Hackman with first win; Martinez claims title at Sprint Series Rnd #9

Sunday would see the final race of the Sprint Series season -dubbed the round #9 make-up event- with the championship to be decided on the Classico Counter-Clockwise circuit. After gaining 5 points on his rival the day before, it was still all to play for as Ivan Martinez held just 13 points over Emerson Thieman coming in. There was also the Summer Sub-championship up for grabs, again with the same two drivers at the helm, and the twists and turns of the day would provide an epic finish to the 2022 season…

Qualifying and Heat Races…

Emerson Thieman would strike first by scoring the overall top time in qualifying, saving the best for last it seemed with it being his first career Sprint Series pole. Saturday’s winner James Lieser would clock the second-quickest time, while Jacob Abrams made it two Top 3 qualy performances in a row with a third to go along with his P2 from the day before. Notably, championship leader Ivan Martinez would roll off 5th in his heat with the 13th best time overall. When the heats did get under way, Emerson Thieman continued where he left off in qualifying with a commanding win in heat 1a, while behind him contact in the final corner of the final lap would see title rival Maritnez into the barriers, continuing to finish 7th, but officially 6th after penalties were issued. In the other two heats, it was James Lieser backing up his win from Saturday with a heat victory, and Jacob Abrams claiming his second heat win of the year in heat 1c.


William Medina would lead the field off for the start of the C-Main, but it would be the elder Thieman taking over the top spot on lap one, as Mitch Thieman proved to be the driver to beat. Mitch showed how much he had improved since first starting at CalSpeed a little over a year ago by putting in fast lap after fast lap, and bolstered by a little infighting behind him, grew his lead to a convincing 10+ seconds by the end of the race. It was a popular win on the sidelines, as Mitch is known as one of the nicest people in the paddock, the cheers on the sidelines as he approached the checkered flag were proof of that.


The B-main would play host to one of the best drives of the day, adding to what was already a very exciting final event for the series. Leading things off would be Ernesto Sanchez from pole, fending off advances from both newcomer Jason Aranha and veteran Nathaniel Small in the opening circuits. He was quite successful at keeping the challengers at bay, so much so that it was still Sanchez in the lead at the end of 7 laps, albeit now with a train of six drivers all lined astern. It was the 6th driver that was the one to watch however, as Chris Fox had worked up from a 14th place starting spot to now be in the conversation with less than three laps to go. Making the most of the moves and counter-moves inside the top 5, Fox would start the penultimate lap in the 2nd spot, and then make the most of his superior experience to come away with the win, and transfer to the final A-main of the season.


Before the A-Main took the green flag, the storyline was all Thieman vs Martinez, with the former starting from pole, and the latter needing to climb up from a 17th starting spot; with one caveat. Ivan entered the weekend with the best drop in the series, AND this meant that even if he could work his way to the front, Emerson had to finish in the top 3 to steal the title away.

Emerson would indeed lead the opening pair of laps, but an up and coming Ken hackman wanted to end things on a high, and made the move for the lead on lap 3. Thieman would fight back, but this would only give Jacob Abrams an opportunity, and the title contender would see himself third at the end of lap 4. Enter Lee Povey. Povey vowed prior to the weekend that he would finish with a podium before the end of the season, and sitting in 4th just passed halfway, it was within his grasp. The move would come on lap 7, bumping Povey into the hardware for the first time, but also, relegating Thieman out of the point lead. Emerson dug deep with his personal best time one lap later, but just couldn’t find the extra he needed to claim back a top 3 finish. Emerson would finish 4th, and miss out on the championship by 3 points, while Ken Hackman claimed his first career win, Jacob Abrams his second podium of the year, with Povey completing his goal with a podium, and the SE title to boot. For Ivan Martinez, it was a respectable run from 17th to 9th but an overall title in hand, while Emerson Thieman would still walk away a champion, as he claimed the summer series title by just 5 points over Ivan.

Sprint Series Round #9 A-Main Top 10

  1. Ken Hackman
  2. Jacob Abrams
  3. Lee Povey [SE]
  4. Emerson Thieman
  5. Brett Lopinsky
  6. David Thibodeau
  7. James Lieser
  8. Vince Azua
  9. Ivan Martinez
  10. Tiange Li [SE]

Final Point Standings Top 10

  1. Ivan Martinez              2310
  2. Emerson Thieman       2307
  3. Jeremy Aldridge          2200   
  4. Brett Lopinsky             2163
  5. Jacob Abrams             2100
  6. Jack McNeel                2080
  7. James Lieser                2057
  8. Lee Povey [SE]             1939
  9. Vince Azua                  1929
  10. Frank Chen                  1919

SE Sub-Championship Final Top 5

  1. Lee Povey                    1939
  2. Tiange Li                      1600
  3. David Mock                 1555
  4. David Thibodeau         1471
  5. Nick Rajewski              1439

Summer Series Sub-Championship Final Top 5

  1. Emerson Thieman       1170
  2. Ivan Martinez              1165
  3. Jacob Abrams             1103
  4. Lee Povey [SE]             1085
  5. James Lieser                1054