By Jeffrey Sachse
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - In four of the five divisions the season long championship chase will be coming down to the wire. During a highly competitive season, where only a single driver has won more than three feature races the championship standings have proven the level of competition and parity among the race teams at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway is at an all-time high.
Currently the title chases in the Automotive Supply Company Modifieds and Miller Lite Grand Nationals show multiple drivers with a shot at the championship.
The Modified point chase shows Brian Drexler of Oshkosh clinging to a slim 8 point lead over Tim Lemirande who makes a long haul from Middelton, Wisconsin. Drexler finished fourth in the 2010 standings and this year had improved his performance with consistent finishes and a feature win early in the season.
Lemirande who was not a regular competitor at the track last season has adapted to Oshkosh Speedzone's third-mile clay oval and has had two victories and a third place feature run in his last three outings. The title chase is not exclusive between Drexler and Lemirande however as Eddie Muenster sits just 12 markers back from the point lead and Travis Spaulding is 17 points back. Mike Klenz, last season's point runner-up is 19 markers back from the top spot. All five drivers have a realistic shot at the title and the champion won't be determined until the checkered flag falls on the final point feature of the season for the division which will take place on Friday Night, September 2nd.
In the Grad National title chase, two point nights remain as the class competes during the IRA Sprint Special on August 26th and the Season Championship Night on September 2nd. Five drivers are within 20 points of the top spot currently headed up by Menasha's T.J. Smith. Smith who was 5th in last years standings clings to an 8 point lead. Tim Warner of Malone has been Smith's nearest rival throughout the season and the two have traded the point lead back and forth throughout the year. Defending champion Larry Richards sits third in the standings 15 markers back while Jim Rhode is one additional point back in fourth place. Terry Van Roy rounds out the current top five in the standings, 20 markers from the top spot.
Considered as a whole 10 different drivers have a realistic shot at the title in the Modified and Grand National divisions.
The title chase in two other classes will also likely go down to the final night.
The Total Power Sales Street Stock division currently is showing Jeff Jungwirth of Oshkosh holding a 10 point lead over multi-time division title holder and fellow hometown pilot Jerry Winkler. Jungwirth has used consistent performances to maintain the top spot with a feature win and nine top five feature finishes. Winkler on the other hand has had more DNF's during the season but has checked in with three feature victories and numerous checkered flags in the heat races. The last few weeks Winkler has slowely nibbled away at Jungwirth's point lead and it's very likely the title will go down to the final feature race of the 2011 season.
Likewise the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils will be determined by a two car duel. Current point leader Jason Fairbank of Van Dyne has held the top position throughout much of the season. Dan Juszczyk of Sobieski has remained Fairbank's closest rival and has closed the gap in recent weeks. Juszczyk has claimed the most feature victories in the division with three, but several DNF's have placed him behind Fairbank in the title chase.
Fairbank's advantage is 13 markers with two point nights left for the division.
The only class where the division title has been determined is the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds, where Zeke Bishofberger used his fourth feature win of 2011 to lockup the title. Second place however is up for grabs as Kevin Bethke holds a nine point advantage over Adam Pugh for the runner-up spot with only the championship night of racing left for the division on September 2nd.
This article was posted to the website on August 24th, 2011