Inaugural Winter Series gets under way Saturday night at Cocopah Speedway
Cocopah Speedway is located at U.S. 95 and County 15th Street; the general admission gate opens at 5 p.m.; first race is at 7 p.m. Tickets are: adults – $10; junior (7-12 years old) – $5; adult military with ID – $8; senior (55 and over) – $8; children 6 years old and under – free (main grandstand); Skybox – $25; adult season pass – $325 (includes all events); senior season pass – $275 (includes all events); pit pass – $30 (per person). Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.cocopahspeedway.com. Fans can get live racing lineups during the races and results afterward by going to www.cocopahlive.com. Fans can also access live in-race scoring and lap times by going to mylaps.com. For more information call 344-1563 or go to www.cocopahspeedway.com.
It’s opening night all over again.
Well, sort of.
Saturday’s racing program at Cocopah Speedway marks the start of the track’s inaugural Winter Series, in which drivers in all five racing divisions will hit the track in search of another driving championship in 2013.
All five divisions – IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified, Pro-Stock, Street Stock and Factory Stock – are already in the midst of the 2013 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, which began in January.
“This is a mini series, a chance for drivers who might not have had a great season, or a season they are disappointed with, who might be sitting and waiting for 2014 to get here, to get back out and win something,” said Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway’s director of operations.
“In this series, everybody starts fresh, so everybody has a chance to win a winter championship.”
Saturday night’s program will feature racing in all divisions, and with the start of the Winter Series, each driver will be competing for points in both series.
The first race Saturday is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
“Other tracks across the country are winding down, closing their gates, because we’re heading into fall and the weather in the Midwest is going to get cold and nasty,” said Burgess. “It’s already snowing at some of the tracks where some of our visiting drivers come from. But here at Cocopah Speedway, the weather is great, there isn’t a snowflake in the forecast and we’ve got some great racing scheduled through the first weekend in December.”
In the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, the plot has definitely thickened.
In the Street Stock Division, two-time and defending champion Adolfo Noriega, of Yuma, won his fourth feature event of the season on Sept. 28, and in the process he moved to within 10 points of the current championship leader, Steven Daffern, of Brawley.
And with six races remaining in the speedway racing series, the race to this division title is definitely anybody’s to win.
“All I can say is the drivers in this division are already exciting to watch,” said Burgess, “and whenever they are on the track, I make sure I’m somewhere where I can see it all.”
Ironically, the top two drivers in the Street Stock title chase, Daffern and Noriega, share a common statistic. Daffern set the track record for feature event wins in a season in 1998 with 13, and Noriega tied that total last season.
On the Pro-Stock level fans will return to the track Saturday night to find a new name atop the leaderboard, Lakeside’s Mike Lerwill.
Lerwill assumed the top spot this week when Yuma’s Brett Simala was fined and penalized 40 points after the Sept. 28 race for unsportsmanlike conduct. Prior to that, Simala had enjoyed a 12-point lead over Lerwill, his closest challenger.
Simala is now tied for second place with Yuma’s Joe Haines, 26 points behind Lerwill. Simala was allowed to keep his win on Sept. 28, which gives him six on the season.
On the Factory Stock level, Yuma’s Jordan White was determined to catch the division point leader, Miles Morris, also from Yuma, and with six feature event wins so far in 2013, he was making believers of those who doubted he could get the job done.
But when it came to roll out for the Sept. 28 feature, the motor in White’s car went sour.
“I don’t know if Jordan could have caught Miles,” said Burgess, “but up until Saturday night he was making it awfully interesting.”
Morris has won four Factory Stock feature events in 2013.
In Modified and Sport Modified action, Imperial’s Lance Mari and Yuma’s Ty Rogers locked up the IMCA national track titles, respectively, on Sept. 28. The IMCA national season ended Sept. 28. But the two drivers are still trying to win the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series titles and now the Winter Series titles in their respective divisions.
To date, Mari has logged a division-leading four feature event wins in the Modified Division, and Rogers has visited victory lane a series-best seven times in the Sport Mod Division.