(The following is the second of four commentaries on the state of the current championship races involving the Bullring’s four weekly series. Today: The Modifieds.)
Who saw this coming?
If you can honestly tell me you expected Justin Reed to be holding a comfortable points lead in the modified race at this time of the season I want to go with you when buy that next 50-50 raffle ticket on Sunday night at the track.
And if you also say you foresaw two-time defending champ Michael Long opting to not go for a three-peat I want to go with you when you buy your next Mega-Million ducat.
I have to admit I was a little surprised by Long’s choice to run more of a regional schedule, but like I’ve said a dozen times before, it’s a driver’s choice what kind of racing he wants to do and where he wants to do it at.
Do I wish No. 18 was a regular at 8000 Broadway? Certainly! Do I “hold it against him” that he’s not? Certainly not! Hopefully, he’ll be back at Quincy full-time at some point in the future and continue that assault on the record book.
What’s been unexpectedly exciting this year is watching Reed, in his first full season in a modified, be as dominant as he’s been. He’s only finished outside the top 10 once and outside the top five twice in 13 points features. That is consistency, folks.
Next on the “surprise” list have probably been Donovan Lodge, who sits fourth in points, and ever-improving Shawn Deering, who is sixth. Deering was buried in the points race early in the season, but has quietly kept plugging away and has a chance for a career-best finish in the championship race. Deering’s best finish was fifth in 2008.
(Next: The stock cars.)
BAILEY CRACKS THE LIST — AGAIN
Matt Bailey’s .251-of-a-second late model feature victory over Joey Gower last Sunday earned the driver of the No. 52 car a spot in the top 10 closest track finishes for the second straight week.
Bailey’s .178-of-a-second win the week before over Justin Reed was the iffth-closest finish since the Bullring started using its electronic scorign system two years ago. Bailey’s most-recent victory ranks seventh.
CLOSEST FEATURE FINISHES
Winner (Runner-up), Margin of Victory, Date
1. Justin Reed (Steven DeLonjay), 0.087, May 31, 2009.
2. Jake Wenig (John Oliver Jr.), 0.096, May 18, 2008
3. Tom Goble (Justin Reed), 0.116, June 14, 2009
4. Andrew Griffin (Kevin Tomlinson), 0.164, May 10, 2009
5. Matt Bailey (Justin Reed), 0.178, July 19, 2009
6. Aaron Brocksieck (Abe Huls), 0.198, June 14, 2009
7. Matt Bailey (Joey Gower), 0.251, July 26, 2009
8. Keith Pratt (Justin Reed), 0.252, May 4, 2008
9. Aaron Brocksieck (Damon Murty), 0.253, July 3, 2009
10. Rusty Tobias (Doug Huls), 0.260, Sept. 21, 2008