Racing shows scheduled tonight and Saturday at Cocopah Speedway are being billed as “Championship Weekend.”
It could easily be called “First Weekend.”
That’s because two drivers will be hoping to win their “first” career driving championships in a point season that for the “first” time is ending in September, during the Somerton oval’s “first” year of operation under promoter Benji Lyons.
The two-night program will feature the IMCA Modifieds, Yuma Insurance IMCA Sport Modifieds and the Alexander Ford IMCA Hobby Stocks both nights, along with the Mini Dwarfs.
On Saturday night, the program will be expanded to also include the “Hornets” and IMCA Sport Compacts.
Racing both nights begins at 7.
In past seasons at Cocopah Speedway, drivers have competed in two racing series – the IMCA point series, and the track series, called the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series. But in 2019, there is only one championship series – the IMCA point series – recognized by the track.
And because the IMCA season nationally wraps up at the end of September, and because Friday and Saturday night’s shows are the only ones in September at Cocopah Speedway, this is the grand finale, so to speak.
There are other races remaining on the 2019 schedule at Cocopah Speedway, but they are not for IMCA points.
Entering tonight’s show, Yuma’s Tyson Evans and Somerton’s Joshua Cordova are looking to do something they have never done before – win a season championship, IMCA or otherwise.
Evans enters the program as the leader in the IMCA Modified Division, with a reasonably comfortable 20-point lead over his nearest challenger, Yuma’s Bobby Horton.
Mathematically, Horton is still in the hunt. But it would pretty much take a total meltdown on Evans’ part to open the door for Horton.
What is intriguing about Evans being on the verge of winning the championship, is that he didn’t start racing full time until the abbreviated 2018 season, and so far is yet to win a feature event – ever. Evans has compiled four top-five finishes in 2019, having started all eight IMCA-sanctioned feature events, to go along with five top-10 finishes, but no wins.
But his win total really doesn’t matter, because other drivers have won IMCA Modified Division championships at the track also without winning a feature event. El Centro’s Duane Rogers did it during the 2011-2012 season and Brawley’s Russell Allen did it in 2013.
The defending track champion is El Centro’s Steven McCollough, who is not listed in the Top 10.
Cordova, meanwhile, takes the track tonight as the point leader in the IMCA Hobby Stock Division, holding a slim eight-point lead over Yuma’s Jason Beshears.
Unlike Evans, however, Cordova is under a little more pressure since an eight-point difference can be made up much easier than a 20-point difference.
Cordova has started all eight feature events in 2019 and has one win to go along with seven top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes.
Beshears, on the other hand, has only seven feature event starts, and also has one win to his credit.
The defending track champion is Yuma’s Scott Jeffery, who is not listed in the Top 10.
In the track’s remaining IMCA Division, the Sport Modifieds, Yuma’s Miles Morris is the current leader, with a 16-point advantage over Yuma’s Cory Hemphill.
Morris, unlike Evans and Cordova, has won a championship in his racing career. He was crowned the 2013 Factory Stock champion. The division is now known as the IMCA Hobby Stock Division.
Entering the June 1 show at Cocopah Speedway, Morris was the Sport Mod point leader then too, and was asked if he was racing for a championship.
He said, “Not really. I’d like to just win some races. We just gonna race to win races. If we come out on top of the points, great. If not, that’s OK too.”
So far, Morris, has not won a feature event in 2019, but he is no stranger to victory lane. In 2018 alone, he won two feature events in a part-time showing at the track, and finished fifth in the final standings.
Hemphill has won twice this season. As a matter of fact, everyone in the top five, except Morris, has won at least one feature event.
The defending champion in the division is Holtville’s Chris Toth, who is currently tied for the No. 3 spot with Yuma’s Kyle Smith. Both are 21 points out of first place.