Do you realize this is the final year of the decade? It seems like just yesterday we were worrying about that Y2K computer thing.
So with the start of the 2009 dirt-track season less than three weeks again, it’s time to start thinking about drivers of the decade at Quincy Raceways. Let’s look at each of the classes:
With six track titles in the first nine years of the 2000s, it’s a safe bet Mark Burgtorf would be a consensus pick here. Lonnie Bailey, with a 2004 championship and eight straight top-10 points finishes, would be runner-up.
This class is kind of crazy. The first six years of the decade, there were the seaparate “A” and “B” distinctions, but since 2006, there has been just one modified series. I’m going to lump it all into one school of thought.
Going into ’09, Hank DeLonjay and his four track titles rate a slight edge over Michael Long, who has completely dominated the past two seasons. But what some fans forget is Long also has two runner-up finishes in that period.
If Long puts together a third straight historic season, the choice could become quite a conversation piece. At this writing, though, I’m leaning toward DeLonjay, with Long runner-up.
This is another series that could stir some debate.
The retired Eddie Dieker won three championships and had two runner-up showings before calling it quits following the 2006 season.
Steve Carlin has captured two titles and is a heavy favorite to win a third this season. He could easily have four, having finished a combined three points out of first the last two years.
If Carlin ties Dieker with a third title this decade, who do you choose? Complicating matters would be each driver winning his three championships over a seven-year span.
If Carlin does pull even with a third title, I may lean toward the active driver. Otherwise, my gut feeling says Dieker deserves the kudos.
Sorry, guys. We’ll have to wait until 2019 to start talking about a driver of the decade in this division. The stock cars are getting ready to begin just their second season at the Bullring.
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