There are only three races left in the 2010 season for the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series and the top three drivers are within 26-points of each other heading into the popular NAPA Auto Parts “125” this Saturday night at Rocky Mountain Raceways located outside of Salt Lake City. Local racing icon and two-time series champion Zan Sharp is the most recent winner in the series but it is another local racing hero, Lynn Hardy, who hopes to crash the championship party.
Hardy has been a mainstay at RMR since inception and along the way has won countless races, several championships, logged thousands of laps, and gained legions of race fans. Since joining the RMCS he has struggled to find the kind of consistency he has known at RMR but this season has been a breakthrough year.
Through seven races, Hardy has four top five and five top ten finishes but has been shut out of victory lane. Hardy has two wins at RMR but his most recent victory was back in 2006. A lifetime in racing years. “If there is one place we fell like we can win at it is at RMR,” stated Hardy. “We have been close but this series has a lot of really talented racers. We need a win this season and I hope it comes at RMR.”
While Hardy hopes to crash the championship party from the fourth position in the standings (112-points back) it is 2007 series John Newhouse of Twin Falls, ID who has been the master of consistency all season and tops the point standings. Newhouse initially planned on a partial schedule but after four races found himself in the point lead and decided to roll the dice. Through seven races this season he has four top five and all his finishes coming in the top ten. He has completed 624 of 625 laps contested.
“This has been a great season for the team,” Newhouse said. “We can kind of see the finish line now and it would be pretty cool to win the championship. But it is not over by a long shot as both Steve (Jones) and Brett (Thompson) have been really good all season. It is going to come down to who has the most luck.”
Steve Jones of Boise is having a career year in the series and has posted two wins and a second place finish in three races at RMR this season. He is only 25-points behind Newhouse in the championship and would like nothing more then to add a touring championship to his many local track championships. “As much fun as we have had this season, it has been equally nerve wracking,” Jones said. “We what if ourselves to death. No matter how good we finish, both John and Brett are right there so no one has really pulled out an advantage.”
For his part, Brett Thompson out of Jerome, ID is as hungry as the other two and is solely focused on winning. “We want the title real bad,” Thompson said. “We have been really good with our race setups and we just need to focus on qualifying really well, finishing even better, and the points will take care of themselves.”
The last time the series was at RMR back in July, it was A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning Rookie-of-the-Year leader Eric Rhead who stole the show picking up his first career win. Rhead is currently eighth in the point standings.
Making his first start of the season after breaking his leg in February while snowmobiling is John Wong out of Meridian, ID. Wong has started a handful of races over the years and planned on a full campaign this season until his injury. Wong will be driving a brand new race car built and prepared by Thompson Motorsports.
There have been 13 different winners in 22 previous series races at RMR. 2009 series champion John Dillon out of Eagle, ID is the defending race winner and most recently won the prestigious Idaho 200 early this month.
Newhouse leads the championship standings over Jones, Thompson and Hardy with two-time series champion Dave Mineger rounding out the top five. Bruce Quale leads the second five followed by Thane Alderman, Eric Rhead, Travis Monett, and Zan Sharp. Brian Levant out of Calgary Canada holds the track qualifying record set earlier this season.
The RMCS utilizes a racing format not found in ANY other regional touring series around the country. The top 20 qualifiers are inverted for every race putting fast time in the 20th starting position. This format ensures race fans see what they paid for and that is passing. Each driver is awarded three points per position gained in the event. Points are also awarded for qualifying and heat race finishes. Through the history of the series, the winning driver has averaged a 15th place starting position. To ensure competition, the RMCS pays it purse based on total point accumulation for the event and provides several special performance awards for each event.
The CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series is a regional touring series that allows all competitors to race and gain experience on different types of racetracks. It is a high-quality professional racing series that offers maximum opportunity at an affordable price serving the intermountain West. The motto of the series is to “Race Hard and Have Fun!” For all the latest news and information regarding the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series log onto www.rmcsracing.com. Follow all the racing action from throughout the West by logging onto www.racingwest.com.