|SUPER SERIES ROUND 7: PREVIEW|
Round #7 takes to Nuovo-Speedway for the second time this year…
With only 5 rounds left to play in the 2013 Super Series Championship, the stage has been set for the most exciting conclusion possible, to what has already been the greatest season in series history. In the first half of the season we have seen some amazing statistics put up: Six different winners in six different rounds, four of which were first time winners. An out-of-towner won for the first time in history, and we have already had a pair of Masters drivers find the top step of the podium as well. The talent is spread out so far, that there is no clear favorite, and with every driver scoring at least one bad round, the possible point scenarios are endless…
For the remaining five previews this season, we’ll keep a close eye on the three titles that are still up for grabs (Heavy is all but decided), the Rookie Title, Masters Title, and of course the Overall championship. We will also take a look back at the spring races that occurred on the same course layout, and highlight who may have the strongest chance as we head to the track for a second time.
A Look Back: Round #3, April 6th 2013…
Heading into the 3rd round of the season the big talking point was who was missing from the grid, or had already missed a round in the first two rounds. Miles Calvin kicked off the season with a win, but then missed the second round, and needed to come back with a solid result in the third event. KC Cook was fresh off a much-needed second place the prior round after losing some ground in the opener, but he would be absent from the day’s events. Additionally, Logan Calvin was looking to get some momentum back after being sidelined in the main after a turn #1 crash, losing a hefty amount of points with it.
In what would be a day of firsts, Rene Hourian was the first to gain the spotlight after a surprise pole position in qualifying, with many of the usual suspects stacked up behind him. The heat races would continue the trend of raising eyebrows, with Nicholas Haye and rookie Cody Calvin scoring their first career heat race wins, while Taylor Hays would set the stage for one of the most exciting drives of the year, after crashing in his heat race.
Hays would be forced to start deep in the B-Main field, and those on the sidelines saw a new Taylor that day, as he sliced his way through the field, determined to not let his earlier mistake cost him a spot in the A. Not only would he win the B-Main and transfer, he would pass ten drivers in the A-Main finish a respectable 16th.
The day would belong to one driver however, as Jay Schrieber, picked wins in both his heat races, then linked up with fellow heat race sweeper Kirk Feldkamp at the start of the A-Main to walk away from the field. And while the next 15 drivers in line scrambled for the third spot on the podium, Jay and Kirk battled mano-e-mano to the line, the spoils going to Jay by a mere .023…
Top Drivers from the Spring Nuovo Race
Jay Schreiber- 3 wins
Kirk Feldkamp- 1 win, 2 T3’s
Logan Calvin- 1 win, 2 T3’s
Miles Calvin- 1 win, 1 T3
Jon Kimbrell- 1 win, 1 T3
Nick Haye- 1 win, 1 T5
Cody Calvin- 1 win, 1 T5
Jerott King- 2 T3’s, 1 T5
Sergio Bravo- 2 T3’s, 1 T5
Bill Kreig- 2 T3’s
Chris Huerta- 2 T3’s
RD’ Spotlight: Who to watch for in Round #7
Taking into account his strong run in the spring, and then watching how he took the win in the IronMan event on the same track last weekend, I like Chris Huerta for this weekend. This kid really surprised me with his composure against one of the best, and I am looking forward to the encore tomorrow.
The best I am referring to above is none other than Jon Kimbrell, and after getting a little extra seat time versus the rest of the front runners last Saturday, I think ole Kimby could put up some very strong points this weekend.
Taylor Hays. I’m not sure if he replays the heat race back in his head from last spring, but he should replay that B-Main performance, as it was one of the great all time drives I have ever seen. If that Hays shows up tomorrow, then he may just be drinking champagne at the end of the day…
Lastly, I am keeping a close eye on one of the rookies this weekend, one who has made some really big strides since the last race. He told me things clicked during the clinic last Saturday, and he did some of his best driving I have seen from him in the IronMan. It will interesting to see if Justin Tolman can put it all together, and take the fight to the two guys in front of him in the rookie standings this weekend…
The Overall Championship: And then there were 10…
This championship is far from over, and given the fact that every single driver has at least one really low point round (and the talent difference between them is so miniscule), the probability of a early clinch this season is virtually nill…
Looking at the points table below, KC Cook holds the advantage, albeit a slim one, and will have the target painted on his back as long as he sits there. But the thing about this kind of battle is that he isn’t the only one with that target; it is on any driver that has a shot at stealing points away, and that number includes much more than just the ten I have listed below.
The top five have all seen the top step of the podium this season, and all save for Hays have been on the podium at least once this year as well. This speaks very well for Hays to be this high without a top 3, and it is certainly a matter of when not if for the veteran. Another interesting note is that the two guys that have the most podium appearances this year (3 each) have raced in one fewer round than everyone else. For KC and Miles this definitely boasts of how strong they are running, but also shows just how under the gun they are: they have to do well to stay in this thing.
