Cocopah Speedway Racing Series resumes Saturday with Round 3
Define, “On a mission.”
Simple. Bobby Horton.
If there is a driver the fans in the Cocopah Speedway grandstand should keep an eye on during Saturday night’s Round 3 event in the 2016 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, it’s Horton.
Because during the Round 2 event back on March 12, Horton was wrecked out of his preliminary IMCA Modified Division heat race, and forced to line up at the back of the 13-car feature event.
He then proceeded to drive his repaired race car to the front where he settled into second place and tried to get around the race leader, Brawley’s Russell Allen, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to get the job done.
Still, for his efforts, Horton earned enough points to move into a tie for the series point lead with Imperial’s Lance Mari entering this Saturday’s show.
The first race Saturday begins at 7 p.m. The program will feature the entire IMCA lineup in the Cocopah Speedway series – Modifieds, Stock Cars, Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.
Drivers will also line up on the front straight before the Easter weekend program begins to hand out Easter candy.
Horton’s performance is a sure sign the 2014 series champion is on a mission to win another track title. But it won’t be easy, with Mari, the current defending champion, running strong, having already won one feature event, not to mention Allen, the 2013 series champion, flexing some muscle on the way to getting his win on March 12. Allen’s win helped him move into fifth place in the standings, 15 points behind Horton and Mari.
Also worth keeping an eye on Saturday night is Yuma’s Adolfo Noriega in the Sport Modified Division, and Yuma’s Jim Robinson in the Hobby Stock Division.
Noriega is new to the Sport Modified Division after having spent four years in the Street Stock and Stock Car ranks and going pavement racing in 2015. But judging by his performance so far – two feature event wins in two starts – he is looking like a seasoned veteran in his new car.
Perhaps even more surprising, is the fact that the defending champion in the division, Holtville’s Chris Toth, is in fifth place, and the 2015 Rookie of the Year, Yuma’s Kyle Smith, who was hotter than hot at the end of last season, is still winless and in seventh place.
Trying to keep Noriega within striking distance is Yuma’s James Dupre, who trails Noriega by four points in second place.
As surprising as Noriega’s run has been, Robinson’s is even more boggling.
This Yuma driver had not won a race ever, before the last night of the 2016 Winter Nationals, and entering Saturday night’s show, he is the division point leader in the Cocopah Speedway series.
Hot on his heels is Yuma’s Jason Beshears, who is in second place, one point off the pace.
Meanwhile, the driver who was the division point leader after Round 1, Yuma’s Bob Horton, dealt himself a championship death blow during the March 12 program when he was disqualified for the night after appearing to intentionally crash into Beshears during that night’s feature event.
Losing all points for the night that night, Horton is now mired in seventh place, 36 points out of first place. And drivers who have raced for points know, a 36-point deficit is nearly impossible to make up.
The only division where normalcy can be found is the Stock Car scene, and even there drama is building.
The defending series champion, Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez, took over the point lead on March 12 by virtue of his winning the feature event that night. But it wasn’t easy. He had to get around Yuma’s Joe Haines, who was the early race leader, then hold off Yuma’s Joey Essary, who was the point leader and settled for second place.
Saturday night Baldiviez will show up at the Somerton oval with a one-point lead over Essary, with Yuma’s Paul Pilgrim holding down third place, five points out of first, and Haines in fourth place, seven points back.
Cocopah Speedway is located at U.S. 95 and County 15th Street; the general admission gate opens at 5 p.m; first race is at 7 p.m. Tickets are: adults (13 and older) – $12; adult military with ID – $10; senior (55 and over) – $10; children 12 years old and under – free (main grandstand); family pass – $25; Skybox – $25; pit pass – $30 (per person). Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.cocopahspeedway.com or at Cocopah Wild River or at the main gate on race day. Fans can get live racing lineups during the races and results afterward by going towww.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.