This weekend will see the make up date for the original 3rd round in the championship take place, just one week after the 11th round in the season was cancelled. That cancellation stole a points paying opportunity away from those that needed to claw back ground to those in front, and gave those in the lead one less round to defend. While the points look exactly the same as they did in the last preview, we’ll take a look at who the players are for this weekend, and highlight a few key absences throughout the field that will affect the points in some way.
This weekend will provide the final chance for drivers to keep their hopes alive, and get in position for either a final strike, or last stand to hold on to their position in the standings. Nuovo will be the battleground; CalSpeed’s version of the high-risk, high-reward cage match seen at Daytona or Talledega in NASCAR. And tomorrow we see who will reap the reward…
RD’s Spotlight: The Rundown takes to CalSpeed’s ‘Super Speedway’…
The Super Series circus moves on to Nuovo for the third and final time this year, a track that features speed and unpredictability, and makes a fitting addition to our Rundown. Every track has its own little nuances, but with Nuovo, it is less about the track, and more about the style of racing. On no other layout is the dense pack, and drafting heavy competition more prevalent, and there is certainly an art in how to approach these races.
Aside from the drafting aspect, the other ‘new’ thing this weekend will be the fact we’ll be heading clockwise once again, and will be utilizing the Horseshoe and Long Beach corners for the first time since July. This combination has setup numerous last-lap passes before, and we should expect more of the same tomorrow.
The key will actually be getting through, and then out of Contino well, as this can set up a passing opportunity into the entry of Horseshoe, and if not there, put someone in position for a move on the corner’s exit. With enough speed through those two corners, a run and potential pass into Long Beach can be a reality. This will be where we see a lot of action, as several different schools of thought will be in play, both in fast lap execution and in passing.
Much like in NASCAR, this track has a few drivers that just seem to ‘get it’, and do well here nearly every time it is in place. Patrick Britain is actually the driver with the best stat sheet for the layout, including 3 wins, 4 podiums and 3 pole positions, albeit only one podium is from this year. Bravo is the next on the list, and actually picked up his second career win on the layout in the May race this year. This of course bodes well for each of their championship hopes…
Others drivers to watch for are Taylor Hays, winner of the Season Opener on Nuovo, Jon Kimbrell who found the podium in May, as well as Darren Mercer who found his first career win here in 2012. Lastly, keep an eye on Kirk Feldkamp; he may have no wins to his name, but he is always at the front on this layout.
The Overall Championship: Kimbrell could clinch, the rest need help…
All eyes will be on the top four in the standings tomorrow, as leader Jon Kimbrell looks to clinch his 3rd Super Series title, and Britain, Mercer, and Bravo try to claw back points to take it to the Finale. All four drivers have excelled on the layout, and will be once again strong this weekend, so it will be interesting to see if any of them can find the upper hand they are looking for…
Bottom Line: Jon can clinch if he has a 74+ point lead after tomorrow, that’s just 12 more points over Britain.
The Podium Fight: Kreig Absent; becomes a T4 Fight for 5th this round…
With Bill Kreig forced to miss this round, he will inevitably slide down the order, but the question is how far, and if he will still have a shot at 5th in the Finale. His thrown 307 point day will now be his keeper, so unless his direct rivals all post career days, he should still be in striking distance in two weeks.
This makes it a T4 fight to leave this round in the hardware, with the trio (Kelmenson, Hays, Scott) only separated by 16 points. None of the three have throw outs to fall back on, so to take over the 5th spot they will have to score the points outright…
Overall Top 10 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
The Top 10 Fight: Huerta out; who will be the last ‘top ten driver’ for 2014…
Unfortunately, with Chris Huerta missing this round, it looks like his top 10 ten run will come to an end this weekend, as he will be forced to keep a 167 point round. It may even see him fall outside the top 15, as the group inside the top 20 in the standings is really quite close.
Aside from his absence, the rest of the group is slated to be in attendance, so we will see a bit off shuffling prior to the final round. The other fun thing about this group is the fact that they have all shown very well on Nuovo in the past, and/or are coming off a strong performance of late.
