe. Realistically, it is an  insurmountable lead, barring any catastrophic problems for Rogers.
For  example, if Rogers should break during hot-laps or his heat race and not answer  the bell for the feature event, Grabbe could sneak in and take the title away  with just a top-10 finish.
And Rogers knows this.
“The checkered  flag has not dropped to determine (the championship) yet,” said Rogers this  week. “My experience is anything can happen to cause you to lose a  championship.”
Earlier, in September 2012, Rogers locked up the IMCA  Modified crown at the track. He won the same crown during the 2010-2011  season.
The championship he is chasing Saturday night encompasses all  Modified races run since September 2011, of which he’s won one feature  event.
In the Pro-Stock title hunt, El Centro’s Travis Dove enters the  final show in much the same position as Rogers – with a 15-point lead over  Yuma’s Brett Simala. If Dove should stumble, the result could be  disastrous.
Simala, who has won six feature events this season, will be  coming back from a nasty crash during the Turkey Classic on Thanksgiving weekend  in which the front of his car was destroyed. But with the help of local race car  fabricator and former driving champion Scott Jeffery, and driver Bobby Horton,  Simala’s car is reportedly ready to take the track again.
Dove, on the  other hand, skipped the Turkey Classic.
Yuma’s Jimmy Davy is also finding  it hard to breathe easy in the Factory Stock title chase, although he has a  32-point cushion. With a top-five feature event finish worth anywhere from 48 to  44 points, Brawley’s Amy Teague, currently second in the standings, could  conceivably still snatch the crown.
Adolfo Noriega, meanwhile, could show  up Saturday night in shorts, a T-shirt and flip flops, not even look at his car,  and still win his second straight Street Stock championship. A 72-point lead  over your nearest challenger, in this case Yuma’s Joey Essary, can do that for  you. In this case, if Noriega was a spectator and Essary won his first career  feature event, there still are not enough points available to catch  Noriega.
But Noriega won’t be sitting and watching. He’s won 12 feature  events so far, which puts him in position to tie the track record for feature  event wins in a single season (13).
The dilemma facing Noriega is whether  or not to race again in 2013. As of this week he had not made a  choice.
“I haven’t decided yet,” he said. “At one point late in the  season, I was pretty convinced that I was going to shut down my racing and walk  away from it. I could come up with a hundred reasons why this would be good for  me and my family like: time, money, effort, neglect of other important things,  etc.
“To say that racing is a big sacrifice for me would be the  understatement of the year. However, I continue to be very excited about what  Cocopah Speedway is doing and evolving into. Part of me doesn’t want to miss out  on it. There are things about racing that I do love and only racing can fulfill.  Fortunately for me, my family understands and is behind me all the way, no  matter what I decide to do.”
Noriega, Rogers and Davy all agreed that  they are happy to see the marathon season come to an end.
“This has been  the longest racing season of my life,” said Noriega, “so I’m pretty happy that  it’s finally coming to an end. It has been another great season for us, but it  will be nice to put closure on it so we can take a breath and enjoy our  accomplishments.”
“I’m pretty happy,” said Rogers. “It has been a long  season and with only three weeks to get ready to start a new season.”
The  2013 racing season begins Jan. 5.
“This season has for sure been a long  one, filled with peaks and valleys for our team,” said Davy. “We are happy for  the season to come to an end, but at the same time are very excited to start up  the new season, with the new car, in a new class, in a few short  weeks.”
Title or no title Saturday night, Davy will be moving from the  Factory Stock ranks to the Street Stock Division in 2013.
“It is going to  be a fun season in the Street Stocks,” he said. “I’m so excited to race with  Noriega, (Bobby) Horton, (Tommy) Daffern, (Timmy) Reese, Essary, (Dave) Amos,  (Pat) Stuebs and (Joey) Teague. I just hope by the end of the season to be able  to be up front with those guys dicing it out.”
In Saturday night’s  special attraction, the Powder Puff race, Burgess said wives, girlfriends and  female family members will get behind the wheel ofStreet Stocks and Factory  Stocks and drive the wheels off their cars for 10 laps.
The event is  scheduled after the conclusion of the Pro-Stock feature event, before the  Modified feature event.
“This should be entertaining to say the least,” said Burgess. “I can’t wait to see the racers watch the girls behind the wheel  of their race cars.”

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. Fans can also access live in-race scoring and lap times by  going to mylaps.com. For more information call 344-1563 or go to  www.cocopahspeedway.com.

 

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