PHOTO: Gary Siemons (#5) has a chance to get back into the Bear Ridge DIRTcar Modified title fight on double points night after missing two races early in the season. (Alan Ward photo)
–by T.J. Ingerson
Double points mean a few things: double the pressure, double the drama, double the fun, and double the excitement.
I didn’t get overly nervous when I was a racing hack back a few years. But the day of double points night at Thunder Road, the mid-season championships, I was the most anxious, nervous, wrecked up ball of a human I have ever been.
And I was only driving a four-banger. Imagine what those Late Model and Modified guys feel.
As a driver, I could have done away with double points. As a fan, bring it on. It may be, in some opinions, manufactured drama. But, it creates drama. It creates that uneasiness of ‘will the driver with a big point lead have his lead squashed because of what’s on the line’.
The work that Ron Proctor, Adam Pierson, and Nick Sweet have accomplished this season could all go down the drain in one night. Heck, look at last year. Dave Pembroke basically rode the mid-season track championship last year to his second King of the Road crown after John Donahue mistakenly turned Phil Scott last year and destroyed both their nights.
Three years ago, Jean-Paul Cyr scored a double point win en route to his Thunder Road championship.
It could turn a season around. It could ruin a season and make a run for a championship difficult. Or it could do nothing.
Could Jessey Mueller or Hunter Bates drive their way back into the championship tonight at Devil’s Bowl? Absolutely. Can Gary Siemons jump into the title fight after missing two races early at Bear Ridge? Yep.
And that’s what makes it so great.
* * *
I think Tommy Barrett is one of the most talented young race car drivers I have seen in recent years. But I also think Barrett make an impatient move that led to his suspension.
They’re not out to ‘get him’, like some people are claiming. Nor are the drivers in the Valenti Modified Racing Series whining because the kid is beating them. They have wrecked race cars and race on limited budgets. The foundation of the series is based on cost control in a series that already has high prices. Wrecking race cars drives the cost even higher, and less teams can afford it. It’s not about being beat by the kid, it’s about the kid tearing up a lot of equipment.
Timmy Jordan is one of these drivers who race on a smaller budget. He missed the Monadnock race due to the incidents of the past weeks and getting torn up, because the budget isn’t there to get torn up again. You have to race respectable, with your head, and not be impatient.
If Tommy Barrett can learn from this mistake, the sky is the limit
* * *
The Todd Stone-Patrice McGrail title battle has seemingly gotten interesting the past two weeks with back-to-back victories by McGrail. It will be one to keep an eye on across the pond. And if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t count out George Foley. Or Patrick Dupree.
And for what it’s worth, the Sportsman Modifieds, Limited Late Models, and Renegades are having tight point battles that will surely go down to the wire.
The Renegade 100 at Airborne next weekend will be interesting, as well.
* * *
It seems like the TD Bank 250 has kind of snuck up on us. It’s kind of hard to believe it’s next weekend.
And yes, the 250 still matters. Ask any driver that enters.