And then there is Bill Kreig, who has been quietly running at the front, always there, but rarely making any noise. Then the mains come around and he slips in to score the big points, including a pair of podium finishes. While he is yet winless in the super series (he does have a single heat race win to his name) his ability to stay at the sharp end has kept him in the hunt, and if he does start winning races, that eighty point gap is going to shrink real fast.
It is now or never for the guys eighth on back, as Jay Schreiber, Jon Kimbrell, and especially Jerott King are going to need very strong rounds to keep their podium chances alive, much less a shot at the championship itself. They all have what it takes to do it too, with Schreiber the current Masters National Champion, Jon Kimbrell a multi time National and Super Series champion, and King a regular front runner and podium finisher at National championship events. There is no lack of talent here, and I expect them all to be on the attack come tomorrow.
Consistency wins championships, and every single one of the top ten have it in spades, but this year it is going to take a little bit more…
Overall Top 10 Heading Into Round #7
1. KC Cook 1555
2. Darren Mercer -25
3. Logan Calvin -30
4. Sergio Bravo -40
5. Miles Calvin -50
6. Taylor Hays -80
7. Bill Kreig -90
8. Jay Schreiber -117
9. Jon Kimbrell -124
10.Jerott King -143
The Masters Championship:
This is starting to look like a 2 horse fight now, with the reigning champ Sergio Bravo taking the lead into the second half of the season, and currently enjoying a 77 point advantage over second place Jay Schreiber. For his part, Shreiber has been every bit as fast as Bravo (even faster at times) and there is very little to choose between them. Both scored their first career wins this year, each have been staples in the A-Main all year, and they consistently are at the sharp end. With things as tough as they are in the A-Main, the point difference between this two is sure to ebb and flow throughout the next 5 rounds, the question is only on which side will the tide fall.
While Bravo may lead, Jay returns now to the track that gave him his first win, and he’ll be riding high on that memory all event long. He’s good here, he knows it, so it’s time to put it together. But Bravo has the momentum train on his side, and aside from a couple hiccups, once again sees himself inside the top 5 overall with impeccably high consistency to his name.
Deeper in the field it as a strong battle for 3rd, with Dave Messimer, Ben Blank and David Kelmenson all in it for the final podium spot. It has been an up and down year for all three drivers, but as of late, Ben Blank seems to have a fire under him that has seen him steadily improving. All three see the sharp end on a regular basis, and if they start having more ups then downs, it is going to shake things up a lot in the points.
Masters Top 5
1. Sergio Bravo 1515
2. Jay Schreiber -77
3. Dave Messimer -205
4. Ben Blank -287
5. David Kelmenson -315
The Rookie Championship:
Believe it or not, there are still; twelve (that’s right, 12) rookies that have a mathematical chance at this thing, and that is solely based on the according that is the rookie season. Every single one of the drivers in the hunt have had ups and downs, and it is that unpredictability that keeps it wide open. That said, names are going to start getting crossed off as the rounds tick away, and if the drivers further down the list want to start climber the mountain, they’ll need a really good foothold this weekend.
Right now it is advantage Michael Wodjat, holding a 52-point lead over second place Steve Spring, who has been at the sharp end all season. Spring is also competing in the IronMan Championship this year, and currently sits second in the standings. On the move as of late in this category has been Justin Tolman, scoring a string very strong point hauls to close within 4 points of Spring to sit third, and certainly in the direct hunt for the title.
Behind this trio is a bit of a gap, but there are some very strong runners in the group, several of which have made A-Main appearances before, and could leap up the standings with repeats of that performance. Of the group, Charles Eichlin has the best shot, currently sitting 5th in the standings, and 252 points astern from Wodjat, but he’ll obviously not only need string runs, but have the leaders falter a bit to make it happen.
The big Wildcard in this class is Andrew Lemons, who came into the season late, but then raised a lot of eyebrows with a 340 point haul in his third attempt, putting the rest of the class on notice. Lemons will need to show that that wasn’t a 1-off race, and will need to do it about 5 more times to have a shot at the title, but he definitely has the pace to do it…
Rookie Contenders Heading Into Round #7
1. Michael Wodjat 1017
2. Steve Spring 965
3. Justin Tolman 961
4. Cody Calvin 845
5. Charles Eichlin 775
6. Jeremy Aldridge 774
7. Nicholas Rebeil 735
8. Cameron Rose 708
9. Adam Nagao 701
10. Aaron Scott 695
11. Andrew Lemons 666
12. Brian Tarroja 665
Is The Heavy Class Decided?
Trophies aren’t handed out until the end of a season, but Arnold’s 200-point advantage of second place is very convincing. It will take a massive turn of events for it to go any other way, but I think everyone else in this class has their focus elsewhere, not the championship. It is all about personal goals in this class, and we have seen some big improvements in this group. As the season grows nearer to the finish, we’ll take a closer look at these point battles, and the drivers involved.