The Top 20 Fight: Top 20 could turn into top 15..
All seven of these drivers are on the entry list for tomorrow, but now with the absence of Huerta above them in the standings, one of these guys could see themselves inside the top 15 come seasons end. Top twenty is still a big deal, but 15 would be even better. This group also hosts both the Rookie title contenders (Dent & Alekseenkov) and the fight for the final Masters podium spot (Blank & Spring), so the fighting here will be fierce.
The Top 30 Fight: Players reduced to 8; still all to play for…
Three of this group will be missing this round (Morales, Enz, Lizama), making it a 8-way fight to get, and then stay inside the top 30 in the standings. This group also all three of the Grand Masters title contenders, as well as some quickly improving rookies, so it will not be easy to make happen.
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The Rookie Championship: Dent vs Alekseenkov headlines; Connell longshot…
The rain out hurt Connell the most for a shot at the top two, but anything can happen. Wes didn’t want to see the rain, while Roman did. The former has been on a run, while the latter has been in a bit of a slump. What will this round bring?
Rookie Top 5 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
The Rookie Championship (top 5): Hood, Dugan in; but by how much?
With Moises Lizama absent this round, it means he’ll have a 154 keeper, so we will see a different top 5 in all likelihood. O’keefe will also be missing, so it looks like Hood and Dugan could waltz right into the top 5 this Saturday. The questions will be in what order, and will it be enough to stay there for another round…
The Masters Championship: Kelmenson = Attack; Blank = Maintain…
Kelmenson must have thought the rain was bittersweet; he needed the most chances to score points, but after a dismal start to the day, the cancellation was a blessing. 76 points in two rounds; he’ll need to go off to make this happen. For Bravo, it is focus on the Overall Championship and let the Masters one take care of itself. For now…
For the final podium spot, Spring has the better throw outs, but needs to gain points this weekend, not have a throw out round. At 64 points back, he needs to make sure he is in front of Blank by days end, and with as many karts between him and Ben as possible.
The Masters Top 5: Carson VS Connell for fifth, or more?
At just 18 points apart, the Carson and Connell battle for the 5th spot in the Masters Standings is far from over, and with the way these two are driving lately, it could mean a little bit more. With a 166 point umbrella over 4th-6th, these two could actually see themselves fighting for hardware in the Finale if Spring and Blank falter in the final two rounds…
Masters Top 6 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
The Grand Masters Championship: Starr VS Kimbrell; last chance for Latimer…
Jeff Latimer has the best throw outs, so if disaster befalls the trio, he is in the best shape that way, albeit with a large gap to eat up currently. That said, Latimer can’t really rely on disaster to get back in this fight, and sees his last real chance to attack this weekend. The top two just need to do what they know they can, and find consistency to win the championship. Both have what it takes, it is just a matter of flipping the switch that day…
Grand Masters Top 5 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
The Heavy Championship: Greg Reinhardt’s last push for third…
While not able to clinch mathematically just yet, Jasinski could do just that this weekend. For Reinhardt, he’ll need a throw out round from Mike Arnold, and a run that sees him in the mid 100’s to keep things alive for one more round. Nuovo is the best track to score points on for a heavy driver, so it really is now or never for Reinhardt.
Heavy Class Top 5 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
The Team Championship: Eagle VS Hesketh; T4 battles its own…
Hesketh needs a career day out of Tom Zevin to take this fight to the end, and may just get it as he has looked his best as of late. His teammates Aaron Acott and David Kelmenson need to keep putting gup big numbers, and if the trio can hit their projected ability, things could tighten up. For Eagle it is more of the same, but if either Carson or Carter put up strioger A-Main runs this weekend, it could put it out of reach for the rest.
With the unfortunate absence of Bill Kreig tomorrow, S3 / GranStand 3 may see their title hopes leave them as well.
Team Championship Top 5 After Throw Outs (Total Points)
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