For round #7 in the Sprint Series, the checkers fell on what was a bit of redemption for Adam Nagao, bouncing back after a rough turn of events in the IronMan, to seal the deal on a win on Tecnico that had eluded him up till then. Behind him was an epic battle for the final podium spots, one that saw Alyssa Yauney come across second in as many rounds, and Vince Burke in third for his long awaited first podium of the year.
This weekend marks the end of the first chapter for the new Sprint Series, as it brings its inaugural season to a close on one of the most fun tracks on the calendar: Grande Counter Clockwise. Drivers will need to remember some of their drafting skills used earlier in the year, as the higher average speeds on this track will be a bit different what we have run of late. We have had seven different winners in seven rounds, which begs the question, will we see the trend continue?
Round #8 Storylines…
The Sprint Series Finale has several side stories attached to it, the first of which being the lone 2-race driver in the field as of this writing, and that’s Jose da Silva. Although a regular in both the Super Series and the IronMan Series, da Silva will actually be making his first appearance in the Sprint Series tomorrow. As with most 2-race drivers, he is sure to mix things up at the front, and will certainly play a part in how the final standings will look.
And speaking of standings, there are a couple of battles further back that I would to spotlight, the first of which is the achievement of making the top ten, a right be pursued by Caylee Britain (11th) and Tom Zevin (12th). At least one spot inside the coveted group will be vacated with the expected absence of Hasller Ortega, and these two will be fighting to see who can fill that spot. Now there are some other names not on the enrty list as of this writing that could bring more drivers into the top 10 hunt, as well as drivers from 13th on back that could have a chance, but will need things to go their way.
Next is the side battle I have been keeping an eye on all year, and it is for drivers that have been running the Sprint Series pretty much exclusively. Leading the way for this group is Diego Alvarado, who to be fair has done a pair of Super Series races, but is essentially a Sprint driver. Diego currently sits 13th in the overall standings, but has has a decent summer run, and sits 10th in those standings. Montieth is just 37th points back in this battle for bragging rights, and has been the more consistent driver from the start of the season. Currently 15th in the overall standings, Montieth has shown great improvement throughout the season, and it will be fun to see how he and Alvarado end their season tomorrow.
The last storyline is actually what the future could hold for some of these drivers; not everyone will be coming back for 2016, some because of eligibility, and others out of choice. Still others will do what we have seen at the sharp end this year, and run both the Sprint and the Super Series, possibly in a bid for the coveted Rookie of the Year championship. As this will be the final Sprint race of the year, we could also see a few teams represented on the sidelines, doing scouting for the 2016 season, and with it the Team championship.
The Overall Championship: Rubio VS Burke: the final battle for the podium
With Sean Fite bringing home the inaugural Sprint Series championship, all that is left to do in the overall championship is decide the final two steps of the podium. Thing is, we already know who will be on the podium, we just don’t know where they will be standing. Winter Champ Ariel Rubio holds on to the second spot by a slim 10 points over Vince Burke, a margin that has been bridge by both drivers multiple times this year. Burke has actually had the upper hand in two of the last three rounds including a podium last month, however Rubio scored the overall win the one time Burke didn’t beat him. Both drivers look pretty even at the moment, and it will be interesting see how this one shakes out.
Top 5 Overall Standings:
The Summer Championship: Will Yauney be able to seal the deal?
Though winless, Alyssa Yauney has been the driver to beat in this Summer Championship, positioning herself with ver strong chances of picking up her second title in as many weeks. Fresh off clinching the PRD Pilot Championship at the LAKC finale last weekend, Yauney will look to seal the deal on what has been a very consistent Summer campaign. Her 20+ point lead and her 275 point day to fall back will force her challengers to be either perfect, or very close to it to have a shot, but also need Alyssa to have her worst event of the season as well.
But if perfect is what is being asked, then the two drivers challenging Yauney for the win could be just the ones to deliver it; in fact one of them has done it before. Sitting second in the standings and 20 points astern, Fite has gone perfect one other time, and it was when he was pushing for the Winter sub-title; when the chips are down, he can find a little bit more. Third and 25 points back is Matt Hart, who basically has to be perfect to have a chance, winning both his Heat and Main. In both instances, they need Yauney to falter and have her worst day yet; but the chances of a tie are very likely, and the calculators will most likely come into play after the checkers fall.
Top 5 Summer Standings: